Monday, August 27, 2012

The Taste of Joy in the Salt of My Tears

Do you know how it is when you get busy with life and distractions and you realized you've put something off for days? Yeah, that's pretty much what happened with me. Today my husband asked "Have you posted anything on your blog lately?" Oops! I honestly didn't know he was missing it. Anyways...It's just been a crazy, fun, busy week. So much is changing. I guess that's a sure sign fall is on it's way. School started last week, Jaden started soccer, I had a job interview, we attended a cookout with Andy's family, and there are some awesome changes going on at church.

That being said. I have been super emotional. I mean, I may as well have a tissue in my hands all the time. It's been a crazy roller coaster couple of weeks. Usually when I cry it's not in public so much...unless I'm at church. Then the dam breaks every now and again. The guys at church always tease me about being a crier. Usually, I hold it together...but sometimes, I just well up and the tears come. Like, I seriously should figure out a way to install a tissue box on my mic stand.

So, why do we cry? I mean...yeah we are under stress and that is part of it. Some of my tears lately have been a direct result of stress or being upset about something. Sometimes though, it's for no reason at all (that I know of). Other times they are tears of joy or sometimes even worship and surrender. It's hard to define.

Sunday at church, well it was amazing. We can plan all we want to, but sometimes God just throws in that little surprise that shakes us up and moves us to worship. That's kind of what happens to me when I sing and tears come. Sometimes, I just get so caught up and wrapped up in how Amazing God is and what He is doing in my life. Sometimes I can't just sing...I don't know how else to explain it. It's like my throat closes up and all I can do is let the tears flow and I have little to no control over it. I can say this. God always does something incredible in those moments. I walk away so completely full and refreshed.

In the past I've been told that I should "tone it down" and "don't cry so much" or to "get a hold of myself." If I were to be completely honest, I would tell you that I've tried. In no way do I want to stand in front of people bawling and letting my makeup and snot run everywhere! Nope, not at all. You can ask my husband and he will tell you that even at home when I cry I prefer to hide my face. There is nowhere, and no way to hide when I'm on a stage singing and the tears come.

He created me that way. I can't define it, but for some reason, God has put this propensity for tears into my life. The bible says that we are created in His image. I'm also reminded of the scripture that nearly every one learns by preschool age (because it's the shortest). The Lord understands how it feels to cry.

"Jesus Wept" John 11:35

It makes sense in a way. Tears are cleansing and they are evidence of our heart's cry for Him. I remember this chorus from an old southern gospel song.

Your tears are touching God when you cry them from your heart. Yes he knows when you're broken inside. Inside there's a feeling, only God knows the burdens that you bear and your tears are touching God when you cry.
It's like opening up every part of me and letting God work on the parts that need fixing or letting him take care of whatever burden is there. Everything that needs to go is washed away and the only thing that remains is Joy. The rest of the people in the room are like spectators in the operating room gallery. I think in those moments it's not just me God is working on, sometimes the tears are for someone else entirely and I may not even know it. But God does and the result is the same.

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Psalm 126:5

"Joy, must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again...I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is." C.S. Lewis  

"In Your presence is fullness of Joy!" Psalm 16:11

"For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalm 30:5

The tears may come, but they are only temporary. God wants us to be filled with Joy and that's exactly what we get when we let go and allow ourselves to be broken before Him and cry out in surrender. If getting all snotty and gross in front of everyone is what it takes to get me closer to God. I'll take it. I'll say this to you...if God gets a hold of you and the tears come...just go with it. Don't be afraid to surrender no matter where you are or who is around you. I promise, that when you let go and let God pick up your broken pieces you will experience JOY!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sometimes to Heal, You have to Hurt

Struggle, pain, trials, the need for healing.....we all hurt, we all face something. The past few days have been hard for me. I haven't felt well or been myself. I've been in pain, irritable, and tired. The weekend was long and busy, and I just felt like I wasn't keeping up, but I didn't know why. I thought something was wrong...I just didn't know what. Today I had a regular check-up scheduled, I mentioned how I'd been feeling and as it turns out I have an infection. Praying that the meds will work quickly so I can get back to normal. So there ya go...a small struggle with an easy solution. The rest of the visit....not so much.

The doctor wants me to have some tests run by a specialist. It's nothing major or lifethreatening and they don't suspect any big issues that are...immediate. However, the test itself doesn't sound pleasant. The end result, depending on the outcome of the test, is medication or outpatient surgery. Not exactly what I wanted to hear because pain, well it isn't so fun, and I have a condition that sometimes makes healing take longer than what may be considered "normal" for most people.

What I heard on the way home though, helped me. I was listening to The Message on xm radio. They were doing an interview with Tenth Avenue North, one of my favorite Christian groups about their new album The Struggle. The lead singer Mike Donehey was talking about a song on the new album and how the lyric on the bridge of the song was so relevant to him. It just resonated with me. The lyric comes from the book of Hosea.

"Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence" Hosea 6: 1-2

He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us. Jesus is referred to as the Great Physician, but what does a physician do? A trip to the doctor is associated with healing and prevention of illness...but sometimes it hurts. We learn this from infancy on. A vaccination hurts intially, no one enjoys getting a shot, but the protection that small amount of pain provides is worth it in the long run.

What about the bigger things? What about when other more painful treatments are needed? What about surgery, chemo, or the fracture that has to be re-set? All of these treatments are accompanied by pain. To repair a heart, the doctor must first cut you open. There must be some pain, before there can be healing. He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds.

I'm reminded of what the receptionist told me earlier when I expressed my concerns about the test they want to do. She told me that everyone she's talked to has said that while it's not pleasant in the beginning the end result is worth it.

