Friday, August 21, 2015

Not "Good Enough"

For those of you who have kids, have you ever felt the weight of not feeling “good enough” when it comes to parenting?  Some times I feel like a part-time parent.  My husband is amazing and an incredible dad, but mom is always sick. 

Often I feel like my best effort will never measure up to what all of the amazing “Suzie Home-makers” are doing and my kids are missing out.

The house is dirty more often than not.  The laundry struggles to get finished.  It gets stuck in either the washer or dryer all too often waiting for a transfer.    The rest of the clothes are piled up on the couch in pretty stacks ready to be put away.  The dishes are the same… stuck in the sink or the dishwasher.   The dust rarely gets dusted and the floors are full of crumbles of dirt waiting to be swept up.

My boys are not greeted with home made treats and sweet lemonade when they arrive home from school.  Meals are not all home made from scratch.  There is not always a main course, several side dishes, and a dessert to follow.  We eat a lot on the go and are many times are left to make a meal of our own choosing.

Lectures and life lessons are shared on the fly mostly in the car.  Sometimes I feel we are too strict on some things and not strict enough on others.  Either way, we disappoint.   I nag more than I lovingly encourage and get frustrated more than not.  Parenting is hard work.  It is not for the faint-hearted.

Parenting is difficult, rewarding, exhausting, fulfilling, frustrating, and life-changing! 
My little bit I can give, added to my husbands best efforts, plus God’s wisdom and guidance along the way is the “just enough” we need to see us through.

I remember a few years after we first got married discussing with my husband about the possibility of having kids.  I wanted to wait.  He said, “Why?”  I was afraid God hadn’t worked on me enough yet.  I still had a lot of personal baggage I needed to get rid of before I could be a good mom.  I didn’t want to “mess” my kids up.  I told my husband I would pray about it.   Later, I felt God speaking to my heart that we weren’t alone in parenting.  God was with us.  He was there to assist us all along the way, all we had to do was ask. 

For some reason I thought I had to be “good enough” before I became a parent.  I never factored in the fact that God could still make improvements in me all along the way.

Isn’t that what we do with our relationship with God some times?  We disqualify ourselves because we don’t think we are “good enough”.  We don’t feel we measure up with everyone else.  “They” pray MORE, read their Bible’s MORE, shine brighter for God MORE, and I’m just not even in the same league spiritually.

When in all actuality, God just wants us to spend time with us.  He is madly in love with us and savors every moment we have together.  It’s not a competition to Him.  It’s a personal relationship He wants to build with us… daily.

There may be times in our relationship that God may ask us to do things we don’t necessarily feel qualified to do.  Don’t panic!   Even though we may be able to think of scores of others who would be more qualified, trust Him and remember…

“God promises to qualify us for whatever He has called us to do.”

The disciples in the Bible were a perfect picture of a group of UN-qualified people, yet God chose them.  Look at what Paul has to say about it in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

“I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (MSG)

God doesn’t need anyone else if He has called you, friend.  YOU are His perfect pick.  When the panic starts to wash over you and you begin to doubt all of your abilities, choose to trust Him.

If He made the stars in the sky, knows all the hairs on my head, and hears every cry of my heart then I have to believe that He can do what He needs to do in me to prepare me for whatever He has called me to do. That goes for you too friend.  He is trustworthy.

I remember in some of my sickest moments with this dreaded autoimmune disease wondering if my boys would some day grow up with out a mom.  It hurt me to think about, but I felt they were lacking so much of my attention.  My best effort seemed so small, but as I got stronger I tried to do more.

I know at times my little bit seems insignificant, but added with God’s wisdom and guidance I pray it is very significant.  I am planting nuggets of truth in the hearts and lives of my kids daily that will last a lifetime.

We pray together several times a day… on the drive to school, over food, before bed, and randomly as needs come up on the spot. 

I tell them I love them several times a day and give them hugs and kisses secretly at home where their friends won’t see and embarrass them.

