Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Working in the Garden

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 8:13 PM 0 comments

Scripture Discussion

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 6:06 AM 0 comments
This is my response to a discussion on a friend's facebook page on the following verse.

And the serpent said to the woman, you shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3: 4-5

Not having the benefit of the previous discussion, you may wonder about why I jump from one issue to the next. Please question me or ask for clarification on anything that doesn't make sense. I'm sharing this because it hits to the most important thing in life: Do you or do you not believe God?

"Thinking Eden was dull means you've most likely never enjoyed the experience of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing to compare it to. And to say that we are more complete because of sin is very humanistic thinking. God created us in His image to enjoy fellowship with Him. Did He know that we would be disobedient? Yes. Would we choose to still have children if we know their going to be disobedient? Yes. Because the love and fellowship we experience with them is worth it.

"Also, life is much more exciting living in obedience to God. I might find temporary enjoyment in disobedience, but there are always negative consequences. When I choose obedience, God brings blessings and opportunities to my life that I could never have hoped, dreamt, or thought. I've lived both a consiously sinful life and a life working every day to be more obedient to God, and the ride is much more thrilling in the obedient life. God doesn't give us rules or consequences because He's angry or thinks it will help us understand His love more, He does it because it's in our best interest.

"God did not NEED to send His son to die for us, He chose to. We mean that much to Him. And the physical death wasn't the main sacrifice. The main sacrifice was being separated from God the Father and all His glory, experiencing the weight of every sin ever committed (past, present, and future.) The resurrection is the point of reconciliation. The death means nothing without it. He didn't just die, He overcame death. There were no Christians before Jesus. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the promised, annointed One. Before that there were Jews (children and believers in God) and Gentiles (non-believers.) The period of history before Jesus was to teach us that we cannot do anything on our own to earn reconciliation with God. Throughout the Old Testament, there is example after example of God calling His people to faith in Him. It was always believing in Him and what He said that was (and is) the basis for a relationship that will last into eternity. Jesus came to show us God’s love and make tangible the opportunity to love Him back.

"What this verse says to me: The devil is a liar, humans are selfish and proud, God puts boundaries around us to protect us, and I wish I’d never had to see the evil I’ve seen in my short life."

What about you? Do you believe in Him? Do you believe Him (that what He says, everything He says, is true)? Was sin necessary for us to appreciate God's love? Does God really want us to be obedient?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mommy's Main Job

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 7:21 PM 0 comments

My sweet babies all dressed up for Easter. Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus - the giver and sustainer of life and all things good.

The Mouth!

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 7:39 AM 0 comments
Does your mouth ever get you in trouble? Do you open your mouth? Chances are, the more you open your mouth, the more likely it is to get you in trouble. I open my mouth a lot! However, it doesn't get me in trouble as much as it used to.

I was recently reminded that my mouth still has the power to get me in trouble. The answer to why it doesn't get me in trouble as much as it used to as well as how I should deal with my most recent verbal sins (I looked for a different word, but none came, because if what we do or say is against God's commandments, it's sin - plain and simple) is the same. That answer is to look into my heart. I must confess my transgression to my God - which I've learned to do more quickly - I must examine my heart and ask God to wipe it clean and fill it with His word and love, and I must let it go.

I have a tendency to play things over and over in my mind. Where did it go wrong? What should I have said? What will I (hopefully) do if I'm faced with a similar situation. I've learned that this is not helpful, and worse, is most likely the fruit of the devil. He wants me to condemn myself and feel guilty for as long as possible. God wants me to confess, lay it at His feet, and let it go.

As I process where I am with my mouth, how far I've come with my mouth, and where I still have to go, I turned to the best place to go for advice on anything - the Bible. I did a quick search on "mouth" [at http://www.biblegateway.com/]. I was expecting to find several verses referencing the mouth. I was not expecting to find over 300 references! God made it very clear that I need to turn to His word more. Especially on things that I'm trying to give up to Him to change in me.

I took a sampling of those verses that are related to where I am with my mouth. The first: show the ability of our mouths to damage others and it's connection to the heart.

Psalm 5:9aNot a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction.
Psalm 17:10They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance.
Matthew 15:18But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'

Second: what we should be doing with our mouths.

Psalm 37:30The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.
Psalm 71:8My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.
Job 16:5But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

Third: the importance of taking our words to God and asking Him (and others) to pray that we use our mouths and words for Him.