It's the same for us when God allows pain and trials in our lives. So many times we get complacent. Just as we avoid going to the doctor unless we are sick, we don't go to God for the regular checkups we need. We don't seek Him daily, but only when we are hurting or sick or we come up against trials that leave us no choice but to cry out for the Physician. Pain has a way of bringing us back to God like nothing else. Sometimes it's necessary for us to endure a trial, so we can be closer to him. He will restore us, that we may live in his presence.

So what is it that needs treatment in your life? Maybe it's pride that must be cut out, maybe old emotional wounds and factures from the past need to be re-broken so they can heal correctly, maybe you are needing a physical healing. Whatever it is, we can find rest in the fact that Jesus came to heal those hurts. We can trust through the pain we feel, that the end result, will be worth the struggle.

Finally, I want to share the song that inspired this post. It's not been officially released yet so this was the best video I could find.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Leaning on Him When the Wait Gets Longer.

We've got so much on our plate right now. As I've said before, we've been finding so many things that will cost more and take more time in the house to fix. Additionally, there are things that our family needs, that we needed a car for instance, that we have been trying to figure out. It's so easy to get caught up in all of that....lack of finances, what we need, what we dream about, what we needed yesterday and still don't have. Things we have to tackle one at a time.

Last night, Andy and I talked about an issue we've found with the floors in the trailer. Basically, the stuff that's there isn't going to work for us. It's too thin, doesn't match up to the walls, and 2 heating vents were covered when it was put down. In the long run, if we want it to last, we need to do it right.

We've also been talking about how a project like this can either strengthen or tear apart a marriage. Neither of us are willing to allow it to drive a wedge between us. So that means that all of the frustration, worry, impatience etc....needs to be let go and we need to allow God to be at the center of every decision we make. For better or worse, we need to do it right.

So, are you seeing a theme here? If you want things to last, they have to be done correctly. Doing it half way and rushing, just doesn't work because in the end, things tend to fall apart. Ever hear the phrase "Haste makes Waste?"

"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." Proverbs 21:5

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

How many times do we rush and worry and make our own plans? I'm so guilty of it. When we first decided to take on this project, I had a million ideas, goals, and plans running through my head. I wanted to be done, and moving before school started (2 days from now). Patience is most definitely not my strong point. I know that I need to trust in the Lord. I also know that trusting requires me to wait on His timing. He knows what He's doing. What do we do though when our flesh is in a hurry? What happens when God's timing takes too long? How can we know that things are going to work out and that our needs will be met? First we've got to trust that he Has a plan.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sarah struggled with patience as well. She wanted a baby so badly, and it seemed like it would never happen. I understand that urgency, and the disappointment she no doubt felt when the years passed by. Still...nothing was impossible for God.

"Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:14

"And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him." Genesis 21:2

Impatience is a weakness, worry is a weakness....but they aren't insurmountable. We can allow God to perfect and refine us through those weaknesses. I think right now....I'm in that place. I'm learning patience. Andy and I are learning how to rely on God through this experience.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Finally, we can trust that our needs, when we are trusting in Him, will be supplied.

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

With that being said, I know that realistically this project will take more time than expected. I also know that God has a plan for us. Building a home together is going to be a step in building our marriage. Regardless of how quickly it comes together, or how long we might wait, we want to do it right. We want to trust in His timing.

"He has made everything beautiful in it's time." Ecclesiastes 3:11

We don't always know what God is doing behind the scenes, or why we have to wait. All I know is that I don't want to miss a chance to Glorify Him through the waiting. To allow our experience and our struggle to minister to someone else.

For Sarah, the wait was painful. She knew that God had promised her husband children. Still she hurt, and she tried to make it happen on her own. She had to learn trust the hard way, she had to learn through her mistakes (letting her servant have a child with her husband). She laughed with disbelief when the Lord said that he would allow her to conceive. When Issac was born, she laughed with JOY.

Her story was important and passed down because later on, her story helped others understand and trust what God was doing in their lives . In Luke we can read about Elizabeth who also conceived later on in life. Her husband doubted the promise that she would have a child, but she did not. She rejoiced in what the Lord had done for her. She was also there to mentor Mary when she needed the understanding of a Godly woman. In fact, the angel that informed Mary of God's plan to use her, also informed Mary of Elizabeth's pregnancy, to illustrate to her that "Nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1).

That's what I want to lean on. Nothing is Impossible with God. Sometimes, you just have to wait a little bit for it. I want to share our story with you so that, maybe through our stumbling and learning process, you can learn to lean on Him too.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Do Everything...Yes, That Means Laundry!

In this house, Andy's day off means we'd better get things done while he's here to help with them. Yesterday, we used the truck to move some more things out of the trailer for my Uncle and Grandpa. We got everything out that they needed except for just a couple odds and ends. Long story short, knowing that they have what they wanted to keep, I was able to get in the house and really get to work. The four of us went over to start cleaning yesterday afternoon. The kids were so excited to help with whatever they could. I gave them rags and windex and they started on windows. We all worked on bagging up trash. So much of what is left needs to be thrown away! What I'm most excited about though, is that today is bulk trash day. We were able to take the old couch and the bed over to the road for the trash pickup today. Things already look much cleaner. In all work there is profit.

Today, the plan is to do some building here in our current home. Thursdays are Andy's longest day at work. He goes in from open to close and then after work, he has the weekly training/meetings at the fire house. We won't see him till late tonight. His one request before leaving this morning was that I work on our bedroom.

Our bedroom is the least visible in the house. By that I mean that you can't see in, from the living room or the hall. You have to actually turn the corner and go in the room. Our bed is the biggest "flat" area in the house so it's often used for folding laundry. The problem is.....this girl...doesn't like to fold. I don't mind washing and drying so much. That's simple enough. For some reason though, I just can't seem to keep up with folding the laundry and forget about ironing!

