Yes

It’s funny how sometimes when you’re in the midst of thinking you just can’t continue with the task you’ve been given, God sends people to you to remind you of his power and grace.  That has been most of this week for me and I am so thankful.

“Yes” by Skekinah Glory playing in my head all week has been another way God has kept my mind on his will.  It has been a blessing this week.  I hope it blesses someone else.

 

 

 

Psalm 40:8

I take joy in doing your will, my God,
    for your instructions are written on my heart.

Psalm 40:8

 

Lord, this is what I want.  Give me the joy that comes from doing your will.  Amen.

Habakkuk 2:1-5

I will stand at my watchpost,

and station myself on the rampart;

I will keep watch to see what he

will say to me,

and what he will answer concerning my complaint.

Then the Lord answered me and said;

Write the vision;

make it plain on tablets,

so that a runner may read it.

For there is still a vision for the appointed time;

it speaks of the end, and does

not lie.

If it seems to tarry, wait for it;

it will surely come, it will not delay.

Look at the proud!

Their spirit is not right in them,

but the righteous live by

their faith.

 

Moving Forward

My oldest two have been attending VBS at a friend’s church this week.  Tonight when they came home I asked, “What was the lesson today?”  After some back and forth with my son, who originally couldn’t remember, he finally answered, “Oh yeah! We talked about how to listen to God’s will.” Yep, that sounds about right.  That’s what I’ve been hearing every day this week.  I love God and his confirmation.  It just keeps coming.  God, help me to keep moving.

Conviction

A few nights ago, my heart was convicted during evening devotions with my older kids.  The devotion was taken from Exodus 16. The reading was about the Israelites in the wilderness. They were complaining against Moses and Aaron for leading them to the desert to starve.  The Lord heard their complaints and decided to send manna and quail.

As I was talking with my children, I asked if it reminded them of anything or anyone.  My oldest immediately admitted it reminded her of herself and how much she has complained about our move to Georgia.  I had to confess she was not alone.  I felt God speaking to me about my own complaints.  I have often thought of our move to Georgia as my desert place, and in that moment I felt the burden of my groaning.

In verse 8 Moses tells the Israelites, “Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.” OUCH!  I’ve spent the last couple of years complaining against my husband for bringing us here and the losses I felt we’ve endured.  God is really the one who brought us here, so my complaints have actually been against him. Wow! Did that make me pause.

Just like he provided for the Israelites needs, he has done the same for us.  He has provided and continues to provide new friends.  He has allowed us to continue homeschooling, and provided medications and special foods for my children.  Many things we never needed before he has provided and more.  We have not lacked in one need, yet I have complained incessantly about our new life here.  I have complained about HIS path and HIS plan for our lives instead of being content and thankful for his grace.  Worst of all, I have led my children down the path of discontentment instead of demonstrating gratefulness.

Even as God provided for the Israelites again and again, they failed to follow his instructions. Boy, that sounds familiar! He told them only to gather enough for their daily needs.  Some gathered more and found the next day that it had spoiled.  Seeing this the Lord responded, “How  long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions?” (Exodus 16:28)

How long will I refuse to change my attitude?  How long will I refuse to submit myself to the Lord’s instructions and my husband’s leadership?  How long will I refuse to forgive?  How long will I refuse to respect?  How long will I refuse to trust?

God has made it clear many times that I must change.  “The Israelites ate manna…until they came to a habitable land;…until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.”(Exodus 16:35)  They struggled a long time.  Lord, I’m tired of fighting your way.  I want to be at the border of my Canaan.  I know you have a Promised Land for me, if I will follow you and your commands.

Thank you for these words.  Here I am again asking for forgiveness.  Your ways are not my ways.  Your ways are so much better.  You have shown me that so many times.  Help me to release all the fears that have kept me from following your instructions.  I’m convicted. Now, I need to do something about it.

Blogger’s Recognition Award

blogger-recognition-award

I am honored to have been nominated by Tisha at J.O.Y.Full Inspirations for the Blogger’s Recognition Award.  She writes so beautifully and has such a sweet and encouraging spirit I am humbled that she would consider me.  I am thankful to have found her blog.  When reading her site it is obvious she is a woman after God’s own heart.  At J.O.Y.Full Inspirations she gives recipes and encouragement for living gluten free.  She knows first She has words of wisdom and inspiration for moms, homeschoolers, and families.  She has a gift with words that you won’t want to miss out on.  Please stop by her blog when you can.

