Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Power of Praying Scripture

The Word. Although it seems we are most often encouraged to use it in the defensive sense, it is also a powerful, dangerous offensive (as in attack or assault) weapon to use against the enemy. Jesus showed us the defensive technique in Luke chapter 4 when he had his own tempting duel with Ole Slewfoot.

I've always used Scripture in prayer, but recently I've rolled up my sleeves and sharpened the edges of the blade, and it's been very encouraging to see the results. I'm going to be very open and transparent with you here (and maybe too personal in some people's opinion) but I felt a strong leading of the Lord for me to me share this in blog form.

As a mother and housewife, I often find myself stuck in the rut of repetition. I perform the same tasks over and over and sometimes it seems that I don't accomplish much more than the basic gotta-be-done chores. The beds get made, the floor gets swept, the laundry gets done. But those needful deep-cleaning tasks remain neglected and untouched.

To apply this spiritually, each day I make sure that my daily Bible reading and prayer time is marked off the list, but there are areas of struggle where I still have not had the breakthrough that I need. And I remain frustrated when the issue springs up and reminds me it's still there, hindering me and pulling me down. Just like the black-scuffed baseboards that scream, "paint me" (that's never been painted) and the dust on the wall-vent or the clutter in the closet. The longer I avoid it, the worse it gets and eventually I am so overwhelmed that I lose the courage to deal with it. I need something extra, a little "umph" to motivate me to punch through the barrier walls of my weaknesses.

I recently read a book called "The Excellent Wife" by Martha Peace, and one thing I liked about the book was how the author listed a chart with issues of marriage and corresponding Scripture that deals with each issue. So I took this an applied it to my own struggles, in an act of desperation:

1) The tongue. What more can I say? I talk waaay too much!

* Psalm 131:3, 4-- (3)Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. (4) Incline not my heart to any evil thing.....

* Prov 21:23 "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles."

* Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in the sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer."

*Proverbs 10:19 "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise."

2) Raising my voice at my children in frustration and anger. I pray every morning that God will give me a gentle spirit in dealing with and training my children, but sometimes, no matter how hard I try to supress it, the yeller in me comes out :). This leaves me feeling deeply ashamed and disappointed in myself. Then I realize that I cannot do this on my own; I must lean on the Lord and His Word.

* James 1:19-20 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20) For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

*Prov. 15:1 "A soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger."

*Eccl. 7:9 "Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools."

:::There are many more good verses on this subject, but I am including those that have been the most helpful to my situation.

3) Hasty reactions and decisions. I tend towards spur-of-the moment decisions and reactions that get me in trouble and feeling regret.

Proverbs 21:5 "The thoughts of the diligent [tend] only to plenteousness; but of every one [that is] hasty only to want."

Ecclesiasticus 4:29 "Be not hasty in thy tongue, and in thy deeds slack and remiss."

Proverbs 29:20 "Seest thou a man [that is] hasty in his words? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him."

We all have our different areas of struggle, deeds that we are striving to mortify. You may not struggle with any of these issues in particular. It may be jealousy, doubt, worry, laziness, ungratefulness, discontentment, criticism, or un-submissiveness. Whatever the issue, if you truly want help and want to change, you can't do it on your own, but you can do it with God's help. You can't give up after a failure or a slip. Proverbs says, "For a just [man] FALLeth seven times, and riseth up again:..."

Search and study the word for your particular area of struggle and ask God to lead you to verses that will give the most help. Start a notebook and write them out so you have easy access. Meditate upon them every morning and memorize them. When you find yourself in the middle of your weakness, pull out your sword and go to battle!

There is hope and we can be overcomers if we use the tools God has given us!

p.s. I have nooo idea why the above text boxes are there are how they got there. Couldn't get them to go away! Crazy--I couldn't do that on purpose if I tried! :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Now That I'm 5....

............I can "squish" the meatloaf for you, Mom!

....I'm too old to drink out of sippy cups now...

...I'm not supposed to ride in a carseat anymore.... more little-girl hairbows for me--just clippies! (this one is definitely NOT going to fly!)

And, terror of terrors: I old enough to wear heels yet, Mom?

Just about when my Mama-heart was about to quake within me, she woke up one morning and said sleepily, "I wish you could still pick me up like when I was little, Mommy." Whew...there's still some little girl left in there, after all :).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lazy Days {As If There Were Any Such Thing}

The debilitating heat has me dragging my feet around more ways than the obvious lag in blog post production. But never fear, there's always something to do, always a closet to re-organize, Daddy-work shirts to iron, and a Lego/Polly Pocket pile to be picked up (before I step on one of those wicked little pieces--ouch!). Yes, things are always a-hoppin' in this household.

Summer sunshine and recently, a bit of precious rainfall has produced an abundant garden in our backyard this year. We have bucketfuls of tomatoes to be blanched and canned into spaghetti, pizza sauce, and salsa. Neighbors and friends have gifted us with peaches and zucchini, giving me plenty of goodies to freeze-can and loaves of bread to bake. Never had zucchini bread? Mmm....

On top of that, my 3 children are growing and changing faster than I can keep up, making their Mama very proud:

* Elijah, at 6, is is a very industrious and imaginative little boy. He truly amazes me with the things he comes up with. If he is not creating or working on something, he is absolutely miserable. He can draw or build with Legos for literal hours. When he says, "Mama, come see!" I never know what is awaiting. ;) He is reading far above his level and while we were visiting my parents last week, he found one of my Dad's Civil War history books and read several pages of it aloud to us. Then he sat down and drew pages of battlefields, complete with soldiers, canons, and horses. He loves his little sisters, but often laments that he doesn't have a brother to play with :(. He is at the stage where everything girl-related is gross (it's the funniest thing). A good punishment for a misdeed against his sisters is to make him give a kiss and a hug--pure torture! He wears me out with his non-stop energy, but his infectious grin melts my heart every day :).

*Gracie celebrated her 5th birthday on the 14th of this month!! She is still my Sunshine Girl, and resident Drama Queen. One the morning of her birthday last week, she got stung by a bee at my parents' house. She was so heartbroken that her birthday was all ruined and it took me an hour and a couple teaspoons of Children's Tylenol to get her to stop crying. She spends hours playing with Polly Pockets and her dollhouse. She is a nurturing child with a giving heart, always willing and ready to give anything she has to anyone. She gives toys away to other kids at church, and even gave away some money her Papa gave her during youth camp a couple of weeks ago. She feels and loves very deeply.

*Emma, I often joke, is the child God gave me to draw me closer to Him. She is a handful! She is all priss and sass and busy, busy, busy. She doesn't go anywhere without a baby doll under her arm and a purse on the other. My arms literally ache after wrestling with her during a church service. She is like an electric toy that runs at full blast when plugged in, but when the plug is pulled she is DONE. When she is tired she lays herself down and goes to sleep in just a couple of minutes, going from all to nothing pretty fast. I can't believe she will be 3 in just a couple of months. Where has my baby gone?

Our Daddy has successfully passed the first two sections of the CPA exam. He has worked very hard for a long time and I am so proud of his perseverance and dedication to reaching his goals. Here is a pic from almost 3 years ago, when he first started taking classes to earn his Accounting degree (he had a little help studying).

It really is amazing for someone with a family, a job, and added responsibilities of a lay minister to have tackled such a task and accomplished it so successfully.

As for me, I am most content and happy in my role as mother, wife, and homemaker. I am right where I am supposed to be, and so thankful that God has given me a Christian husband and a beautiful family to love and serve. I can't think of anything more fulfilling. There's really no place or time for laziness in my days :). Sometimes it's good to make it happen though.