So this morning when my husband requested that I tackle our mind went to the huge mountain of clothes at the foot of our bed! It's gonna take a while to fold it. Just thinking about it...ugh. Did I mention that I hate folding laundry? I would rather do just about any other household chore. The dishes don't bring as much dread as laundry. Cleaning the bathroom is almost preferable.(Abrianna cleaned our bathroom last night by the way without being asked to. Love that kid!)

So in regards to laundry...I have a lesson to learn.

"She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12

Ok, I'm called to be my husbands helpmate right? I should be the one making his life easier. The man doesn't complain about the laundry at all. In fact, he washes his own clothes most of the time. It's not neccessarily a "harmful" thing for him to do, but I'm sure there is a better use for his time. So I need to step it up right? My keeping the laundry done, and put away would certainly do him and the children good.

"For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do." Hebrews 6:10

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24

Ok, here is a new perspective. By serving my family and getting this mountain of laundry folded (and the rest of it washed, dried, and folded) and whatever other housework needs done, I'm actually serving the Lord! I can do this laundry for His Glory! I don't even have to do it alone.

I want to share this prayer from Sharon Wheeless over at Knit Together. I love her blog by the way.

Dear Lord,
I hate laundry. I hate the noise of the washer, the endless folding, and the fact that if I don't get the clothes out of the dryer fast enough they are wrinkled. Oh, and I also hate ironing. I am bewildered when I wash, dry and fold all day and still there is more laundry to be done.
But Lord, I thank you that I have a family and that my family and I have clothes to wear. Thank you for clean water in which to wash our clothes. Thank you for the noisy machine that does most of the work for me. Thank you for the dryer that fluffs out the wrinkles when I am too lazy to yank them out fast enough. Oh, and thanks for the house we live in with its roof and its closets. Thanks for giving me just enough hard work to make me appreciate all you have given me, but not so much that I can't get it all done. Thank you for reminding me every day that all of this is to be done unto You.
Thank you, Lord for laundry.

I'm probably going to print this prayer out and frame it near the washer. No doubt I'll need some reminding now and then. But as I'm typing this, half of the mountain has already been folded. This like any other challange is do-able. I'm gonna put on some Christian music and get back to work. We might even get some work done at the other trailer today. I'm excited.

 Finally, I'll leave you with this last reminder.... (I might need to watch it when the laundry moutain gets too big).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Building a Home x 2

First of all I want to say a big thank you to everyone who is reading and supporting us. I've had so much positive feedback about the blog. Your encouragement keeps me going.

I have already indicated that I'm a bit overwhelmed by all that needs to be done to fix up the trailer. In my "perfect world" we would have it all done and be able to move in before winter sets in. That is my expectation however, and may or may not be Gods plan. So I'm going to have to roll with it, and let things get done as they can be done. In the meantime, I have a job to do.

"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." Proverbs 14:1

I have a house to be building. I'm not just talking about the one we are going to fix up. I'm talking about the home we are in now. Serving my family and making sure their needs are met. Making the house we have right now a home is of chief importance. I can't get caught up in the plans we have for the new house and neglect what we have. I can not allow myself to get stressed out and let it affect the comfort level in my home. My family needs a restful place to come back to as we work on the other place. Neglect is not an option.

I've seen first hand what neglect can do. Yesterday, I was so worked up with my fears and worries about what our current home needed, that I failed to see the big picture. This house has never, even on it's worst days, been as much in need of care as the one we are getting ready to work on. Even though it's years newer than the house we are in now, several things are falling apart and there is so much cleaning to be done. Every time I walk over to take stock of what needs to be done I find more that needs doing.

Yesterday I asked, "Where do we start?" I had a lot of good answers and basically it boiled down to doing one thing at a time. Today I found some motivation in this scripture.

"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." Proverbs 14:23

All work brings profit. Therefore, even if it's just a little at a time, we are still getting somewhere. I'm going to need to hold fast to that in the days to come. There is a lot of work to do!

Today I was drowning in all that needed to be done. The thought of keeping up my home and building another (and all that it needed) was wearing on me fast. Then, Abby and Jaden started helping pick up things here and there. They were so excited to be working on the new place. They didn't care about all the things I saw. They were excited about the skylight in the bathroom and the thought of watching shooting stars from the tub! They were bubbling over with merry hearts and it was contagious!

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Proverbs 17:22

Finding the JOY, in the work is what I need. I'm going to keep praying for the strength to do it, and the motivation, time management, and merry heart I need. Right now the end result seems so far away, but I know that eventually, when we are settled in the new house and things are fixed and comfortable there. It will be worth it!

"Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures." - Discipline: The Glad Surrender

Monday, August 13, 2012

Where Do We Start?

Overwhelmed. I know I've talked about it. I even know that I'm not supposed to worry about anything. We've covered it. I also know that sometimes life just seems to crash in all at once. Sometimes (all the time really) we need the strength of the Father to deal with it. Today has been one of those days. I'm not going to share a lesson, I'm going to share a request for prayer.

I've talked about how we've been waiting for the previous occupants to move out so that we can start work on the trailer. We have waited and waited, and in that time I've tried to prepare for what needs to be done. I knew there was a lot of cleaning to be done. Cleaning and I aren't exactly on good terms either. I struggle with it.

Well over the weekend the move began, them moving out I mean. Praise the Lord. It's almost time to get in there and get the dirty work done. However, today when I took a good look at what was needed, I felt it. That creeping up of doubt, fear, anxiety whatever you want to call it. There is so much to be done and it isn't going to be cheap. The wondering began, "How are we ever going to do this?"

I know that we have a fantastic support system. So many people have offered to help out in so many ways. I know that we aren't alone in this. When needed they will be here to help.

