Thursday, November 22, 2007

Should I stay or should I go?

I feel like I'm dealing with issues of contentment right now. Over the past 6 months or so, I've been unhappy living away from my Calgary friends and Dan and I thought of ways to make a move to Calgary possible. Sometimes I just feel so alone and wish there were other people more "like me" around. Some of the friends I have in Calgary, I've know for well over 10 years and we've grown together; getting married, having babies, all of that! You can't trade a relationship like that for anything in the world!

But then when we get to thinking of what God has given to us here in Lethbridge, we are so very blessed. We have a great home with enough space and bedrooms; a wood stove that heats the house very well; a huge fenced yard; a huge garage.... We have a church that appreciates us and our ability to contribute to marriages and families. And we sure appreciate our pastor! I have a great homeschooling support system. The kids have lots of great activities they can be involved in here, in a small community environment.

This has made me realize that I wasn't really asking God where we are supposed to be right now; I was just wanting to believe that we could move to Calgary because I really want (and thought I needed) to be there. But it is almost as if He is asking us to trust Him with those issues (my desire for friends for me, and good peers for my older children). It is a frightening thing... but when it all comes down to it, the thought of moving AGAIN was stressful, and felt like we were striving to make something happen.

Then I start to hear that little voice again "Trust me..."

I remember that there is One who has a better perspective than me, better plans than mine and loves me more than I can imagine.

I feel a lot of relief in trusting Him and His plans. I have to remember that my ideas aren't always the best ones. I look at how far God's brought us, and I can't deny His ability to lead us on good paths.... if we listen and trust Him.

I'm curious to see how this will all work out; but He does promise to provide for all my needs: physical, emotional, spiritual.

Trust and obey
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus
but to trust and obey.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's a boy!

Yahoo! We found out we're going to be having another boy!
I have been on cloud nine since my doctor's appointment on Monday. I feel so much happiness and like our family will be complete. I'm so glad Ethan doesn't have to be disappointed and that the kids' prayers have been answered. (My prayers too, although I was almost afraid to ask!)

YAHOOOOO! A big thank you to God for this one!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Do I measure up?

Things that mean I'm an okay mom:
I painted pictures with the kids
I made fresh bread for them (okay, I used the breadmaker)
I did a load of laundry
I helped Ethan practice piano and took him to his lesson
I breastfed my 1 1/2 year old (I haven't weaned her yet mostly because I know it is so good for her)
I made lunch for my family
I helped all 3 "big" kids with a little bit of schoolwork

Why do I feel so badly about myself? I struggle constantly with wanting to get more done, and do more and be better... I feel like I'm lacking in so many ways. I don't want anyone to read my blog anymore or they'll think I'm a depressed person. Dan tells me all the time that I'm the best Mommy he knows out of all our friends (so kind of him to say!) but I feel like I lack in so many areas.

On Saturday and Sunday I started to get scared a little about this baby, that something might be wrong because I wasn't really feeling much movement. The thing is, it's still pretty early, so it's not like I should have been feeling a lot of regular movement yet. But I started to get scared again. I HATE that fear. Like I have no control over the situation, yet it is so close to me that I should be able to do something!!!! Finally, on Sunday, I realized that what I needed to recognise is that this is Gods baby all the way. I have to surrender this baby to God, doing my best, but ultimately this baby belongs to Him. And I guess that's the way it is with my other kids too. They belong to God. I should do what I can, but they belong to Him, and I have to trust Him with my kids' lives and hearts.

I'm trying, I'm trying. I just long to be better. And I don't think that is totally wrong - as long as I'm not grovelling in the dirt, beating myself up in self-pity. I have to take my eyes off myself. See, I'm preaching to myself now. I can do this right... just have to look to God a whole lot more!!!!

By the way, I had an ultrasound on Monday and baby is completely healthy and perfect the way he/she should be. Yay!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Happy Heart

Okay, I've been looking back on my blogs and I feel like I've been so NEGATIVE! Egad! It's not that I spend all my time depressed... I guess this has just been a place to really sort out my feelings.

I am very happy and thankful for healthy, beautiful kids. Sure I worry about them sometimes, and wonder if I'm doing things right or doing enough, but I really should trust God to take care of them. And I do.

