Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 2012 - God is bigger than...bedtime routine?

Thanks to a caring and wise friend who gently shares truth with me, I am contemplating applying one of the basic things a Christian should do on a regular basis. Are you ready for it? I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I couldn't reply to her with "yes, you're right, and I'm already doing that."


I need to forgive.  It helps me, frees me, opens up communication between the Lord and me, not to mention making it millions of times more likely communication will open up between the other person and me.

Since yesterday's post I've really been thinking about what I can do differently in how I react to things that I am fully convinced I am right about. I'm sure that sounded prideful; I didn't mean for it to be prideful.  One CONSTANT conflict at our house is bedtime routine for the kids. We've agreed (many times) on the window of time they should be in bed, and we've discussed (many times) the parts of bedtime that have to occur before they are in bed, including about how long each of those components last.  However, when my husband is involved, the kids consistently go to bed late. And I feel like I suffer the brunt of the consequences that night as the bad guy, as well as the next day, as they generally don't sleep longer if they go to bed later. No, they are just cranky, whiny, dramatic, and less obedient than usual.

The 400 tactics I've employed thus far to remedy this situation have failed miserably.

Then tonight I had this revelation.

God is bigger than bedtime routine.

Thanks again to the book Kisses From Katie.  Tonight I read her take on how God used ordinary people and did amazing things. And do we think He no longer does those things? If we ask Him to do big things, shouldn't we expect big things, even if they look way different than what we expected?

I know, I know. She's talking about a huge ministry in Uganda and being mom to 13+ children (each time I write about the book the number will go up, as I keep reading about more she adopts!!), and I'm talking about bedtime routine. Cut me some slack, ok? We're starting small and working our way up....

So the revelation was that God can multiply the minutes my children are sleeping. He can make them wake up rested and ready for the day. He can do that regardless of what time they go to bed and regardless of how much or how little my husband cooperates in the bedtime routine process.

Wouldn't it be better if I drop the expectations, anger, hurt, bitterness, and cold shoulder and instead respect him as leader of this home? Even if I totally don't agree with him?  Even if it feels there's a much larger principle at stake here that is being completely overlooked?  Yes. Yes it would be better.

After all, my husband cannot ensure a quality night's sleep for the kids. Neither can I. Neither can the most brilliantly crafted bedtime routine or meal plan or activity plan. (Not that I really have the latter two items...just carrying this idea a bit further!)

I've been doing one right thing while simultaneously doing a wrong thing. At best they cancel each other. And at worst I'm making it all but impossible to make any progress.

So I'm going to do my best to let go of bedtime routine. Let go of my opinions, ideas, researched facts, proven techniques, etc., and let my husband be the leader. It's pretty dumb to keep getting so upset about something. I can't change him...and I've known that for a long time...I can only change myself, and I can change how I react. That requires a shift in focus. My husband is no longer thwarting my plans. God can deal with him if he is wrong. And God can deal with me if I am wrong. Ok, so God can KEEP dealing with me as I KEEP being wrong.   :)

Did that make sense? I hope so. And I hope to apply this idea to a bunch more pressure-filled areas of marriage.

God is bigger than bedtime routine.
God is bigger than planning ahead.
God is bigger than having regular time as a couple.
God is bigger than generational curses/hardships/trials.
God is bigger than doctors and diagnoses and ailments.
God is bigger than clutter.
God is bigger than the boogie man, He's bigger than Godzilla or the monster on TV...and He's watching out for you and me. (Thank you VeggieTales)

I can act and react with love and respect, trusting God with any necessary heart change. It's not my job to point out principles or truths or nearsightedness.  At least not right now. Not until I can do it while still trusting that God is the only one in the business of heart change.

It's not my job.  I could write an entire post on that idea alone. And maybe one day I will.


On the topic of forgiveness - even if we are ok with God, we need to forgive people who were hurtful, insensitive, or neglectful during and after our losses. Forgiving doesn't say that you are ok with the offense, nor does it imply that you are at peace with your loss. 

When we forgive another person, we can pray for them authentically. God can heal in an instant what we think could never be healed.