Those thoughts though, led me to another area I struggle with. My house is a mess! I struggle so much with it, and that has been used against me in the past. When my children were young, their Father used to berate me and tell me all the time that the house wasn't clean enough. He would constantly threaten to report it to CPS, and say the kids should be taken. He was right, it wasn't clean or perfect like a showplace, but those words left scars. We don't get a lot of company and whenever I know that someone is coming, I panic. I can't rest until I've done a whirlwind clean around the house. Even then, after I've straightened up, I'm nervous and fearful.

Lately we've been sorting for a yard sale, trying to de-clutter and prepare for when we can move. Sorting though leads to a mess. There are piles of stuff everywhere that are earmarked to leave the house. Also at this time, we have several boxes of my husbands belongings that were sent home after my in-laws moved. We are trying to sort that as well. In short. The house is a wreck. We barely have room to walk through it this week. The task of clearing it all out is overwhelming. Add the possibility of visitors coming to help with the other place and you've got one messed up girl.

I'm not sure where to start with the mess. The only thing I know is that I'm gonna need to rely on God a lot. I'm going to need strength both physically and mentally. I'm going to find strength in these promises, and I hope that you my friends will lift us up in prayer. We're gonna need all we can get.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phillipians 4:13

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

I Wish I May...Find More Of Him Today

Have you ever watched a pot of potatoes just as it begins to boil? The boil starts slow and then suddenly it's bubbling over everywhere! That's kind of what happens with the ideas for this blog. I won't even be thinking about what to write and then suddenly it hits me and I can't wait until it's here, written down, and posted. Tonight, I had to wait. The topic was swirling around in my brain, but as it always does parenting took precedence. It's ok though, because the Lord used that time to clarify what He laid on my heart. What my children needed, (like all children) was my time. They also needed a lesson on shooting stars.

I've been reading about parenting this week and one of the main themes that is sticking out in my mind is the importance of spending time with the kids, creating memories, and searching for "teachable" moments within that time. I'll defer to this scripture in support of my hopes for the time I spend with them.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

It's not just the Sunday morning teaching that is important though. We have to look for moments, and also create time when we can point out to our children just how great God is.

With that being said, I want to talk about our experience the last two nights. Jaden and Abby have both been talking about wanting to see a shooting star. Shooting stars, or if you prefer the technical term, meteors are spectacular to see. As a child, I was fascinated with astronomy and loved watching the starts at night and looking through my telescope. I was excited knowing that the Perseid Meteor Shower was approaching. I couldn't wait to surprise my children with a trip outside after dark with piles of pillows and blankets so that we could find a comfy spot on the trampoline to watch the night sky. So, last night, and tonight, that is exactly what we did and with all that quiet time outside, we had a chance to talk.

The reason my kids were so excited about finally seeing a shooting star?  Yep, they wanted to make a wish. Wishing is something we are all "taught" by society. From our first birthday candles, to the genie in Aladdin's cave, to the coin dropped in a fountain our children are bombarded by ways to "make a wish." On TV, often times these wishes come true, which leads kids to believe that if they make a wish, then whatever they have wished for will come true as well. Unfortunately, things don't really work that way.

For example, today I overheard the sweetest little girl talking about how she wished her mommy could come home with her. I have heard similar statements from my own children with regards to their biological dad. We as adults realize the complexity of these situations, and although we know that nothing is impossible with God, we know that some wishes just aren't going to come true, or at least not like we expect them to.

So what is a wish? Here it is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary for Student (aka the simple version)

Main Entry: wish
Pronunciation: wish
Function: verb
1 : to have a desire : long for : WANT <wish you were here> <wish for a puppy>
2 : to form or express a desire concerning <wished them a happy New Year>
3 : to request by expressing a desire <I wish you to go now

The word that sticks out to me here is DESIRE. To wish is to desire something, to crave it, to yearn, to hunger, to long for it. That sounds a bit more familiar doesn't it? More attainable perhaps? The bible has a lot to say about desire and more importantly desiring God.

"Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" Matthew 6:33

That's what I wanted to point out to my children. The problem isn't the wish itself. To make a wish is in it's own way an act of faith. Teaching our children to have faith, well that's a good thing. The problem is what we are wishing on! A penny in a fountain isn't good enough, and a shooting star no matter how beautiful isn't going to do it either. Our faith and our desires must be placed in the hands of the One who created the stars. Anything less than this leads to disappointment.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Hebrews 11:6

So, when Jaden asked me. "Mommy, can a shooting star make your wish come true?" I had a chance, to not only enjoy the beauty of the meteors falling around us. I had a chance to teach my children about God. To teach them that we can't place our trust in the physical things. That when we desire something, or have need of something the ONLY real option we have is prayer.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"  Matthew 7:7-11

We've spent two nights talking about how, although the shooting stars are beautiful and created by God, they can't grant wishes. I'm sure by now both of my children will tell you that instead of wishing on something, it's better to talk to Jesus about it. Sometimes it takes a physical illustration to demonstrate faith and to understand the Lord. What I want you to take away from this is. Our desires (I don't mean temptations)aren't all bad. it's good to have goals, hopes, dreams for the future.

 But.....Are you wishing on a job that just isn't going to fulfill your needs? Are you expecting something from your spouse that he or she just can't fulfill? Are you tossing pennies in a well with no bottom by sinking dollar after dollar into a slot machine or lottery tickets, just hoping for that big break? If these are the things your are wishing on....STOP!

God is the only One that can fill the voids in our lives. He is the star we should be wishing on. Our chief desire should always be to seek and find more of God. That's a wish that can and will always come true if we make it. All you have to do is ask, seek, and knock. It will be given to you! (No shooting stars required.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sometimes...You Need to Hear a Story

I just love how on the days when we are feeling a little discouraged, God knows exactly what we need. Today was no exception. We are still dealing with a long work week for Andy, and some stress on the job front. I looked into some other options for my own employment and the news was encouraging. Not a for sure thing, but encouraging because there are some possibilities for increasing my hours.

