Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Holy of Holies

I was there today. Wrapped in the very presence of God himself.

Don't get me wrong. I've been in the presence of the Holy Spirit before. There have been times when I got "God bumps" listening to a story/watching a movie, etc. I have been urged from deep within about issues that needed taken care of. God has spoken to me in the past....mostly through song or His written word.

But was different.

Forgive me for not being graceful or smooth in the way I'm explaining this. I quite literally can't seem to find the words. But I have to share it with...someone...anyone...everyone.

2/27...February 27th, 2011. This day is a day that will not soon be forgotten. I have been so moved - so very moved - by God himself. I can't ignore it; I can't pretend it didn't happen; I can't let it go.

The sermon was seemingly an ordinary sermon, preached by an ordinary servant of the Gospel. But the heart of a servant used by God shines through and makes what may be ordinary, extraordinary.

Exdous 33 & 34 is where we're at. We're talking about the "tent of meeting" that Moses has set up outside the camp when the Israelites were roaming around the desert. The tent is symbolic for us...a way to relate to this story. The tent is our "meeting place" with God. It must be set apart from our life. It must be in a place without distractions from all the grumbling. It must be a regular meeting spot. It must be done daily.

My "tent" is my jelly-crusted table, my time is during cartoons in the a.m. (because that is when D is caught up and not on my tail end).

But is it daily? any given week.

But is it daily? (really?) No.

Some other "thoughts" that PT shared:
  • One of the reasons we don't go to our "tent" daily is because we have sin in our lives. {Hmph.} And God will bring that to our attention (if we are truly meeting with Him) and ask us to give it up.
  • Sometimes we, as Christians, want to be stirred by God, but not changed by Him. (Please! Don't let this be said of me! Change my heart, O God.)
  • When God is seemingly silent, we often simply choose to do what we want to do.
  • Moses had to set up the tent outside the camp b/c God was disappointed in his people, and their fickle ways (my words, not PTs).
  • When Moses met with God, the people noticed, and it did have an impact on them (whether Moses knew it or not).
  • God will speak. He will respond. It may not be the answer we want, but it will be an answer nonetheless. Are we listening with all our hearts when we seek him?

What would happen...
  • if I stopped being distracted by the world and meet with God daily?
  • if I stopped letting petty things keep me from trying to see God's face?
  • if I stopped listening to the grumbling (or being the grumbling)?
  • if I stopped worry about what everyone else (except Abba Father) thinks?
  • if I went to the meeting place and stayed until I heard what God has to say?
  • if I stopped asking and talking and just listened?
  • if I let God talk to my fears instead of me telling Him what they are?
  • if I stop telling God what I need/want and start doing what he wants?
This morning will forever be etched in my mind. I don't want to let it go. I didn't want to leave the sanctuary this morning, for fear of losing the "moment." And yet, 10ish hours later, I still feel a cloak of it around me. I can't get enough of this Exodus story. I can't stop thinking about what I need to do differently. I can't let go of some things that I really don't want to hold on to.

I am thankful that it doesn't take anything fancy, like a church sanctuary, to meet with God. I can do it wherever I am, whenever I want/need. God is not limited by space. He met with Moses on mountaintops, in tents, through fired up bushes, etc.

And I worship that same God today...the God of Moses.

My God loves me too much to let me stay the same. So, here I am, a broken girl with scattered dreams, thankful for this experience and wondering where the road will take me now. Because life will never be the same.

This Holy of Holies - where I am today - doesn't have to fade...for it has stirred this heart and changed it for good.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Thoughts: "20 Things..." (Eldridge)

20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed, written by Sherrie Eldridge, was a good read for me. I am going to try to read more of her books, as well as subscribe to her blog. I am excited to have this resource as a new adoptive momma and hope to share it with many of my friends.

As an adoptee herself, Sherrie reaches out to adoptive parents in this book, explaining many mysteries of adoption and the emotions our children may/may not have. It was interesting on many levels, explaining many things I struggle with even now, in the early stages of foster/adoption of lil' D.

I identified with many of her thoughts, as an adopted person. Some were even "aha" type moments where I realized links to adoption in my emotional life (even things I to this day struggle with).

One of the neat things about the book are the Support Group questions at the end of each chapter. How neat would it be to go through this book with a group of adoptive would open up a new world of understanding for our children.