I'm happy and thankful for a GREAT marriage. We have our growing pains, but we are growing - closer and more in love all the time. We don't fight and we don't disagree on where we should be going in life. It is wonderful to have that kind of harmony.

There... I feel a little better. As they say in Veggietales "A thankful heart is a happy heart". It's okay for me to be working through things with God, but I want to make sure I'm not always in a dark hole when I post. Sometimes I need to fix my thoughts on the good things!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wretched man that I am!

Romans Chapter 7:

15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Oh God, this is me.... I feel like I've been a slave to sin. No, not in the big things - I'm not an adulterer, I'm not killing or stealing or anything like that. But what does it really matter if I am not really alive in Christ if I continually live and act in a way that is not free from the law of sin and death?

I am continually frustrated with my level of spirituality on a day-to-day basis. I know to do right, and I don't do it. I know that I need God, but I don't seek Him. I know I need His strength, but I don't inquire of the Holy Spirit to enliven me with His power.

I can't stay here. I can't live in this place or I will die.

Romans 8:
6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace

Time and time again, I feel like I'm kicking myself in the butt, telling myself "Lisa, stop being stupid... you've got to change!" I feel like I'm wasting so much time.

What does it take, how do I focus on things of the spirit and not the things of the flesh? I always have my excuses, it seems; I'm tired...I'm sick...I've got 4 kids...we just moved....going on vacation....

It's all crap to be honest. Life will never be empty enough for me to FINALLY live the right life for God.

Is this okay God? Can I repent and give it a try again? I feel like I've asked this a million times already, but I guess it's better for me to keep trying than to give up. It's that thought alone that confirms to me that I do have something with God... I have been close enough with Him in the past, and there's still enough of a tie now that I keep getting drawn back - I can't run away completely.

I'm trying again....

Friday, July 13, 2007

Morning prayer

Good morning, God!

I love the beautiful new day you've created for me. I love how warm it is, how the sun is teasing the plants in my garden and they are reaching as high as they can and growing all sorts of lovely things to eat.

Thank you for my sweet husband who is sensitive and caring - and let me sleep in, then wakes me with a delicious latte!

Help me to remain thankful and grateful all day.
Help me to learn that "in everything, give thanks".

You are my delight, my source of joy and you fill my life with all good things.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Random thoughts about grass and vanity....

I can't believe how the time passes so quickly. If I blink, I will miss something huge, something important. Am I cherishing every moment?

Life is like laundry... you can never catch up, there is always another load to wash; there is always that basket of socks that need to be matched, and you just have to keep going.

Isaiah 40:

3 A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." 6 A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."

All I can do and become is nothing compared to the glory of the Lord. Some days I feel a lot more grassy than others... like all that I've done in functioning day after day, is just grass that will fade and get cut with the lawnmower, bagged and taken to the dump. Only those things that I do for the Lord, of eternal value, are the things that will remain, my treasure to be stored up in heaven.

Ecclesiastes 2:

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.

All this can seem a little bit depressing. But I press toward the prize, the high calling... How does it go?

Philippians 3:

8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ

9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

I feel my spirit uplifted in this. Yep. That's what it is all about. I become more like Christ, I become hidden in Him. I lose myself in the pursuit of God and my life become far more meaningful, completely complete.

For now I'll let my toes be ticked in the cool, green grass. And I'll look up to the Son, the One whom I long to be closer to. My source, my inspiration, my joy. Mow on, heavenly lawnmower... prune me, take away the chaff, the vanity and empty parts of my life that lack meaning.

I'm so grateful that He loves me. I'm so glad that He thinks I'm worth it. I sure hope to make Him proud.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A life of Holiness

"without holiness, no one will see the Lord"
"be holy for I am holy"
"blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"

On Sunday morning, our pastor spoke a provoking message about holiness. How can we say that we are truly following God, if our lives are not bearing the fruit they should be? Does my life look like that of a true believer?

The word "disciple" means "disciplined one" - it's not just some catch phrase that says you go to church or believe in Jesus. It means so much more.