Today I also had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful couple. I love talking to people who have more experience in life than I do. There is something so encouraging about talking with folks who have been through similar trials and who enjoy similar things. My last post talked about looking past the labels and finding friendship. Today I found a friend in the sweetest little lady. I won't reveal her age because, ladies of course don't appreciate the spreading of that information, but I will say that she and her husband have enjoyed 65 years of marriage and they are going strong.

I stopped by their home today lured by the signs stating "garage sale." I'm a sucker for sales and although I knew who the home belonged to I'd never really had a chance to speak with the couple. As I browsed the selection of items, I talked with her about my goal of creating a kitchen inspired by those of the 40s and 50s.

One of the things I love about antiques is that unlike new things, they all have a story. People love to share these stories if you take the time to listen. As soon as I mentioned my love of antiques and my recent purchase of cabinets from the 40s, my new friend just lit up. She started telling me about the cabinet she had that was her mothers before her and about her collection of antiques. She had seemed so quiet when I first stopped, but now she was bubbling over. I was invited inside her home so that I could see her treasures. What a privilege it was!

She and her husband have such a beautiful home, and her collection of glassware and antique furniture is extensive but uncluttered. I loved her stories. Many of the items in her home were passed down from her mother, they were obviously loved and well cared for. What touched me the most though, was the little things, bits and pieces of her collections that she pointed out specifically because her husband had bought them for her. They were proudly displayed in their home like a patchwork quilt pieced from the years they've been blessed to be together.

From the Singer sewing machine that he purchased for her in 1955 that still works like new, to the room he had added on just for her to enjoy, everything she pointed out that he had done for her just spoke to me. It wasn't that I loved the porcelain figures or the glass bowls. It was the love that was shown through them, her in being so proud of the little things he had picked up for her, and his willingness to choose carefully the items she would most enjoy. It was clear that after 65 years they were still best friends and still enjoying life together.

She and I talked a bit about marriage too. She repeated the old adage about never going to bed angry and I loved how she talked about how important it was to let go of the days' frustrations to start fresh each morning in marriage, and how important prayer was. (Definitely, summing up what the Lord's been telling me this week). She also shared how her husband struggled with his role as provider and finding the right job when they were first married. She shared how he worried and how she too wished she could do more to help him with that burden.

We laughed and we cried together and when I left, I was happier. I felt prepared to deal with whatever my husband would need from me when I got home. This evening is was, the ok to cancel plans that would involve spending money because it was needed elsewhere. I was ok with it though because I remembered another thing my sweet friend had said. "I don't keep antiques just because they are old, and I only keep the things I love." I think that statement applies to just about everything, not just clutter, or collections, or finances. It's about what's important and what we treasure. In the case of my friends they clearly treasured their marriage and placed God at the center of it, and they have been blessed. I'm reminded of this verse.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21

What do you treasure? Are you hanging on to the past or to the clutter in your life because it's old? Are you laying up treasures on earth focusing on money, or material things? Or, are you focusing on the things of God and the blessings of love and family? I needed the reminder today that even though material things might have value to society they don't hold a candle to the true value of being able to trust in God. I can find joy knowing He's got it covered, we're going to be ok regardless of the troubles we are facing.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds," James 1:2

Who knows! Maybe someday, if it's his will, I can share 65 years of memories with a newlywed needing encouragement. =)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Putting Love Into Action: The Call to Pray

Oops! I missed a day, things got crazy here yesterday. Well you know how it goes sometimes. It was grocery day and there was a good bit of child wrangling (parenting) to be done. I want to point out that I did not miss my devotion time though so, Yay me! =)

I love how the Lord works sometimes in our lives, and especially how everyday the things that He puts on my heart correspond with what others are learning and feeling. Spiritually speaking, yesterday was eventful for me. In addition to daily time in the Word, I've been trying to put prayer at the top of my to do list. When you grow up in church it's easy to know that we are instructed to pray continually.....

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." Ephesians 6:18

....but how do we put that into action? First of all, staying in the Word daily has helped me to keep God at the forefront in my mind. It's much easier to continually pray when I'm focused on it, and hopefully in time, it will be a habit as well. I'm not saying I didn't pray before, but I find that it's easier now.

The wonderful thing about prayer is that it doesn't have to be complicated. I don't have to be educated in all the Thees and Thous to pray....I just have to acknowledge Him. (remember Proverbs 3:6) He knows the needs and the cries of my heart before I ever voice them. I can trust that any and all conversation with my Heavenly Father is heard, and why wouldn't I want to talk to him?  Conversation builds a relationship, and I'm definitely seeking to build my relationship with God. I'm also feeling the call to prayer.

One of my main focuses in prayer has been to learn how to pray for my husband. Reading A Woman After God's Own Heart has prompted me to be more vigilant in this. Another great book that has been extremely helpful is The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. A dear friend loaned it to me and I've got to say it's been so helpful in guiding my prayer for Andy especially on days when trials are present. (I love this book so much, that I'm probably going to need to replace my friends copy, this one is looking a bit raggedy and I'd hate to return it that way.)

Yesterday, was one of those days for Andy and I. Normally, he calls me on his break just to chat for a minute, say I love you, and we hang up. I don't hear from him most of the day. Yesterday though, he called me 4-5 times. It's been a rough week for him, physically he's been in pain. It's also been a stressful week for all the guys at work because they've been getting ready for a visit from a district supervisor. Like most jobs, when the "Big Boss" is expected, co-workers tend to get a little pushy and a little cranky with each other. That was kind of the case this week and Andy was working overtime yesterday on what was supposed to be his day off.