Psalm 19:14May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Ephesians 4:29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 6:19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,

I could expound on these verses, but they speak for themselves. Our mouths are important! We need to be conscious of what comes out of them, how those things affect others, and go to God to make changes. As God's people, we are accountable to our mouths, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 4:02 PM 0 comments
Do you ever question yourself as a mom? I do. I wonder: "Am I being too hard?" Am I letting them get away with too much?" Should I take them to the doctor when I think it's just a cold?" "Does it really matter if I demand they dress up to go certain places?"

I think as moms we all tend to question ourselves. I also think this is a sign of healthiness.

As a counselor, one standard belief we held was that the healthiest people sought help. Those who are really unhealthy tend to lack the insight to know how unhealthy they are - or they choose to ignore problems. I think the same is true for us as moms.

Now, there is a balance. Sometimes we can question ourselves too much. Every decision, every action, every nuance is questioned and doubted. Generally in this situation, the mom drowns in a sea of uncertainness and the child ends up with the power - One of the most damaging things for our children.

To be aware, conscious of, our decisions as moms, is helpful along our journey. In looking back over the seven years I've been a mom, I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned. I am, without a doubt, a more patient mom with my fourth baby than I was with my first. I look back at their newborn pictures and am reminded how quickly they grow and go hug each one of them tightly.

I wonder how great an impact the mistakes I've made as a mom have on my children. It does impact them, I know. But because I am purposeful in how I parent, I tell my children I'm sorry when I do make those mistakes, and move on without guilt. Just as God convicts us of sin without condemnation, we are to acknowledge our mistakes as parents, make reparations, and move on. If we're hanging on to guilt, we condemn and rob ourselves from being the best we can be.

A quote I read recently referenced the importance of living intentionally every day - morally & spiritually. It's also important to be intentional about what kind of Mommy we are and make the small decisions on a day to day basis that help us to the next level of our journey - to becoming the Mommy God created the potential in us to be.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mommy Feelings

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 1:14 PM 1 comments
So, what do feelings have to do with being a mom? First, we are a person. A woman. A daughter. A sister. An aunt. A wife. A friend. Our feelings affect each of these relationships, and our emotional and spiritual well-being. When we follow our willy-nilly feelings, we often experience destruction, devestation, and heartache in our relationships. I know from personal experience how damaging this can be to one's daily functioning. If I'm making "heart-felt" decisions that are not in line with God's Word and plan for me, I will decrease my ability to be healthy and function to my utmost each day.

If that doesn't affect your ability to be a mom, I don't know what will.

Our children have been put in our care and it is scary the damage we can do to them. As a counselor and observer of human behavior, I've seen many a parent led astray by their feelings. I have also experienced it. With all that I know, I still make the parenting mistakes of letting my feelings lead my parenting decisions. I'll never forget the red-hot burning I felt the first time one of my children out-right defied me to my face.

Whenever I discipline out of anger, no matter what the discipline is, I have guilt afterwards. Even if all I do is yell, I am shamed. I am constantly telling my children to use their self-controlled voice, but what kind of example am I being when I lose control and yell at them?

If I were to decide that no, today I don't feel like being a mom, my children would be the ones to suffer. And I do feel that way sometimes. I will take time off cleaning, or laundry, or cooking, but the direct mothering, gracefully, I understand the importance of and never take a day off (even when I'm not with my children, my heart is connected to them.) These are the days I have to pull myself up by the bootstraps and just do it. Whether I feel like it or not. And without exception, I'm rewarded at the end of the day with hugs and kisses!

I am learning, step by step, to seek God's wisdom in how I parent. This includes guarding my heart from selfishness, laziness, and self-righteousness. These things will lead to destruction in my relationship with my children, and possibly even in their lives in the way they make decisions. I know as I get closer to the Ultimate Parent, I will become a better parent - and will get to enjoy more of the God-given feelings of a healthy relationship with my children. My feeling of love is always there (though stronger at times) - but I know that true love is not feeling it or saying it, but showing my children (and others) that I love them by what I do for them, sometimes even when I don't feel like it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More on Feelings

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 10:01 AM 0 comments
While we can't trust our feelings, we can acknowledge them and have an impact on them. Another scripture we talked about this week in Bible study is: Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." One we didn't discuss, but I believe is as important is: Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Feelings are not bad. Often, feelings such as love, joy, peace, comfort are a gift from God. Any feeling that is in line with His Spirit is a gift. It's the feelings that don't line up with God's Word and Spirit that are untrustworthy: laziness, discontent, unrighteous anger, jealousy, immediate pleasure from sin, etc.