This message about holiness struck a chord in me. I was not condemned, rather I was truly convicted in my heart with desire to pursue a greater level of relationship with my holy Father. It is remarkable He hasn't blasted this world to smithereens considering how "un-holy" people are these days. And I KNOW the heart of God must be seriously grieved with the state of the church. We "play" church. We've made it such a game and don't even realize it. Church going is just a lifestyle choice, like eating organically, or being a musician or a fitness guru. But a relationship with God should pierce the very inside of our being, causing a reaction of awe and fear and desire to please Him more than anything!

I'm finding myself wanting to be holy in a practical way. This doesn't mean I'm some monk or nun, secluding myself from others and meditating on scripture day and night - sure that could be good... but... my life has to touch reality. I'm a mother, a wife, a friend, a co-worker. So I'm looking at how to be more holy in this. How can I live a life pleasing to God in these areas of my life? It may mean spending some time reading to my children, or blessing them by making cookies. I know it means that I should live a modest life, being an example to my daughters in purity and word and deed. I need to give myself unselfishly to my husband, pouring my life out for him - I know this is pleasing to the Lord as well.

I will keep pondering this for a while. I know I want so much more of God in my life. I know I want to change. I want to become far more disciplined. I want my life to count, but more so, I want my life to be a pleasing offering to God.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Where is the love?

I really feel like I've been floundering in this thing called parenthood. There just seems to be so many blatant failures lately that are mocking me, jumping up into my face and saying "see... YOU can't do it!"

Yesterday, I sneaked out to the garage under the guise of cleaning and organizing it. Sometimes it's really hard to get some quiet and alone time with 4 young kids, so if it means I have to subject myself to some hard work to be alone, I'll do it.

I prayed for a while in the dark interior, squatting on the cold cement floor as I sorted through random boxes of stuff the previous owner of our house left behind. I just really need some answers! I feel like I'm not doing great homeschooling because my firstborn is supposed to be going into grade 3, but it seems like she's at more of a grade 1-2 level in her reading and writing skills. I am frustrated with the lying and stealing we've had to deal with (are we bad parents?). I feel like my house is never clean. I also feel like I spend way more time managing my children - ie. "do this, do that"; "don't touch"; "I said 'no' "; and I want to spend more time enjoying them and loving them and connecting with them.

As cheesy as it may be, something popped into my head that probably has been done before by another parent somewhere, but here goes:

If I teach my children right from wrong, and tell them to mind their manners, and respect their elders, but have not love, I am nothing but a clanging gong or cymbal.

If I homeschool with all the best curriculum, have my children trained to do all their chores, and pick up after themselves, but have not love, I'm no better than a yowling cat at 3 am.

If I feed my children organically, plant a garden with them and dress them in designer clothes, but have not love.... I've missed the point entirely.

Later, I felt the Holy Spirit pop another idea into my head while I roamed the aisles of the library, searching for books to inspire my begrudging little reader. Why can't I celebrate my daughter for who she is, and the accomplishments as they come to her, rather than measuring each step in accordance to what she "should" be doing. If I am continually thinking that she is not doing good enough, not at the level she should be, not like my friend's kids, etc, then I am continually going to look down on her in my mind and not give her the encouragement she needs. Ideally, I should be excited with each step, and encourage her just for who she is. I want to be excited with her for reading the word "school" even though I wish she was reading the word "physiologist".

I find it ironic that God has made my firstborn in a way that I find so difficult to understand, that relating to her is a challenge... But it is all in His plan. He didn't intend for me to find parenting a breeze, He planned for me to need His help all along the way.

So I'm really finding myself on a quest to love my kids just the way they are. I don't need to do much else with them - none of that matters if they don't feel incredibly loved. I want them to grow up and look back on their childhood and have them say "Hmmm... maybe the house wasn't perfectly clean all the time... but Mom sure loved us. She was always hugging us and spending time with us!"

That's all I need for a legacy. That's all I need to pass on to the next generation.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Truth and Lies

I'm almost at a loss... it's difficult to see a young child with such a blaring fault that they can't seem to overcome. My 7 1/2 year old daughter has been lying and stealing in a big way, and it's out of control! It leaves me thinking - what am I doing wrong as a parent? How have we failed her?

There's nothing I can do but turn to the Word of God and pray.
And I'm so very thankful for the help God gives me!

I've begun to have my daughter memorize a series of verses from Psalm 51:

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

I took some time to explain these scriptures to my daughter, and show her how she can use it as a prayer. I guess all I can do now is trust God to do the work.