I knew when the first call came early, that something wasn't going right. He was so worn down and discouraged and physically hurting. My husband is a strong man, he's endured more than some people could ever imagine. When I hear pain in his voice no matter the cause, I feel the urge to protect him (I'm not saying he needs me to). Andy calls it my "Mama Bear Instinct." I count it as a blessing and a testament to our relationship that he feels that no matter what he can call me for encouragement or to vent. Yesterday though, I felt helpless. I wanted so badly to help him, to protect him from hurt, and to make it better. I couldn't though. Sometimes, it's hard to be Mama Bear. I can't keep the world away from my family and I can't protect them from every situation. The only resource I had to use.....was prayer.

I can't even begin to describe how I cried out to God yesterday. All of my Mama Bear concern, anger, and pain came pouring out. I curled up on the couch with the copy of The Power of a Praying Wife. I prayed for my husband and every aspect of his life. I prayed for his co-workers as well. I didn't stop praying and crying until I felt peace. Even then, the rest of the day I continued to pray. I let him know that I was praying too. My final call from him yesterday, he was happier. He was still tired, his back was still hurting, but he sounded like his burden was a little lighter. He was also allowed to clock out a half hour earlier than normal to go home.

We aren't quite through this week yet, and Andy is still physically so worn out he could probably sleep for a week, but he left for work this morning with a smile. I'm still praying for him (I ask that you will as well). The peace is there this morning though, that's the power of prayer.

Last night I was talking to a friend about all of the ways that I know Andy loves me and the kids. I don't mean how many times he says the words (which is a lot). I mean how I see his love in his actions. I've never known love so present in action. I feel it in our home. I see it in the slump of his shoulders when he's worked tirelessly all day to provide for us. I see it in the way he holds my children when they need a hug. I see it in the way he tries so hard to help my parents. I see when I wake up to find that the laundry is done. I see it when he faithfully attends church every week even though sometimes Sunday is his only day off. I see it when he's home, every evening on time and not out hanging out or getting into trouble. I see so many ways that my husband puts his love in action, how can I not want to do the same for him?

The most important way I can do that is prayer. There is no greater way I can love my husband than by lifting him up to the One who made him!  I have to pray and do it daily, continually. I can't be there every minute of the day with him, but God is, and will be. I have to trust the plans that he has for Andy and for us. I'm going to do the same for my children. So I'm starting now....will you pray with me?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Looking past the Labels

Today's post is a bit earlier than normal. I'm just bubbling over with JOY today with the blessing of new friendship. I want to share something I've learned with you. What a blessing it is to have Friendship in our lives! CS Lewis wrote, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” But how often are we missing that moment and missing the blessings that follow?

So many times we allow a "reputation," labels, appearances, or a comment made by another person to color our perception of another people before we even meet them. As a result we don't extend to them the trust or love that we should. We put up walls before there is even a reason for them, without reason or merit. 

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:12

A commandment! That doesn't mean we aren't to be cautious about who we befriend (lest we be led astray). It does mean that we should extend the same courtesy that Christ does to us when meeting and dealing with others. We never know how an act of kindness or an offer of friendship will change our lives. 

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2

This past year I've learned a thing or two about the extension of kindness and how important it is to not allow "Labels" to influence how I treat people. Case in husband.

Andy and I went to the same high school. At that time we didn't really know each other at impressions, no labels. A few years later, I was in an abusive marriage with two children  (in the process of divorce). At that time, Andy and I were working together at the same restaurant, I worked up front while he worked the grill. I let labels influence how I treated him. A friend of mine put it clearly when she described him this way "he is zany and goofy and people write him off." That's exactly what I did! I wrote him off, and I treated him horribly. Here is an example.

 My husband is so incredibly passionate about his involvement with the fire department. It's no secret. At the time he and I worked together, he had just joined the FD. He was super excited and "gung ho" about it. That's all he talked about. My home was in the same "district" as the department he's a part of. I can vividly remember standing by the warmer on busy days while waiting for an order to be made and saying, "I thought firemen were supposed to be fast, if you can't make a sandwich faster than that, then I hope I never need to call the FD to my house!"

 HORRIBLE!!!!!! Just writing it brings me to tears. No one, deserves to be treated that way! I can't believe he ever considered me as a friend let alone dated me after that!

For years afterward I followed the same judgemental path. Andy and I got along as friends of a sort but I still didn't take him seriously. August 5th of 2011 (yes just a year ago) he and I became friends on Facebook and my perception changed. I'm so thankful that God opened my eyes to how wrong I was, and yes I have since apologized to Andy for how mean I was in the past.  

My point about labels and friendship doesn't just apply to my spouse though. I'm beginning to think of this past year as a time for new friendship. I've been blessed to develop closer friendships with so many acquaintances I had "written" off. Many because I didn't feel we would have anything in common. It saddens me to think of the time I've missed and the friendships I've lost and missed out on because my heart was hard to others. I can't change how I've behaved in the past but I can change how I respond in the future.

"But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:20-24

I'm so glad that God offers us the opportunity to put on a "new" self and walk in his Grace. I'll be much more aware of the possibility of friendship in the future. I will rejoice for the friendships I have and those yet to come.

"Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel." Proverbs 27:9

And I'll leave you with this quote:

"But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away." ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Father's Love

It's been a long day, or at least it seems that way. Andy and I were awakened at 4am by Abby after she had a nightmare. It was one of those that nightmares that is vague and not quite real enough to describe but terrifying. She wouldn't stop crying last night. This evening, well you guessed it, she won't go to bed. We're working on it.....

Last night didn't turn out the way a normal middle of the night awakening would. I felt an urgency in my heart, that what Abby needed was to stay awake and just spend time with me talking. I have failed my children so many times and in so many ways. Last night though, I think I got it right.

