With God all things are possible. And an award!

http://learningtobeblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/versatile-blogger-award.jpg

Thanks to Chrystal at Learning To Be for nominating me for this award! I confess, I’ve been nominated for an award a couple of other times and because life has been so crazy the last three months, I haven’t taken time to respond or repost. If you nominated me, know that I’m thankful and I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you!

Okay, on to the award rules.

The Rules for this award are as follows:

  1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging (or whose blogs you enjoy most). I’ll nominate as many as I can before my littles scream or throw something breakable.
  2. Let them know that you have nominated them
  3. Share 7 random facts about yourself. I’ll do this so you can get to know me better. I can’t remember if I did this on another blog post…
  4. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your blog post.

Seven random facts… Well, I’m a fairly random person anyway, so this should be easy.

  1. Rottweilers are my favorite breed of dog. I love their strength, their personality, and their loyalty. They truly are gentle giants if they’re trained right from the beginning.
  2. Not a breakfast person. Give me a glass of water early and protein bar around 10am and I’ll be good until about 2pm.
  3. I really (I mean REALLY) like to sleep. Haven’t gotten much of that in four years. Makes for a grumpy momma.
  4. My favorite singer is Harry Connick, jr.
  5. I’m the youngest of four children.
  6. I’ve heard we only use about 10% of our brains. I’m functioning with about 5% on a good day. Today I’d say I’m working with 2%.
  7. I love crafts. All kinds of crafts. Wood, paint, yarn, paper. Scrapbooking and crochet are my faves.

Okay, nominating as many other bloggers as I can.

  1. Wordsmith’s Desk He has a way with words that I really appreciate. Also love his shorter style.
  2. 5 G’s and a Cup of Joe His blog is a kind of daily devotional and he makes me think without hurting my brain. Remember, 2-5% here, people.
  3. Veracity Woman This blog is so affirming and powerful!
  4. Bird Martin Bird has a lot to say, and she’s funny. She shows a vulnerability in her posts that allows Jesus to shine through.
  5. Mad Mad me This is crafting blog. Just love everything about it!
  6. Monica Shaughnessy This is one of the writing blogs I follow. She’s down to earth and encouraging at the same time. No sensationalism, which is good for this drama queen.
  7. Writing While the Rice Boils Another writing blog that is amazing for resources and tips! Plus, Debbie is a good friend of mine and she really knows her writing stuff.
  8. Get up. This is another brief, but very powerful blog. Especially loved her post on breaking the approval addiction.
  9. The Red Pen of Doom. This guy totally cracks me up. Doesn’t hurt that he has dynamite thoughts on marketing, writing, and editing.
  10. Terry1954 Her love for her brother just bowls me over. She is such a heartfelt and warm person in her blog, and she genuinely interacts with her readers. Love this blog because it gives me a view of true love.
  11. Growing in Jesus Jennifer’s blog points me right to the Source. It’s another one for powerful affirmations from the Bible.

There are so many more blogs I’d list if I could, but the littles have screamed several times now. Thrown things too, but nothing breakable fortunately. And my 2% is pretty much used up for the day.

On that note, I will leave with a confession. No this isn’t cheating because it still applies. If you feel short on attention or time or any necessary element in your life, confess this truth with me today:

With God, all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26 tells us that men can be saved from death because all things are possible with God. Today I will approach life knowing that all things are possible with God. Even accessing more brain power.

What do you need to be possible today?

He anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows

When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” We used to say it together before bed when my sister and I spent the night.

Those formal words from the King James version still bring me comfort and peace.

Many years later, 20 weeks pregnant with my youngest child, I began memorizing Psalm 23. I needed an extra avenue for comfort and peace. Together, they served me well in very trying times, and I meditate on Psalm 23 almost every day now. One of the things I love most is its all-encompassing nature. It truly tells of God’s sovereignty, love, power, protection, and generosity.

As we move into the future, I know more than ever that I must rely on the Lord for my every need. When I am hungry, He provides. When I am afraid, He strengthens. When I am hurting, He comforts. When I am confused, lost, or overwhelmed, He restores.

And when I trust Him, He anoints my head with oil, and my cup overflows. So today’s confession is a reminder to trust Him with everything.

He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows.

