Monday, June 30, 2008

I Trust You

I am so thankful that the Lord gave me Psalm 16:8 at the beginning of last week! In case you didn't read my last post, Psalm 16:8 says "I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." That verse came to my mind often last week, and it gave me the strength I needed to make it through each struggle I had to face. I'm sure it will continue to come to mind in the coming days and weeks because there is definitely a spiritual battle going on in the life of someone close to me.

This person has been a Christian for a long time, but this person has been praying for a few things for a long time and has become frustrated that those prayers aren't being answered. It is so hard when we feel as if the Lord isn't answering our prayers, but I also know that sometimes God's answer is one we dont' want to hear. I told this person yesterday that sometimes God's answer is "No" and maybe that's the answer the Lord gave. "No" is a hard answer to hear and sometimes we just don't like it and/or don't want to accept that answer. Sometimes God's answer is "wait", but people often grow tired of waiting and either feel that the Lord is never going to answer their prayer or they decide to take matters into their own hands. It is during these times that we need to truly trust that God does know what's best even when it feels we can't take it any more.

Today I started to read Psalm 20. I was amazed at the first 2 verses which say "May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion." because that's exactly what I needed to hear! When I read verse 4 which says "May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.", I really felt my heart struggling with a feeling of "WHY isn't that happening?!" I kept reading and had to smile when I read verse 7 which says "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." I just knew God was showing me that I just need to keep trusting Him in this situation.

You can't force someone to trust in God. It is something they need to do themselves. For now I will do what I can: I will trust God to answer the prayers of this individual in a clear way so that there is no way the answers can be ignored, and for this person to ACCEPT the answers God gives to those prayers. I will pray for the main situation that is causing this person to have so many doubts to be resolved quickly. Finally I will pray for that person to come to the realization to just keep trusting God and not lose faith.

I know some people know this, but God gave me words to my first two songs in April. The words to the first song have really been going through my mind a lot and I find myself singing it often. I know the Lord was preparing me for what was to come and I am in awe of His love for me! I have shared the words to this song with only a few people so far, but I just felt like I needed to share it here. I hope you all enjoy it. The title of this post is also the title of my song.


Sometimes it may seem
Like nobody cares
And even Jesus
Just doesn't seem there
But that's when your faith
Needs to take over
Just lift up your hands
And say to the Lord.

I trust you when life is easy
I trust you when life is hard
I trust you with my whole life
Because you gave your life for me.

Jesus never said
Life would be easy
But He did promise
To never leave you
So you can be sure
That He's always there
So praise the Lord and
Sing with assurance

I trust you when life is easy
I trust you when life is hard
I trust you with my whole life
Because you gave your life for me.

Trust in the Lord
with all your heart
and lean not
on your own understanding
in all your ways
acknowledge Him
and He will direct your paths

I trust you when life is easy
I trust you when life is hard
I trust you with my whole life
Because you gave your life for me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Don't Be Shaken!

This morning I picked up my Bible to do my devotions. I had a situation that was weighing heavily on my mind when I started to read, and the Lord seemed to light up the words to one verse in particular. Psalm 16:8 says "I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." I immediately sensed the peace that only comes from God. It was just so awesome to feel the presence of the Lord letting me know He knows all about this situation and He is right there with me. I can rest in Him and know that He is in charge. I will NOT be shaken! It is so easy to worry and be fearful of what is unknown, but fear is not from God! We need to just give those fears to the Lord and then rest in His loving arms.

I also had a sense of guilt as I looked at the first part of that verse. Do I always set the Lord before me? How often do I try to just do things on my own? It seems that sometimes only when things get too tough to handle do I turn to the Lord for help. I was reminded that I should start every day with turning everything over to the Lord and asking Him to lead the way. If the Lord is leading the way, all I need to do is FOLLOW HIM because I know He will never lead me the wrong way! I know I'll still have to go through sorrows, trials, temptations, etc, but I can have the assurance that the Lord is with me and I do not need to be scared. There is no reason to be shaken when the Lord is in control! I know I will be able to handle whatever comes my way because the Lord is right beside me!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Love Music

I'm sure you will quickly notice a change on my blog. I now have music playing! YEAH! I absolutely LOVE music and I chose some of my favorite songs to put on my playlist. I'm impressed I was actually able to figure out how to do it! I hope you enjoy the songs I chose. The first song that is playing is the one I currently say is my favorite song. The FIRST time I heard it on the radio, I knew I just had to have the CD with that song on it. I must say that Chris Tomlin has so many amazing songs that my entire playlist could be filled with just his songs! I chose a few of my favorites that he sings, but I also included other songs by other artists.

