Calm before the storm

Sometimes I can just sense it coming. I get little whispers that tell me that I am being complacent. That I’m starting to slip.

I have recently decided that I would try a different eating plan that goes with the online Bible study (The Lord’s Table) that I am doing. You see, they offer two different eating plans. One is a routine of types of eating (normal day, 1/2 portion day, liquids only day, fasting day) and the other is about only eating when your stomach growls.

I have clung to the “stomach growling” version of the eating plan because it had worked for me in the past when I was participating in the Weigh Down Workshop (prior to all the craziness…but that’s another story…). Plus, I seriously did NOT want to think about fasting. It would put me into a panic.

But this week I changed my mind. I realized that I was not truly committing myself to the method of eating that I had chosen and was living that insanity of expecting change without actually taking any steps of action.

So, long story short, I fasted on Tuesday. It was a wonderful and difficult day. It felt like God and I had a secret. I was determined not to let anyone know what I was doing (mostly because that’s a directive in scripture) so I spend the day doing a whole lot of praying. It’s amazing how much mental energy you have when you don’t let yourself eat habitually!

So, today was back to “normal”. It was almost a let-down. But now I have this strange feeling that I am opening myself up to wonderful things — increased interaction with God – but I am also afraid that I am opening myself up to additional struggles and temptations.

Tonight over on The Laundry Alternative, I read this post, where Elisa prompted me to think about my “theme verse”.

And this is what I have chosen:

O [my] God, won’t you stop them? [I am] powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack [me]. [I] do not know what to do, but [I am] looking to you for help. 2 Chronicles 20:12

You see, I want to be the one to do it. I want to have the control. I want to be the one who wins. I want to be competent and useful and in charge. But I’m not God. And until I truly get that, and look to Him for help, I’m not going to be able to see that I truly am powerless against not only my own flesh, but “against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Father, my eyes are on You. Forgive me for trying to take power that is not mine. Keep me humble. Keep me serving. Fill my heart with love for not only my loved ones but also for the unlovable. Forgive my presumption to plan my life out with the idea that I am in control. Show me the value and blessings that each and every day bring. Help me not to lose sight of individual moments. Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, for keeping after me, for pursing me, for not letting this lost sheep be astray for too long. Amen

One Thousand Gifts – Part 22

  • 208. A new day of life
  • 209. Hot applesauce on peanut butter toast
  • 210. Peeks of sunshine first thing in the morning
  • 211. A full book list, just waiting for me
  • 212. The blessing of being able to work from home
  • 213. Our good health
  • 214. Diet Sprite
  • 215. A renewed Spirit
  • 216. My beloved husband, a hard-working man of integrity, and a dedicated father

One Thousand Gifts – Part 21

  • 202. Feeling pain so that I can understand why I am not to hurt others
  • 203. Naptime to restore a little bit of a mommy’s sanity
  • 204. The reasonable and loving words of another blogger on an issue that has plagued me.
  • 205. The ability to order pizza online
  • 206. Online friends
  • 207. J4 & J5

I am a seeker, and a contemplator

I’m not new to Christianity. I was born and raised Seventh-Day Adventist. We have been accused of being a cult from time to time. I think it’s because SDAs are weird in that they go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday. They are vegetarian by nature. No drinking, no smoking, no jewelry, etc., etc. (Yes, I switch from we to they when it’s not so nice…)

What I am new to is the internet world and the mass quantities of information it carries for those who want to know more. I am new to choosing to seek out God wherever I can find Him. I am new to reading mommy blogs and Christian women blogs.

I stepped out of the SDA circle for several years. First, I stopped going to church. Then I drifted from personal Bible study. But God chased after me and led me back. My path back was via a Sunday non-denominational church. They were warm and friendly and non-judgmental. They were everything about Christ that I didn’t know. They were about grace and love, not law and regulations.

Then after the birth of my son, I drifted once again. Lost touch with my small group. Got wrapped up in the exhaustion of being a Work At Home Mom.

But God keeps calling. So I read. I study. I learn. I pray. I seek. I contemplate.

Recently, the non-denom church I attended came under attack by a mommy blogger I read. [Edited to add that I guess I already ranted on this here.] It turns out that they are being grouped under this new umbrella called “Contemplative Spirituality”. I was referred to a website that is a “watchgroup” for this sort of thing. They even grouped Beth Moore into this category.

I’m confused. The intensity with which I am seeing people “cast stones” scares me. Where is the love in all of this? Where is the Christlike unity? It is SO much easier for us to look at someone else and say “What you’re doing is WRONG.” We are ALL the body of Christ. We shouldn’t be dividing ourselves further and further into factions and sub-factions. We should be embracing each other and building each other up.

It would be so much easier for me to just leave. I don’t like arguments and disagreements. I absolutely HATE these kinds of heated discussions that seem more about destroying and criticizing rather than about teaching or helping. Growing up I had (and still have) family members that just THRIVED on the thrill of the argument and I would leave the room every single time. If you come at me in an attack, I will go away. I have a particularly strong fight or flight instinct and I will leave, but if cornered, will fight to the death. (Or more accurately, to the tears…!)

So, what is my point this evening? What I want to know is how can people condemn a church that was a tool in God’s hand that guided me back to Him? And how can people rage and condemn a practice of prayer that requires the person praying to stop and listen?