Oil in the Bible is often symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Power, peace, and protection. This line gives me a visual of tipping my head back and allowing Him to pour thick, amber colored oil over my head. It seeps down to my skin and saturates me. It affects everything I do and think. Just as the Holy Spirit should affect me.

When I move in this anointing, I don’t have room to fear. I view people and life through His filter. The world is not a frightening place. Instead every interaction becomes an opportunity to point back to Him. I will confess this today and I will live in His power, peace, and protection.

What is your favorite part of Psalm 23?

I will call on the name of the Lord

I’m a strong believer that faith in God is far-reaching. Farther than we can begin to comprehend, in fact. I’ve talked to so many people who seem to believe that God’s help is limited to the spiritual realm. Salvation, grace, mercy, all that intangible stuff.

I disagree.

The Psalms are full of confessions that God saves, that He is a very present help in time of trouble, that He watches over us. While we put our trust in Him for the afterlife, not many of us put our trust in Him for THIS life. And we get caught up in bad decisions or poor thinking that seems to rule every earthly action. (I’m so talking to myself here.)

Negativity and depression want to rule my life. Wallowing in poor decisions of the past, I’m in danger of missing the glory and power He has for me today. What a perfect time to give those decisions, mistakes, and regrets to Him! Today’s confession, from Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13, relieves me of the guilt and shame of the past.

I will call on the name of the Lord.

When I doubt His promise to deliver me, I will confess this truth. And I’ll turn to Psalm 121 for reinforcement. Especially meaningful to me is verse 5: “The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” It gives me visions of being hidden in His shadow. The enemy passes right by, never even seeing me, because the Lord hides me in a protective shade.

I will call on the name of the Lord today. I will not fear because He stands beside me.

Do you believe God’s help is limited to spiritual things, or does He ever intervene in a tangible way?

 

The Lord my God is a merciful God

Mighty. Merciful. Majestic. Miracles. Music. Mountains. Messiah.

Tonight, my husband and I enter sleepless night forty-two with the littlest little. I’m exaggerating, but only because I lost count how many nights we’ve been up. I pray for God to perform a mighty miracle and be a supernatural tranquilizer for her. (As I write this, it’s after 10PM and she’s delaying sleep by giving me another ‘M’ word I could be thankful for. “Here, Mom. I have a message for you.” So far she’s given me five messages. Pretend slips of paper that she pushes into my hand with a knowing, but sincere, smile. Maybe the Lord will speak to her and she will be His voice, giving messages to people all over as she grows. Yeah. I’m tired. Work with me.) Joshua 24:17: “For the LORD our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us.”

I believe in miracles. I do. It’s just been a long time since I saw one in the form of my children sleeping peacefully all night.

I know we’re not alone in our struggles. Not just that God carries us, but that others walk through so many hardships – and many that are much more devastating than mine. I can’t forget the heart-wrenching sorrow of a friend who can only wish her son was still alive to keep her awake at night. When I think of all those who have pain far deeper than mine, I pray for God’s mercy to be upon them, for His majesty to surround them, and for the Messiah to be present with them. I pray that He would move mountains and reveal Himself.

In light of that, today’s confession calls on the mercy of God. Deuteronomy 4:31: “For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.”

The Lord my God is a merciful God.

There are times it feels like this world will destroy me. I know people think they’ve been abandoned by God, that He forgot His promises. If that’s you tonight, please know what the Bible, His Holy word, says. He is merciful. He will not abandon you or destroy you or forget His promises. Confess the truth and rest. The Lord my God is a merciful God.

Do you feel abandoned, destroyed, or forgotten?

The Lord speaks to me

As with every other confession in the alphabet, I could post one truth after another using ‘L’:

  • Lord of lords (Deuteronomy 10:17)
  • Love (1 Corinthians 13)
  • Lasting (Psalm 19:9)
  • Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5)
  • Life (John 14:6)
  • Light (Psalm 27:1)

But in considering today’s confession, I came across a blog post by Bird Martin that resonated with me. The reason goes back to the message my pastor gave in church on Sunday. In short, he encouraged us all to confess to someone we trust all of our addictions, issues, holdups. Anything that puts up a wall between us and Jesus. I cringed, having dealt quietly with something for several days.

