A Bit of Encouragement

Lysa Terkeurst is a favorite author. One of her many studies brought up the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19: 1-10. As Jesus passed through Jericho people flocked to the streets. Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector sought to see Jesus. He was short in stature, couldn’t see through the crowds and climbed a sycamore tree to see Him. Jesus called to Zacchaeus “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” Zacchues climbed down at once and received the Lord joyfully. Terkeurst’s study talks about the journey to Zacchaeus’ home. What did Jesus see on the walk to Zacchaeus house. How many people in need did they pass to get to the large sprawling home of the wealthy tax collector? This aspect of the story yanked on my heart in life.
There is a well worn path from our home to school, dance, basketball, church, hair salon, grocery store anywhere we go. Coming and going, on most days, we pass a gentleman camped out on the side of the road holding one of those cardboard signs- words written with black marker. My first thoughts of this mans new post were- “This is way to close to my neighborhood, someone needs to tell him (like a policeman) to move further on down the road.” “He is smoking a cigaret, where does he get the money for that?” Days went by he was still there. My thoughts morphed into – “I just don’t have any singles in the car.” “Do I really want to have him come over to the car while my children are with me?”
One day it hit me; if Jesus were to follow me home, we would pass this man. Jesus’ comments and actions would not be in anyway similar to mine.
I went to the supermarket and purchased a few staples to put in a bag. I wound up keeping the bag in my car for a few days, the gentleman was gone. I was scared I missed the chance. AH! But one day he returned. I pulled into the gas station he set up camp near and walked the bag of groceries to where he stood,”These are for you.” Walked back to my car.
Tap, tap, tap, on my passenger window. I rolled the window down. A young lady who works at the gas station stood with a look of disgust – “Just so you know, that man has a moped, a credit card and a bank card. He has no business standing out here. Just to let you know.” I struggled that drive home and for a while in my thoughts.
The next morning I awoke to a ding on my phone as the bible verse of the day came in from YouVersion.
Galations 6:9 Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not loose heart.
The verse answered the many questions swirling around in my heart. There were a couple areas in this small instance where I seemed to have lost heart, my own comments along with the gas attendant’s. On a larger scale I am sure my life has quite a few implications of this cynical outlook. I am directed to not loose heart or grow weary in doing good. I pray for eyes that see people in need around me and for a tireless heart that is willing to serve.

Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Went to the gym
Eating fruits and veggies
Drinking plenty of water
Recently decreased the amount of wine consumed in the evenings.
Check - this bible verse is surprisingly simple today, body is sacrificing and becoming acceptable!

Beseech – ask (someone) urgently and fervently to do something; beg earnestly
Wow, Paul must think this is pretty important to beg…
Brethren – fellow members, brothers
I am considered to be among Paul, a believer.
Mercies – compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm
Sacrifice – surrendering a possession
Holy – dedicated or devoted to the service of God

Umm.. These definitions give another point of view.
Yo, This is important! Think on the compassion, forgiveness and kindness of our all powerful God, directed at you. Release the sense of control you believe you have. Let your body, your being, be available for His service. Empty of all but devotion to Him.

Still have got some work to do today…and tomorrow.

Happy Anniversary?