Anywho - thumbs many as I can muster. Good stuff...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Multitude Mondays.1

I was moved by a video today. Really moved. See it here if you'd like.

I am going to look into this book, but for now, I will start something new and fresh on my blog. On Mondays, I will work on counting my way to 1,000 gifts.

1,000 moments that remind me of God's love in my little moments.

It is true that our life is just mere moments. Instead of watching life rush by while being busy, I long to notice the little things. In the meantime, I will pray that my heart will slowly change and become more thankful in general.

Thank you, Better Life Bags, for showing this and encouraging us to jump on the bandwagon.

1) These smiling brown eyes. It's hard to believe they weren't here a year ago.

2) Gil's unwavering affection for his Momma. Knowing that as he takes up half the bed at night simply to lay his head on my feet - is because he loves me.

3) D hearing that Daddy doesn't have to go to work on a particular day (and his excitement).

4) The sun shining through my front window for 10-12 minutes before the 5:00 hour...

5) Hats on my new 4 year old. (He's too cute!)

6) Snuggle time after a rare nap.

7) Watching Monk with my love each night in the quiet of our own home.

8) Being a part of a church family who lets me serve in a capacity I feel called to.

9) Having kindred spirits...the best kind of friends...

10) Getting a family picture taken

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Trying To See the Big Picture Through the Rear-view Mirror

I'm not very good at analogies. I can fiction my way out of most things, and hopefully entertain while I'm at it. I can ramble my thinkings and confuse along the way. And sometimes, my non-logical mind goes to analogy...usually when my Savior is involved and wants to show me something.

In saying this, please know that I know He speaks in many ways. Through songs, friends, the Bible, watching others lives...

And sometimes, when I'm silently struggling with something, He will speak to me in a way only He can. There's a chance He's tried other ways this week. And alongside that chance is the chance that I haven't heard him. So then he lets my life experiences (that I will share with you shortly) speak boldly what He wants to say.

Enter: Scenario that happened mere hours ago. I'll set this up for you. We're going to St. Louis for my MIL (Donna)'s Bday. We rented a (somewhat large) SUV in order to all fit comfy with her O2 machine. It was a sweet ride, though I do love my little Ruby Fuego (Ford)...she's so cute!

D was in the backseat with the O2 machine and his DVD player. That means we have time to jam and talk amongst ourselves as adults.

Enter 8:45 p.m. We were 45-50 minutes from home, and D just starts wailing. Now, my child is not a cryer. (For which we are all grateful...I could not handle a cryer, though I've been told by my parental units that I was quite the cryer; And I've been told by the hubster that I am quite the cryer even still.)

I digress...

So D's wailing. Mind you, we've stopped naps (a story for another day), and so our little man gets quite cranky after 8, and this is why we almost never have him to bed late. At first, my mind is saying, "Something's wrong with your baby boy. Fix it." Then the logic kicks in that it is, indeed, after 8 p.m., we've had a long day doing out-of-the-norm activities, driving a very large vehicle that is also out-of-the-norm.

He has decided that his legs hurt. (I know, right?!) Really?

I tend to not be a very compassionate person. So I'm saying, "Sweetie, this is not something we cry over." Usually that stops the crying. Not today. :-( So then I try other things. ("We're almost home," "Momma will rub your legs when we get home," "I'm sorry you're hurting, but you need to stop crying.") Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Finally, Daddy turns around, turns lights on, and compassionately hands him tissues for his face, which is covered in tears, snot, and slobber. Kindly telling him to stop crying, for fear of him drowing in tears, the need to dry his sweet face and not get it wet again, and suddenly, my boy is okay. He also told him he was sure that my little guy was tired, and that if he wanted to sleep, we'd get him in his bed safely very soon.

Needless to say, D was out in less than 2 minutes.

Three things, people: 1) I have an amazing husband and dad-da to my kiddo. 2) No matter what we said, it didn't stop the wailing. All my little guy needed was a little attention and logic. 3) When you bombard my child with new surroundings, different schedules/routines (even if they're fun), it's still a little scary.

Enter: Analogy. (I just know you've all been dying for this part...get to the point, Joslyn!)

I'm sure, in my Father's eyes, I have been that 4 year old 3 seats back in a big ol' Yukon wailing. After all, all I want is a sweet smelling baby to hold, 100 lbs to be gone, magically be closer to my family, financial stability, and a few minutes to myself each day. That's not so much to ask.