We talked about lots of things, random things, but things that she needed to get off her chest. Most importantly I had the chance to really apologize for the past. My little girl is quickly. She's desperately searching for love and she desperately needs to know that she is cared for. Don't we all feel that way though?

This precious child has never really known what it's like to have a Dad who loves her and who longs to spend time with her. Andy is trying to bridge that gap. I've encouraged him to find ways to spend time with her. With Jaden it's been easy for him to find ways to communicate. Not so with Abby, so he's been working on including her when running errands, and in daily conversation.

Last night, Abby asked me if she could take Andy's last name as her own. Step-parent adoption is something that Andy and I have discussed and are praying about. Andy wants to be the kid's father in every way, but he also wants them to want to be adopted. We haven't approached the kids with the idea and yet they keep bringing it up on their own. Last night, I explained a little bit about how adoption works and what it would mean to Abby. She still wanted to, so I told her it would be best if she talked to Andy about it as well (she'd only talked to me privately).

After talking with her, I witnessed what I can only imagine might be an illustration of how God longs to have us come to him. My daughter went to the kitchen and tentatively asked my husband. "Can I be adopted?" His response was "Who would be adopting you?" She pointed to him and smiled and then he wrapped his arms around her and said "Of course I would love to adopt you, Papa loves you Abby."

As I sat there crying watching her curl up in his lap, it occurred to me how simple it is for those of us who are searching for love to find it. We simply have to accept the love that our Heavenly Father is longing to give us. Just like my husband, he is waiting to be asked. He is waiting for us to open up and allow him to lavish us with his love and to guide us and correct us as we grow. I won't be posting scriptures along with this post because I don't think I could possibly explain how the Father loves us any better than He who has written the ultimate love letter to his children. So I will leave you with this link...I pray that you will read it and know how truly LOVED you are.

Father's Love Letter

Sunday, August 5, 2012

After His Heart

Wow, what an exciting week! I'm typing that joyfully because God is using this blog to bring about some changes here in our home and in my heart. The biggest change for me has been accountability. I don't know who is reading this blog, I'm not sure that it even matters. I do know though that I need to keep posting because I feel the need to spend time in the Word each day before I post. I did miss yesterday because Saturday nights I have practice at church. We always have fun in worship at practice and yesterday was no exception.

Today I've been reading about serving and submission. I have to say....even as I write this I'm screwing up. God is working on me, and I'm learning....slowly.

I want more than anything for our marriage to be as God designed it to be. I want to learn how to be the wife that God has called me to be to my husband. I also want to earnestly seek the Lord and build my relationship with Him. I've been reading a book by Elizabeth George titled A Woman After God's Own Heart. I've been expanding on the chapters I read by searching more in depth into the relative scriptures in my bible and attempting to follow the challenges in the book. Today mostly focused on Ephesians 5.

"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord." Ephesians 5:22

"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33

The author in the book I've been reading put it this way. The scriptures say we are to submit to our husbands as we would to the Lord. By submitting to the man God blessed me with, I'm actually honoring God! Modern thinking has so many women struggling with submission. Society (and the devil) wants us to believe that submitting to our husbands is outdated thinking. God designed marriage with the husband at the head for a reason. It's not my job to question that, it's my job to trust that God is using Andy and his decisions to fullfill his purpose for our family. I'm working on it....old habits die hard so they say. I believe that God can show me how to follow his instructions and I want to follow them. Today showed me that it's not hard to submit, and it's also not hard to screw up.

One of the challenges I read today about submission instructed women to respond positively to their husbands by. A. saying nothing (if you have something negative to say) B. responding with a single positive word. In the midst of my reading this chapter my husband asked me a question. My single word response was "Ok." That simple little word led to an absolutely wonderful afternoon with my husband. We've had such fun talking and hanging out today. I love it! I love being married to my best friend. Most people who know me also know that this is not my first marriage. It is however, the first time I have every felt so lighthearted and so much like a newlywed is expected to feel.

I did screw up today though, a few minutes ago to be exact. I have such a hard time with writing sometimes. I can't concentrate with distractions, and as I began writing this post my husband turned on the radio. I will confess that I was a bit snappy and the atmosphere completely changed as soon as the words were out of my mouth. It's kind of like baking I guess. Sometimes a little too much or too little of one ingredient can spoil the whole batch. Things can be going so well and then one small word can change everything.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
 Proverbs 15:1

My tone was harsh....and I was shown just how quickly all of my attempts at respect and submitting can be undermined. A teaching moment no doubt. I was quick to apologize to my husband and he quick to forgive. He's such a sweet heart and such a goofball. The old fashioned country he put on wasn't intended to grate on my nerves at all. It had a different purpose all together. He wanted to dance with me in our kitchen! ( How many blessings do we miss out on by being unkind to our spouse?) He told me as we danced to an old Willie Nelson song, "I like old country because...back then they really knew how to write a good love song."

I think, no....I know that my husband is right. There is nothing wrong with an "Old fashioned" kind of love. That's part of what this whole idea of doing a retro home is about. We don't want a modern home with "modern" morals. We want to embrace the plan God has for our marriage like our Grandparents did. I can certainly work on submission and service because I've been blessed with a husband who loves me! I have to let him be who God wants him to be.....and I have to learn to be who I need to be and I'm longing to be known as A Woman After God's Own Heart.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Brinner Biscuits and the importance of Bread.

Supper time....It's been a few hours. I'm starting to enjoy the time afterwards. Once the dishes are done I can get some "me" time. Remember how I said that I needed more time in the Word? I'm thinking those after supper hours might be just the right time. The kids are getting ready for bed and winding down and Andy takes his turn with the laptop. I can read and think a bit. Tonight, I was reading and I thought about biscuits.