My husband and I share our six year anniversary today! We actually have two anniversaries. This one being the first and somewhat secret. (If you know my husband you know there are NO real secrets if he is involved.) Six years ago, Buddy and I were ready to move on in together. Only problem was we weren’t married yet and the wedding was scheduled two months down the road. (For a short period of time we tried the opposite sequence of events with almost devastating results.) We rallied two witnesses, headed to the courthouse and got hitched! How very honorable. So six years. A ton of life has happened. I have enjoyed it all and I pray the next six plus years are just as fun and exciting (minus any pregnancies).
I sat down this morning and realized there was a bit of excitement burning within me. As I wrote and thought I came up with the source. Now that I am married six years, I have surpassed the length of my previous marriage. Yippee! I felt a weight off my shoulders. I felt like today was the day I could no longer compare this marriage to the previous. Do I really do that? Yuck… Sometimes during my quiet mornings, God hands me something to work on that I had NO IDEA existed. Well just to go with it, I dug out an old file with the date of the divorce decree; almost SEVEN years of marriage, to the day! Urghhh. We were separated physically and emotionally for one year leading up to the seven. That’s better. As crazy as they may be, here are the reasons why I feel a little lighter in my step as we celebrate our sixth!
1. My second marriage did not head straight for divorce. Anyone who reads research or information written on second marriages will learn they are more likely to fail than the first.
2. My expiration date had passed. I had this silly theory my shelf life only lasted about 5-6 years. My husband and I are both here to stay.
3. Maybe I need to forgive myself for mistakes I made in the past.
4. I rest securely in the fact that I took a vow before God and understand what this means. This is my plan A, my plan B and C, D, E…Z..AAA…ZZZ. With my faith in the Lord I will not step away from the promise of marriage I stood before Him and made. How comforting it is with God pointing at the exact place for me in this life, where my focus needs to stay. Our marriage depends on our relationship with God, glorified in our respect and devotion to one another.
I am so thankful for my husband who is my best friend in the whole wide world. Yes we argue (we never argue if you ask him), we have completely different points of view, get on each others nerves, laugh and laugh and just love. Lord, I thank you for all the blessings you have bestowed upon us, every single one, even the ones I don’t even know to say thank you for.
I wonder if we’ve been married longer than Buddy’s first marriage… Ha! I am scared to ask and it doesn’t matter anyway!

Romans again

Back to Romans again on my early morning reading… I believe I have found a breakthrough with my dear friend Paul!
Romans 7:22-25
For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death. I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I must say the preceding verses read like a riddle but these verses shout loud and clear. Perhaps I am not alone. I know that Paul had real struggles, huge struggles- being imprisoned, physical ailments, hard travels, persecution. He just seems to rise above circumstance with such ease and confidence. This passage leads me to believe, possibly maybe, we are a bit alike. I delight in the law of God according to the inward man – this is me. There I sit in my beautiful quiet time. I am obedient in my thoughts and believe the promises. I feel the peace of God within me. But I see another law in my members…bringing me to captivity to the law of sin - this is me also. After a list of things go wrong in my morning routine, there I am throwing off my “yoke”. I take members to mean various parts of my body or members of my family causing chaos. O wretched man that I am – this is me too! The hour after my children are off to school, I am so disappointed in how the morning went and how I reacted to it all. Have a glorious day girls, blah! Self hatred, beating myself up in my mind, this Paul, I can relate to.
Here’s my missing piece – I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hmmm. Has Paul given me a key here? I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord. I am going to memorize that half verse. I am going to recite that half verse when my circumstances get the best of me. Maybe I can make it at least a few steps away from the breakfast table, with a peace filled, thankful heart. I will let you know how it goes. Thank you for the advice Paul. Words to live by.

2:00 in the afternoon

Instead of resolutions at the start of a new year, my husband and I participate with our church in choosing one word. Similar idea as resolutions but it is much easier to do something about one thing than attempt to conquer all of my inabilities in only 365 days.
I am having a hard time with my dam word – embrace. Not good being that it is only February. I am not sure I was in the right frame of mind when I chose embrace as my word for the year. We are also encouraged to link the word to a bible verse signifying the work God may be doing in us. I found –
Matthew 11:29 (Like a good PC3 goer, I memorized it) Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls.
Peaceful, calm, slow moving, able to embrace what comes my way through out the day. I love this verse…at 5:45 in the morning. My children are peacefully sleeping, the world is quiet. I picture myself physically lowering the yoke onto my shoulders with Jesus in the lead, ready to learn and embrace the day planned out for me, reflecting the love of Jesus.
7:45 in the morning, I am tearing that yoke off my shoulders, hurling it across the room. Hard. My morning consists of 2 school age children scrambling with breakfasts, forgotten homework assignments, typical morning stuff and a 2 year old throwing multiple tantrums in various positions on the kitchen floor. A couple of starving dogs are thrown in the mix with a chronically late husband. Grace right? Have a glorious day girls!
I know Paul, life is supposed to go like this:
Romans 5:3 We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character; and character hope.
I believe I forgot the fact that I have a two and a half year old when I settled upon the word embrace. I do not always like the character forming in me when “persevering”.
I clench my teeth and bite down on the inside of my cheek, embracing the constant battles. “Wipe your hands, Baby, you’ve got sauce on them.” I know she fully comprehends my directions because her hand immediately moves toward the napkin. Some of the glop on her hands actually drops onto the napkin. Her chubby little hands make a quick turn up into her hair; rubbing, rolling, twirling. Her mouth curves into a beautifully practiced, angelic smile. Lovely. Embrace.
I am sure someone looking from the outside in, could easily say – “If that is the worst part of your day or the most difficult thing you have to embrace today, I’d call it a good day.” You know what, your right, but you have never spent a full day with a manic two year old! Only to face another one tomorrow! Paul speaks of following Christ, being dead to sin, alive in Christ. He sounds so calm. He has such a clear head and focus! Throw a wife and a couple of kids at him. His writing might have been a bit more like mine, nonsensical, lacking clarity, superfluous. Ha!