But here I am, swimming in a sea of people birthing children (both good parents and those who may not deserve to have babies). I see fit people all around me, wishing I could wish myself fit, but knowing this will be a lifelong journey. I see some who have family so close who don't bother to see them, while my nephew has major surgery this week, and I am unable to be there. There are people who seem to just fly by financially, even without realizing what they have. And I just feel like I can breath if I just have a few minutes to myself. (Sometimes I really do get that. Sometimes I even get an hour or two.)

Please understand, I am not jealous or envious in my heart over these things. They are just the cries of my heart....the things I just want (right) now.

And my Savior sweetly whispered to me today, as I was agonizing over how to soothe my wailing 4 year old: "You are trying to see the big picture through the rear-view mirror." See...I could see D wailing in the rear-view mirror. I could see the tears streaming down his sweet face. And I was helpless. In steps a soothing voice that hands napkins back to my boy and whispers some humorous logic, and it's all better. Simple.

I can not do anything about the things that are the cries of my heart in this moment. But the Savior sweetly whispers His truths deep inside my soul:

Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven... (2 Chron. 7:14)

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

He will take care of me. He knows (and hears) the cries of my heart. He knows. He is God. He will not let me be shaken. He cares.

I can relax. Most things are out of my control. My Heavenly Father hands me tissues to dry my wet eyes, willing me to see beyond me permission to rest...using Truths and logic to sooth my soul.

He gently reminds me that He sees the big picture...I don't need to. {Thank you, Abba Father.}

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Mandisa is one of my favorite artists. Forgive me for not saying much today other than I'm having a really rough day in so many ways. But I do believe that all this will make me stronger.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

21 Day Challenge

Hey, weight loss buddies!

Just wanted to pass along something I signed up for today.

One of my favorite bloggers, Lysa TerKeurst, who also happens to be the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, has just written a book that is changing my life, Made to Crave.

This is not an infomercial for the book, but I will say that if you're still struggling with your "want to" to want to lose weight, this is something you might want to check in to. Let's face it: our "want to" is fresh each morning. Our "want to" is just fine after we exercise or eat healthy. But in the face of a brownie or breadsticks at Olive Garden, where does it go? It's gone. I'm telling you. I'm there and have been there a billion kazillion times.

So anyway - check it out. The website for Made to Crave is here. The link for the 21 day project is here.

I'm in. Are you?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Gotta Secret

Okay, so I don't promise that I'm a good housewife.

In fact, more days than not, I have more things on my "to do" list than one can possibly get done in a single day. Therefore, I'm always behind on my cleaning chores, and usually only have a really clean house when my Momma comes to visit. :-/ (And that is mostly due to feeling inferior to her massive amount of being a good and perfect housewife and Momma. I wanna be like her when I grow up.) Here is a picture of her (in case you aren't privileged enough to call her Marmi).

{That's her with Grandpa Vic, one of the silliest men I've ever known who always wears overalls.}

Back to the secret. I was on a blog today that I love. It's inspiring and always gives good tips for a clean home. Little things that one can do to make it quicker, easier, more doable, and sometimes even "green." I'm not terribly gung ho about being green (I still use Windex for now), but I do care about the environment. And there are little things I can do, so I try.

Anyway, I digress.

On the blog, she asked her readers about their favorite cleaning tips. I shared mine, and thought, "I wonder if my bloggy friends know this one?" Maybe my head has just been under a rock or something, but ever since my favorite cleaner {Marmi, see picture above} told me about this, I have been gung ho about it!

To clean windows and mirrors streakless, there are all kinds of ideas out there. But none has worked as well for me as NEWSPAPER. I'm telling you. There are no streaks, and your windows and mirrors will shine like nothing else. Just crumple it up, and wipe Windex dry.

You will be amazed.

Now, even though it's not on my to do list, I think I will go clean my windows and mirrors. And think nice thoughts about my favorite cleaner. And try to rectify the very fact that though I usually talk to her daily, I haven't spoken to her for over 5 days {due to busy-ness}. Now that is ridiculous and inexcusable.


