At The Cottage Background

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For You.

I don't usually do "fly by" posts.... meaning not much thought or prayer going into them for days on end.
But today I felt like this fly by is important. I feel like there may be some who are in desperate need of hearing something that we all need to hear. Something that goes against the lies that are being spoken in our ears on a daily basis.
Let me give you a quick back story.....

On Sunday a man from our church walked up to my daughter and pulled her aside after church.
She thought he had a word for her, so as she prepared herself for it (because she has been praying for one for a while), he surprised her with two tickets to a concert that he couldn't make use of. As she shared with me what he said to her and the fact that he just handed her these amazing tickets to a well known, and well loved band, she said that she just stood there in shock. "I thought he was going to give me a word from God. I was surprised that he was asking if I wanted tickets to a concert."
I just sat and listened. I thoughtfully prayed for a moment.... and my response was this;
"First of all, what a gift! And second, you never know... God may still give you that word at the concert."
I began to pray for just that.

Fast forward to yesterday.
As we drove to our doctor appointment she shared.....
"Mom. I have to play this song for you that I heard at the concert."
And she did.
And as the words played out.... my eyes began to fill with tears.
This was her word.
He did it.
I am tearing up even now as I sit re-listening to the words, letting them wash over me.
I can tell her a million times. I can pray it over and over again. But sometimes... it takes a message from the "guest speaker" to get it through.
The fact that God used a means that seems so irregular and so outside our box just makes me want to stand in more amazement of Him.

So here it is.
Because as I sat and listened to this song over and over yesterday I felt impressed with something....
Someone out there needs to here this. Today. Right now. It wasn't just for my precious daughter.
I have posted it here for you to hear it too.

The words of this song were written for the daughters of the lead singer of Mercy Me.
He wrote it for them, and then realized that it was for everyone.
Man and woman.
We all struggle with the complexities of needing and wanting to be loved.

NO ONE can ever love you the way God can. The way He does.
I pray that you will feel it.... and know it. Because it is the truth.

The Truth.....

You are loved by the One who loves bigger and better than your wildest dreams.
He is the fulfiller of dreams. He is the One who redeems your life from the pit.
He is the One who hold you tenderly and can take more care of your heart better than anyone. Because He created it. He created you.
My heart is overcome with the huge revelation of it.
I hope your heart will be too. And that today.... you won't walk around wondering why....
Why you were born, and if there really is someone out there who loves you like your heart and soul yearns for.... begs for.... aches for.

If you only knew......

If you only knew how much.

I am praying for you today.... whoever you are.... even if it is only you.

Even if it is only for you.

You are important... enough for God to lay you on my heart. One that I don't even know. Or maybe I do.... but I don't know this. What you are going through, and what is burning deep in your heart.
But HE does.

He knows.
And He cares.
He loves you.

He loves you.

You ARE beautiful.

And He wanted you to know today that this, this is how He feels about you. This is how He sees you.
Walk with Him today. Surrender your heart today. He is the most tender of lovers... the strongest of friends... He is Abba. He is everything that you need.

Everything.... and so much more.


Thursday, September 23, 2010


I have realized something over the last few days.....
A heart mended is important. But a heart being mended is far better.

Everything is fresh.
The realization of sin, healing, and redemption is more new than old.
The implication of being rescued brings humbling, or it should, of who we are in and of ourselves and who God is.
The deep pressing need of  God, the only One who can fill that need and longing, is ever present.
Not wanting to compromise or disappoint Him becomes relevant to every moment in life, and every decision.
Loving Him becomes more important than anything else motivating us to consider more fully others around us and the implications of our interactions on a deeper level.

I am in a study of Jeremiah right now, and let me tell you, it is intense.
It is so much more than just a study for me.
I feel like I can relate to this man.
His heart for a people so lost, so deceived, and so broken, is something that I relate to on such a deep deep level.
The indignation that rises up in him, and then the realization that he is no better off as a  human being is so profound to me.
His deep conviction to serve God and love Him, even when He was hurting... broken, gives me hope and something to hold onto.
He is real. And He wasn't afraid to be honest.
The study has re-highlighted to me God's detest for sin and compromise in the lives of His children.
I am in this state of humbleness, repentance, and longing to want Him more than my own way.
My conception of having to have it together, not showing weakness or not allowing myself to be weak so that I can serve God, or do whatever it is I feel called to, has been so misguided.
My perception that although being broken before God is good, but being broken in the eyes of man is not good, has been off.
God used Jeremiah in his inadequacies and weaknesses, and allowed him to speak to a nation on His behalf.