And one last little note... as a parent, I'm so glad for the help of Holy Spirit - there's been a few times the past two days where I've had to ask Him: "Did Sabrina just lie to me?" And He gives me the answer. And the wisdom to deal with the situation.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I feel the sun warming me up

I can sing again.

I think that the sunshine is beginning to peek through the clouds and I can feel God's love a little more every day.

Last week, I had to be the MC for a woman's breakfast being hosted by our church, and while I was okay "acting" cheerful and chatting with people about totally unrelated issues, I found that when they got on stage to sing a couple worship choruses, I just couldn't do it. I had to stand at the back, hiding myself away, only able to mouth a few of the words in each song. It broke my heart to sing to God, the God who is over all the earth, who watches over us all.

However, as the week progresses, I'm finding the melody in my heart again. It sneaks up on me - it's like God's word and love is written on my heart, and no matter the trials or struggles, it can't help but bloom and grow.

Psalm 139
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

I'm not alone. There is a light that shines and pierces the darkness. I can lift my voice up to the God who sees all; who knows all; who understands my heart.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

This is just how I feel...

My heart is so soft now I think I could almost describe it as squishy. Ha ha... and maybe a little bit broken, too.
I have a heightened awareness of how precious my kids are. I find myself almost wanting to wake them up at night; I'll be overcome by a panic attack, feeling like I didn't love them enough while they were awake.
I just want to get on with my life, but I also feel horrible and don't want to ever forget about my sweety that will never walk on this side of life. I'm trying to picture heaven and wonder what life is like for my baby there.
Right now, the positive thing that I can be thankful for is how much more I love my kids and husband. I'm thankful for a heart that is sensitive to life around me and that I find it so much more precious now.
Yet I'm finding life a lot more exhausting right now. I don't want to keep thinking or writing about anything else right now because it hurts too much.

Friday, May 4, 2007

It will be okay (but God is waiting to hear from me)

I haven’t talked to God about this yet. I prayed so much during the entire situation; I was confessing the Word, standing on my rights as a believer in Christ.
When I was in the hospital, in the middle of the night, I had gone to the bathroom and ended up passing out and falling down, hitting my face on the floor. I called out to God. Nothing felt real.
I sang to myself over and over in bed, caressing my lower abdomen with my hands, singing a children’s memory verse song that my kids listen to: “You knit me together in my mother’s womb…I praise you, I praise you… You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… I praise you, I praise you… Because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Over and over I sang. It was all I could do. I just had to believe that God was taking care of my baby.
Do I feel let down? I don’t really know. I guess I just feel like something was wrong with the baby, and it couldn’t survive in this world.
Part of me feels so sad though, and guilty… like I didn’t want the baby enough. Like maybe I didn’t try hard enough or get serious enough as soon as the bleeding started.
Yet I knew the facts. I knew that if a miscarriage is going to happen (in the first trimester) that there is nothing ANYONE can do. I know in my head that this really isn’t my fault. There is just a sadness in me though that wonders “why?” and wishes there was more I could do.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to talk to God. I don’t want to get angry at Him, but I still wonder why this happened. Why does an innocent, very much wanted and anticipated baby have to die? Especially when there are hundreds of thousands (maybe more) babies who aren’t wanted and are aborted every year. I wanted this baby! I would have loved it! I’ve got kids who would have adored it, cared for it, welcomed it into the family with happy hearts and open arms!
I think God is waiting for me. And He certainly is big enough to handle my outbursts, fear, and pain – even accusations. I sense that He is there, waiting to comfort me. But I know He is patient. He understands that I don’t feel ready. I’m scared to face this, and face the feelings inside of me. I’ll talk to Him soon though. I know that despite the agony and uncertainty and fears that I have; I know that I will ultimately be okay.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Saying Goodbye

(After a weekend of bleeding, yesterday in the hospital, I found out that I had lost my baby. I was nine weeks pregnant. I'm trying to sort out my feelings a little.)

I'm saying good-bye to someone I never knew.

I'm not ready to ask God "why?"

My heart is comforted by the little warm bodies that come and visit me in bed as I rest and recover. I'm so thankful for my healthy, perfect children.

