4/20/14

Easter is Freeing!

Happy Easter! 
 
 
Today is Easter and I am beyond thankful.  I'm thankful for my Savior.  He and I have been through a lot over the past 30 plus years.  We've laughed, we've cried and through it all we've grown so close.
 
This Easter I find myself feeling a little different.  Good Friday came and instead of feeling the weight of all my sin, I actually felt freedom.  This feeling continued all through the weekend. 
 
Lately God and I have been discussing having a sound mind.  I used to worry myself silly over the "What ifs".  Worry, worry, worry seemed to be all I knew how to do.  Worry about my relationship with my sons.  Worry about my finances. Worry about the boys relationship with one another. Worry over my mother.  Just worry - worry - worry. 
 
Oh I kept it under wraps.  I didn't share my weight with anyone really.  Maybe in passing or just in general I might mention something, usually passing it off as what everyone worries about.  When the weight became too much to handle I would reach out to some friends for prayer.  Of course I always took every care to Christ - but it was difficult to walk away.  I hovered over Him while He worked things out, offering my advice.  He was so patient with me. 
 
I'm learning (and have come a long way if I may say so myself) to truly take every thought captive.  To concern myself with the concerns of my Lord.  Focusing on being the best Terri I can be.  You know what?  Everything is falling into place.  There is such great healing with my kids.  Healing within me.  There is real belly laughter again in my home. There is respect, there is kindness and friendship again.
 
There is Joy.
 
There is Peace.
 
Back to this Easter Season - The reason I think is different is like I mentioned - Freedom.  I have freedom in Christ.  Free from my past bondage.  Free from worry.  Free from the "should". Free from any fear of the future. 
 
Just freedom.
 
Reflecting over the post tonight made me realize something - I do believe that this is the first Easter I didn't celebrate with the Devil. Meaning - there was no condemnation - nothing lacking - no heaviness - Just pure love, joy and freedom in Christ who yet while I was a sinner died for me and loves me so much that He has counts the numbers of hair on my head and sings songs over me.  The One who wakes me with whispers of encouragement, laughs with me through out the day and sends me to sleep with a heart full of love and assurance that I am His.
 
Although we should never down play the Cross or the pure evil of our sins - we also don't have to be so beaten down by them that we miss the pure love of The Trinity.
 
 
 


1/24/13

I wanna be excellent

I've been thinking a lot about being a woman of excellence.  What does it mean?  What does it look like?  How can I achieve it?  Numerous questions fill my mind.  It started when I received a free Bible study from church, titled "Becoming a Woman of Excellence" by Cynthia Heald.  It was many years ago and sadly to say I never finished it.

The study often comes to my mind.  Usually when I don't feel excellent in what I'm doing.  It pops up when I'm having a difficult time completing a  task like a project for school or sewing a child's button or cleaning a fish tank.  I've noticed that I want to skip corners and rush through things.  A "lick and a promise" as my Grandma would say.  Sure, sometimes that's needed, for instance you can't scrub the whole bathroom before work but you can wipe down the sink.

However my life has been a lot of wiping down the sink.  I've been stuck in survival mode.  Let's just get the day done with minimal resistance from life.  Let's get the boys to bed without them fighting.  Let's have a cheerful attitude with not so nice people.

I want more.  I don't want to survive.  I don't want to be that the highlight of the day was that I didn't mess something up.  I want to live, have abundance... abundance of life and joy.

I love the show The Closer so when it ended and the cast started a new show, Major Crimes I was excited.  I love the main character Sharon Raydor.  Loved her since she first appeared on The Closer.  She is one of those people that I could listen speak for hours.  I was in awe of her stature, the way she carried herself, how she spoke to people and the wisdom that she showed.  Yes, I realize it is a character on TV.  Nonetheless I want to be like her. 

There are some other characters that I have watched and have thought to myself "I want to behave like that." or "I want that patience" I began asking God to show me what it is about those people that have that I'm lacking, at least in my perception. Again, yes I realize they are TV characters but God knows where to find me. lol

My silent pray has been "I want to be like Sharon Raydor." Silly I'm sure but God understands what I mean.  One day He dropped in my spirit "Carries herself with confidence, listens closely, observant, slow to speak and chooses words carefully."