The second song on the list has a special meaning to me. The first time I ever heard the song "I Want To Be Just Like You" was when our choir was learning it. I was pregnant and shortly thereafter suffered a miscarriage. It was a real struggle to sing the song at first, but the song took on a whole new meaning when I finally had a child. I hadn't thought of the song for a long time, but it immediately came to mind when we were going to have our son dedicated. I asked a good friend and her husband to sing this song, and I don't think there was a dry eye in the church. All I could do as they were singing the song was hold my precious little boy who we had tried for so long to have and thank the Lord for His faithfulness. I know I am not always the best example to my kids, but I try to be and I am not ashamed to apologize to them when I acted in a way I am not proud of. I can only hope that my children see Jesus in me and come to know, love, and serve Him the way I do.

You can stop the music if you find it distracting as you read (just hit the pause button on the playlist. I think it is the first button...the one with 2 vertical lines). I would encourage you though when you are done reading to turn the music back on, open a new window, surf the web or whatever you need to do, and just let the music play in the background. I hope these songs lift you up, encourage you, and help you worship our wonderful Lord.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Last night around 5 pm, I heard a weather report that a severe thunderstorm was headed our way and we were under a watch until 6 pm. I looked out the window and had a hard time believing a storm was coming because the sun was shining brightly! Within 15 min., the weather had changed drastically! The sky had grown black and the wind was blowing hard! Our lights flickered and the kids ran to get their little flashlights. I grabbed a flashlight and lit a candle just in case since the flashlight we have isn't always very reliable for staying lit very long. It turned out we didn't need to get any of those things because the wind died down and the dark clouds passed by within about 15 min. We didn't lose power at all. As I blew out the candle, I thought about why I had lit that candle in the first place. I had been preparing for the possibility of losing power. Why light a candle? So we could see in the darkness! If the lights had gone out, we wouldn't have been able to see much at all in the house. The kids don't like the darkness so the light would help to ease their fears.

What do we do when storms come into our lives? Sometimes we know a "storm" is coming so we can prepare for them in advance. If we know someone is very ill, we start to prepare for the fact that they are probably going to die unless a miracle takes place. Those storms don't seem quite so bad because we were able to prepare for them before they hit, but what about those storms that strike without any notice? When a loved one or especially a young child dies unexpectedly, is involved in a devastating accident or is diagnosed with an illness, things seem to grow dark very quickly. How can we possibly move forward? How can we see where to go and what to do next? We turn to God: our eternal light! It is in those darkest times that His light lets us know that He is there with us. We can even feel the warmth of His presence. If we look to Him, He will guide us through the darkness.

When things are going great in our lives, it can be easy to take for granted the fact that God is with us because we may not see His light shining as bright as it does when it is dark. When the storms hit, we are instantly reminded of the fact that God is there because we look for Him! Make sure your relationship with God is always strong so that when the storms hit, you won't have to worry about whether or not God is right there with you. His light will never go out and you can be sure that He will be with you throughout every storm you face.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Dad

Father's Day is coming up in just a few days so first of all let me say Happy Father's Day to the guys who may read this! I know some of the guys who read this may not be fathers yet and are wondering why I would wish them a "Happy Father's Day", but I said it to all guys because you do have an influence on children whether you know it or not. That being said, make sure you are setting a GOOD example for all the children who may be watching you!

Some children don't have much of a role model when it comes to a father. A child's relationship with their heavenly father may not be all it can be if their earthy father didn't set a good example of what a loving father is. I've been blessed with a wonderful earthly father who made it very easy to have a wonderful relationship with my heavenly father. I just love my dad more than words could ever say! I couldn't have asked for a better dad!

I have always looked up to my dad, and not just because he's so tall! My dad is a police officer and was always very protective of his three girls. When someone would be picking on us on the school bus, my dad didn't have a problem with coming onto the bus and setting the bully straight. Sometimes all he needed to do was stand out in front of our house in his police uniform. You could audibly hear the kids on the bus wondering who this big police officer in our front yard was, so we would gladly yell "DADDY!!!!!!!" as we got off the bus and run to give him a big hug. It was amazing how any bully was more than willing to find someone else to pick on after meeting or just seeing our dad!