In keeping with the tradition of the Bloggers Recognition Award, I hereby nominate the following 15 blogs who are deserving of an award for the efforts they put in each day and for sharing their journey, wisdom, and inspiring stories:

  1. Lynz Real Cooking
  2. Cooking Up the Pantry
  3. Dairy Free Kids
  4. Emerging Adult Eats
  5. A Homeschool Mom
  6. Beauty Beyond Bones
  7. With All My Affection
  8. Mrs. Twinkle
  9. Ice Cream Magazine
  10. Cooking Without Limits
  11. How to $tuff Your Pig
  12. RachelMankowitz
  13. Dine in My Kitchen
  14. Bunny Kitchen
  15. My Berkeley Bowl

I enjoy each of your blogs and am thankful to each of you for your support. These sites have great food, inspiring posts, and fun reading.  Please stop by and visit if you have a minute.

7 Things About Me:

As part of this award, I have to share 7 things about me…so here we go:

  1. This year marks 20 years that my husband and I have been together.  We’ll be married 18.  Boy has time flown by!
  2. We were married 8 years before we had our first child. We did not believe it was possible for us to have children, but God in his perfect timing.
  3. I am an only child and people find that interesting. Having 3 children now, I’m a fish out of water.
  4. I have my children hooked on cooking shows!  Sad, but true.
  5. I sing non-stop.  It’s a little embarrassing for my oldest when it happens in public.
  6. I LOVE that my husband hand picks music to play for me when he knows I’m in a bad mood, and the family dance parties that follow.
  7. Baking soothes me.

Thank you for taking the time to hang out, read, and for sharing your support.

 

Rules for Nominees:
  1. Thank the person that nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Nominate at least 15 bloggers of your choice. When considering a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award, keep in mind the quality of their writing, the uniqueness of their subject matter and the level of love displayed on the virtual page.
  3. Link your nominees and let them know about their nomination.
  4. Share seven facts about yourself.

About Mardi Gras…

Happy Mardi Gras ya’ll!

This has been my hardest Carnival Season to be away from New Orleans.  I haven’t lived in New Orleans in over 20 years, but so many family and friends returned home to celebrate, and I wanted to be there too. My children have fully embraced their Louisiana heritage and were almost as disappointed as I was.  Because they couldn’t share in the revelry in New Orleans, they decided to share some of the holiday with their CC classes.

I was really proud of my babies!  They told about the history and traditions of Mardi Gras and then shared one of our homemade King Cakes.  After the presentation, however, it made me sad to realize how many people outside of New Orleans really don’t know anything about the true meaning.  Many of the moms commented they had no idea it had Christian roots and thought it was merely a chance for drunken debauchery.

Many outside of Louisiana don’t realize it is a holiday that traces its origins back to medieval Europe and has been in America since 1699.  Many don’t realize Carnival Season begins with the celebration of the three Kings, or Magi, that visited Jesus after his birth on the Twelfth Night.  Or that is a family affair with parades and marching bands, tailgating and dancing, toys and coveted throws, parties, King Cake and lots of good food. All of that comes to an end on Mardi Gras Day.  A legal holiday in Louisiana since the 1800’s.

The kids and I talked a lot about what Mardi Gras meant to me growing up with people these last couple of weeks. Not just the fun, but also the feeling that we were preparing ourselves for Lent.  “What are you giving up for Lent?”, was a common question during Carnival Season.  I haven’t observed Lent myself in a few years, but all this explaining tugged on my heart.  Carnival addresses the carnal, the flesh, that Christians seek to subdue during Lent in honor of our Savior’s sacrifice.

I think it has particularly resonated with me this year because I’ve been struggling greatly with my flesh lately.  Anger, resentment, doubt, confusion, and lack of discipline have been thorns in my side that desperately need to be addressed.  I plan to observe Lent this season and it’s time of refinement.  I pray God will mold me as I seek to sacrifice, fast, and pray with a more specific focus.  I hope you all had a Happy Mardi Gras.  Here’s to Lent and a shinier you!

 “But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

 

Prayer for February 6, 2016

I wrote and prayed this prayer a few days ago, but I have been feeling a strong need to revisit these words everyday. It was a plea from the heart of a struggling homeschool mother for herself and her family, but we all struggle.  I’m going to keep praying this prayer.  I felt led to share it and so here it is.  May God use it to bless you too.

Lord,

Be with us today.  Help all of us to focus on you and your will for us today.  Help us, but me especially, to be content in the place you have us in right now.  Let me not miss out on the blessings you have for me today by focusing my attention on the things I don’t have.  Help me to stay in my lane and appreciate all the ways you are molding and growing me today.  Let my attitude be pleasant and my words be kind.  Help me to bridle this wild loose tongue of mine.  Be in my heart, so that my actions may be covered in your love.  Help me to grow in wisdom and discernment.  Teach me to be more organized, but help me to remember nothing is in my control.  And when I feel out of control, let me remember to reach for your hand because only you hold me and calm it all.

Amen

7/26

Today is my birthday!  All week, as the day drew nearer, my mind was focused more on what happened on this day two years ago than on this being my birthday. Two years ago today our lives changed.

