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God has been so amazingly good to me.  Whenever something comes along to test my faith, HE provides a song, a sermon, a Bible study, or a devotion that points me back to the right path.  Most recently, God used James 1:2-4 to remind me of one of the reasons that we, as Christians, face trials.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of any kind, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you might be perfect and complete, wanting nothing.”

Trials are a chance to grow patience.  And when patience has a chance to work in us, we grow.  We become perfect and complete, wanting nothing.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be perfect!  Now, I long ago figured out that I would never be perfect on my own.  But, when I allow God to work through me, I can become perfect.   That is encouraging to me.  God has a reason for allowing me to go through this trial.  It is to make me perfect.  I can be joyful because whatever trial I am going through, God has allowed to grow me into His perfect princess.

My new goal is to be more joyful.  Specifically, to find joy in my trials.  To take a step back and find joy in watching God work.  Turning my life over to His big capable hands.  He is always faithful.  To put this into action, I have started a praise notebook.  At least one day per week, I spend all of my personal prayer time being thankful.  And I write down what I am thankful for.  Sometimes its just a list, sometimes it is word for word as I pray.  The hard part is not adding all of my wants and needs to this prayer.  This  is just a time to tell God how thankful I am for all that He has given me, all that He is doing in my life, and all that I know that He will do.  No requests, no pouring out my woes.  God knows it all already.  Just a time to be thankful!

I want to leave you with this little story from an unknown author.  You have probably heard it before, but I think that is beautifully illustrates the point of joyfully enduring our trials.

The Tea Cup

There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup.They said, “May we see that? We’ve never seen one quite so beautiful.”

As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke. “You don’t understand,” it said. “I haven’t always been a teacup.

There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, “let me alone”, but he only smiled, “Not yet.”

“Then I was placed on a spinning wheel,” the teacup said, “and suddenly I was spun around and around and around.Stop it! I’m getting dizzy! I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, ‘Not yet.’

Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as He shook his head, ‘Not yet.’

Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. ‘There, that’s better,’ I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. ‘Stop it, stop it!’ I cried. He only nodded, ‘Not yet.’

Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head saying, ‘Not yet.’

Then I knew there wasn’t any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, ‘Look at yourself.And I did. I said, ‘That’s not me; that couldn’t be me. It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful.’

‘I want you to remember, then,’ he said, ‘I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you’d have dried up.

I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn’t put you there, you would have cracked.

I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn’t done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn’t put you back in that second oven,you wouldn’t survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.

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Today’s post is a practical application  of what I learned while attending a “Love and Respect” video conference.  For more information on “Love and Respect” please see the link to the side.

In the spring of 2009, I was blessed by a good friend with the opportunity to attend the video conference of “Love and Respect”.  Her church was putting it on and not only did she pay for me to go, but her daughter graciously watched my children for free.  It was an amazing day when I learned so much.  If you ever have the opportunity to go, DO IT!!!

What I would like to share with you today is one of the differences between blue and pink.  For those who haven’t attended a conference or read the book, Mr. Eggrichs says that men and women hear differently.  Like wearing different sets of sunglasses and headphones.   BLUE refers to the male way of seeing, thinking, hearing, speaking.  Pink refers to the female way of doing these things.  Neither way is right or wrong.  God made us to be either pink or blue.  Not right or wrong, just different.

I learned that day, that blue and pink need different forms of quality time.  Ladies, we know that when we spend time with our friends we want to be talking to them–face to face, communicating, sharing, building bonds.  God created us to be this way.  And we want this from the blues in our lives.  Our dads, sons, spouses, brothers, pastors, etc.  This is the pink way of interacting.  Mr. Eggrichs uses this example:  When his daughter was very young, he would tuck her in at night and spend a couple of minutes talking with her in the dark.  One night, she was trying to tell him something that she felt was vitally important and said, “Dad look at me.”  In the darkness, she knew that she and Dad were not connecting face to face the way she wanted to.

Blues connect differently.  They are more than happy with a shoulder to shoulder connection where nobody speaks more than a few words.  Somehow, this builds a deep bond and energizes them.  (Don’t ask me how, I am a pink.)  But that is the way God made them.  It isn’t wrong, it’s just different.  Mrs. Eggrichs gives this example:  Once while on a cross-country vacation that involved two vehicles, she found herself alone in one vehicle with her son.  She resolved that this would be a great time for the two of them to bond and got into the car ready to hear about his life and feelings.  But, then she remembered he wasn’t built that way.  So, she sat next to him quietly for nearly eight hours.  She said it was the longest eight hours of her life!  But when they arrived at their destination, he told her “Thanks!”  It had been one of the best times he had shared with her in a long time.

Now, since I attended this conference, I haven’t had the opportunity to use what I learned with a significant other.  But, I do have four brothers, a son, and an ex husband.  And I have to say, its true!  Here are MY examples of seeing blue vs pink in action.

