Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

On Our Doorframes August 26, 2011

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 3:47 pm
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I have a fairly new friend in town, Tracey Daniel. Her family is adopting a little boy from Korea.  I actually met her at a yard sale some friends were hosting for us as a fundraiser. We have only met face to face a couple of times but we follow each others blogs and pray for each other. And interestingly enough the Lord keeps placing people across my path that have been influenced by her.

So I am learning through other folks how neat she is 🙂 and more and more how similar our journeys have been. Cool how the Lord does that! I just read a post she shared on her blog though and it is so good that I just have to share it with you!  She talks about friends…and the kinds of friends, especially as women, it is so good to have in our lives. I hope you’ll take the time to read it, be encouraged and get to know my friend:)

On Our Doorframes

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A whole lotta NO’s… March 30, 2011

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 3:43 am
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You know those parenting days where you feel like you end up saying NO way more than you get to say YES?  Today was one of those days with my sweet 5 year old.  He is such an amazing bundle of energy and enthusiasm but everything he decided to do today ended with me saying an emphatic, “NO!!”

Mommy had to say no to:

-cutting branches of flowers off the neighbors azalea bushes,

-running with big, sharp kitchen scissors,

-using the same scissors to cut down vines to make lassoes to set up traps across the kitchen door for burglars,

-climbing up high in the garage to examine Daddy’s bb gun,

-using broken pieces of a chair as a mallet for making traps,

-throwing a baby snake that was found in the grass into the fan of the air conditioning unit to watch it get chopped into tiny bits,

-uncovering bricks in the pine straw where the snake was found, while barefooted to be bug killers.

They were legitimate no’s because of safety issues and time issues, but as the hours passed and the answers continued to be no I could see his little spirit wilting.

I started searching for ways to say YES to my precious little man but was having a hard time finding opportunities.  For some reason everything Eli wanted to do today was beyond the boundaries of safety and reason for a 5 year old.  Somehow that didn’t matter to his little brain and body though and he was so disappointed in the day and in Mommy.

I was really struggling.  I wanted to make him smile and lift his sweet little downcast spirit.  We made a special trip to Lucas Park to find trees he could climb, but then he had to go to the bathroom…no REALLY go to the bathroom (yes, I let him pee on the tree but then we had other issues).  So we had to leave the park after 5 minutes which added to his majorly disappointing day.

I know tomorrow will be better, but in his childlike perception and grasp of time, he doesn’t.  He is fine, but went to bed hoping for a better day tomorrow.  It is hard for him to truly see past right now though.  It still makes me sad even putting it down here.  But if I had today to do over I still would choose to tell him no to those things he wanted to do.  They were dangerous and would not have ended well!!!  Out of my great love for him I COULD NOT let those things happen.  He doesn’t understand, but my no’s were truly for his best.  In the short term, but definitely in the long-term as well.

Again, the Lord has been using parenting to teach me some deeper truths.  Not always, but sometimes I get it:)  Have you ever been through, or maybe right now…you are in a season where you are hearing the Lord say a lot of big, fat NO’s.  Sometimes we get a run of “nuh-uhs”, “not nows” and “ain’t no ways” from the Lord.  It isn’t that hard hearing one of those answers to a request every now and again but when you hit a season of consistent no’s ….it just plain old stinks!!

Because what happens to me is I start to pout and internalize the rejection to my request and make it about ME.  The enemy has a lot of fun with this.  Instead of hearing the Lord say NO to what I was asking… I hear Him saying NO to me and the negativity seeps into the way I view Him and how I think He views me.  Just because He said “NO you can’t go on that vacation” that doesn’t mean He loves me any less.  Or just because He didn’t answer my prayer with a YES when I asked that my friends marriage be healed that doesn’t mean He is saying I have powerless prayers.

Does that make sense?  Cause it really hit me that my NO’s to Eli were spoken out of my great LOVE for him, and nothing less.

If I loved him less…I would have said YES!!  But he didn’t FEEL loved necessarily when I said NO.  This was big for me.  Just because God says no doesn’t mean I am out of his will …or that He doesn’t love me…or that He doesn’t hear me…or that I am wrong to ask…or he prefers someone else’s prayers over mine…

Those are all lies and untruths from the enemy.  My Father tells me NO when it is for my best and for His glory. And that’s what I want right?  I want Him to be glorified through my life.  And I want to learn to smile up at Him and say “yes, sir” whether He tells me NO or YES because I trust His heart and I trust His great love for me.  And really when I look at Scripture and take a step back to examine the bigger picture, my circumstances may in that season resound with some major NO’s but spiritually and eternally the YES’s are overwhelming. When I put my focus on that…I can only be filled with delight! And I’m not making this business up…look what I found:

2 Corinthians 1:20-22

Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.