Let's just say I'm still chewing on that.  I have the observant part but the others ... not so much.  I'm learning though.  I'm growing and each day I can see it.  Drawing closer to Christ is the key, allowing The Holy Spirit to move in my life is another part of it.  Fully accepting God's lordship is important too.  I'm not telling you anything new.  We all have areas to grow, mature in and we all know that drawing closer to God is the answer. He loves us, created us in His image, died for us and prays for us.  He comforts us, counts the number of hairs on our head, sings over us while we sleep, laughs with us, cries with us, smiles at us.  He binds the broken hearted, tends to the weary.  He is our all in all.

Take a few minutes to watch this video.  You may have seen it before .... I just wanted to share it.

That's My King!

12/27/12

Excuses

2012 is coming to an end .... in just a few short days the New Year arrives.  Looking back over the past year I can see where I have grown and changed.  Things that once annoyed me so greatly doesn't even hit my radar.  Where some things that never touched my heart, now are brought before the Lord in prayer.  I've seen such growth in my sons as well.  We are all learning and growing.  It's been difficult, joyous, painful, and fun.  Through it all God has been faithful.

Part of looking back in any situation or reason is to see the negative as well.  Not that you dwell on the negative things in your life by no means.  I'm simply saying that if you want to accurately assess a situation, whether it's a relationship, job, attitude, or whatever you should see it from all sides and that includes the negatives. 

So in looking back at 2012 the negatives that stand out to me today are all my excuses.  Mainly the excuses for not getting into shape which was my "in the back of my mind goal" for 2012.

Here is my  list of excuses:
(no order)
  • I don't have enough time
  • the boys need me
  • I'm tired
  • I'm stressed
  • I am happy with me 
My list for not spending real quality, consistent time with God every day
(no order)
  • I'm tired
  • I can talk to God any time through out the day
  • He knows my needs
  • Not enough time 
I'm sure that there is a ton of things I could add to those lists.  But I'm sure you get the gist. It's sad and quite frankly I'm fed up with my excuses.  I am given just as much time in life as everyone else.  Will it require some planning?  Yep.  Will it require some self-discipline?  Absolutely.

Time to buck up little girl.  The only one that can change any of this is ... ME.

Time to get cracking (on myself!)

8/12/12

Just like his Mama

This morning my sweet youngest son was having difficulty with one of his PC games.  It has been an issue for a couple of days now.  I have listened patiently each time he tried to log in, insisting it was probably just a server problem and it should be working soon.  I am not that techno savvy, so I didn't think that much of it.

Well, this morning the frustration was too much.  I heard the anger rising in his voice so I offered to help.  Of course each idea was met with resistance and reassurance that I simply "did not understand".  Which probably is accurate but none-the-less I have had to use the Help option more then a few times in my life.

After a few minutes he simply started deleting the shortcuts and walked away.

While in the kitchen, a few minutes later, I whispered to God, "Lord, when he is ready, I will help him."

God whispered back. "That's what I say about you."

His words brought a smile to my face.  An actual grin that says "Touche Pussy Cat". Yes, it's true.  I can't count how many times I have simply muttered things under my breath, annoyed with something, not ready to really hear much less do what would be required.  I just want to delete the shortcuts and walk away.  All the while God is next to me offering help, suggestions, guidance, and I simply feel He doesn't understand. Each idea or even command is met with my own resistance and excuses.

God lovingly says, "When you're ready, I will help."

4/17/12

Say a prayer

Recently my precious ten year old was diagnosed with ADHD.  Not really a surprise, it was actually a relief.  The condition explained so much.  As most things in life with me,  I went before the Throne is search of His peace and help with understanding, coping and explaining this to my other children.  ADHD doesn't just affect the kid with it ... oh no my friend, the whole family basically has it but that is pretty standard for anything in life.

I thanked God for the answer.  He and I immediately went to work on what was needed to be done.  Between behavior modification, discussion of medications and structure I was gaining understanding and wait for it ... discipline.  Yep, my word for 2012. God is too funny.

I am the type of person that is action based.  True, I have my moments of standing still but for the most part I take action and often struggle because I don't always wait for God.  Can anyone relate?  This was no exception.  I set up appointments for him to have a medication review, spoke with his teachers and his dad. 

My heart was broken when one appointment was going to be six weeks out.  Six weeks!  "Oh Father!" I cried.  "How could we survive for six more weeks?"  The school was frustrated, the other two boys and I were frustrated.  Simply having the answer was a short reprieve ... It is much easier to cope with something once you understand it but it was time for action.

