The Ancient Paths

Just as impurities should be removed from the original metals during the process of making an alloy to increase the strength and durability of the alloy (the new metal), our impurities should be cleansed and removed before He melts our hearts into one new heart through marriage.

If our hearts are full of impurities, then how can we ever hope for our new heart to be strong.  These impurities will cause our new heart to be brittle, weak, and easily damaged requiring constant attention and surgical repair.

Sweet Lord, we have neglected the need to seek cleansing and purification through reflection, prayer, fasting and confession before the many celebrations of our lives, but most of all before our marriages.  We have turned the time of engagement and preparation into yet another party rather a time of reflection, prayer and a time to seek You.  Please forgive us and help us seek the ancient paths, where the good way lies.

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus says the Lord:  Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.

Wise men still seek Him

Wise men still seek Him not through study or intellectual knowledge, but in the depth, silence and peace of their own hearts.  Dear and sweet Lord, in this new year filled with new distractions please help us to choose Your Peace over the chaos.

Your peace you have freely given, but in our helplessness we still haven’t chosen it.  Please take our hands and lead us to choose Your Peace!

His tears…

We have an ornament in the shape of a cross that hangs on our Christmas tree.  It has tiny plastic jewels glued onto it in the shape of teardrops.

A few weeks ago as I was putting our Christmas tree away I found one of the teardrops on the ground.  It fell off the top of this cross as if our Lord was crying.

It made me think of His tears and the sorrow He feels when we are cruel, when we speak to each other without thinking, without consideration, and without kindness.  He cries as He sees the cruelty ripple outward and downward in a revolving cycle of hurt, anger, and gossip.  He cries as He watches His peace slip from our hearts as we lose sight of Him and begin this downward spiral.

I have hurt and been hurt with words.  Many times I have begun this cycle or been swept away by this cycle wasting minutes, hours and days obsessing over an unkindness rather than gazing at You.

Lord please let only kindness pass my lips or nothing at all, please open my ears to Your voice alone calling me out of this spiral, and please open my eyes to You alone so that I might not be a cause for Your tears of sorrow, but instead bring You tears of joy.

A worshipful life!

Why do we try to eat healthy and feed our families good food?  Why do we workout and encourage our families to exercise?

For a long time I was trying to eat well and workout to stay strong, to stay healthy, to avoid heartburn, to live longer and most of all because that it is what people do when they grow up, they begin taking responsibility for their health, it is one of our rules.  Right?

About a year ago things started to change.  I didn’t realize it at first, but my workout was becoming a time of worship and prayer.  It was slowly becoming a time for me to empty my head of myself and think of Him, talk to Him, read about Him and sometimes just be silent and listen for Him.  I was becoming addicted to it not for the endorphins the workout provided, but to the time it gave me with Him.

Without realizing it I brought it into my yoga class.  I started imagining our sweet Love helping me breathe and ease into each position.  I imagined Him gently massaging the areas of tension in my legs and my back and then gently helping me ease out of each move.  I imagined Him sitting with me and holding my hand throughout the meditation at the end.  I have fallen in love with yoga and the precious moments it has given me with Him.

I am not sure why He has given me this Grace, but He has changed the intentions of my workout and my health and I have started calling it my worshipful workout.  He has removed my longing for the goals of this world and He has shown me that even through my workout He can and should be my focus and my end goal.

I am longing to change the intentions of every moment of my life as I care for and love my wonderful husband and my sweet girls.  I want every action to be done with Him in mind, for Him and with the intention of glorifying Him, pleasing Him and bringing a smile to His beautiful face.  I want not just a worshipful workout, but a worshipful life!

I want it this way so that someday when I breathe my last breath, He will be my final thought.

The Cross

Isn’t it amazing that if you are looking for a cross you can find one?

Look at a door, the beams on your ceiling, a window, telephone poles, electric poles, fences, bridges.  They all contain a cross within.

I think our sweet Jesus died on the Cross so that as the years went by and generations passed, reminders of His love for us would surround us.

Through it I think He is whispering, “Remember Me, I love you.  Don’t worry about what she said, what he said, what they did, or what you didn’t do, just think of Me and smile through your tears.”