Pookie is my very blue 7-year-old.  At the time that his dad moved out he was 6.  His dad worked at a call center and we couldn’t just call whenever one of the kids wanted to talk to him, but we learned that we could use Yahoo!Chat within the Yahoo!Mail server.  So, I would let Pookie practice reading and spelling by having these chat conversations with his dad.  One day, after the customary small talk, I found Pookie sitting there with my laptop grinning for ear to ear.  Neither he nor his dad had said anything for about 15 minutes, but Pookie was energized by this “should to shoulder” type of interaction.  He knew his dad was at the other end and if he wanted to say something he could.  Later, I asked his dad how he had felt, and he had felt the same way.  It was just good quality time that they had been able to spend together, even though neither one of them were saying anything at all.

Woogie is my very pink 3-year-old.  Between the ages of 1 and 2 1/2, she wanted the very closest face to face time.  If we were in the store, she would stand on the seat of the shopping cart and press her cheek against mine, wrap her arms around my neck, and squeeze.  I wouldn’t be able to see where I was going.  If I was holding her, she would do the same thing.  Or else we would be forehead to forehead.  It wasn’t enough to be sitting on my lap or leaning on my chest while sitting in the grocery cart.  She wanted, craved, true face to face time.  And, like any small child, she was relentless until she got it.

I give you these examples to encourage you to try it with the blues and pinks in your life.  Maybe, you have a son that you desperately want to spend time with.  Or a husband who asks you to be with him but then doesn’t want to talk.  Understand that what they want is for you to simply be there.  Quiet, shoulder to shoulder time.  They don’t want to discuss feelings or the days events.  And you may feel like nothing is getting accomplished.  It is the hardest thing in the world, for me to sit still and quiet when the living room needs vacuumed, the dishes need washed, the laundry needs folded, and I still want me time at the end of it all.  BUT, what your blue needs is you.

This is part of Titus 2:4 ~ “…teach the young women how to love their husbands, to love their children…”  Loving our Blues means putting aside our pink way of doing things for a time, and loving them the way they need to be loved.  And you will find that when you are taking the time to build your family God’s way, that everything else will fall into place.  All of the chores will still get done and you’ll still get your time.  God will give you the energy you need.  And you will be blessed in multiple ways.

My friend is getting married on Friday!  She is an amazing young woman with two kids from previous relationships, who has really turned her life around and surrendered to Christ.  And so, to her, I write this post.

My Dear Ham

I am so proud of you.  You are growing into exactly what God would have you to be and are being blessed.  Stebie is a great guy and I know that, together, you will be an amazing couple.  I only have a few things to remind you of, before you begin your journey together.

Remember, he is a guy!  And I don’t mean that to sound sexist in any way.  Men are wonderful.  But, God didn’t design him to be just like you.  God made him different.  And different is good!  Tell him when you want him to fix something and when you just need to rant.  He’s not a mind reader, he won’t know unless you tell him.

Respect him.  If you want him to fix something, let him do it without second guessing every move.  Trust him not to blow you up (remember the furnace?).  I know that you have been hurt before, but this is a new man who loves God and you and loves your kids and wants to take care of you.  He will do what is good for you.  If you show him this respect and trust, he will learn to reciprocate more openly with love.

I love you, My Friend.  Remember that marriage will not solve all of your problems…but God can.  Do your best not to replace God with Stebie.  It is an easy thing to do.  Stebie is here.  He’s tangible.  But he’s not God.  Let God be God and Stebie be Stebie and things will go swimmingly.

God Bless and Congratulations!

You can call me Sasha.  Its the nickname my dad gave me when I was little.   I am a single-stay @ home mom, not by choice but because its the kind of thing our courts allow to happen.  I homeschool my 3 kids (we’ll call them Pookie, Bubba, and Woogie), am an independent contractor for “The Old Schoolhouse” Magazine, and am working on becoming an IBO (Independent Business Owner) with Amway Global.

I love God!  I love all that He has done for me.  I am constantly amazed at the ways in which He provides for me and the kids.  Sending His Son, Jesus, to die for me was more than enough, but His blessings continue.  I currently live with my mom.  We work to help each other and this has removed a lot of my stress.  Amazingly, we are able to live together in peace…most of the time.  I have met the most wonderful man who loves me and my kids and is working to move closer to us so that we can work on building a life together.  My bills get paid, food is on the table, my kids are healthy, my friends are awesome, and I have peace.

That is the jist of the who…now on to the what and why!

My friends keep telling me that I should write a blog.  And I’ve tried before but it just didn’t stick.  I really had no purpose in writing.  But, I think that I’ve stumbled on one.  Titus 2:3-5 gives us a good start.  It says:

“The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

That’s it!  That’s what I want to do.  What I have felt the call on my heart to be-first to the young women in my church, and now to all of you.  (I hope there will be a you out there reading this).  I am by no means an old woman, but I am one who has searched the scriptures and is trying to build my life on these principles.  I don’t profess to have all the answers.  But I know what I have been taught, what has worked for me, and what I feel sure will work for you.

I will probably refer to several books other than the Bible that I have found helpful.  They are “Created To Be His Help Meet” by Debi Pearl, “Wild at Hear” by John Eldridge, and “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs.  I will post links to them later.

So…let’s see where this takes us!

God Bless

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