The devil knows that he can influence us by our feelings. Why do you think he has such a stronghold on so many people through depression and doing what "feels good?" Because he knows both of these lead to destruction and away from God. He can't steal us from God, but he can make us powerless for God.

But God provides the answer. He tells us to guard our hearts. To do this, we need to check our feelings against what we know He would have us do. We need to know what His Word says about the actions that those feelings would lead us to do. We need to ask Him to strengthen us against sinful feelings and sinful actions (or, sometimes lack of actions) that come from benign feelings.

Philippians 4:7 talks about the peace of God guarding our hearts. However, this is not automatic. Just as we as parents want our children to come to us, God wants us to come to Him. Philippians 4:6 says: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." God wants us to bring EVERYTHING to Him.

What I am learning, step by step, is to give up my self will for His will. Every time, things turn out better for me when I give up my right to myself and follow Him. You'd think I'd learn to do it all the time, but my old nature keeps trying to crop up and lead me. My prayer is that I will grow closer and closer to God, walking with Him in everything I do. Then, my life will be abundantly more than I could hope, think, or ask - even more so than it already is.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Feelings

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 7:50 AM 0 comments
This morning I woke up and did not feel like exercising. It wasn't that I didn't sleep well, or enough. My baby slept through the night (as a matter of fact, she's not up yet) and I didn't roll out of bed until 7. Yesterday I got up at 4. I guess my body was playing catch up. Anyway, despite a full night's sleep, I wanted nothing more than to pick up the book I'm reading, put on a pot of coffee (decaf for me) and curl up in the quiet that is so rare in my house. More than that, though, I want to lose this last 20 pounds from baby number # (who's 10 months old now.) So, I got up, put my exercise clothes on, turned on the news, and got started. I am so glad I did!

I feel better, I know I've gotten my metabolism going for the day, and I'm updated on the news (especially glad to see the precious little girl in Florida was found - and the rescuer was directed by God. What a testimony to His grace!)

Have you ever noticed that your feelings change often. And often lie to you? The Bible study I'm currently doing (Beth Moore's A Heart Like His) talked about sin this past week, and about how the heart lies. On scripture we talked about is Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Who can understand it? It seems to change like the direction and force of wind.

Would you trust a friend who changed their mind and told you something different every day? Or even several times in one day? Or in a few minutes? I certainly wouldn't. Why, then, do we trust our hearts? Why is the prevailing feeling in our society: "Follow your heart"? Idon't know about you, but if I followed my heart everywhere it tried to lead me, I'd be led to destruction every time. I don't trust myself, or my feelings. They don't always have my best interest at heart. Generally, our feelings are most interested in what feels good for the moment, not taking into account the consequences or long term results of making a heartfelt decision.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Soup's On!

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 7:19 AM 0 comments
Okay, so I'm on this new kick. It's to try a new soup recipe every week. I like new recipes, and I like soup. I'd rather have soup than a cold sandwich almost any day of the week. Recently I was at a friend's house (hanging out, just being together and letting the kids play - I'll post more about that soon) and saw that she had a soup cookbook. It's named simply "Soup" by Stephen Knowlden. I began browsing it, and saw some soups that looked fun and new. It definately helped that each page has a full color picture of both the soup and the cooking process to go along with the recipe.

I decided to start in the hot and spicy section - I like hot and spicy. I went to the grocery store to get all the ingredients (well, three grocery stores, with my hubby, on our anniversary - that's what an anniversary is for a couple with four small children) and came home armed with things I'd never bought before, like gingerroot, sherry, shallots, and fennel. Some of the ingredients were for the soup itself. Others were for the homemade vegetable stock I, for some unknown crazy reason, decided I was also going to make.

My girlfriend (the same one I borrowed the cookbook from) came over and she helped me in the kitchen and with the kids as I started the three and a half hour process. Note, the time on the soup was 35 minutes, but I was making my own vegetable stock!