When we are broken, we are vulnerable and hopefully willing to see our mistakes and own up to them.
We are open to allowing God's correction and ultimately then walking in the rightness that He has called us all to.
When we are broken, we are pliable.
And when we are broken we are unable to contain enough of "us" that it keeps spilling out all over the place so that He can pick up what needs to be discarded and only keep what is of lasting value.

I feel like we have been trying to put on Him our own definitions of who He is or what He thinks and expects from us, so that we can feel comfortable about whatever it is we are doing, or what we have chosen to think or believe.
But He is God.
He has already told us who He is. And what He expects from us.
The problem is, is that we have allowed the worlds definitions of what our lives should be or how they should look to overshadow and pollute what has always been God's standard for living. And it has never included compromise.

Instead of thinking that we know what He thinks based on our limited experiences, and trust me, just being man limits us already, we need to own up to the fact that we have been trying to excuse our sin and fit in with the world all the while professing to be different than them.
I have noticed so many people who say they want more of God but aren't willing to listen to what He is saying out of fear that what He is asking it too much to give. Too uncomfortable for our liking.

I don't like feeling broken anymore than the next guy, but I have been alerted to my state of being when I take a little break from being totally surrendered, and it is not pretty.
It is like dirty rags dipped in worldly viewpoints and immersed in compromise.
We can paint the water and try and make it smell nicer but the fact that the water is filthy and contaminated won't change.
God is calling and has always called us to more. Not living by the standard of the world around us, but standing out as a beacon of light in a very dark and lost place.
Why then have we insisted on dirtying what He has made clean, dipping our white cloths that we traded in for our dirty ones when we accepted Christ's gift of salvation,  for the sake of fitting in with those that we were never meant to fit in with?

In order for me to hear Him more clearly, to live cleanly, I have to get rid of all the dirt that I allow into my life by choice on a daily basis.
I want Him to be the only One that I am listening to, and measuring myself up against.
The only One who guides me into where I need to go next.
I need to be honest and willing to say, "Okay Lord, I don't have it all together. I need Your help. I am weak and I am lost when I think I can do any of this by myself."
I need to be okay with not being okay.
Seeing not having it all pulled together as a good thing because it exposes my great need for Him and my great deficit without Him.
I have felt keenly the words of the prophet, Isaiah.....

"Then I said,
         "Woe is me, for I am ruined!
         Because I am a man of unclean lips,
         And I live among a people of unclean lips;
         For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Isaiah 6:5

I need to be, we need to be, in a state of constant recognition of who we are in light of Who He is.
Not implying that we are to walk around moping and shaking our heads. Or even in torment about how terrible we really are.
We need to be in awe of Him. Every single day. Every moment of those days.
The product of brokenness is wanting to be in pursuit of Him, not in pursuit of what might make us happy and won't last.

I don't ever want to forget my first love.
I don't ever want to live my life for myself.
We as a church, as a body, have deceived ourselves into thinking that we have to be comfortable and happy. We have adopted the worlds viewpoints and made them our own. Shading here and there so we can feel better about them.
I believe that God does want to bless us, that He loves us, and loves to give His children good things.
But I also believe that this is in the context of living a life in complete reverence to Him.
In constant recognition of Who He is.
In moment by moment surrender.

It is in my brokenness and surrender that He is able to move more freely and work not only on my behalf but on the behalf of those around me.
And what this requires... what this means for me... is allowing Him to use my broken and sometimes ugly pieces, and use them for His glory in a world that desperately needs to know that He is the only one who can really fix them at all.
If I am not willing to be broken
for Him, admit that I have compromised and chosen what He doesn't want for me, then I will miss out on the very thing that my heart burns for.

I don't know where this will find you today.
I don't even know if this will speak to you at all....
But I have committed myself to be true and honest to the One who is calling me. Who is calling all of us to more.
Truth doesn't always come in pretty packages. But it always comes with confirmation. And my hope is that you will pray for that.
I pray that the truths of God will continue to pierce our hearts and compel us to love and serve Him with more than we have ever sought to love and serve Him before.
My prayer for myself and for that of my family, is that we will take notice of our compromises and make God more important than wanting our own way. More than our own comforts.
Without conforming to the patterns of this world and walking the way they do. In the way that they do it.
I believe that this is a life long decision.
Choosing to love God more than loving ourselves.
And loving others, even those I don't necessarily want to love because of His love for us.