Wake up!

God really wanted me to wake up this morning.  I first woke up at 5:40 am and thought to myself, I should get up and read the Bible or my devotional, but I felt too tired so I rolled over and went back to sleep.  I woke up again at 6:03 am and again rolled over to go back to sleep.  Finally at 6:10 am, I had to get up because the alarm in the girls bedroom went off and was blasting NPR all over the house.  I took this as a sign that God was not taking “No” for an answer this morning :)  Thankfully none of the girls woke up… I’m not sure how they slept through it, but they did!

I think what I took from all of this was a reminder not to get swept away by the wrong things this Christmas.  The last few days have been a little hectic as I have been preparing for Christmas, sending cards, shopping, cooking, wrapping, cleaning, etc. I haven’t found much time to sit in peace and quiet and just listen.

I want to listen during this Holy time.  I want to sit in peace and think of our Savior, His Mother, His earthly Father and His Holy Birth.  I want to be moved to depths of my soul as I reflect on Him.

Thank you my Loving and Heavenly Father for nudging me awake this morning.  Please help me to keep You always in my sight and to stay awake!

Listen carefully my friends, He might be trying to wake you up too!

Constant competition is exhausting…

I went to get my hair cut today.  I went to a new place and they had an opening for me.

The available stylist was very friendly and asked if I had children so we talked a bit about my girls.  Then she told me that she had a new granddaughter, and pulled out her phone to show me a photo. Just as she was holding it up for me to look at she said, “I’m sure my baby is prettier than all of yours.”

I just laughed inside, smiled, took a look at the photo and truthfully told her that her granddaughter was indeed beautiful!  The remainder of the appointment was nice and she did a great job trimming my hair and adding some shape back into it.

I didn’t really think about her comment again until later, but when I did it truly exhausted me.  I was momentarily stunned all over again to realize that this lady I had never met was wanting to compete with me over something that is completely impossible to compete at.

Then in the next instant I was overwhelmed with memories of myself attempting to compete over ridiculous things throughout my life. How exhausting?  How pointless? How annoying for other people… sorry about that. :)

Jesus… thank you for opening my eyes today even if only for a moment.  Thank you for the reminder that I want to live Our Best Life and in Our Best Life there is no need to compare or compete because we are all seen with Your eyes of love!

Who is your teacher?

I saw a documentary today with a man in it who had been searching for a guru or teacher since he was young.  He had found one and then the story went on from there, but it made me think.  Who is my teacher?  I haven’t been searching (at least actively or consciously) since I was young.

When we are not searching then who fills the space of teacher for us?

Obviously the answer is different for everyone, but I think I have always allowed my associations (including my television viewing) to step in and fill the void of teacher in my life.

Only since I have been a stay at home mother (with a little extra time, a lack of colleagues and a recent blessing of a lack of interest in television other than documentaries) have I for the first time in my life been indirectly searching for a teacher because no one/ no thing has been here to fill the void by default.

Jesus, please guide me to people, books, documentaries and any others sources that will teach me what You want me to know.  Please help me to prepare to be a sign post, a guide, a light in the night for others or maybe even a teacher if a student ever comes my way.

It’s Our Best Life!  The choice is ours, we must choose our teachers wisely and not follow others or ideas blindly or by default.

Do we really need to hate our family?

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

– Luke 14:26

I have been thinking about this passage for the last few weeks.  After I wrote the blog Was it really just about the apple?, someone emailed me with the above passage and a comment. Their comment was, “Does this say that if Adam disobeyed God to save Eve, he loved Eve more than God?”

Obviously I was just speculating a “What if… ” situation in my post and this isn’t what actually happened in the Bible, but if it had we still would not have known what was in Adam’s heart as he willingly or unwillingly took the fall with Eve.

  • What if Adam stood by as Eve fell and watched with relief that it was not him? Would God have been pleased to see this?
  • What if he stood by as Eve fell and watched with great sorrow, but could not bring himself to fall with her out of fear of being separated from God?  Would God have been pleased to see this?