Now that right there is some good news!! We are  “a sure thing in Christ” with “his Yes within us.” “A sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.”  I can handle some NO’s when I have that YES to hold onto:)  How about you?

 

Broken Pieces to Share February 20, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts,Random stuff — erikaivory @ 4:16 am

You’d think I’d learn…

It’s not gonna work, Lord.

I’m just not enough.  I can’t do it.  There is only one of me!

Why do you trust me with this?  I don’t have enough..

time…energy…money…insight…understanding…strength…

want-to…self-discipline…

Anybody else have that voice on repeat in their head?

As I was scurrying around trying to figure out a last-minute dinner and muster up the self-control to use what is in my pantry instead of ordering out, the voice started.  As fatigue crept in trying to take over and frustration began rising, I once again found myself having this one-sided conversation with the Holy Spirit.

He gently and simply whispered “5 loaves and 2 fish were enough that day“.  Sigh…well, yeah for Jesus!!

In Matthew 14, after a long, long day of ministering to the needs of thousands of people, Christ’s disciples reminded Him that it was almost dinner time and these people were going to need food soon.  So Jesus said, “Feed them.”  Um…well, all the fast food joints were under construction so we have a problem here. In the same story recorded in Luke 9,  Jesus simply tells the disciples,”You give them something to eat.”

Personally, I would have been a little frustrated with Jesus at that point.  Really?  They told Him what they had…and I imagine Jesus sighed slightly:) and then told the disciples to seat the people in groups of about 50.  Now, He didn’t tell the disciples that He was going to multiply the food. 

He just wanted them to trust Him and do what He asked with what they had.

They could have become flustered and annoyed and argued with Jesus.  Or threw their hands up and stomped off.  Or taken matters into their own hands and come up with an orderly evacuation plan for 5,000 plus hungry travelers.

They chose to do what He asked.

The end result was over 5,000 physically and spiritually fed people….12 basketfuls of leftover broken pieces of bread…and a handful of disciples whose faith, I believe, had increased.  Jesus didn’t lay out the 4 step plan for feeding 5,000 or promise them a happy ending.  He used what they had to teach them AGAIN that they can trust Him and that He provides.

Did He provide hundreds of baskets of food before they handed it out?

No…He provided in the moment of their need

as their hands were actively obeying

with faith that He would indeed provide what they lacked.

Every day I am acutely and loudly aware of what I am lacking.  I am NOT ENOUGH.  I CANNOT do what He is asking me to do as a wife, as a daughter, as a mom, as a friend, as a Christ-follower.

The Truth is…only He is enough.

As I stood at the stove looking at my empty hands…He reminded me to simply do the task He is asking me to do and trust Him that He will absolutely show up with exactly what fills my need.  Not necessarily early…but just when I need Him the most.

And He may even leave me with some baskets of broken pieces to share…

 

It’s all about Perspective… February 3, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts,Random stuff — erikaivory @ 4:24 pm

Perspective

My word for 2011.  The Lord keeps whispering this word in my ear.  Reminding me it is about choice, attitude, looking at life through the lens of Truth instead of circumstances.  And by Truth I mean the Truth of God’s Word.

This has been floating around and resonating in me since New Year’s but I still don’t have my rhythm yet this year and honestly I’m not sure when I am going to find it.  So this post will not be polished but I HAVE to put this out there and document it so I can come back and remind myself.

In 2011 I WILL CHOOSE my perspective on life, circumstances and what is going on around me.  I WILL CHOOSE how I respond to my children and husband and the people around me instead of reacting.  I WILL CHOOSE to believe God is who He says He is and that He is able to handle what I face each day.  I WILL CHOOSE wisely.

And how will I do this?  For starters by fleshing out Romans 12:2

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Check out this verse in the The Message. I love it!

1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

What does this look like?

When my little one wakes up sick…praising God that this will pass and choose a thankful heart for some snuggle time and the excuse to slow down for a bit.

When the car breaks down and costs a pretty penny to fix…thanking the Lord for honest men that fix it, taking time to treat them with respect and appreciation, recognizing how blessed I am to have a car and trusting the Lord to provide the finances in His way and time, not mine.

When the laundry seems endless, I can not accomplish one task because of many interruptions, my boys won’t seem to get along, and my to-do list feels unending…I will choose to laugh instead of complaining, remember to ask for and accept help if necessary and stay people oriented instead of task oriented.

So each day I will fix my eyes, attention and affections on my Jesus.

I will believe what He says and live like it.