I pray that we all will desire to be more broken than fixed. More vulnerable and willing to admit that the only way that we can reach a lost and hurting world is to not live a life that mirrors theirs. And being willing to feel uncomfortable, even risking making others uncomfortable too, so that God can speak to us and move us in the direction that He has always intended for us to go. 

To be the people He has called us to be.
Doing it His way... and not ours.

.... until another tomorrow.


"16For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
         You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
         A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
18By Your favor do good to Zion;
         Build the walls of Jerusalem." Psalm 51:16-18

"25-32 I'm feeling terrible—I couldn't feel worse!
      Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
   When I told my story, you responded;
      train me well in your deep wisdom.
   Help me understand these things inside and out
      so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
   My sad life's dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
      build me up again by your Word.
   Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
      grace me with your clear revelation.
   I choose the true road to Somewhere,
      I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
   I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don't let me down!
   I'll run the course you lay out for me
      if you'll just show me how.

 33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
      so I can stay the course.
   Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
      my whole life one long, obedient response.
   Guide me down the road of your commandments;
      I love traveling this freeway!
   Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
      and not for piling up loot.
   Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
      invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
   Affirm your promises to me—
      promises made to all who fear you.
   Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
      but what you say is always so good.
   See how hungry I am for your counsel;
      preserve my life through your righteous ways!" 

Psalm 119:25-40 The Message Bible
(The New American Standard Bible version is another one of my favorite translations for this portion of scripture.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

thirty eight

I turn thirty eight tomorrow.
I know I know... to some, probably most, that is no big deal.
And it isn't so much that it is a big deal per say.... but in a way, it is. For me.
Every year around this time, my birthday, I get seriously emotional.
I do not like my birthday.
I never have. Not really. Even as a child.
I haven't figured this one out, or come to any conclusions... but I have noticed that as I have grown up, that I become very introspective around my birthday.

I think about where I have been... and where I hope to go.
I'm not sure why I got emotional when I was younger, although I can suppose why, but the recent thoughts are of a much deeper meaning.

It is easy to look back and see where I have been over the last  thirty eight years.
I have been to places that no one wants to go and places that stretch and defy the imaginations.
I have been to many places.
And I have so so many places that I still yet want to go.

I want to go where only my imaginations have yet to take me.
I want to meet people that I have only seen in my dreams.
I want to touch and feel the textures, and smell the smells of distant far off lands.
The wanderlust that I had as a child has intensified to  far greater degrees.
I have had dreams... I have seen visions....
I have felt great frustration not knowing if they are real, or if I will ever get to see what I have seen so clearly in my minds eyes.
I don't want to go merely to just "see" these things... although it holds a wonder all it's own... but I want to feel them.... the different cultures, the sense that I am doing something that I feel called to, even if I don't fully understand it yet.
I want to look into the eyes of a people that I don't  know. I want to get to know them.
I want to learn about who they are, where they come from, and where it is that they have their greatest needs.
I want to hold those that are hurting. I want to  hold out  hope to them and tell them that they are not forgotten.
I want my feet to touch the places that I have only read about. I want to see them for myself.

I don't want what I wanted as a youth.
I want more.
I used to dream about living in the big city, I used to imagine myself walking along the streets of New York, on my way to "somewhere", with purpose in my steps.
I was going to be a free lance journalist. Maybe even take up photography as a minor.
I wasn't sure what that would look like, I didn't know how it would be. But I knew that the major component was that I wasn't going to stay in just one place for long.
I knew that for sure.
I was banking on that. And I didn't want to be tied down to anything or anyone.
Isn't life funny?
Because I could have never imagined that twenty years ago that I would be sitting here, writing on a blog. Pouring out my heart, and revealing things that I normally would never choose to share. With anyone, much less a world that I can't see or even know who is seeing me.
I have always liked that I can be invisible if I want to. 
I know how to fade into a crowd. I know how to watch and see. I do not like being the focus of conversation... or the focus of anything.
This is not me.
It never has been. I don't think I will ever be comfortable with that thought at all.