I began praying, again and again. My prayers were on the lines like "God, please be with us today. Help son 3 not flip out today.  Help son 1 and 2 not be so critical and freak out.  Help me not to flip my lid and run away"  I felt peace simply because I was with Him but I knew that there was something different.  Something I was missing.  I was praying as if God gives us band-aids not as if He is the Healer.

One morning I was getting ready for work.  Again, praying my band-aid prayer when God spoke to me:

"Have you asked me to heal him?"

Well, of course not! 

That very moment my prayers over him changed.  Oh, he still has the appointment because I believe that God does use medication to heal us.  We have to listen to what He is asking us to do.  For an example, if I have a headache, I pray for God to touch me and if the headache doesn't go away I take an Motrin and always thank Him for the science behind it.  I don't think science is the enemy but it can be if you place it above God and His mighty, healing power.

For over three weeks I have said the same prayer over that precious little guy. 

"Father God, I praise you for son 3.  He is a true treasure and joy in my life.  You say that children are a blessing from the Lord and boy are You right.  I ask Lord that You touch his mind for you have given son 3 a sound mind.  Lord, You formed him. You picked out his hair color, his eye color.  You have picked out every place where there is a freckle.  You know how tall he will be.  You have set a path for him. You know that plans you have for him. Son 3 is fearfully and wonderfully made by Your design. I thank you Lord that You cause Son 3's enemies to be at peace with him.  Where understanding is limited bring clarity to all the teachers and students Father. Lord continue to bring unity, compassion, understanding and love between sons 1,2 and 3.  Father, I seek Your wisdom for raising this mighty warrior. You have chosen me as his mom for a reason Father.  I ask You to guide me, lead me for your word says that You gently lead those that have young.  In the Name of Jesus, I come against the counterfeit plans of Satan for son 3.Lord, I am holding up my Shield of Faith, I have tucked son 3 close under my breast so that the fiery darts of the enemy cannot reach him.  Lord, I thank You for the gift of Salvation.  Lord, I praise You for grace.  I love You more then words can express.  In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen."

That is basically the gist of it.  Not always in that order but always with that spirit.  I have seen such an amazing improvement in his and our lives.

Prayer works!  It truly does.  I hope that you are encouraged to lift ALL your cares to Him for He is faithful! 

2/21/12

I just wanted to jump on here and share the adventure I'm having with the Lord. I find myself in tears some evenings, not because I'm sad but because I'm humbled. He is allowing me to do and see some things I never thought I could/would. I'm sure if I listed the things you might think "big deal" but to this girl - they're huge. It's simple things like having a job for two years. Have amazing boys that are starting to show some healing. Figure out before it's too late that I need to be checking my fluids on a regular basis. LOL

I've learned that I do have dreams. Pretty big ones actually. God has been teaching me that I am worthy. Never have I felt more loved by people. I have buried some scripture deep down in my marrow. My smile is brighter and not just because God blessed me with two new front teeth :) My spirit is lighter. I'm more forgiving and less legalistic. I laugh - a lot!

As I'm writing this, tears are just streaming down my face. I have never felt more alive and closer to Him. God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and I have been through some crazy times lately. I am blown away by His grace, mercy and love.

I'm learning to be meek and quiet. THAT is huge! lol That is something I started studying, whew, five years ago.

I still have no clue where we are going but boy am I enjoying the ride. The sights are amazing :) God has big plans for me and the boys. Sure - there are some bumps and pot holes. You bet there are mountains and valleys but MY GOD IS BIGGER.

Romans 8:31
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?


My God is mighty. My God is on the throne. I am a joint heir with Christ. I have been filled with The Holy Spirit. Watch out! lol




1/18/12

Ramblings

O.K. so here I am trying to get back into writing here consistently. Ugh, that word ... Consistent ... maybe that should have been my word for 2012. It seems to be popping up everywhere. I think that it does go hand in hand with discipline.

Anyway - I have started school. I'm going for Human Sciences. I am very excited. My first and only class right now is English 111. I've decided to start off slow. I really don't want to scare myself. Ha-ha. Summer I will be taking that silly mandatory "Welcome to College" course. One credit, probably for one Saturday. Then, come the Fall, I'm planning on taking a bit more credits. My goal is to use all my FASFA and apply for scholarships. Of course there is always student loans. Which I am trying to avoid as long as possible. However, I'm not too worried about receiving a loan. It's for my future as well as the boys. If it helps me go to school for more credits per semester and not have to work 40+ hours a week then it would be worth it. One desire of my heart is not to take away a huge chunk of time away from Matt, David and Ryan. They still need their mother.

