Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Real Struggle

When Bradley first came home, we flung ourselves headfirst into survival mode. Like any new parents. We were trying to figure this little boy out and learning how to practically be mom and dad while still being husband and wife and Adam and Baylor. Somewhere in the chaos, I let my daily time with the Lord drop off a cliff. It was embarrassingly easy to allow. There was SO MUCH filling every single waking and sleeping moment of the day and night. I kid you not. My dreams were about Bradley not sleeping. And somewhere in there, I stopped making God a priority.

It can be such an easy thing to do, I think primarily because the rest of the world screams for our attention, and God asks for it. Our children and homes and jobs demand our focus, and the Lord asks us to choose Him first.

Sadly, for me, I allowed this to go on for some time, and in recent weeks I have found myself REALLY feeling the consequence of that choice. Because let’s be honest... It was a choice. I chose to rely on myself instead of God Almighty. Not the wisest decision I’ve made.

So now I am in a place where I am trying to figure out how to mom with Jesus at the helm, how to meet Bradley’s (and soon Asher’s, needs while still recognizing my own DEEP need for Christ each and every day.

Here’s where we are:

We are listening to a LOT of worship music in our house right now, especially during breakfast and lunch. This is really helping me keep my heart and mind focused on Christ. I have found that what my ears hear is what my mind thinks about.

I have also, at Adam’s suggestion, downloaded the First 5 app by Proverbs 31 Ministries. It’s a daily devotional that takes about five minutes. You set the alarm in the app for when you want to do it, and when it goes off, the app takes over your phone for five minutes, only allowing you to access your devotional. I am really enjoying it so far. The idea is that it’s the first five minutes of your day, but  I have mine set to go off during nap time, as that is the most consistent thing in our day right now.

I am also looking into a She Reads Truth study, but I haven’t quite landed on one yet.

Hopefully, these things, in combination with my BSF study, will help me overcome the very real struggle of balancing time. Even now, there are so many things I want to do: spend time with Bradley, write, exercise, talk with Adam in the evenings, be with God each day, SLEEP. All of these things pull at me, and I MUST do a better job of organizing and prioritizing.

What about you? What are the things that vie for your attention? How do you carve out time for the Lord each and every day? It is the most worthwhile thing we can do.

With love,

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Whose Kingdom?

One thing I have really been enjoying this year is my first Bible Study Fellowship class. We are studying the book of Revelation, and it is INTENSE. I have loved having an in-depth study of such a complex book and have really enjoyed sharing with and learning from a diverse group of women. 

Spending so much time in Revelation has been both awe-inspiring and sobering. The raw power of God on display in such a vivid way is incredible. His grace and mercy truly exceed our ability to describe them. And His wrath is holy and righteous. The scene that unfolds in the cosmos is huge and terrifying. 

For me, it is easy to think of myself as an insignificant figure in God’s Kingdom. Yes, He loves me, but how much impact and/or influence do I really have? Does the course of my life have a role in the cosmic battle that will ultimately play out when God defeats Satan once and for all? For the sake of avoiding the feeling of responsibility, I like to tell myself no. 

But that’s really not the case. Each of our lives does matter. We do play a role. And I was struck afresh with this reality at the end of the lecture portion of Bible study last night. Our teaching leader posed a question to us. 

“Whose kingdom are you advancing?” 

It’s a powerful question to consider because there are only two options. God’s or Satan’s. That’s it. Each day I have the opportunity to advance God’s kingdom and point others to Him... or not. It’s hard to think of my life in terms this absolute, but it is reality. All of creation is moving toward this day, this moment, when God’s power and glory will be on full display and there will be no doubt that He is absolutely Lord of all. Am I living in such a way as to point people to Him now? Are you? Or are we just keeping our heads down and trying not to stir the pot, lest we offend anyone? 

If I’m honest, then I have to tell you that, more often than not, I fall into the second category. And I admit that much to my own shame. 

Reading about and studying the judgment that I know is coming, I somehow manage to keep the truth quiet, when I should actually be sharing with everyone I know. 

I had this huge epiphany last night that when I am not activity advancing God’s kingdom, I am actually advancing Satan’s. I do it by doing nothing. It’s so sly, so subtle. But that is what he does. He deceives with almost-truths, and I fall for it. By not saying anything, by not pointing people to Christ, I am allowing Satan to keep the blinders on people whom God loves. 

Who on earth do I think I am? How can I keep silent? 

And so I am praying that God gives me the courage to always look to Christ, to always give Him the glory and honor, to always speak His truth and love. 

And I’ll be honest. There is a part of me that is not even sure what this will actually look like. I spend 95% of my time with an 18 month old. While I love him deeply, our conversations are not yet theologically profound. But I can do much better modeling Christ’s love for him on a daily basis. I can talk to him about Jesus because even though he can’t understand me now, I am praying that he will not be able to remember a time when he did not know Jesus. So why not start now? 

What about you? What are the ways you can intentionally advance God’s kingdom in your life? In your circles of influence? Consider the question and come up with a real answer, not a theoretical one. And if you have an awesome idea, please share with me. I love a good, practical idea. 

With deep love, 

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