But here I am.
On the eve of my birthday.... still dreaming big dreams. Still wanting impossible things.
And sharing it with the world.
I have this deep feeling that what God has called me to is so beyond me, that I can't even really conceive a picture of it.
It is more of a sense.
I had hoped that I would have been and "done" a little bit more by this time in my life.
Gone more places... seen more things.... and maybe even be in the thick of a ministry that I feel called to.

This is where my reflections have taken me this week.
This is where I have been living for the past few days.
My daughter humbled me the other day by her own blog post.
It made me think deeper and harder.... if that is even possible.
Her dad had done the same just a few days earlier.
I was going to write about that one alone... but I hadn't had the chance to get it down before life interfered.
They both reminded me, that although my life looks nothing like I imagined it to at this stage of my life, that I have been given infinitely so much more than  I could have ever dreamed....

I have a husband who loves me like no one ever has.
He looks at me in my ugliest moments and tells me I'm beautiful.
He surrenders to my heart and gets teary when I spill it all over his lap.
He wants desperately to give us what is seemingly impossible to give.
I love him so much for that.

I have three amazingly beautiful children.
And not just in reference to their appearences. Although, I think they are three of the most beautiful people I have ever met....
But they are beautiful on the insides.
They love people. They have hearts for the hurting, the broken, and the fallen.
They strive to live their lives out for the One that we have all surrendered our lives to.
They are unique in who they are. As people, and as individuals.
They stand out amongst their peers.
I could stand here and try to take credit for them.... but I can't.
They truly have been given to my husband and I straight from the hands of God.

None of them are perfect, but I love that about them too.
They are sarcastic, and loud.
They mess up my house, and keep me running in circles all the time.
They frustrate me to no end, and make me crazy at times.
They talk back and have required huge amounts of my self discipline.
They have and still do challenge me on so many levels.
And they have made me better than I could have ever hoped to be.
Better than I know I am all by myself.

I haven't yet given up on my dreams..... my hopes. Or my desire to serve God "outside" of my everyday life.
I still want more.....
Those places that I want to go. The things that I want to do, and feel called to.....
I still want all of it.
The difference now is this:
God has given me people who want it as badly as I do. My family.
The human beings who have come to define me in ways that are so outside of myself.
They now dream with me. Desire it for their own lives. 
They think bigger....  
Just like I do.


I don't think so.

I look forward to all the other things that God has for my family.
His promises endure.... even if life doesn't look like I thought it would.

So here is to another year.....
Of growth.
Of change.
Of unending circumstances that I am praying and waiting to see my God move in.
And here is to what is to come.
Here is to turning my focus from what I want.... to what He wants to do with it all.

With all of me.
Here is to more.

..... until another tomorrow.


p.s. God gave me this scripture through a word I was given when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.... I am still holding tight to it today.....

"Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;" Deuteronomy 7:9

My deepest prayer is that you know, or come to know, this God. The only God who can accomplish all of this... and so much more. He is the only God worth serving.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Uniquely Mine

They are mine.
They belong to me. And I to them.
Over the past few weeks..... months actually, there have been moments.... snippets of time, when I catch myself smiling.
We are always together.
Usually all crowded on our couch. One touching the other.... legs draped over a sister, arm slung around a shoulder.... or head resting on a lap.
And we are always mostly laughing.
Either at one or another.... at a joke my son just told, or at the wise cracks that flow freely out of my daughter's mouth. They are usually flying out of mine too.
We laugh at ourselves A LOT.
We have to.
Life is too complicated not to.... it can be too weighty if we don't.
Our laughter and time together lightens the loads.
It carries us to the next moments that we can be together. Like this. Just us.

We have fought hard to have this. My husband and I.
We didn't come from this. 
Our history doesn't include a lot of what we have striven for with our children.
When I look at him.... at us, I am reminded of this.
We have made our own mistakes. Fallen, and gotten back up.
Although there have been times that we have both wanted to give up. We haven't.
We have gone on, even when we are stumbling through, scraped up, bruised and broken.
And it has shaped us into who we are today. Who my family is.
We are special.