I threw the varied vegetables in the pot with some water and a little over an hour later I had fresh vegetable stock (the recipe for which is also included in the cookbook) and my house smelled delicious. However, after pouring in approximately $12 in ingredients in that said pot (thank goodness I already had a few ingredients on hand) I ended up with 4 cups of vegetable stock. I was thinking, "just buy that stock next time!" My girlfriend shared with me that you can get these handy little packets with the seasonings for pennies on the dollar to what the actual vegetables cost. I'll just add extra water to one of those and let it simmer a little longer next time, much less work, still the great smell.

Once I had my stock in hand (or pot), I tackled the soup for the week: Corn & Lentil. You, like me, may be thinking, "Corn & Lentil soup is hot and spicy?" But, that's where it was in the cookbook, and, afterall, it has ginger in it.

I changed a couple of things: I added extra lentils and used frozen corn instead of canned corn. I didn't garnish it with scallions and red chilis. And it turned out....okay. I'd give it a B. It had great flavor. A nice blend of seasonings. But, hot it was not. The chilis might have helped, but there were only a few sprigs on top of the soup in the picture. Since I added extra lentils and didn't add extra water, the soup was more stew like.

So, will I make it again? Maybe. It really did have a good flavor. I'm not used to lentils, but they don't have a bad texture. They're not as dry as, say, lima beans or kidney beans. If you like corn, lentils, and ginger, you will definately like this soup. It's fairly healthy (171 calories, 30 carbs, and only 2 grams of fat per serving) and not too hard to make, if you have vegetable stock on hand.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I told you

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 8:22 AM 0 comments
I told you, "I love you."

You said, "Not now, I'm busy."

I told you, "I will help you."

You said, "No, thanks. I can do it myself."

I told you, "I will never leave you."

You said, "Leave me alone. I don't need you."

I told you, "Be careful. Be safe."

You said, "I'm having too much fun. It's worth the risk."

I told you, "Here, take this gift. It will change your life."

You said, "I'll open it later. I have enough in my life right now."

I got the hint. I quit talking.

You got in a bad spot. You said, "Why, God? Why did you let this happen?"

I said, "You are busy. You can do it by yourself. You don't need me. You're having too much fun. You didn't open my gift.

"But, it's still there. Open it. Don't wait any longer. I love you. I will help you. I will never leave you. Be careful. Be safe. Take my gift."

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever shall believe will not perish, but have everlasting life!
John 3:16 - yesterday, today, and always

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Working in the Garden


Scripture Discussion

This is my response to a discussion on a friend's facebook page on the following verse.

And the serpent said to the woman, you shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3: 4-5

Not having the benefit of the previous discussion, you may wonder about why I jump from one issue to the next. Please question me or ask for clarification on anything that doesn't make sense. I'm sharing this because it hits to the most important thing in life: Do you or do you not believe God?

"Thinking Eden was dull means you've most likely never enjoyed the experience of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing to compare it to. And to say that we are more complete because of sin is very humanistic thinking. God created us in His image to enjoy fellowship with Him. Did He know that we would be disobedient? Yes. Would we choose to still have children if we know their going to be disobedient? Yes. Because the love and fellowship we experience with them is worth it.

"Also, life is much more exciting living in obedience to God. I might find temporary enjoyment in disobedience, but there are always negative consequences. When I choose obedience, God brings blessings and opportunities to my life that I could never have hoped, dreamt, or thought. I've lived both a consiously sinful life and a life working every day to be more obedient to God, and the ride is much more thrilling in the obedient life. God doesn't give us rules or consequences because He's angry or thinks it will help us understand His love more, He does it because it's in our best interest.

"God did not NEED to send His son to die for us, He chose to. We mean that much to Him. And the physical death wasn't the main sacrifice. The main sacrifice was being separated from God the Father and all His glory, experiencing the weight of every sin ever committed (past, present, and future.) The resurrection is the point of reconciliation. The death means nothing without it. He didn't just die, He overcame death. There were no Christians before Jesus. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the promised, annointed One. Before that there were Jews (children and believers in God) and Gentiles (non-believers.) The period of history before Jesus was to teach us that we cannot do anything on our own to earn reconciliation with God. Throughout the Old Testament, there is example after example of God calling His people to faith in Him. It was always believing in Him and what He said that was (and is) the basis for a relationship that will last into eternity. Jesus came to show us God’s love and make tangible the opportunity to love Him back.

