I want to apologize that I have still been slacking with posting regularly. Honestly, I can’t even give you a good reason why; I just keep putting it off. However, the Lord convicted me today for not posting because people have told me they find my blog encouraging. Why would I rob people of that? It’s selfish of me, really.

So I will start posting once or twice a week. I desire to live my life in a way that glorifies God and this blog gives me a great opportunity to do that.

I asked God to take me to the next level spiritually, which of course grabbed Satan’s attention. He wants to keep us from reaching our potential! So, like always, I’ve been battling him these last couple weeks. Thankfully the Lord is on my side. Romans 8:28-31 explains,

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

God proves the truth of this to me by continually demonstrating His faithfulness despite my circumstances.

isaac

For instance, because of my work schedule I started seeking different childcare. I found a few options, but I only found one lady I liked. Unfortunately, it required a 30 minute drive there, then a 30 minute drive to work. I want the best option for Isaac rather than the most convenient, but my car can’t handle that mileage right now!

As a last resort, I visited the daycare located about 2 minutes from my parents house that has extended hours (8 pm). Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great daycare. The lady who runs it understood my concerns with putting Isaac in a daycare facility because she never put her children in daycare either.

I didn’t feel comfortable with that option though for a couple of reasons. One, Isaac loves to explore! He also gets upset when he has to be in one place for too long. How could you blame him though; I wouldn’t want to be stuck in one room either! Two, it worries me to have him in daycare as they are notorious for exposing kids to sickness! Three, my parents can’t commit to picking him up even by 8 every night because their schedules vary.

I prayed about where God wanted Isaac all week. Friday night I searched Craigslist and found a lady who runs an in home eco-friendly childcare only 15 minutes away. She charges reasonable rates which include home-made organic baby food. She watches babies until they turn 21 months old, and only 3 at a time.

I couldn’t believe it when I found her! I immediately contacted her through her form on her website. She called me within 30 minutes!

After a 30 minute chat, we agreed to meet at her house on Sunday after Branon’s visitation was over. She worked around my schedule to meet me since she normally meets parents during the evening on weekdays.

I basically knew that I wanted her to watch Isaac. After meeting her and seeing her set up, I knew for sure. I believe it will provide a wonderful environment that Isaac will flourish in as he grows into a toddler. She also is willing to work with my schedule. God is so good!

Also, True Purpose Ministries allows the families to come to their church service on Wednesday nights. It goes from 6-7, and they also have visitation for 30 minutes before & after. I normally work during those hours. As I believe it’s important for Isaac to be around his dad as much as possible, I approached my supervisor to ask if they could let me work day shift on Wednesday nights. They approved it! The Lord continually gives me favor at work, and I’m so thankful for that!

Words can’t explain how difficult for us this time away from Branon is, especially for me.

meandisaac

If my hope was not in Jesus, I would be a royal mess.

That’s not to say I don’t have my moments. I’m human, and I make mistakes. I love how God uses our mistakes as teachable moments, just as any father should. In fact, let me share with you how my Abba worked on my character last Thursday.

It started with a phone call from Branon. He faced a moment of discouragement from being away from me and Isaac, and wanted to leave. I told him he had to stay. This caused disagreement between us and the phone call didn’t exactly end on a good note.

The bigger problem came from my reaction. For some reason, this call unleashed a plethora of emotions. Normally, I exhibit fairly good control over my emotions. This time, however, I sort of lost it.

I felt worried, angry, and betrayed then on top of that I felt guilty for feeling the way I did. I cried, a lot. I had a hard time getting myself in control. By the end of the day, I only wanted to go home and sleep. I realize now that God tested me in an area He had been teaching me.

I think we sometimes forget that God has a sense of humor! It’s funny to me because I listened to this message by Pastor Chris Hodge, and I thought wow, this summarizes what God’s been teaching me! I get it! God always tests us when he teaches us before we can move on, and I failed the test. God lovingly reminded me how I should have reacted.

Basically, in that message, he gives us 5 sources to give us hope in the storms:

  1. God’s Presence- Experience his presence daily! Worship God; I talk about this in my post about peace. Praise him and thank him. I went to a listen up conference in August 2012 that talked about your meeting place with God. Here’s the idea: picture a place you really love and where you feel comfortable. God meets us there! Pastor Chris Hodge calls it the Secret Place. This quietness refuels us.
  2. God’s Promise- If we read God’s Word daily, we can find a promise to stand on.
  3. God’s Process- We all face difficulties in life, but these serve to develop our character! If we focus on what God is doing in us, we can redefine our bad days because we know we become a better person through them. We may not enjoy this process, but we can appreciate it.
  4. God’s Purpose- If you have not found the reason why God created you, you are just surviving. When we know God’s purpose for us, we can say life may not be easy, but God created me for something worth it all. Making a difference for eternity brings true fulfillment.
  5. God’s Place- Our true home awaits us in Heaven. Earth is not our stopping point, we simply pass through.