Looking at my Daughter

I am reading Romans, yes in the Bible, recommended by my hubby. I was familiar with Romans Road and many of the various key passages of the book. (I first heard the term Romans Road, when my daughter brought home a booklet containing the verses, she made at school. Not so long ago.) Slowly reading the book of Romans, I love the way it focusses on a relationship with God reflecting in relationships of those I love.

Beginning in Acts there is the amazing story of how Saul was transformed to Paul. Following Acts is Romans, I feel as though that transformation is so fresh and raw. The letter to the Romans contains such a strength forcing the reader to examine their actions and relationships in this world mirroring Paul’s transformation. It is almost like Paul is imploring me to see or become that transformation in my own life.

So I am continually pulled back to this verse, Romans 11:11-12
I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

Paul is referring to Israel’s fall. Their rejection of the Gospel lead to a faster awareness and acceptance of the Gospel among the Gentiles.

God uses everything. “Through their fall,” God was there. God exchanged the hurtful, horrible rejection of His Son, for good. For this good-“salvation has come,” “their fall is riches for the world,” “their failure, riches for the Gentiles.”

My 9 year old daughter and I have hit a bump in the road, as we do on occasion. My daughter knows me better than most and is incredibly sensitive to my moods and stress level. Recently, I would find her running off to her room in tears at odd moments. I chalked this up as an emotional preteen. Until she said to me on two different occasions what made her cry was the way I looked at her. Apparently I was giving her a mean, angry, appalled look… There are times when I give a look and wish to convey these feelings. What was so strange about these occasions was that those were NOT the feelings I wished to convey at all. In fact, I remember just being caught up in my thoughts. I told my husband about it and we just laughed it off as preteen drama with more to come. Time is going on, every now and again she calls me out giving her that look. What I find is the momentary look I give her is a quizzical look. I recognize parts of myself directly in my daughter. I don’t like much of those parts on me. How does it look so beautiful and innocent on my daughter?

I am not comparing myself to an Israelite from biblical times, or perhaps I am. But if God could use their rejection of His Son, for good, He could most certainly use my times of rejection and poor choices for good. All of my choices in life have lead me here; accepting salvation. There have surely been consequences. But “Salvation has come“. Perhaps my “falls” in life are the riches for my “world”. How much more my fullness? I see myself reflecting in my daughter and it isn’t all bad. How much more her fullness as we step forward together in Christ, without shame, with love, strength and faith. All things I have learned and continue to learn through God’s word. I am taking off this cloak of shame, regret, whatever so I do not shroud my daughter with in it. My weaknesses can turn to strengths in her. We make mistakes, I make mistakes, God redeems. The Lord has placed that promise in my heart as I look at my daughter.

Still learning this “blog” thing….