I know that none of this happened on it's own.
My husband and I can't really even take full credit. 
We are aware, fully and completely, Who we owe every laugh filled moment to.
Every precious smile. Every tender look.
The look on my oldest daughters face as she watches her sister, as I wait for the spontaneous giggle that I know is always forthcoming.
When I glance next at my son who's smile lights up my heart. His fathers dimple in his cheek... so much like him.
It is usually in that moment that I look up and see my husbands eyes on mine.... and the message that they send me.
My heart aches with the feel of it in an agonizingly sweet way.
We have shared so much.
Grown up together in so many ways.
And we have never stopped learning.
Learning that we don't have all the answers.
Learning that we are going to make mistakes. And trying hard not to kill ourselves over them.
Learning that it's okay to fall down once in a while. We just can't stay that way.
Learning that grace is far better to give each other than the harsh things that we pick up along the way.
Learning that no matter what we do, or what we may say, that the fact that God put us together... this family of ours, is meant to stay that way.
We are learning more and more that we need each other.
Not just for the self gratifications, or even for the knowing that we are not alone. 
But I need him to tell me. To remind me who I am. And why I am here. To show me that real love doesn't quit... or give up.
He needs me to show him that he is better than he thinks he is.
Stronger than he knows. More amazing with every passing day.
Our children need us to model for them what God's people should look like. 
Even when we make mistakes.
Especially when we make mistakes.
They need to see us running to the arms of our Heavenly Father.
They need to see the tear streaks running down our face.
They need to see Jesus as we serve one another. Love one another. And forgive each other.
They need so much.... and so often I feel incapable of giving it.

This brings me back to my point..... 
All of us are His.
Every moment is our gift from Him.
Even the moments that don't so much look like the gifts that I am asking for... or want.
He is everything to us.
And because of that, I believe that we are who we are.
That we are the family that we have become to be.... that we are still becoming.
None of this happened by accident.
None it from happenstance.

He chose us to be this way.
To be us.
To be together.
Every moment.
For all of time.
I am crying right now with the enormity of it all.
My treasures.
My gifts.
Everything else I will leave here.
But they get to come with me..... because they have all chosen the same path. Because we are all walking this journey together.
I am wondering if that is hitting you the way it does me right now.

I have asked for nothing more.... and nothing less.
And He has been so faithful to give it to me.

So you see.....
My family may not be the most amazing, the most beautiful, the most everything that anyone may define a family to be.
But we are us.... we are His... and we belong to each other.

I wouldn't trade that for the world.

.... util another tomorrow.


"Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." James 1:16-18

"As for man, his days are like grass;
         As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
         And its place acknowledges it no longer.
    But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
         And His righteousness to children's children,
    To those who keep His covenant
         And remember His precepts to do them." Psalm 103:15-18

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cleaning Up

This morning was a little crazy.
Not as crazy as most mornings go.
The first day of school usually isn't.
I had prepared well. The cloths were set out, the lunches started, and breakfast made the night before.
But it was a change from what has been our usual the past few months.
Late nights, late mornings.
Lounging and doing "whatever" or going where the wind blows us.
Today started with structure and purpose.
There was meaning to the day, and what we had to do today was already set for us.

This isn't a "bad" thing.
It is actually really good.
I look forward to new school years as that goes.... but I do love our summers.
But, as my husband has said before....."We can't stay in summer forever."

Wouldn't it be nice?
To be on vacation perpetually?
I know that this isn't practical.
We tend to get lazy on vacation.
I let myself relax. Kick back. Try to take it all in.
I get complacent.
If the house work doesn't get done right on Saturday... well.... oh well.
And if I didn't get to the store... we can just eat cereal for dinner... or better yet... just have ice cream!
I mean.... because, why not? It's summer.
Warm days and cool nights. Nowhere we have to be in the morning.
It's wonderful and so nice to just "be".

But I noticed a few things this last summer.....
We came off a particularly rough year. Actually "rough" is being nice.
It was tough and hard.... and I was so ready to do nothing.
And I did.
A whole lot of nothing.
I mean we did do some things.
Like visiting family and doing beach days.
We celebrated birthdays and laughed until our sides hurt.
But, and I am going to be really honest here, we watched way more T.V. than I normally like to do. I let my son play way more video games than I think I ever have his whole life.
We laid around so much that I got very very comfortable doing it.
"I need this break." , I told myself.
"I deserve this. I deserve to do nothing."

Of course, I know that this is a dangerous wave length to stay on for too long.
I mean, rest is good.... vacation even better. But laziness, not so good, And complacency.... not good at all.
Because I started to notice that I had begun to let the "do nothings" leak into other areas of my life.

