I Will Not Let Him Win

Accusation. It stops me in my tracks. Like a sharp knife being thrust into my stomach.  That’s how it feels.

Yes. That’s how it feels.

The accuser. The enemy. Always looking for an opportunity to attack, defeat, sidetrack, and accuse. That is exactly what he has been doing. I barely even recognized it for what it was until I found myself in a heap on the floor-feeling defeated. Wanting to quit.

The accusations: 

“You are not qualified to serve. You are a hypocrite. You are not relevant. You don’t fit.  No one understands. You have not responded well to life’s challenges. Withdraw into your home. Withdraw into yourself. QUIT!”

The guilt:

“You feel unhappy in your circumstances – but you say that God  is sovereign! You feel hesitant about the future – but you say that  God  has a plan! You feel overwhelmed – but you say that God is supposed to carry you! You feel like what you have  been given is not enough – but you say that God  will withhold no good thing from you!”

While reading the book of Acts and learning about what kind of men the disciples were, these words stood out to me.

Then Peter was filled with (and controlled by) the Holy Spirit…and  when they saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John,  and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools (common men with no education) they marveled; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:8,13

The disciples were: Imperfect. Sinful. Simple. Untrained. They doubted. They fought among themselves. They were prideful. One of them even denied Christ in His darkest hour! But God used them anyway. He chose to fill them with His spirit and enabled them to speak with“boldness and unfettered eloquence”!

He used them. He filled them. People recognized that they had been with Jesus.

I wrestle with the accusations and hold them up to truth. I choose to offer my feelings up to Him. I Repent where necessary. I Submit. And He chooses to fill and use me.

Amazing, amazing grace!

When You Want Your Kids To Read God’s Word

Bible before breakfast!” she told me “That’s the rule in our house. No Bible. No breakfast!”  Her children were young and she was sincerely attempting to train her children to be in the Word every day.

It sounded good to me!

I came home and shared this great idea with my husband. “What do you think?”, I asked “Maybe we should try enforcing that in our home.” As we continued to discuss the matter, we became convinced that it was not the direction we wanted to go. Brian quickly reminded me that our desire was that our children grow into their own walk with God. It wasn’t something that could be forced.  Having time in the Word is something that is vital if a believer is going to grow, but it must come from their own heart that hungers for the Word.

What can a parent do to encourage their children to be in the Word of God for themselves?

  1. Pray. Pray that God will open your children’s eyes to the need they have for a Savior,  and that He would create within them a desire to know Him by reading His Word.
  2. Set the example. You must make it a top priority in your own life to be in the Word and nurture your relationship with God. You can set the tone for the home by being eager to be in the Word and fighting for that time.
  3. Have family bible time.  Carve out some time to be in the Word as a family. Make sure you use age appropriate materials and allow them to take part in reading and discussion. Be sure to apply what you are reading as a family to their lives, no matter what age they are.
  4. Keep your eye open for bible studies and devotionals.  As your children learn to read for themselves, you can provide age appropriate resources for them to use on their level. Rather than forcing them to read what you buy, give it to them as a special gift and just make it available to them to use when they are ready.
  5. Be patient. Each child is different and will grow at different rates.  As much as we wish we could control our child’s heart, we really can’t. We have to wait for God to do His work in His timing.  For some that will take years. For others it will happen at a very young age.
If we want our children to have to a strong walk with God, the best thing we can do is pray for them, love them well, and then wait for God to do the same miraculous work in their heart that He has done in our own!

My Biggest Strength Is Also My Biggest Weakness

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us – cracked pots made of earth and clay – so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

I am painfully aware of one of my weakest traits. What I find to be interesting is that I think that it is also one of my strongest, God given traits. As far back as I can remember I have been an extremely sensitive person. I think that God designed me this way and has used this sensitivity in some amazing ways. I need to show Him how grateful I am, and give Him all the glory for:

  1. The times I am able to tune in to my children.
  2. The ability to see them as individual – unique people.
  3. The times I sense  God  telling me to put everything down and focus on those around me.
  4. When I build relationships with others and am able to see ways that might serve them personally.
  5. Being at the point where I can open the front door to whoever stops by unexpectedly and pull them in to whatever is happening in our home.

There is another side to this sensitivity that I have been given. I don’t like it very much, but it has caused me to desperately cling to God! Even though I would consider this one of my biggest weaknesses, I see that it is the very thing that God has used to bring me to my knees and rely on him. I am grateful for that.This sensitive heart that I have been given has been altered because of sin. Because of that fact  I often:

  1. Have a hard time adjusting to change.
  2. Battle depression and anxiety at times.
  3. Want to withdraw when someone hurts me.
  4. Take the words of others too much to heart.
  5. I can be way too trusting.

2 Corinthians 4:7  is a huge encouragement to me.  It  reminds me that God is bigger than anything that sin’s curse has messed up! How amazing is that!? He can use one of my biggest strengths but he can also use my biggest weakness. He can shine through it! He uses it to remind me of my desperate need of him, to humble me on a daily basis, and he chooses to work in and through me in spite of this ever-present, glaringly obvious weakness. Any good that others may see – in my strengths and in my weakness – is good that is from God alone.

I love this quote:

This earthen vessel has the treasure of Jesus within it. His power can overcome my cracks. His light can shine forth. I can take joy in knowing my brokenness only magnifies the hope that is within me.” ~Stacey Thacker

Today am going to spend time thanking God for my weakness!

My Children Have Rebelled…

While at an event recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with a mom of 3 grown children. Out of the three children, two of them are not walking with the Lord. She is very weary. At the beginning of the evening I intentionally pulled her away from the party and found a private place for us to talk. We sat down and tears immediately began streaming down her cheeks as she told me how, at one point during this journey she has been on with her 2 precious, rebellious children, she withdrew. After all, 2 of her 3 children aren’t living for the Lord. What does she have to offer anyone in the church? She has failed.

I had the privilege of reminding this faithful, godly woman of truth.

8 Truths To Cling To If You Feel Like You’ve Failed As A Parent

  1. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had while raising your children.
  2. We are not perfect parents. God is the only perfect parent.
  3. If there are areas of failure, you are forgiven. Take some time and ask God to show you anything that you may have done that was not the best. Repent and ask for forgiveness of anything he may show you, then ask your children for forgiveness. God forgives you and so will your children!
  4. It’s not all up to you! Ultimately, God is the only one that can do a work in our children’s heart. We do not have the power to do that work.
  5. There is not a list or a formula for parenting. As moms we desperately want a formula (I am one who wanted that formula–sometimes I still do!) a list of things to do that might guarantee that our children will do what is right. That formula does not exist.
  6. God does not fail. God is good! Because God is the one who does a work in the heart’s of our children, even if you did fail as a mom, God has not failed! God is good!
  7. You have MUCH to offer the church! You have this message to offer: God ultimately is the one who will capture the heart’s of our children and GOD IS GOOD!
  8. The story is not finished yet. THERE IS HOPE!

Yes. There is hope! God is good!

Isn’t it encouraging to know that God is good and that He REALLY IS in control? That He REALLY DOES want what is best for us and what is best for our children – – even more than we do!

We must cling to the truth that God is good and that there IS hope!

Are there circumstance that are you walking through today that tempt you to lose hope? Is the enemy whispering in your ear that God is not good?  Take time to share that in the comments so that we might be reminded that we are not alone in this battle, and so we we might have the privilege of praying with you!

We are in this together! Keep clinging!