Okay, I’ve been dealing with it for years. But quietly. I don’t go around advertising it. No, it’s not fear, though Bird’s prayer at the end of her post mentions doubt and fear. But my problem might well be the root issue to this fear. So (breathing, praying, breathing), here’s the advertisement:

I’m a terribly proud, vain person. Don’t judge me, please. Just hear me out, and see how today’s confession and Bird’s post relates.

It’s entirely possible that my fear issues stem from my pride. I don’t want to be found lacking, so I puff myself up and convince myself that I don’t need anyone’s approval. I’m a good writer. (Actually, as long as I’m airing my pride here, I’ll go ahead and say I’m a fabulous writer.) I’m a decent mom. GREAT housekeeper and cook. My list of highly rated qualities goes on and on. Of course, it wouldn’t do to have everyone know that I have a pride issue, so I pretend I’m humble. Isn’t that the good Christian thing to appear?

God is so good to continue speaking to me in spite of my arrogance. What He spoke today comes from Job 38. The first line nails me: “Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind.”

In the whirlwind of my pride and conceit, God answers me. So today’s confession reminds me:

The Lord speaks to me.

The rest of Job 38 tells of God challenging a suffering, yet arrogant, Job. It goes through all that God has done and the endless depth of His knowledge and wisdom. I’m marking this section of Scripture and reading it every day. And in the reading, I will give thanks that the Lord speaks to me.

What is the Lord speaking to you?

He keeps every promise forever

Twenty-one years ago, God promised me a son. Fourteen years ago today, when my husband and I said our vows, He kept that promise with my stepson. I’ll call him the biggest big. At 6’5″ and still growing, he’s much bigger than any big I know! I didn’t realize it at the time, but this biggest big would become one of the biggest blessings in my life. (Okay, I didn’t mean to do that. God must have something BIG in mind for us today, huh?) Anyway, this big has become my son in every way, and I love him to pieces.

Then four and a half years ago, God kept His promise again by giving me another son, the biggest little. Abundant blessings! (Talking of abundance, He gave me a surprise blessing with my daughter, the littlest little. I can’t leave her out of this because she reminds me of today’s confession with every smile.)

God has kept other promises in my life, but sadly I haven’t recorded most of them. One of the things I’d like to start with my littles is a sort of altar to the Lord, where we keep a basket of rocks with numbers on them and a notebook nearby. Each time a promise is realized, we’ll write a number on a rock and record it in the notebook. What better way to remember His faithfulness? (And thanks to my Bible study teacher for this idea.) I’m still waiting on some promises to be fulfilled, but I know He’ll do it. So today’s confession speaks to that (and to the ‘K’ in our line of affirmations).

He keeps every promise forever.

According to Psalm 146:6, God is a promise-keeper. He’s a heart-keeper. He’s a spirit-keeper. In other words, He keeps us in such an all-encompassing way we can’t wrap our brains around it in this life. He keeps every promise forever. I encourage you to start a notebook and record the promises He’s kept to you. I’m going to go celebrate another one: my wedding anniversary with the man He promised to me. Keep confessing, y’all!

What promises has God kept in your life?

He will fill me with shouts of joy

I saw a news report recently that said people who get fewer than 5.5 hours of sleep a night have higher health risks than the average population. I told my husband that any new mom could have told the researchers that and saved the public tens of thousands of dollars on the study. Not only do sleep deprived people have more risk for diabetes, heart disease, depression, and a host of other health conditions, they become a risk to anyone who irritates them. Fair warning, people.

My littles aren’t “new” anymore, but they still don’t sleep as much as I’d like. Even if they did, I’d have to spend some of those precious quiet moments taking care of things that get pushed to the side when they’re awake. Praying, reading, writing, editing, cleaning, planning. Thinking. With so much going on, it’s hard for me to fully appreciate the joys God gives me. Good for me that God’s promises don’t have an expiration date.

Today’s confession gives me peace, and it comes from an unlikely place. Most of us don’t look to Job in the Old Testament when we want promises of joy. But it’s there in a few ways. Job 8:21 is a response where Bildad the Shuhite tells Job, “He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

Er, perhaps not the best response to a man who has just heard of the loss of all his earthly possessions and the deaths of his children. I’m sure Bildad meant well, but he might as well have opened his mouth and put his foot in it. Deeply. Still, if you read the story through to the end, you’ll see that God did restore Job in full. In fact, he gave his servant even more blessing in the second half of his life than in the first.