My husband and I try to model a godly marriage before them.  Their response generally is turning their heads, closing their eyes, or shouting out to knock it off, but I know secretly they are learning… taking it all in for future reference.

I know we are doing a lot of good when it comes to parenting, but sometimes I just don’t feel “good enough”.  I’m sure some of you are there with me right now.  Don’t give up or disqualify yourself.  God is waiting for you to ask for His assistance.  He has been my greatest source of strength in some of my darkest hours. 

What better person to help us in this parenting endeavor, but perhaps the best dad ever in the whole wide world.  I think He has quite a bit of experience and expertise in this area that He might be able to share with us.  I am so thankful that my husband and I are not alone in this.  God is aware, involved, and assisting us all along the way.  Thank Heavens!
My husband and I are seeking Gods direction every step of the way with this parenting thing.  Some people may not agree with our decisions or even our parenting style at times, but regardless of that, we are choosing to respond by God’s leading.

Yes, I may fail at times with my kids, I may be too strict or not strict enough, I may lovingly DIS-courage my kids and even disappoint them at times, but if nothing else they know we love them. 

Hopefully my little bit, with my husband’s best efforts, with God’s guidance, will make a HUGE impact on my boys.  We love them dearly.

Living to leave a legacy,

Sunday, August 2, 2015

"Spiritual Alignment"

Have you ever felt like the demands of life were screaming out at you from the minute you got up in the morning until you dropped that night for bed?  I have!  Sometimes these “said” demands even invade my dreams.  Responsibilities to keep, errands to run, things to do, events to attend, house to clean, ahhhhh…. It’s always never ending.

I know that just a moment in His presence can bring peace to the storms of my life, but I get all caught up in the whirlwind of “busyness.”   That’s my Kryptonite.  Once I get busy I don’t know how to slow down or which item to cut off of my “to do” list.  They all seem oh so important at the moment…. or so it seems.

Recently I decided enough was enough.  When my kids were younger I had a “secret place” I would go to get alone with God.  Sometimes it felt like it was my only place to be with Him.  Life was loud, messy, and full of obligations with my little ones gathered around my feet each day from morning to night. 

 Where was this “secret place” you may wonder?  Well… it was a place everyone goes, but few see the golden opportunity before them as I did.  Some go every other day, while others are lucky if they visit it weekly.  For me it was a daily thing.  My secret place was… the SHOWER.  That might sound silly to some of you, but it was my only quiet place for the most part during this season of my life. 

I would steal away moments during my boys’ naps or when my husband got home from work.  The door locked so the boys couldn’t get in and if they knocked continuously eventually my husband would pull them away.  It was my sanctuary… my time to wash away the worries of that day and focus my attention on God.  I needed Him so desperately.  I couldn’t do this “mom thing” without Him or this “wife thing” and a million other things.  He was the secret source of strength that I tapped into each day.

Don’t get me wrong, I did pray.  I threw up loads of prayers all day long as I chased after little boys and cleaned up their messes.  But, it just wasn’t the same as that special time in my “secret place”.   There I could focus, really talk to God, sing worship songs, THINK, ask for wisdom which I needed A LOT of and soak in His presence.  It was refreshing.

My “secret place” was my place to reconnect with God daily.  Your “secret place” might look different than mine.  I know over the years my “secret place” has changed.  Some popular places I have heard that others have used have been: in the car, on walks or runs, on their back porch, in a special chair, or sitting in a quiet room. 

The place doesn’t matter.  It’s whatever works for you.  What matters most is that you have a “secret place” somewhere and at some time each day.  We need Him desperately friends.  We need His strength, peace, joy, His wisdom, anointing, and so much more.

In this new season of my life, I must admit I have struggled to find a new “secret place” for me.  This has made it hard for me to have a routine and really connect with God like I want to each day.  Recently I decided enough was enough.   Everything around me was distracting me so I went to my old “secret place” and poured my heart out to God.  Yep, it was the shower.  I needed “Spiritual Alignment”.  My heart and life needed adjusted to focus more on Him.