Please note the following things:
  • I am not an expert. Period.
  • The newspaper does get grayish blackey print on your hands after this job (but it maybe be because I'm a Sweaty Betty. It does wash off with soap and water. :-)
  • When your windows are newly cleaned and notice how filthy the rest of your house is (and will probably want to do something about it). {To which my hubs replies, "hallelujah!"}

Monday, February 7, 2011

Growing Kids God's Way

I don't know if I've just been under a rock the past few years (like 20) or what, but I had never heard of Growing Kids God's Way until a new Sunday School class started a few weeks ago. I signed up immediately, and am very excited to be a part of this small group of parents who ultimately long to raise our children up to love God and be a contributing member of society.

First of all, it's neat to be in a small group of parents with small children. The class is designed for parents of kids 2-7. This narrows the group down a bit, and it's fun to learn from those in the class. It's interesting to hear how others parent, and it's comforting that the struggles we have with D are common (and struggles for other parents, too).

Secondly, though the material is wordy and the videos can be dated (b/c this program really is close to 20 years old), the wisdom and Biblical values inside are priceless. Sometimes I just need someone to tell me what to do, how to do it, or why I'm doing it, ya know?

Here are some highlights so far! There will be more to come, as we are only partway into chapter 2 of the study guide. (These highlights are probably my interpretation or thoughts on a thought that the authors bring up...please note: I am not an expert at this nor will I be when I am done with this class.)
  • The responsibility of raising a moral child is HUGE...awesome...grand...(insert adjective here). I know this. I really do. Partly because I'm trying; partly because I feel that I'm failing at that very thing most days. But it does make me feel better to hear someone say that it can be done (now if he would just GET to how it's done, so I can get on with it! - j/k).
  • One of the ways to teach our children to internalize Biblical values is to give attention not only to what is being taught, but how. I get it. What I'm doing is not working. D can be so hateful sometimes. He rarely shows emotion to punishments, unless I am drastic and take a group of toys instead of just one away. Time outs only work 40% of the time, and though he doesn't like to see me disappointed, that doesn't stop him from testing me time and time (and time and time) again. So, the thought is that methods matter. If something doesn't work after trying it many times, try something else. Each child is different and will respond differently to many different methods.
  • Historically, we have 2 different kinds of parents: authoritarian and permissive. If you know me, there is NOTHING permissive about me. Sometimes I feel like I'm so hard on my little brown-eyed boy. What I've learned already in this class is that both are WRONG. Dead wrong. Authoritarian is all about suppressing evil (bad choices), stifling rebellion, and a fear-based parenting. Permissive parents just want to avoid conflict. They're very concerned with how happy their children are. They desire a stress-free family life (which is impossible, I tell ya!), and let their children do or have whatever they want at any given time just to avoid fits, screaming, etc. Children in these families learn they are the boss and can very well be difficult to deal with out in the real world. I tend to be authoritarian in nature, but long to do it right. So...I'm here to learn. And I will share any knowledge I learn here in blogland b/c I think we should all be equipped with whatever we can to tackle this huge responsibility called "parenting."
  • Our standard for moral training should come directly from the Bible. Note to self: that means I must continue to delve deep in the Word so I am equipped when a new struggle comes up. Depending on age appropriateness, use verses to train. Eventually this will instill in our children the desire to be Christ-like.
  • The ultimate moral mandate of Scripture is this: to regard others higher than self. To be others-oriented. We must model this for our little wee ones! Oh, Lord, give me a heart for others so D will have a heart for others.
  • God's moral requirement does not vary from child to child. As parents, we must be intentional about the standards despite our child's temperament and personality. We can help shape them! (Woah, this is a tough one. I'm sure this will be harder the more kids we add to our family!)
  • Most of our moral training needs to take place outside of conflict. (Okay - reality check here: do I train D outside of him making bad choices? No, I do not.) We have become very intentional about this, and have noticed a change. Daddy does a great job at this, and I'm working on it. But they have the greatest conversations now about making good choices/bad choices. Little D has already started doing more polite things like reciprocating "hi's" from people he may/may not know (instead of hiding between my legs), opening doors for people in public (so sweet <3>
  • After age 3, we must begin to tell them not only what to do, but why to do it. The why makes all the difference. I think I will blog about this at a later post b/c I see this is getting long. But stay tuned for the Why post. This is an interesting concept that I had literally never thought about. Oh, how teaching will be different for me when I get back into the classroom!
I leave you with a quote and a smile:

"Legalism removes the principle from the heart and the soul of the child."

Now, who wouldn't smile at THIS face?!