Here I am, living in the south enjoying a nice mild winter. I do believe the seasons should be run quite different. Once the Christmas decorations have been packed away, Spring should begin, days should get significantly longer. At least I am no longer facing the constant possibility of snow, or worse ICE, as I had growing up in northern NJ. I have always journaled. I have such a fondness for writing. I am using this “blog” as a way to hopefully develop some writing skills. (Does the word “blog” always have to be in quotes?) I would like to be more intentional about writing. We will see how it goes… I don’t expect anyone to actually read or comment on what I write. I have a lovely life here and I simply just wonder where this will take me.

My husband…

My husband Buddy, asked me to jot down some ideas on being married to a serial entrepreneur… here goes.

Everything is an opportunity… opportunity to create a new venture,opportunity to fix things, opportunity to make things better- create more opportunity, lost opportunity, wasted opportunity or someone else’s opportunity that if Buddy had the opportunity, he would do better with it. At first encounter with Buddy, it is pretty obvious to feel his drive and ambition. There is always something new going on behind the scenes or a massive triage going on to what needs fixin’.

Some of the more depressing, difficult times in life for Buddy are when everything is running smoothly. Most people tend to enjoy these times of life; kick back, reap some benefit. Theses periods of time drive Buddy up a wall and will typically push him into a tailspin. These tailspins are felt by all those functioning within his inner circle.

I by no means am complaining; simply pointing out the obvious. Life with Buddy is always exciting, never normal, so full of possibility. Buddy is the first to take a “crazy pipe dream” and make it sound promising. If it is your dream and there is enough risk mixed with promise, he will most certainly join with you.

I think he is brilliant. I knew who he was when we wed and I know him and love him more today. I have realized after a few emotionally draining times, I do not have to be all in on some of these ventures/ideas. I do put my foot down here and there but usually pick it back up pretty quickly. I do not want to put my foot down on the wrong venture. One of these days we have to get the 20 million dollar pay off. Right?

Redeemer

Redeem - make amends for; to buy back or pay off; to exchange for money or goods.

Redeemer – one who redeems.

“Reading the bible is like God holding up a mirror.” A pastor visiting our church Sunday planted this thought in my mind.

Starting this blog – (what a silly word that is; all these strange computer words- widget, zillow, zurple) I have gone back to my early dreaded journals/diaries. I wanted to see how I write. I hate going back because most of my history is recorded. For a period of time I only wrote during catastrophes; how dramatic. Some periods of time are nonexistent and then I reappear droning on about how depressed I was or who the current love of my life was pulling me out of my darkness. These pages are full of silly mistakes and decisions of which I continue to feel the repercussions. I would much rather read the writings of a more seasoned author! But this is me and I am determined to dig myself out and dust me off. With out going into extreme detail, I am sure I am not completely alone in looking back at a younger self thinking – How could you be so stupid!By God’s grace alone, is the only way I survived.

I don’t agree with many of the decisions I made in my teens and twenties and have been at times wrought with guilt and shame. I have piled life on top of these issues and pretended I have forgiven/forgotten/deleted/demolished. If so why can’t I look back on these situations with confidence in my heart? With a kindness I would give to another? Reading those journal entries puts me sitting in my old bedroom, my college dorm room, first apartments with a lack of confidence, loneliness, despair. I can just look at the way I wrote and those feelings return. If I let the past go how could it all come back to me so easily?

So frustrated me has been stomping around my life the passed little while. I wrestle with thoughts of how I thought I had changed…but changing my beliefs does not mean I am no longer connected to my past. I am in everyone of those silly decisions I made. They move with me through life. They have brought me here. That is my walk, my path, I don’t have to be ashamed. I can be if I choose to dwell there. I think I did choose to dwell there and shut the door. But God does not speak through shame. As my frustrated me slammed down for my quiet time this morning the Lord placed in from of me

Romans 11:11
I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.

My stumbles have led me here. Here is where I sit at the feet of Christ who has exchanged my poor decisions for good. So much good there is. I will not dwell in shame. I will allow my REDEEMER to work through me.

Day 1?

Am I on? Just learning here. I see I may have a lot to learn with this. Wow, this is going to be fun!

Hello there…

Hi. My name is Erin. I am a wife and a mother. I enjoy my life; however I seem to have lost myself a bit. Here is my attempt in finding me.