Had I stopped for a few moments, worshipped God, that in itself would have adjusted my attitude. I know many promises I could have stood on, yet I chose to sulk and indulge in self-pity. I should have thanked God for this opportunity to trust him as he improves my character. I know God has huge plans for me and Branon regardless what trials we face currently. Plus, our ultimate hope is in the sacrifice Jesus made so we can spend eternity in Heaven.

If you keep up with my blog, hopefully you see how all of this ties in with my other posts.

Aren’t we so blessed to have a Father who loves us enough to lovingly correct us when we make mistakes?

Advertisements

Don’t Let Fog Make You Lose Sight

Do you remember the last time you drove through thick fog?

tule fog

Fog makes it really hard to see! Last week, I experienced some spiritual fogginess. I apologize that I waited so long to post; I attempted to write a few posts but unfortunately I was too distracted to put anything I wanted to say together well.

Let me give you a quick summary of everything that’s been happening in my life in the last week and a half:

  • Isaac and I drove to Alabama on Friday after I got off work to pick up Branon.
  • Branon and I received the blessing of a date evening Saturday, and had our first over-night away from Isaac together.
  • We spent the day Sunday with our second family in Alabama before returning to Knoxville.
  • Branon interviewed with True Purpose Ministries on Monday.
  • A couple friends from church prayed with Branon and I Monday night in preparation of our new life chapter.
  • We dropped Branon off to start the program on Tuesday.
  • Wednesday, Isaac found out at his follow up doctor appointment that he still has some fluid in one ear, but not an infection.
  • Isaac’s current child care provider informed me Thursday that she will not be able to work with my schedule, leading me to search for Isaac’s 6th child care provider.
  • My parents scheduled family pictures for Saturday so we drove to Strawberry Plains for that. I can’t wait to see how they turned out!
  • My growth group Saturday night talked about spiritual gifts; my small group leader gave us a 125 question spiritual gifts inventory, which I believe my church provided for the entire congregation last Sunday.
  • Yesterday, Isaac and I visited Branon at his new location.
Last Visit in Alabama

Last Visit in Alabama

I tell you all of that to say that everything slightly overwhelms me at times, and the enemy preys on our vulnerability. I finally experienced some much needed closeness with my husband only to be torn apart again. It’s really been hard on both of us, making it absolutely imperative that I keep my focus on Jesus right now to help me see through the fog.

I love how Jesus illustrates this for us with the story of Peter walking on water in Matthew 14:

24-26 Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”

31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

32-33 The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”

When we keep our focus on Jesus, His power sustains us. The moment we shift our focus to our problems, we start to drown in the worry. Thankfully, he rescues us. After a difficult week, my Abba encouraged me this weekend with family pictures, my growth group, and my visit to Branon.

God blessed us with the opportunity to see each other every Sunday for church and visitation, and potentially every Wednesday evening as well, depending on my work. I placed that decision in God’s hands though. I would love for Branon to be a part of my life and especially Isaac’s an extra day a week, but God knows what is best for us and I want his will to be done, not mine.

True Purpose Ministries hold their own church services on campus. The church service Sunday displayed the faith of the leadership. I sense this is exactly where Branon needs to be right now. I believe he will get the mentoring he needs spiritually, and the healing he needs emotionally to be delivered from addiction.

I pray God gives us both humble and teachable spirits, willing to endure any trials necessary to be changed into his image. I want to be used by Him in the greatest capacity, but I have much to learn first.

First Visit at True Purpose

I plan on posting later this week to summarize everything I’ve been learning recently in a pretty cool way. I admit though, part of my discouragement this week stems from losing sight from an eternal perspective. That sums up the effect of the fog: making it possible to see only a few feet in front of you. This world serves as my temporary home; my hope is not in it but in Jesus, who defeated the grave so that we can be fully alive in this world and the one to come.

This week, I choose to press through the fog. If you also are experiencing a hard time, I encourage you to do so as well. Jesus promises to provide the light we need.

John 8:12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Plus, how can I remain discouraged when I have this cuteness around me every day?