"What this verse says to me: The devil is a liar, humans are selfish and proud, God puts boundaries around us to protect us, and I wish I’d never had to see the evil I’ve seen in my short life."

What about you? Do you believe in Him? Do you believe Him (that what He says, everything He says, is true)? Was sin necessary for us to appreciate God's love? Does God really want us to be obedient?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mommy's Main Job


My sweet babies all dressed up for Easter. Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus - the giver and sustainer of life and all things good.

The Mouth!

Does your mouth ever get you in trouble? Do you open your mouth? Chances are, the more you open your mouth, the more likely it is to get you in trouble. I open my mouth a lot! However, it doesn't get me in trouble as much as it used to.

I was recently reminded that my mouth still has the power to get me in trouble. The answer to why it doesn't get me in trouble as much as it used to as well as how I should deal with my most recent verbal sins (I looked for a different word, but none came, because if what we do or say is against God's commandments, it's sin - plain and simple) is the same. That answer is to look into my heart. I must confess my transgression to my God - which I've learned to do more quickly - I must examine my heart and ask God to wipe it clean and fill it with His word and love, and I must let it go.

I have a tendency to play things over and over in my mind. Where did it go wrong? What should I have said? What will I (hopefully) do if I'm faced with a similar situation. I've learned that this is not helpful, and worse, is most likely the fruit of the devil. He wants me to condemn myself and feel guilty for as long as possible. God wants me to confess, lay it at His feet, and let it go.

As I process where I am with my mouth, how far I've come with my mouth, and where I still have to go, I turned to the best place to go for advice on anything - the Bible. I did a quick search on "mouth" [at http://www.biblegateway.com/]. I was expecting to find several verses referencing the mouth. I was not expecting to find over 300 references! God made it very clear that I need to turn to His word more. Especially on things that I'm trying to give up to Him to change in me.

I took a sampling of those verses that are related to where I am with my mouth. The first: show the ability of our mouths to damage others and it's connection to the heart.

Psalm 5:9aNot a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction.
Psalm 17:10They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance.
Matthew 15:18But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'

Second: what we should be doing with our mouths.

Psalm 37:30The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.
Psalm 71:8My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.
Job 16:5But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

Third: the importance of taking our words to God and asking Him (and others) to pray that we use our mouths and words for Him.

Psalm 19:14May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Ephesians 4:29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 6:19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,

I could expound on these verses, but they speak for themselves. Our mouths are important! We need to be conscious of what comes out of them, how those things affect others, and go to God to make changes. As God's people, we are accountable to our mouths, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do you ever question yourself as a mom? I do. I wonder: "Am I being too hard?" Am I letting them get away with too much?" Should I take them to the doctor when I think it's just a cold?" "Does it really matter if I demand they dress up to go certain places?"

I think as moms we all tend to question ourselves. I also think this is a sign of healthiness.

As a counselor, one standard belief we held was that the healthiest people sought help. Those who are really unhealthy tend to lack the insight to know how unhealthy they are - or they choose to ignore problems. I think the same is true for us as moms.

Now, there is a balance. Sometimes we can question ourselves too much. Every decision, every action, every nuance is questioned and doubted. Generally in this situation, the mom drowns in a sea of uncertainness and the child ends up with the power - One of the most damaging things for our children.

To be aware, conscious of, our decisions as moms, is helpful along our journey. In looking back over the seven years I've been a mom, I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned. I am, without a doubt, a more patient mom with my fourth baby than I was with my first. I look back at their newborn pictures and am reminded how quickly they grow and go hug each one of them tightly.

I wonder how great an impact the mistakes I've made as a mom have on my children. It does impact them, I know. But because I am purposeful in how I parent, I tell my children I'm sorry when I do make those mistakes, and move on without guilt. Just as God convicts us of sin without condemnation, we are to acknowledge our mistakes as parents, make reparations, and move on. If we're hanging on to guilt, we condemn and rob ourselves from being the best we can be.

A quote I read recently referenced the importance of living intentionally every day - morally & spiritually. It's also important to be intentional about what kind of Mommy we are and make the small decisions on a day to day basis that help us to the next level of our journey - to becoming the Mommy God created the potential in us to be.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mommy Feelings

So, what do feelings have to do with being a mom? First, we are a person. A woman. A daughter. A sister. An aunt. A wife. A friend. Our feelings affect each of these relationships, and our emotional and spiritual well-being. When we follow our willy-nilly feelings, we often experience destruction, devestation, and heartache in our relationships. I know from personal experience how damaging this can be to one's daily functioning. If I'm making "heart-felt" decisions that are not in line with God's Word and plan for me, I will decrease my ability to be healthy and function to my utmost each day.