I don’t want to condemn them either. What I want to know is are they right or are they wrong? Or can they be both? What is God’s will for me in relation to these factions that are growing just among my beloved mommy bloggers? Stop reading because they hurt me to hear such anger and condemnation? Or continue to immerse myself in the debate so I may become educated and come to my own understanding in the matter.

Accept Christians who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong… Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should… In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. Each person should have a personal conviction about this matter… So why do you condemn another Christian? Why do you look down on another Christian? Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God… Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God. So don’t condemn each other anymore. Decide to live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian’s path… For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God. And other people will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. [Excerpts from Romans 14]

Ultimately, I must apply this to myself. I don’t want to condemn the condemners. I want to build up. So, to do that, do I stay or do I go? I believe I will stay, but will speak only when God directs. I know he wants me to be more involved. I’m a very quiet person. I don’t often speak or share my beliefs. I don’t want to be passive any more.

Unseal my lips, O Lord, that I may praise you…
Psalm 51:15

One Thousand Gifts – Part 20

  • 194. An evening where my husband works late, to make me realize just how fortunate I am to have him around as much as I do
  • 195. Helping J5 do somersaults onto his Thomas chair
  • 196. Having a friend call me out of the blue to tell me she heard something in a book on CD that she knew I would enjoy
  • 197. Going to bed early
  • 198. Little tiny socks mixed in with mommy & daddy’s laundry
  • 199. Hot “Sleepytime” tea
  • 200. A warm home
  • 201. A sleeping child

Stiff Necked Ox

I listen to Beth Moore’s Living Proof weekly Bible study here.

The study called “Building New Walls – 6”, for Monday, January 22.

Wow. I got a word picture of myself as a stubborn, powerful, stiff-necked ox that just resounded with me. It isn’t until I submit to Christ’s yoke that I become useful.

Useful. This is what I want to be most in life. It’s what I hope to teach J5. J5 learns about it almost daily by watching Thomas, he learns about being a “really useful engine”.

Why do I fight the yoke so often?

Freedom and a new start

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (John 8:36)

This is the verse that came to mind this morning as I prayed in bed for God’s strength to get out of bed. It’s the only thing that gave me hope.

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, vs. 16–for He breaks down the gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron” (Psalm 107:13-16)

From my TLT study this morning. Praise God. He knew exactly what I needed to hear. I was so afraid my rebellion would make me unsavable:

Salvation is for those who have rebelled, those who have gone against the teaching of God’s Word, those who have been in prison to sin.

That’s me! Salvation is for me.

One Thousand Gifts – Part 19

  • 185. A merciful God
  • 186. God’s way of putting the right scripture in front of me when I beg for his help
  • 187. Jack crawling and wriggling around the play yard in his stripey footie pajamas
  • 188. The blessing (and burden) of working from home
  • 189. New mercies every morning
  • 190. IM to keep me connected with my coworkers
  • 191. Sunshine – when it comes, even for a few minutes
  • 192. Hope
  • 193. Forgiveness

I’ve screwed up…

Ok, how do you recover from complete and willful sin? That was my day and now I am sitting here not sure what to do. I am so frustrated with myself. I don’t know how many more times I can do this before my heart just crusts over and I’m stuck in my sin.

I ate the way I wanted to today, not the way God wants me to. I had a few moments where I was aware of my choice in front of me. And to quote the knight guarding the grail…I “chose poorly…”

I have still read my Bible in the morning, but that’s all. I haven’t done my TLT study in several days. My weight was going down, so I got proud and busy. This morning it was all the way back up.

I took J5 to Sabbath School yesterday. It was a nice time. I think I’ll go back again next week. It was hard though. I got there at 9:30 AM. They start with songs up in the sanctuary, then break into classes after that. There was a woman playing the guitar and a man leading the songs. There were about 15 people there. It was so pitiful. I sang my heart out. Ended up getting the attention of one woman. She said something in my direction about a “future song leader”. That scared me. Made me feel like the church is struggling.

I was only there for Sabbath School, so I have no idea how the minister is, nor how actual church attendance is. There were about 6 other children J5’s age in Cradle Roll. It was nice because they sang some of the old songs I remember. It was good for J5 to be around other children and be in a class setting.

I just don’t know.

And now that I’ve gone and ONCE AGAIN chosen food over God…I don’t even feel like I can ask Him for help. Why do I, time after time, fail God?

Book Meme

My bloggy friend Janis, over at Dandelion Mama, tagged me by default (as a reader of her blog), to do this Book Meme:

  1. Grab the book closest to you.
  2. Open to page 123, go down to the 4th sentence.
  3. Post the text of the following 3 sentences on your blog.
  4. Name the author and book title.
  5. Tag 3 people to do the same.

So here goes:

“The same instructions and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigners living among you. The Lord also said to Moses at this time, “Give the people of Israel the following instructions: ‘When you arrive in the land where I am taking you, you will eat from the crops that grow there. But you must set some aside as a gift to the Lord.”

That was from the Bible – Numbers 15:16-19.

I don’t have many really close blogging friends to tag, but I’ll throw out a couple names anyway – Amy and Shannon (if you’ve started your Customer Service tales blog).