He will fill me with shouts of joy.

Shouts of joy. Not shouts of irritation or impatience. Sometimes, I’m as quick to let loose with one as with the other. As I fight to keep my eyes open and my tone gentle in these sleep-deprived days, I confess this truth. He will fill me with shouts of joy. I’m not the only one to benefit from this promise. My whole family will recognize the change and the glory will go to God.

Are you shouting with joy or impatience these days?

Nothing is impossible with God

The last two weeks have been an interesting time in my house. For the first time ever, I’ve battled panic attacks that threaten to lay me flat on the floor, gasping for air, sure my heart is going to come to a dead stop. Or I’ve nearly climbed the walls with anxiety that sends adrenaline soaring and blood screaming through my veins. The only thing that keeps me from showing this panic to my children is reciting Psalm 23. I’ve also watched my four-year-old son scream, unable to catch his breath, and almost throw up in fear. I have no idea what he’s afraid of, but it seems to control almost every move.

I make light of my own panic because there’s really no reason for it. (Not that the realization stops my fear, but it is true. Forget what seems to be real; the truth is that I have not been given a spirit of fear. Realizing it and confessing it is the first step to making it real for me.) But seeing it in my child is a different matter. Fear – and overcoming it – is hard enough inside my own head. How do I teach my son to recognize the truth and fight against the fear?

The only way I know is to speak the truth over him, over our entire family. We move forward with normal activities, and if I have to leave him with a Sunday school teacher or a Bible study teacher, I pray and trust God to take care of him. Doing this, I’ve seen the fear we both experience recede. I love today’s confession (the ‘I’ in our alphabet of confessions) because it speaks to the myriad of reasons I battle breathtaking fear.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Do you really believe this? We serve the God of the impossible. What are your dreams or goals? What are your wildest prayers? Here are a few of mine, and what I think of when I pray them.

Establish a successful storytelling career? Impossible.

Raise happy, healthy, Jesus-loving children in a world of pride, excess, and indulgence? Impossible.

Banish all forms of fear, and embrace the future and the hope He plans for me? Impossible.

But nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 says so. For that reason, I’ll continue confessing the truth over myself and my family. My God will make a way, and the impossible will become possible. Beyond that, the possible will become achievable. Nothing is impossible with God.

What impossible things have you seen God do lately?

He is the Lord who heals me

I told my sister this morning that being an adult is far harder than I thought it would be. Must we choose between our dreams and reason?

When I was younger, I watched my mom and dad do the things parents do. I never wondered if they had dreams, but I wonder now. They went to work, probably paid all the bills, cooked meals, cleaned the house, set healthy boundaries for us, and generally gave me a wonderful, wholesome, sheltered childhood. They argued, but they laughed too. I remember game nights (Scrabble from the vantage point of Dad’s lap, anyone?) and bacon waffles for dinner. I remember feeling safe. Loved. Unafraid.

Then I grew up and realized I had to do what they did. And I might have to choose between my dream or living responsibly.

I’ve been editing my second novel and trying to get started on the path of public speaking while taking care of two littles who are by nature demanding, loud, and cuter than anything I’ve ever seen. Is the responsible thing to continue pursuing my dream, believing God will show favor? Or am I to abandon it and the faith that I can do all things through Jesus Christ? Life is uncertain. I struggle with depression, discouragement, anger, and a boatload of disbelief.

But I don’t have to live with it.

Today’s confession is important because it proclaims the truth about God’s power and promise in light of my struggles. Exodus 15:26 says, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

The first part of that is important because it leads to the second part. It tells me what I have to do to get the promise. If I listen carefully to the voice of the Lord my God. Do what is right in His sight. Obeying His commands and keeping His decrees. The promise is protection. And today’s confession is deliverance.

He is the Lord who heals me.

Whatever my struggle, He is the Lord who heals me. Uncertainty, depression, discouragement, anger or doubt, none of these things are bigger than my God. He is the Lord who heals me. Whatever you fight today, know that God is capable and desires to heal you. Confess the truth and keep the faith that He loves you and wants to bring bountiful blessings to you. Then step out in that faith and expect them to happen.

What is your big dream? Are you doing something to make it happen?