If that doesn't affect your ability to be a mom, I don't know what will.

Our children have been put in our care and it is scary the damage we can do to them. As a counselor and observer of human behavior, I've seen many a parent led astray by their feelings. I have also experienced it. With all that I know, I still make the parenting mistakes of letting my feelings lead my parenting decisions. I'll never forget the red-hot burning I felt the first time one of my children out-right defied me to my face.

Whenever I discipline out of anger, no matter what the discipline is, I have guilt afterwards. Even if all I do is yell, I am shamed. I am constantly telling my children to use their self-controlled voice, but what kind of example am I being when I lose control and yell at them?

If I were to decide that no, today I don't feel like being a mom, my children would be the ones to suffer. And I do feel that way sometimes. I will take time off cleaning, or laundry, or cooking, but the direct mothering, gracefully, I understand the importance of and never take a day off (even when I'm not with my children, my heart is connected to them.) These are the days I have to pull myself up by the bootstraps and just do it. Whether I feel like it or not. And without exception, I'm rewarded at the end of the day with hugs and kisses!

I am learning, step by step, to seek God's wisdom in how I parent. This includes guarding my heart from selfishness, laziness, and self-righteousness. These things will lead to destruction in my relationship with my children, and possibly even in their lives in the way they make decisions. I know as I get closer to the Ultimate Parent, I will become a better parent - and will get to enjoy more of the God-given feelings of a healthy relationship with my children. My feeling of love is always there (though stronger at times) - but I know that true love is not feeling it or saying it, but showing my children (and others) that I love them by what I do for them, sometimes even when I don't feel like it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More on Feelings

While we can't trust our feelings, we can acknowledge them and have an impact on them. Another scripture we talked about this week in Bible study is: Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." One we didn't discuss, but I believe is as important is: Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Feelings are not bad. Often, feelings such as love, joy, peace, comfort are a gift from God. Any feeling that is in line with His Spirit is a gift. It's the feelings that don't line up with God's Word and Spirit that are untrustworthy: laziness, discontent, unrighteous anger, jealousy, immediate pleasure from sin, etc.

The devil knows that he can influence us by our feelings. Why do you think he has such a stronghold on so many people through depression and doing what "feels good?" Because he knows both of these lead to destruction and away from God. He can't steal us from God, but he can make us powerless for God.

But God provides the answer. He tells us to guard our hearts. To do this, we need to check our feelings against what we know He would have us do. We need to know what His Word says about the actions that those feelings would lead us to do. We need to ask Him to strengthen us against sinful feelings and sinful actions (or, sometimes lack of actions) that come from benign feelings.

Philippians 4:7 talks about the peace of God guarding our hearts. However, this is not automatic. Just as we as parents want our children to come to us, God wants us to come to Him. Philippians 4:6 says: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." God wants us to bring EVERYTHING to Him.

What I am learning, step by step, is to give up my self will for His will. Every time, things turn out better for me when I give up my right to myself and follow Him. You'd think I'd learn to do it all the time, but my old nature keeps trying to crop up and lead me. My prayer is that I will grow closer and closer to God, walking with Him in everything I do. Then, my life will be abundantly more than I could hope, think, or ask - even more so than it already is.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Feelings

This morning I woke up and did not feel like exercising. It wasn't that I didn't sleep well, or enough. My baby slept through the night (as a matter of fact, she's not up yet) and I didn't roll out of bed until 7. Yesterday I got up at 4. I guess my body was playing catch up. Anyway, despite a full night's sleep, I wanted nothing more than to pick up the book I'm reading, put on a pot of coffee (decaf for me) and curl up in the quiet that is so rare in my house. More than that, though, I want to lose this last 20 pounds from baby number # (who's 10 months old now.) So, I got up, put my exercise clothes on, turned on the news, and got started. I am so glad I did!

I feel better, I know I've gotten my metabolism going for the day, and I'm updated on the news (especially glad to see the precious little girl in Florida was found - and the rescuer was directed by God. What a testimony to His grace!)

