Mountains of laundry!

Do you ever feel like the laundry multiplies and grows on its own? With four kids and a newborn, laundry is an unending task at our house! And, for me, I tend to do the laundry in order of importance- who needs underwear, do we have towels clean, Abby’s blankets… Yesterday, Brian needed a shirt to wear to work. He has to dress up, but his office has gone away from wearing ties. Well, he has two categories of shirts in his closet- those he can wear without ties and shirts that only look good with a tie. Brian prefers the shirts he doesn’t have to wear with a tie, and guess which ones were the only ones clean? You got it- the shirts he has to wear with the tie. (But, he looks so handsome with the tie, though!) He didn’t complain about the lack of shirts in his closet, just gave me a hug and kiss when he left.

Now, the really cool part of the story is that when he got to work, he got called into an important meeting unexpectantly. He was so glad he had on a shirt and tie!!!!! God was looking out for him! What looked like an inconvenience turned out to be a blessing! Praise God! He does “work ALL things (even these little things!) together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose!”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans for hope and a future. Plans not to harm you, but to prosper you. Plans for good and not evil.” –Jeremiah 29:11

I have been praying a pray recently when I am out walking in the morning. I copied it from a great book I am reading, “A Woman after God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George. She was writing about giving ourselves to God daily and included this prayer written by a missionary who ultimately did give her life for her God!

“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my time, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me, seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”

Honestly, when I pray that, the first reaction of my flesh is to cry out, “Do I really want to pray this?!” I think, do I really want to GIVE UP my plans, desires, the things I want to do??? What if I don’t get to do the things I want to do, the things on my agenda, the things I am planning? The first few times I prayed this prayer, it was with hesitation, a little nervous about what God would possibly change.

Then, the Holy Spirit really spoke into my heart! How am I looking at my God? Am I really seeing Him as the good, generous, wonderful God that He is? Why would I assume that His plans for me are so different than my own? Hasn’t He placed these desires in my heart? I realized the enemy loves to whisper these lies into our minds that God is going to take away all of the things that are important to us if we surrender and submit them to Him. I replaced the lies with the Truth that God loves me and that He is good, everything He does is good, that He has good plans for me, and that He works ALL things together for good. As I continued to pray and talk to God, I also realized that IF God prunes away something from my life, then it isn’t for my BEST. As I prayed this prayer again, I earnestly told God that if there wasn’t anything in my life that was in His will, then take it away. I don’t want even good things- plans, purposes, desires, and hopes that aren’t God’s BEST for me. I truly want to give God my whole self and be used for His plans and purposes.

So, I have been beginning each day with this prayer. And, as I gave God my plans for today, writing a devotion WAS NOT in my plan- I have laundry to do! But, I knew I could not go through my day, filled with His peace, until I sat down and obediently wrote the things He has placed on my heart. He knew someone needed encouragement today!

Father, we praise You and love You! Thank You that You are good and that You have GOOD plans for us. Lord, we do submit ourselves to You today. We give you are own plans today. Lord, prune away the things that are not of You and bless the plans and purposes that are according to Your will. We praise You! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Thank You, God!

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of His wonderful acts. Glory in His holy name, let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonders He has done.” Psalm 105:1-5

I would like to begin by thanking everyone who has been earnestly praying for me over these last several weeks! God answers prayer, and I praise Him and thank you for lifting me up. Honestly, it has been very “up and down” since I have had Abigail. The nights of interrupted sleep catches up with your body after awhile. The first three weeks were great, and I was feeling so good. But, about week #4, the adrenaline “wore off,” and I started to “crash.” I was feeling so TIRED and disappointed in myself for not doing the things I needed to be doing. I was becoming frustrated with myself, and of course, this is when the enemy comes in with his whispers of “failure.” The biggest problem, though, was that I was not filling myself with the LORD- reading His Word or spending time in prayer. I was allowing myself to become depleted spiritually.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, during my bible study group, one of my dear sisters was sharing her victory and praising God for it. She began to tell us she had gone back to way of praying she hadn’t done for awhile. She was saying the Lord’s Prayer, but taking every verse, stopping to meditate on it, pray it, pray other scriptures similar to the verse, and pray it into her own life. For example, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.” Then, praise God. “Yes, Lord, praise Your Name! You are awesome! You are the Name above all names. You are the Alpha and Omega- beginning and end…” Praying and expounding upon each verse.

Well, I thought, “I used to do that!” And, I decided that I was going to use the 4 AM feeding time for Abby to pray the Lord’s Prayer, praying all the verses in my life. The very next night, instead of complaining in my head, “It’s so early! I am so tired! How long is this going to take???? When can I go back to sleep?” as I drifted into sleep, startling myself awake as I was nursing Abby, I began to pray. What a difference it made! It was uninterrupted, sweet time with the Lord in a still house. I focused my mind on Him, not how hard it was to wake up. I found myself praising Him so much through the first verse that I only made it to “Give us today our daily bread.” Then, I was able to STAY UP after I was finished feeding Abby and continue my prayer time with going for a walk (something I hadn’t done for months!). I believe my victory came largely because I had an attitude change! I wasn’t complaining, but began thanking God for our time together. It has been 2 weeks now of wonderful time with my Lord. I am able to stay up most days in these early hours, reading His Word, walking with Him, and praying. And, the days I give into the temptation of going back to bed, I have already had an hour of prayer during Abby’s feeding time. Praise You, God!

Looking at this wonderful psalm, I see that I am give thanks to the Lord! Yes! Thank You, God for time spent with You. When I “looked to the Lord and HIS strength (verse 4), I found victory! And, then verses 1, 2, and 5 tell us to think upon His marvelous acts, the things He has done for us, and then TO TELL OTHER PEOPLE! This is what I am doing- I am sharing with you the wonderful way God has worked in my life recently. My challenge to YOU is this. Think upon how God has worked in YOUR life and then share that with someone- your spouse, your children, your friend, or in an email! Rejoice that “when you called upon His name, He has done wonderful acts!”

Father, we do praise You! We glory in Your name! We rejoice in You and give You thanks for all of the marvelous things You have done. Help us, Father, to share with others what You have done for us. Praise You! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Could I love you anymore?

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

As I snuggle Abby, only a few weeks old, inhaling her sweet baby smell, rubbing my cheek against her soft skin, my heart fills with inexpressible JOY! I look down into her eyes and my heart feels like it is going to burst because I am filled with so much love for her. Could it be possible to love a person so much? To be filled with such delight just LOOKING at someone?

Abby hasn’t DONE anything. She hasn’t pleased me because of her deeds or actions. I am delighted in her because she IS. She just lays there and IS. She does not need to perform in any way to please me. She doesn’t have to be “good.” I just love her- I can’t even explain it or put it into words. I love her with a love that can not be measured because she is mine.

God has shown me again how He feels for me by showing me how I feel for my children. “He takes great delight in me (and you!) and rejoices over me (and you!) with singing”- not because I have DONE anything, but simply because I exist and I am His. And, just as I look down at Abby, my heart bursting with love and joy, our Heavenly Father looks down at us, His heart bursting with love and joy. He breathes us in, rubs our cheeks, and is delighted in us. Oh, let that sink in! How our Father loves us!

Father God, we praise You! How wonderful and loving and good You are. Thank You, Father for loving us so very much. Lord, help us to receive Your Love, walking in the Light and warmth of Your delight and good pleasure. Praise You! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.