Even though my dad is big and strong, he also is very gentle. We always knew how much he loved us, even when he needed to discipline us. He showed us what it means to be a loving father and a strong Christian. He persevered through many tough times and never gave up. Hmm...I wonder if that's one reason why I am so stubborn? That can be a GOOD thing when it means sticking to your beliefs and not backing down regardless of what people say about you, which I had to do a lot being a Christian in a public school!

On October 19, 2007, my dad went hunting like he does every year. As he was getting into the tree stand, he noticed the stand was loose. He started to climb back down to tighten the ropes, but the stand swung around and my dad fell 15 feet and landed on his back. He knew he had broken his back, but he had no idea whether he had any internal injuries. He didn't have his walkie talkie so there was no way of calling for help, so he laid there and yelled for help for over 4 1/2 hours with no response. He also did a lot of praying and singing during that time. Thankfully my mom has a strong sense of ESP and knew something was wrong when he wasn't home when he said he would be. My dad always leaves a note when he goes hunting letting mom know where he will be and when he'll be home. He always is home at that time or will call if he is tracking a deer and will be late. Mom was able to convince my uncle (dad's oldest brother) that something was wrong and he went out to look for him.

Just the fact that my uncle found my dad's car is a miracle since dad was hunting that day on someone's property that has MANY acres to it. My uncle thought dad had his walkie talkie with him and had been driving around calling him on it. He finally felt the Lord tell him to put the walkie talkie down, get out of his car, walk and YELL. So my uncle, who was wearing shorts and not dressed at all to be walking through the woods, started to walk into the raspberry invested area where dad's car was parked in front of. He walked for awhile and kept yelling, but he wasn't getting any response. He was just about ready to give up and call the police for help when he felt the Lord tell him to "go a little farther and yell again". My uncle obeyed, and my dad heard him! My dad said after laying there for over 4 1/2 hours not knowing if he was ever going to be found in time, the sound of his brother answering him "I'm on my way!" was the sweetest thing he had ever heard.

My dad wound up with 3 broken vertebra in his low back. At least one of them was a burst fracture, but all the pieces went away from the spinal cord. My father had no internal injuries and was NOT paralyzed after falling 15 feet! We all knew this was a miracle and we knew exactly who to give the praise to! Thank you God!! My dad spent just a few days in that hospital and he then was moved to a rehabilitation hospital. It was really hard seeing my dad who I had always seen as this big, strong guy being in so much pain and needing so much help. He use to walk a few miles a day, and now he was having trouble taking just a few steps. I was just thankful that he was alive and able to be taking those few steps!

God continued to answer our prayers and dad continued to get stronger. He was discharged less than a month after the accident...using just a walker to walk. How fitting that a few days later, we were able to celebrate his home! Dad had to wear a back brace for a total of 3 months. About 2 months after the back brace came off, he went back to work! It truly amazes me that my dad broke 3 vertebra in his back and was back to work as a police officer less than 5 months later! GOD IS GOOD!!

As Father's Day approached this year, I realized how lucky I am to still have my dad here to celebrate this day with him! I am so thankful that God watched over my dad that awful day in October. My dad is living proof that our God still performs miracles! I always knew my dad was special, and I'm so glad God still had a purpose for my dad to be here with us!


Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Life Is Truly Blessed?!

I'm sure by now anyone who has read my blog, or anyone who happens upon it and starts to read from the beginning, is probably wondering why I chose the title I did for this blog. Maybe you've wondered "How can she say her life is truly blessed when her neighbor next door is most likely a drug dealer and has given them trouble for over 6 years ago?" or maybe "How can she say her life is truly blessed when her sister died unexpectedly at the age of 28?" No, my life is not perfect. I've had to deal with trials and sorrows just like everyone else in this world. The difference is in how I deal with those things when I'm faced with them.

My life is truly blessed because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! I know I can put my faith in Him because He is the creator of the universe so I know He knows EVERYTHING. He knows all about ME and what I'm going through. He is with ME every day! He loves ME! He died for ME! He gave EVERYTHING for me. I have never been alone when I faced these struggles in my my life. He has always been right there with me. I have the assurance of knowing that He always will be with me no matter what I may have to face in this life. Yes, I am truly blessed because I can call Jesus my friend!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Obey....the FIRST time!

Since September, my husband and I have been attending a parenting class at our church using the video series based on the book "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Ted Tripp. The video series has Ted Tripp discussing the concepts he covers in his book. It only meets the first Sunday of the month, but it has been well worth our time! I have tried putting some of the stuff into practice, but it wasn't until this past Sunday that I really had my eyes opened to the importance of consistency when teaching your children to obey.