Even with Luke 14:26 in mind, I still think God would have been most pleased with Adam if he willingly chose to take the fall with Eve, with great sorrow in his heart knowing he would be separated from God, but still took the fall as a declaration of love for Eve and an unwillingness to let her fall alone and an unwillingness to be separated from his partner, the bone of his bone, the flesh of his flesh.  Wouldn’t this have shown true faith in God’s goodness as well as courage to risk separation from God out of love and protection for another child of God?

I don’t think that Luke 14:26 is stating that Jesus wants us to hate our father, mother, wife/husband, children, brothers, sisters and even ourselves to be His disciple.

I think what is being stated here is that as our love for Jesus grows, our interests change and we begin to see the bigger picture.  We begin to be filled by Jesus alone and understand that being filled with Jesus allows us to love not only our family more, but allows us to love the entire world.  We begin to desire nothing more than constant contemplation of Jesus as a way to keep loving everyone through Jesus.

Who is it then that would interrupt this constant contemplation?  Our families, they are the ones that require the most attention from us and need the most time.  As imperfect humans we are always like demanding little children regardless of our ages and we still want what we want and dislike our peace and our thoughts being interrupted. Therefore I think these constant interruptions of peace and contemplation of Jesus are the frustrations that could bring about the hate Jesus talks about in Luke 14:26.

Jesus please help us see another way to constantly join in the worship and contemplation of You as well as meet the needs and demands of our families, the ones who You have blessed us with to love, serve and care for during our time here.

It is Our Best Life… the path is there even if we can’t see it!

Free will…

I have had three discussions about our free will over the last three months that have stuck with me.  Then last night I was watching the documentary The Human Experience and I saw the following quote.

“The last of the human freedom’s is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
– Viktor E. Frankl

As soon as I saw this quote I immediately thought that this seems not only to be the last of our freedoms, but also the first and original freedom we were given when God gave us our free will.

Until recently I have limited my thoughts of our free will to only our physical actions. When I think of free will only in relation to my physical actions such as taking the stairs vs. the elevator or going to work vs. staying home or doing something wrong vs. doing something right, then I become quite confused because if God gave me free will, but knows what I will choose to do and can bring about events that will cause me to make a different choice then my free will seems limited.  Please don’t misunderstand me though. I am not saying that this limitation means our physical actions have no bearing or carry no weight.  I believe God still wants us to do the right thing.  I believe He still wants us to be generous rather than selfish, He wants us to not steal, He wants us to not kill, He wants us to love others, but we can’t forgot that God is bigger than we can imagine.  God can take any bad physical action we make and combine it with other actions to make it good in the end.

Isn’t this what he did through Jesus’ death and resurrection?  God took the worst imaginable physical action (us killing His son Jesus) and turned it into good (resurrecting His son Jesus).  By combining these, Jesus’ death becomes good because without it He could not have been resurrected.

Now, if I change my perspective of free will and look at it as my freedom to choose how I perceive things or to choose my attitude as Viktor Frankl put it in his quote above, then the limitations I spoke of disappear.

God can give me a sunny day, but it is up to me to enjoy the sun or complain about the heat.  God can give me a rainy day, but again it is my choice to complain about the rain or to instead look for a rainbow.

He completely relinquished control of our consciousness through free will giving us complete freedom to perceive the world as we wish.  This doesn’t mean that God will ever stop trying to convince us to perceive good in all things, but he literally cannot make us see the good in all things.  He is limited to trying to convince us that all things are good through combining bad actions with others to make them good in the end and through showering us with grace and inspiration which we have the choice to accept or decline.

It is completely up to us to see the good, but what happens when and if we do perceive the good in everything?

I think we will have found our own unique perspective of the good in everything which will mean that we have also surrendered to God’s will because God’s will is Good!!!

Therefore I think we will have found God’s peace!!!

God thank you for loving us so much that you gave us free will.  Please help me to use my free will to find the good in everything and therefore surrender to Your will!

I want to stand for good… it is everywhere even if we don’t think we can see it, it is hidden from view, but it is there!

I want to stand for Jesus… he is Good, Oh so Good!!!