I will put my eye to the kaleidoscope of His grace and live according to what He allows me to see.

My perspective changes when I do this…and things fall into place.

 

Sacred Parenting January 18, 2010

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 3:45 am
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This isn’t one of my book reviews.  Last year I read Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Marriage and it taught me so, so much.  Now I am excited to finally be reading his book Sacred Parenting. Wow!  I am only two chapters in and probably almost 50% of it is underlined.  I thought I would share a bit…

“In other words, having kids isn’t about us – it’s about him.  We are called to bear and raise children for the glory of God….

When we don’t understand the purpose of parenting, the process becomes tedious.  When we realize that having children isn’t about us but is rather about God, then the trials and sacrifices of parenting are more easily borne.  We see the purpose behind the difficulty, and we remind ourselves, “This isn’t about me; it’s about him.”  The ultimate issue is no longer how proud my children make me, but how faithful I’ve been to discharge the duties God has given me.  To pin our hope and joy on the response of any given sinner is a precarious move at best.  To pin this same hope and joy on the response of a sinner in his or her toddler years or teen years is to beg for disillusionment and to risk waking up in despair.

If we have only a selfish motivation, we will run from parenting’s greatest challenges.  Once disappointment seeps in, we’ll pull back into the same shells we inhabited as children and run from the pain, not by retreating to our bedrooms or backyards (which we did as children), but to our offices, boardrooms, workout clubs, Starbucks, or even churches.

….but let’s accept that, for most of us, this is God’s call and part of his plan to perfect us.  Once we realize that we are sinners, that the children God has given us are sinners, and that together, as a family, we are to grow toward God, then family life takes on an entirely new purpose and context.  It becomes a sacred enterprise when we finally understand that God can baptize dirty diapers, toddlers’ tantrums, and teenagers’ silence in order to transform us into people who more closely resemble Jesus Christ.”

That’s good stuff, right there!

 

Dadgum! January 10, 2010

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 10:17 pm
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Dadgum Mark Batterson can bring it!  Somehow I lost his feed in my blog reader so I haven’t read anything from him recently.  I just started following him on twitter and I love it!  One of his recent posts was “4 ways to identify an idol”.

Check it out below.  By the way just skip it if you are lazy or not willing to be introspective. 🙂  For real…

When we read about idols in the Old Testament, we tend to think of ancient people bowing down to carved wooden statues. How silly. How foolish. But most of us are just sophisticated idolaters. And it’s no less silly or foolish. I’m convinced that idolatry is our root spiritual problem. Maybe that’s why it’s the first commandment of ten?

In the beginning, God created us in His image. We’ve been creating Him in our image ever since. Instead of worshiping the Creator, we settle for something less. We find a substitute god, small g. And here’s the tricky thing. Most idols are good things, but those good things become bad things because they take the place of God. Instead of being the Ultimate End, God become a means to an end. We want something more than we want God. And we try to use God to get it.

So how do you identify an idol? Here are four idol identifiers:

1) What consumes your thoughts? Your daydreams are idol clues. If it’s something you think about more than God then it may be an idol.

2) What bad habits do you struggle with? Your addictions are idol clues. An idol is something you cannot control. It controls you.

3) What do you spend too much money on? Your spending habits are idol clues. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!

4) What produces your strongest emotions? Your intense emotions are idol clues. If you want to identify an idol, all you have to do is identify your emotional attachments.

Identifying an idol takes a tremendous amount of soul searching. And you have to be brutally honest. But you cannot tear it down until you name it. If you’re serious, I highly recommend Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods.

 

Let’s be honest December 17, 2009

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 3:46 am
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Giving you some more link love today.  Lots going on in these parts as I scurry around creating Christmas for my family while trying to experience it myself.  Good stuff, some bad stuff.  Today I was blessed to be a part of a shoe giveaway through Newspring Church.  We put brand new shoes and socks on 431 students feet.  So fun and such a blessing to me.  We did it fairly namelessly which is cool too, if that makes any sense.  Prayin’ Jesus gets all that glory.  Lots of little kid smiles.

Certainly made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I’m needing that right now.  I have a couple of friends that are really hurting right now and as tough as I am, I hurt along with them.  Wrestling with how to truly love and deal with compromise.  I tend to see things pretty black and white/right and wrong.  How that translates to relationships that include brokenness and sin and accountability and truth…I don’t know.

Read this verse today that was encouraging though.

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. (The Message) 2 Cor. 1:3-4

And then had a few minutes to read blogs and came upon this.  I appreciated it and thought you might too.  So here you go… meet Sarah Markley.  She has an incredible story that she tells here in transparency with brave, brute honesty.