My daughter is 9 years old and is VERY strong-willed. She can be very mouthy and wants everything to be HER way. We have tried various forms of discipline, but nothing seemed to work for very long. I've come to discover much of that is MY fault because I was not being CONSISTENT with the discipline. I also learned that I should have been teaching her to obey me the FIRST time I said something. It was pointed out in the video on Sunday that kids learn real quick when to obey. I smiled when I heard "When mom gets to 3, then I'll obey." because I've used that counting method and have gotten results that way. However, I recently started telling my kids that if I said "3", it was too late. "When dad starts yelling, then I'll obey." may be another way kids decide when to obey. My kids seemed to think the best way to know when to obey would be "When mom starts screaming, the veins in her neck start to bulge, her face is beat red, and her eyes look like they are going to pop out of her head....then I'll obey."

Ted Tripp then made a comment that I may not get verbatim, but it was something like this: Why not teach your children to obey the FIRST time you say something? That's really what you want so why are we not teaching it? Those questions almost made me fall off my chair! Maybe I should have because I could have said OUCH! and the rest of the class wouldn't have realized I was saying ouch because of those questions and not because of the fall. (OK, maybe the ouch would have pertained to BOTH things then! LOL!). I realized immediately after hearing those questions that we had not been teaching our children to obey us the first time. I would give a zillion warnings to stop doing whatever it was our daughter (and now our son) was doing or I would just let it go because I was busy doing something else. Don't get me wrong, we still did plenty of disciplining. There were some days all I felt like I did was yell at my kids and/or discipline them! What I realized though was I needed to be CONSISTENT if I wanted them to learn how to obey me!! (DUH! How could I have been so stupid?!)

Ephesians 6:1-3 are the verses that the next analogy came from. Those verses are "(1) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (2) Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise - (3) that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Ted Tripp said that we want our children to live "inside the circle". The boundary of the circle is HONOR and OBEY your parents. When children are within the circle, they experience "long life" and things "go well" with them. It is a path of BLESSING when children stay inside that "circle"! When children disobey or dishonor their parents, they move outside of the circle. This is a dangerous place to be! Would you want your child to be in danger? Of course not! In order to get our child back into the circle, we need to discipline them. It is because we LOVE our child that we discipline them. We want them to have long life and have things go well with them. We also want them to experience all the blessings that living "in the circle" brings...because when they are obeying and honoring their parents, they are obeying and honoring God!

I came home from that class determined to start showing my kids just how much I loved them. I explained to them that things were going to change and they were going to learn to listen the FIRST time I said something. I told them I wasn't being a very good parent because I had allowed them to disobey and dishonor me and hadn't punished them for it the first time. I would warn them too many times to stop what they were doing and then by the time I would discipline them, I was mad or angry and then I was sinning because I am not suppose to discipline out of anger! I explained to them about living "inside the circle", what happens when they disobey or dishonor their parents, and what needs to happen so that they can get back inside the circle. I also told them what Ephesians 6:1 says. My daughter already knew the verse, but my son didn't.
It only took 2 days for our son to remember what Ephesians 6:1 says. Micah doesn't know the verse verbatim like Sarah does; but when I ask him what that verse says, he answers "Obey your parents." That's good enough for me!

The first time Sarah disobeyed me after I had decided to implement this, I asked her what Ephesians 6:1 says and she angrily grumbled "obey your parents". I remained calm though and had her say it again (the WHOLE verse since I knew she knew it). I then explained how she was outside of the circle and that was dangerous. She needed to be inside the circle and because I love her so much I had to discipline her to get her back into the circle. She seemed to understand...and ACCEPT...that she needed to be disciplined, and she didn't give me any struggle or argument. I was SHOCKED! Now when I say to do something and my child (or children) don't do what I said, all I have to say is "What does Ephesians 6:1 say?". They both know when I ask that, they have to tell me what it says...and then immediately do what I asked them to do. Sometimes when they hear me ask that question, they will simply stop what they were doing and do what I asked right away.

So obedience means doing something the first time you are asked. I also learned on Sunday that obedience is to be done WITHOUT complaining, making excuses, or delaying. My daughter is infamous for using all 3 of those things when we ask her to do something! I'll hear "Do I have to?", "I don't want to!" or "I want ....!" when we ask her to do something she doesn't want to do. She also seems to always have some excuse as to why she did or didn't do something and why she shouldn't be punished for disobeying. "He did it first!" seems to be her favorite excuse. My reply to that use to always be "He is 4 years old. You are 9 years old and YOU know better!!" I also know I've heard "Just a minute!" or "I'll do it in a minute!" when I ask Sarah to do something. That is called delaying and is not part of obedience because your child is basically saying "I'll obey MY time."