Have you ever noticed that your feelings change often. And often lie to you? The Bible study I'm currently doing (Beth Moore's A Heart Like His) talked about sin this past week, and about how the heart lies. On scripture we talked about is Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Who can understand it? It seems to change like the direction and force of wind.

Would you trust a friend who changed their mind and told you something different every day? Or even several times in one day? Or in a few minutes? I certainly wouldn't. Why, then, do we trust our hearts? Why is the prevailing feeling in our society: "Follow your heart"? Idon't know about you, but if I followed my heart everywhere it tried to lead me, I'd be led to destruction every time. I don't trust myself, or my feelings. They don't always have my best interest at heart. Generally, our feelings are most interested in what feels good for the moment, not taking into account the consequences or long term results of making a heartfelt decision.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Soup's On!

Okay, so I'm on this new kick. It's to try a new soup recipe every week. I like new recipes, and I like soup. I'd rather have soup than a cold sandwich almost any day of the week. Recently I was at a friend's house (hanging out, just being together and letting the kids play - I'll post more about that soon) and saw that she had a soup cookbook. It's named simply "Soup" by Stephen Knowlden. I began browsing it, and saw some soups that looked fun and new. It definately helped that each page has a full color picture of both the soup and the cooking process to go along with the recipe.

I decided to start in the hot and spicy section - I like hot and spicy. I went to the grocery store to get all the ingredients (well, three grocery stores, with my hubby, on our anniversary - that's what an anniversary is for a couple with four small children) and came home armed with things I'd never bought before, like gingerroot, sherry, shallots, and fennel. Some of the ingredients were for the soup itself. Others were for the homemade vegetable stock I, for some unknown crazy reason, decided I was also going to make.

My girlfriend (the same one I borrowed the cookbook from) came over and she helped me in the kitchen and with the kids as I started the three and a half hour process. Note, the time on the soup was 35 minutes, but I was making my own vegetable stock!

I threw the varied vegetables in the pot with some water and a little over an hour later I had fresh vegetable stock (the recipe for which is also included in the cookbook) and my house smelled delicious. However, after pouring in approximately $12 in ingredients in that said pot (thank goodness I already had a few ingredients on hand) I ended up with 4 cups of vegetable stock. I was thinking, "just buy that stock next time!" My girlfriend shared with me that you can get these handy little packets with the seasonings for pennies on the dollar to what the actual vegetables cost. I'll just add extra water to one of those and let it simmer a little longer next time, much less work, still the great smell.

Once I had my stock in hand (or pot), I tackled the soup for the week: Corn & Lentil. You, like me, may be thinking, "Corn & Lentil soup is hot and spicy?" But, that's where it was in the cookbook, and, afterall, it has ginger in it.

I changed a couple of things: I added extra lentils and used frozen corn instead of canned corn. I didn't garnish it with scallions and red chilis. And it turned out....okay. I'd give it a B. It had great flavor. A nice blend of seasonings. But, hot it was not. The chilis might have helped, but there were only a few sprigs on top of the soup in the picture. Since I added extra lentils and didn't add extra water, the soup was more stew like.

So, will I make it again? Maybe. It really did have a good flavor. I'm not used to lentils, but they don't have a bad texture. They're not as dry as, say, lima beans or kidney beans. If you like corn, lentils, and ginger, you will definately like this soup. It's fairly healthy (171 calories, 30 carbs, and only 2 grams of fat per serving) and not too hard to make, if you have vegetable stock on hand.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I told you

I told you, "I love you."

You said, "Not now, I'm busy."

I told you, "I will help you."

You said, "No, thanks. I can do it myself."

I told you, "I will never leave you."

You said, "Leave me alone. I don't need you."

I told you, "Be careful. Be safe."

You said, "I'm having too much fun. It's worth the risk."

I told you, "Here, take this gift. It will change your life."

You said, "I'll open it later. I have enough in my life right now."

I got the hint. I quit talking.

You got in a bad spot. You said, "Why, God? Why did you let this happen?"

I said, "You are busy. You can do it by yourself. You don't need me. You're having too much fun. You didn't open my gift.

"But, it's still there. Open it. Don't wait any longer. I love you. I will help you. I will never leave you. Be careful. Be safe. Take my gift."

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever shall believe will not perish, but have everlasting life!
John 3:16 - yesterday, today, and always
 

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