We had breakfast for dinner this evening. Brinner is what my husband calls it. I'm in need of a trip to the grocery store and the options were.....slim. That's how brinner made it's way to the table. Bacon, eggs, hash browns and biscuits were on the menu tonight because that's what was in the cupboard to make. Biscuits are a go-to meal stretcher in this house.

I love making biscuits. I use the recipe my Mama gave me. It's not really much of a recipe, just a list of ingredients that you "eyeball" to get the right amounts. I couldn't give you measurements if I tried and even though they are pretty good, I haven't quite matched my Mom's version yet.

There is something about cooking from scratch that I love. It's a feeling you get when you have dough up to your elbows and flour on your face. It's an expression of Love to me. There is truth in the old story about Mom's secret ingredient being Love. It is, and it isn't a secret at all. Love is pretty much what it's all about anyways. The scripture says:

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Love, especially God's love is Powerful. We know this because He sent his Son so that we might live. So that we could have eternal life. This past Sunday was Communion Sunday. Abby and Jaden, after coming to the Lord and being baptised, finally got a chance to participate in the Lord's Supper. I loved how simply the message explained to them, and to the adults present what it was all about. As children we learn that the Bread represents the Body of Christ, and we are instructed to remember.

That's what happened when I was making the biscuits. I remembered the Bread. The Body that was broken for us.

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." John 6.35

Bread is a pretty big deal when you think about it. We are so richly blessed today that bread is taken for granted. Why did Jesus compare himself to bread? Simply because it's essential, bread is a staple in nearly any culture. It's a penny stretching meal that sustains us when there's no meat to be had. I read a quote in one of Christy Jordan's posts recently where she was talking about the depression and something her Grandmother had said.

“Mama always said many a family would have starved to death back
then if not for biscuits and gravy.”

The bread was their salvation. Just as bread is essential to our physical body (the preventor of starvation and death you might say), Jesus is essential to our spiritual body, the bread that nourishes our very souls. I'm never going to look at a batch of biscuits the same way again. 

The best part is, the love doesn't have to stop with our family or our church. Most cooks I know tend to make just a bit too much and there is always enough to share. I'm always delivering biscuits to someone when I make them because we always have extra. In the same way, God wants us to share the Bread of Live by sharing the Love of Christ. We don't have to worry about running out of Bread. There is always enough. He's up to his elbows in biscuit dough waiting to feed the hungry masses. We just have to invite them over for Brinner.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention.

It's kind of funny how when you think no one is paying attention they are. I wasn't sure anyone was reading until my Mama asked me where today's post was. Here it is almost 9pm and I'm just now sitting down to write. To be honest, I wasn't even sure what to write about. Then, like other times, it comes...that still small voice, the spark of an idea, or a thought that comes from the Lord. "Write about this...." Honestly though, my answer is as always, "but Lord, I don't even know where to go with that?" It doesn't stop there though, because there it is again, that little nudge that says "Just start writing and it will come." Remember a few days ago when I talked about how He directs our paths? Yep, it's kind of like that. So here it is, our topic for today: Rust.

Rust has been on my mind daily this week. In preparation for this move, we have been blessed with so many things. A table, chairs, and cabinets just to name a few. (I will no doubt talk about each of them individually at some point). So what's the common denominator these blessings share? They are all experiencing various stages of rust.

Rust requires three things to occur. Iron, oxygen, and moisture react and cause the unsightly corrosion we call rust. Generally, we associate rust with neglect. Like most problems we face, it's best to prevent it before it becomes an issue. Sometimes though, we acquire an item that hasn't been loved for a while. Something that is a little corroded and in need of tender loving care. I'm thinking maybe that's how we look when we come to the Lord.....sometimes we have rusting hearts.

David wrote "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10

David was called a Man after God's own heart. Still he screwed up, he was human, and he got caught up in sin. In the Psalm 51 he was earnestly pleading to the Lord to remove the rust in his life. Remember what I said about prevention? Rust doesn't occur overnight. It starts small, a bubble here and there under the paint.

 In our lives it's the same. Maybe we were offended by something another person said. Maybe in the midst of temptation we thought "It's ok, to compromise now, because no one will know." Perhaps our friendships are leading us down a road we shouldn't be on, or we've simply slacked in our daily time with the Lord. Whatever it is in our lives that starts the corrosion be it spiritual neglect, sin, or unforgiveness: when allowed to's gonna rust.

Rust isn't easy to remove either. I've been doing my research and in order to restore the items I have, it's going to take work. Lots of time, and lots of elbow grease, and steel wool. Some of the rust is so bad that to remove it, it may need to be cut out. Sounds painful right? It is. When we have rust in our life it's probably gonna take a little time and maybe even some pain to remove it. If we let it go, rust will eventually bring death. The good news is that there is hope.

"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"—and you forgave the guilt of my sin." Psalm 32: 3-5

HE IS THERE! Ready and waiting to remove the rust from our lives. That's not to say that we don't need to put forth some effort too. First and foremost we have to acknowledge the issue.We can ask the Lord to remove whatever is rusting in us and draw strength and restoration from him.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

"Therefore ... let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress..." Hebrews 12: 1

Once we remove the rust, it's time to cover up the bare metal. To protect from, and to prevent future corrosion we've got to have the spiritual equivalent of Rustoleum. We need the Word of God in our lives daily. I struggle with this personally, devotional time is something that I need to make more time for. I get too caught up in plans, frustrations, and little stuff that wears down my paint. I think, like the other posts so far that's what the small voice is saying to me. Working on removing the rust isn't enough. Prevention is key, and that's what the Word is there for. That's what spending time with God and developing a prayer life and relationship is about. Finding the strength to resist the problems in the first place, and help removing the things that are starting to bubble up.

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7

So I ask you.....Is there rust in your life?