"Hmmm.... I didn't get to my quiet time today. Oh well. God knows I love Him."
"Attitude? What attitude? I'm tired. Leave me alone."
"What do you mean I'm not being nice? I am always nice. I am allowed to be not nice once in a while."

Do you get my drift?
I hope so. Because I really don't want to lay out any more of this dirty laundry.
I know that He was still speaking to me in the midst of it.
I heard Him.
I just gave myself excuses for why I didn't need to listen right then.
I knew I would eventually.
I had to.
But when he re-spoke a word to me a few days ago.... I couldn't not listen anymore.
It was like suddenly realizing that I had been sleeping in dirty cloths.... and then taking a look around and seeing that there was a lot of dirty all around me.
How does that happen?
How does someone like me get to be someone that I only sort of recognize?
Unfortunately.... very very easy.
I have been trying hastily to pick it all back up again.

As I began to "pick up" over that last few days, figuratively and literally, things began to clear.
The clutter in my head began to give way to what is usually clean and tidy underneath.
And I allowed myself to accept, and see what God has been trying to tell me during my hiatus of always doing the right thing.
Don't get me wrong. I didn't do anything bad per say..... I just didn't keep myself in check like I know I should.
When my husband came home and had a bad day and maybe wasn't as nice as I would like him to be, I let it be known. And not nicely.
We have been huge grace givers over the last year. And for some reason, I just found really good reasons to just..... not. 
I realized something..... non grace giving is catching.
Pretty soon, when I needed it, he wasn't giving it.
And so the story goes.
You would think I would have learned this by now.
No smart comments.
Care before I react.
Well..... needless to say. I still have learning to do.
I got lazy.
I relaxed and let my guard down.

It was in this moment of "Oh Father.... I know. I am so sorry. What have I been doing? And thinking for that matter?", that He has had to remind me. Again.

"I am for you."
"I don't like when you mess up...get messy... you and I both know what needs to change."
"But I love you."
"Don't let your mistakes dictate how you think I feel about you."
"You need to stay close.... so you don't go far."

I know this stuff.
I know these truths.
I've written about them over and over again.
But my potential to make mistakes..... is huge.
My ability to mess things up.... pretty bankable.
And my  tendency to react first and not allow God to speak into my frustrating moment or situation.... standard operating procedure.

So why? Why does He still love me?
Why does He not give up?
He should you know.
He and I both know that I'm pretty assured to do it again.
But He does love me.
Me and my many many flaws. 
He doesn't like those things.
He guarantees to not leave me this way if I but follow after Him.
I never stop following....
But I do sit down once in a while.
I've talked about this kind of mentality. The whole, "Awe. I know it's wrong. But God will forgive me.", kind of thinking.
Although I wasn't necessarily saying this, I did give myself excuses for allowing myself to respond fleshy at times.
And it is when I caught myself  thinking that way more often that I finally listened to His increasingly louder still small voice.

Although it may be okay to trip up once in while..... and not that I think this is okay per say, but I know that God understands it. He understands us.....
It is not okay to make it a habit.
To make every word my own.
To allow myself to respond out of hurt or frustration instead of a heart out of love.
It is easy to do. The whole mess up thing. But it is not the right thing to do.

I am so thankful for grace.
I am so thankful that God doesn't like for me to get too dirty.
That He cares enough to clue me in when the stuff starts to pile up.
He loves me too much not to.
I can't tell you what that does for me.
It makes me want to get it together.
To clean up my act.
Tell my husband I'm sorry.
Give him the grace he deserves when he has that bad day, and tell him I love him instead of adding to his own mess.
It goes on and on.
Pretty soon, things start to look better.
I start to feel better.
And although a few lazy days may be okay.... it is not where I want to live.
As a matter of fact.... I don't think it is where anyone wants to live really.
And I know for sure that it is not the place that God has intended for us to reside in.

The place He has for us is much much better.
So no more lazy for me.
I am figuratively pulling up my boot straps and cinching on my belt.
The time to clean up my room is long overdue.
My hope is to make Him smile more at me.... instead of having to get after me. 
I love nothing more than to please Him. 
.....And I like to imagine that I make my Father smile.

....until another tomorrow.


"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." Titus 3:1-8 NIV

I also like the way the Message Bible says it.....

"It wasn't so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God's gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there's more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this." Titus 3:1-8 The Message Bible