Have you ever driven a car where the alignment was off?  Things just didn’t feel right.  It wasn’t a smooth ride anymore.  It felt somewhat off kilter and you didn’t know how to fix it.  Alignment!  It’s an easy fix for any tire shop mechanic, but most people wait until things get really rocky before they ever take it in to be fixed. 

I remember one time our car was really bad.  There was a really loud knocking every time I drove it.  It kind of freaked me out.  It wasn’t until we got new tires that it finally went away.  I thought it was the “new” tires that fixed everything, but actually it was the alignment that made everything right.

Sometimes, when we don’t allow God to have first place in our hearts and lives our “Spiritual Alignment” can get off.  Things can start to feel funny, maybe even a little rocky.  We may wonder what is wrong, but not quite know what to do.  If you are feeling like you have some alignment issues, I may have some ideas to help you out.

Colossians 3:1-2 says this…

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.” (MSG)

Another version says it like this…

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (NIV)

When we take time to settle our hearts and minds on God, He brings perspective.  His perspective!  Here are some things you can do as you prepare to seek “Spiritual Alignment.”

  1. Set an appointment with God
Whether it is an old spot or a new one, find a “secret place” to meet with God.  Choose a location and time where you can give Him your complete attention. 

      2Set all distractions aside
Push everything aside that might distract you during this time.  Set your heart and attention on Him completely.  Do what it takes to keep from being distracted.  Shut off all media devices for awhile and focus on Him.  Put the phone on vibrate, turn the television off, sit in a quiet place or play some God-focused music.   The point is to FOCUS completely on God and your relationship with Him during this time.  Don’t let anything distract you!

  1.  Pursue Him passionately
Pour your heart out to God.  Share the good, bad, and the ugly.  Be real with Him and when you are all done sharing with Him, take a few moments to listen to what God might want to share with you.  When we draw close to God, He promises to draw close to us. (James 4:8).

  1. Read His Word
Take time to read the Bible and allow God’s word to speak to you.  Whether it is a verse, a paragraph or a chapter… get the Word of God inside of you.  It is spiritual food for your soul.  Did you know that God uses His word to speak to us too?  If you don’t know where to start, read a Proverb a day or begin in the book of John.  When we read God’s word and hide it in our hearts, it protects us from making bad choices.  Strengthen your spiritual body today and take time to read His Word.

Psalm 119:11 says…
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Take time to connect with God today.  As you survey your life (the good, bad, and ugly) allow Him to bring perspective.  When we allow God full access to our lives and permission to adjust our course things will begin to change (and for the better).  Spiritual Alignment.  Will you set your heart and mind on Him today?

My prayer during this new season of my life has been this…

God I give You my life.  Please take complete control.  I don’t want my will, but Your will to be done.  I know You have a purpose for my life and an amazing plan for the future.  Lord, please help me to trust You with the details. 

God I am sorry that all too often I get all wrapped up in the busyness of life.  I know they may not be all bad things I am doing.  Many of these things are me being busy for You.  But I know you don’t care as much about me doing things for YOU, as me spending time with YOU. 

God, please give me a fresh perspective.  I want to walk in step with you.  I need You God.  I can’t do life without You.  Life is hard.  Marriage is hard.  Parenting is hard.  People are hurtful and difficult.  God, please help me to seek your wisdom daily.  Please saturate me in Your presence each day, so I react in Your character.  I want to reflect you well in all that I do… and just as much at home as I do in the world.  Shine through me brightly Jesus.

God, please help me to find a new and special “secret place”.  Help me to become hungry for Your Word and thirsty for your presence… and in this new season of my life may I experience You in ways like I never have before.   I can’t wait to see all that You have in store for me.   I love You Jesus!

I pray that as you pursue Him passionately, dig into His Word, and set all distractions aside that you will meet God in mighty ways in your "secret place"... wherever that might be.

Living to leave a legacy,