I'm amazed how much calmer I have been in the past few days since I began disciplining the first time one of my children disobeys, rather than giving far too many warnings and becoming angry because they aren't listening. My daughter still tends to get mouthy, but I've been able to control my temper and tell her I'm not going to argue with her. She is dishonoring me when she talks to me like that and I'll remind her that she is not in the circle when she does that. I'll ask her what Eph. 6:1 says and she'll tell me. Then I'll ask her what needs to happen and why, and she'll tell me that as well. She still needs to work on her temper, but I'm confident that she'll learn that a lot better as long as I continue to keep MY temper under control.

Obviously my children have not suddenly become perfect angels who never do anything wrong. They still try to exert their own will, do stuff they shouldn't, fight with each other, etc. They do however realize that when mommy says "stop it", they had better listen the first time or suffer the consequences! I do not always give that warning. There are some things that my children know are not tolerated at all so they know they will be disciplined immediately if they choose to do one of those things.

I am fully aware there are different forms of discipline and not everyone agrees with all of them. I'm not writing this to try and force parents to all use the same form of discipline that we use. I'm writing this to encourage parents to teach their children to obey the FIRST time you say something, and then BE CONSISTENT with issuing discipline if your child does not obey you. As parents, we LOVE our children and it is out of love that we need to teach them things that they will need their entire lives. Disciplining my children is not something I enjoy doing, but I love my children with all my heart and I want them to grow up to be trustworthy adults.

If a child doesn't learn to obey his/her parents, how will that child learn to obey other people in authority? How will that child learn to obey GOD?! It is our job as parents to teach our children to honor and obey us so that they can then grow up to honor and obey those in authority and most importantly GOD!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Classics

This afternoon as I was making lasagna, I decided I wanted (needed?) to listen to some music. I went out and selected a Ray Boltz CD. When the music started, I realized this wasn't the Ray Boltz CD that I thought it was; but I decided to just keep it on since I really liked the first song. The CD I listened to is entitled "The Classics", and boy did God just bless me as I listened to each and every song on that CD!!

I'm sure most of the songs on the CD you've heard before, but some I haven't heard in a very LONG time. I guess the reason they are considered "Classics" is because they will bless you regardless of how many times you hear the song! The songs on the CD were Great Is The Lord; He's Alive; O Lord, You're Beautiful; Rise Again; I Wouldn't Go Back; Awesome God; People Need The Lord; Through It All; We Will Stand; If That Isn't Love; and The King Is Coming. I just couldn't help but praise the Lord as I sang along with each song.

I tried to get my two children to quit talking and playing so loud and listen to the words of the songs, but they just were more interested in what they were doing to pay attention. It didn't seem to matter though because in spite of all the noise (and the fact that I was putting the lasagna together), I was still able to focus on the words. I just couldn't help but worship the Lord! I had put the lasagna in the oven to bake and was washing the dishes when the last song came on.

The last two songs on the CD are ones I haven't heard in a very long time and both of them really spoke to me, but the last song brought me to tears...of happiness! I told my children that they had to stop talking, sit down, and just listen to this song again. I explained to them what the song was talking about, even though Sarah already knew because she had heard a few words in the chorus as it was playing the first time. I started the song again, and just stood there in our living room with my eyes shut. The tears started to flow again and it was only when Micah (my youngest) touched my leg did I open my eyes. He was standing there looking at me and quietly asked "Why are you crying mommy?" I told him they were happy tears because this song was about when Jesus comes back again and we go to heaven and see Him. He smiled and said "I want to go to heaven!" I sat down on the floor so Micah could sit on my lap and I rocked my son as I went back to worshipping with my eyes shut. I felt Sarah come over to cuddle up next to me too, but the tears were flowing again and I just focused on thinking about that wonderful day.

In case you don't know the song, these are the words to the chorus of "The King is Coming":

O the King is coming, the King is coming
I just heard the trumpets sounding
And now His face I see
O the King is coming, the King is coming
Praise God, He's coming for me.

If you have Christian CDs or tapes that you haven't listened to in awhile, take them out and listen to them again. I especially encourage you to listen to ones that may have "classics" on them! Songs may be considered "old", but the messages found within Christian songs are eternal and will never be outdated!