Speaking of mothering ... Matt will be 14 this Saturday. Hard to believe in some ways. I remember the day he was born. I remember his room wasn't ready when I was checked into the hospital for preeclampsia. I was upset because we hadn't washed anything. The crib wasn't put together. Nothing was prepared. My amazing friends - Tina, Sarah, J.P. and Nathen took care of everything for us. I was able to deliver Matt on a Wednesday worry free ... well, at least about that!

Over the past 14 years with Matt has been an absolute joy! He is my first. I remember walking him in an umbrella stroller around and around house. I remember when he started biting. Boy did he think that was fun. I remember the pounding on the door from the police because he has dialed 911 and then left the phone off the hook. How could I forget the one day when he was about 22 months old - David was about 4 months. We were running errands, on Greenbrier Parkway (a busy main street) - out from the back of the Dodge Neon I hear "Mama, David coughing - I gave him a penny to keep - he ate it" Yes, that was me back in 1999 on the side of the road shoving my finger down David's throat all along assuring Matt he wasn't in trouble but please don't give David anything that you haven't asked Mommy about!

Thinking back there are just so many memories. First steps, first words, first day of school. You all have those too. I guess I'm just feeling a little ... nostalgic ... I was such a weird mom, I think. I gave him, well all my boys, highly diluted catnip tea in bottles starting at one week old. Never had colic. My boys never wore shoes until they started walking. They always wore hats that covered their ears on any cool day/evening through out the year. I dressed them as I was dressed. If I was chilly we all wore a sweatshirt or blanket. If I wasn't - they didn't. They were never sick as real, little guys. Well, once David developed Whooping Cough when he was about 18 months. Oh, and I never baby-proofed my home nor did I ever expect any of our friends to baby proof theirs.

It's hard to believe that Matt will be in High School next school year. He is applying for the Tech Academy. Whether he gets in or not, the skies the limit for him. It was just 10 years ago he was playing with index cards on the kitchen floor. Twelve years ago he was reading to his little brother. Nine years ago he was teaching his baby brother animal sounds. He's been a missionary when he grows up to a Navy Pilot to a K9 officer, not to mention owning his own company during it all :)

He is getting taller. Just a bit taller then me. He wears a size 10 in men's! He is just about able to buy men size jeans. He's been in men's shirts for about a year. Just so big! I remember thinking that the 0-3 months were big~ considering he was 4 weeks early, weighing in at 5lbs 8oz and 18.5" long. My favorite thing to do was swaddle Matt and just hold him. How could I have something so beautiful, sweet, and pure? If God never blessed me again from that day forward ... Matt was enough.

But He didn't stop there :) Two more blessings followed and my life has never been the same. Not that I want it to be. Those three boys ... young men are a true treasure and delight. Yes, my house is messy from time to time. You bet it's loud "up in here!" A bit disorganized and down right rude but those are my youngins. Men and warriors that God has entrusted me with. It's a big job and thank You Jesus, You are a big God, cause it's hard some days. I loose my way, I fall, make mistakes .... ah yes, that word again consistency ... I'm learning ... I'm learning.

Being a single mom hasn't been as traumatic as I first thought. I think my most difficult part is the lack of back up. I'm "walking this beat" alone, physically speaking. I have no one to take over when I have lost my temper or my ability to speak in such a way that they understand. Probably though, if I stopped yelling, nagging or whining ... they might understand ... just kidding, sorta. There is no one there for that immediate head nod that assures me my assessment is correct. No father figure is there that has that silent look that says "this is your mother speaking to you and you will ... " but I have the Holy Spirit which is more then enough!! He gives me the wisdom and discernment I need. Not to mention on the really hard days - He gives me comfort. The Trinity is teaching me all about discipline and .... being consistent. I'm in school on so many levels ... LOL

O.K. - I do believe it's time to stop rambling. My heart is full of gratitude for my God and my sons. He has given me such amazing blessings. From the boys to great friends. A nice, warm roof over our heads to a great job. Yummy food in our bellies to clothes on our backs. My God is my Rock and Refuge -

I want to share one more thing before I end this ... It's my all time favorite Psalm ...

Psalm 16

1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”

3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”

4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.


Be ever-so-blessed my friends!!