Two years ago movers packed us up and moved us out of the home we had lived in for 12 and a half years.

The home we bought when we dreamed of starting a family.

The home with the empty rooms when we thought that dream wouldn’t come true.

The home whose rooms filled with and sheltered family after Hurricane Katrina.

The home where I brought my 3 unexpected blessings from the hospital.

The home where I cried for the one that didn’t.

The home I had lived in longer than any other place in my life…HOME

Who would have thought so much could have been wrapped up in a building?

But luckily God reminded me that 7/26 wasn’t just moving day.  It was “Promise Day”. We were leaving our home, moving to another career and state, and making changes that some of our friends and family thought were crazy.  Looking with the eyes of the world I might have to agree.  Add a baby. Cut a salary.  Usually the two don’t voluntarily go hand in hand.  But God had promised some things if we would obey. This was our chance to not just talk faith.  We were going to have to walk this thing out.

Today at church when the pastor’s sermon was titled “The Work of Faith”, I wasn’t surprised.  My heart had been expecting a word especially tailored for “Promise Day” and I gladly received it.

Faith is not an option. (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith has to be a lifestyle. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Faith requires action. (ex. Noah, Abraham, Jericho)

As I celebrate another year by God’s grace, I look forward to walking hand in hand with this amazing man with an amazing faith.  I look forward to seeing God’s promises revealed.  I look  forward to the legacy this faith walk will produce for my children.

Our HOME is in the Lord.  He provides room where my family can grow.  He provides shelter. He provides comfort. And his promises are always true.

Happy Promise Day!  Happy Birthday to me!

Playing in the Park-Two Different Worlds

I wrote this on my Facebook page on December 6, 2014.  My heart was so broken that day I could not contain my feelings of hurt, disappointment, and sadness.  It started a dialogue with many friends and for that I am grateful. With everything else that has been going on the last months and now the massacre in South Carolina that heartache is just as real as ever.

I am again having more difficult conversations with my children that I just don’t have the answers for, but I am willing to dialogue. I can’t live in denial and pretend it’s not there.  My reality stares me in the face every time I look in the mirror.  I leave my children vulnerable if I’m not willing to face these events.

Tonight, while looking at my Facebook feed, I was surprised shocked by how many of my Christian Facebook friends had posted articles on how to deal with the Supreme Court decision about gay marriage, but how many seemed to stay silent in response to the events in South Carolina last week. I am not saying South Carolina didn’t receive any commentary, but it was usually a quick caption, “Pray for South Carolina”.  It was nothing that addressed the hate that led to the killings or anything that talked about how to deal with healing our country of the hate that pervades it.

Last night, I listened to a video of a pastor who was not afraid to try and begin to process these things out loud.  It was a white pastor who stated a friend of his told him, the silence of his Christian friends was deafening about the things going on in this country.  I understood what he was saying, but today that silence grew even louder for me. I believe silence comes many times because people don’t know what to say or do, but sometimes not saying anything feels like you’re accepting things as the way of the world. I’m a talker and think it can always be a first step.

I’m including the post from December because unfortunately, that hurt is still fresh.  I hope someone else can benefit from the raw emotions I felt that day and be brave enough to try to learn about the experiences of someone living in a world different from their own.

On my way home just now, I saw 3 boys in the park playing.My oldest from the backseat says, “Mommy those boys have a rifle”. I replied, “I know. It’s a toy”.  Her response, “That looks dangerous.” I said, “It would be more dangerous for you and your brother.”

She and her brother obviously had no idea what I meant. So, I told them the story of the 12 year old boy shot by police officers while playing with a toy gun. I explained the phone call to the police and tried to answer as many of their confused questions as I could. But in the end I had to be completely honest and tell my 8 year old and my soon to be 6 year old that this country, this world, will always be a lot more dangerous for them than it is for many of their friends because of the color of their skin. I told them there are things I will have to teach them to keep them as safe as possible that many of their friends will never have to learn. I did not cry outwardly, but inside I am sobbing!

There is a serious disconnect that needs to be fixed in this country. No one can understand what it’s like to walk in this skin unless you’ve had to do it. No one can understand the heartache and the fear for your children many African American parents deal with each and every day, but you can try to understand if you are willing to hear things that may make you uncomfortable.

If you are my friend and I am the only African American you know, I am opening the floor for questions. Ask me about my experiences with racism. Ask me how old I was when I had to learn things were different for me. Ask me about the culture shock I experienced when I went away to college. Ask me what is was like to be forced to have a conversation with my children about their skin. I am not an expert on African Americans in this country, but I have a lot of personal experiences that may add a face to the indignities that you’ve been hearing about and I’m willing to share because this is just becoming too much. We have to talk about this stuff for the sake of my children and yours. Ask the difficult questions.

God uses those difficult situations to help us grow.