I've been crying off and on all day.

Jesus, could you give my baby one kiss from Mommy? Please hold my baby close for a while and I will one day be there to hug and hold my little one.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bring it on!

A battle wages. The war between good intentions and slothful habits.
My excuses pile up like dirty laundry all over the bathroom floor. Regret is like a bad taste in my mouth.

The second hand on the clock ticks unmercifully... and doesn't stop. If only I could slow down time!

There is an infusion like gentle rain that pours down and quenches my thirsty soul.

There is hope for the next minute, for success, for joy, for contentment.

My heart bows down as I scrub the syrup off the kitchen floor. First humility, then combat.

I find that there are two sides to my personal reformation. There is submission and resistance. James 4:7 says : Submit yourselves therefore to God, Resist the devil and he will flee.

I must fill my heart with repentance and submission; asking God for a pure heart that I may see Him involved on my behalf. Yet, I must also take up arms against that which opposes my joy, my fulfillment, my very existence. I feel an aggression coming upon me - an anger and defiance. I hear the roar of the lion of the tribe of Judah!

Look out: I'm not going to let down on this battle. I will not give in, I will not give up. If God is for me, who can be against me? WHOM SHALL I FEAR?
(insert victorious 'ROAR' here!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Grace for Everything (spilt juice, being late for swimming lessons, fussy teething babies......)

So it is the 4th day of my journey of Reformation. I have noticed that I have a little more grace today. I am able to enjoy my children a little more than I did before. I prayed for each of them, caressing their sweet soft skin, tucking them into bed. Of course now they're giggling and goofing off (oh the joys of sharing a room).

In my heart, I hear a whisper: His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Out of all the times to decide to make a change in my attitudes and actions, this is probably one of the worst. I'm hormonal and emotional and nauseous from early pregnancy. Not to mention continually tired!

Yet what a perfect time for God to say: No, let me do it through you.

I am not wise, strong or eloquent in speech. I am no super-mommy. I am not without spot or blemish (and I also mean that literally; baby goop is always getting on me!)

Yet He is fulfilling His word in me. He is faithful and more than able to complete the work He started in me. (Keep going; there's so much more to be done!)

I yield.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Simple Recipes

I love how God has so many great answers for us, all laid out in His Word, and it is there for the taking; we just have to dig in!

Here's what I found today: Psalm 4:
4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the Lord.

6 There are many who say, "Who will show us any good?" Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. 7 You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased. 8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Okay, so no more sinning in my anger. I wonder what that really means in regards to my children. Probably that I need to be active in my discipline towards them. It is wrong for me to ask them to obey and then not require it of them. I should not let them sin by letting them get away with disobedience again and again... and that only makes me more angry anyway! So I have a key point for myself to work on today: enforce first-time obedience in my children so I don't get angry and yell more than I should!

What else has God said? "meditate on your bed" Oooohh! That sounds like nap-time! What better way to become refreshed than to lay down while the kids are having quiet-time and naps, and spend time meditating on the goodness of God! Refreshment for body, mind and spirit! I love it!

Another part of this passage that really stands out to me is "Lord lift up your countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart" I need this so badly. I need to have God's light shining on me. And I certainly need His gladness in my heart. I find that I am generally not a very joyful person - but if God's very countenance is covering me... I'll take some of that!

I like how this passage ends with a wonderful night-time prayer. "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep" He gives a recipe to make my day go better, and He says that He will keep my family as we sleep. We will be safe. Things are going to be okay.

So maybe I don't need happy-pills, I just need injections of scripture, and God's presence in my life. Fill me up God... I surely do need it!

Monday, April 23, 2007

21 Days of Reformation

A good friend of mine invited me to join her on a journey: 21 days of reformation. My job is to figure out what needs to change, and ask God to transform that inside me and show me ways to change.

Something that has grieved my heart a lot lately is rooted deeply in my attitude and disposition; particularly toward my children. I get so frustrated. I don't know how to enjoy them. I yell. I get mad. I wake up grumpy, and the day never really improves.

Right now I have no fascinating revelations regarding this problem in me. I'm merely hungry for a change. I long for God to do something with me because I surely can't fix up any of this on my own. He is the source of true joy and delight, so I will do my best to look to Him today.