April 2012 - A Little Mad and a Lot Confused

The following devotional was the basis of our conversation at the April gathering. 

Proverbs 31 Ministries
Lysa TerKeurst
April 5, 2012
God, I’m a Little Mad and a Lot Confused
Lysa TerKeurst
“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2 (NIV)
When God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers it can be hard. Sometimes, down right awful.
One minute I’m determined to trust God.
In the next, I feel myself slipping. The “why” questions tumble in so hard. My heart hurts. My eyes leak. And in those raw moments I just feel a little mad and a lot confused.
Ever been there?
I don’t want to oversimplify what to do in these times. I know from prayer requests I’ve received over the years many of us are facing really tough issues. Situations where the answers aren’t easy or clear cut.
But I have discovered a few things that help me when God seems silent …
* Press in to God when you want to pull away.
When I really want to hear from God but He seems silent, I sometimes find I want to disengage from my normal spiritual activities. Skip church. Put my Bible on my shelf. And let more and more time lapse between prayers.
But the Bible says we will find God if we seek Him with all our heart. Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (NIV). All my heart includes the parts that are broken. Bring it all to God.
He can handle your honesty and will respond. But we have to position ourselves to go where truth is. Go to church. Listen to praise music. Read verses. Memorize verses. And keep talking to God.
* Praise God out loud when you want to get lost in complaints.
In the midst of what you’re facing, find simple things for which to praise God. I don’t mean thank Him for the hard stuff. I mean thank Him for the other simple, good things still in the midst. A child’s laugh. A bush that blooms. The warmth of a blanket. The gift of this breath and then the next.
Psalm 40:3 reminds me God will give me a new song when I make praise the habit of my heart and mouth. “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD” (NIV).
* Put yourself in the company of truth.
That friend that speaks truth? Listen to her. Stay connected to her. Let her speak truth into your life even when you’re tired of hearing it. Stand in the shadow of her faith when you feel your own faith is weak. Let her lead you back to God time and time again.
Proverbs 12:26, “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor …” (ESV).
It’s okay to feel a little mad and a lot confused. Our God is big enough to handle our honest feelings. But don’t let your feelings lead you away from God or away from His truth. Press into Him. Praise Him. And put yourself in the company of truth.
As you stay with God in these ways, you will become ready to receive His answer when it comes.
Dear Lord, thank You for hearing every ‘why’ my heart sends up to You. Forgive me when I retreat from You and Your Word. I want to trust You more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

March 2012 - Unmet Longings

When God says yes, can we receive it? Or do we fear we'll lose it? Don't listen to the enemy's lies.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
Lysa TerKeurst
March 1, 2012
Unmet Longings
Lysa TerKeurst
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
Have you ever wanted something so badly your heart ached with each thought of it? It seems life would be so much better if you had that.
There would be more happiness.
More contentment.
More fulfillment.
More satisfaction.
More peace.
We can envision ourself with this thing, this person, this opportunity. And all things are better. So, why doesn’t God give us this longing of our heart?
Because He wants us to willingly release it to Him.
Not the answer we want. Why would God let the aching desire linger and not make things happen? He could. He’s certainly able. But when He doesn’t it seems unfair. Not good. Confusing.
It’s easy to get down when we’re constantly let down.
We hope this thing will happen… we’ll meet this right person… we’ll get this job… we’ll finally be healed… we’ll get that chance… we’ll see that family member turn their life around. Time and again it doesn’t happen. That’s when it’s easy to slip.
We can so easily slip into feeling a little distant from God because we feel hurt by God.
That’s what happened when the man I thought I was going to marry told me he met someone else. That’s what happened when I didn’t get the job I was so certain was going to be the answer to all my financial problems. That’s what happened when my son didn’t get into the charter school we were so certain would have been perfect for him.
But, in each of these things, I eventually had to make a choice. I could either become consumed with my unmet longing or comforted by trusting God.
As an offering of trust, we must give up that which could so easily bring us down.
Not give up as in discouraged surrender. But give up as in placing this desire in the hand of God and saying, “Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust.”
Remember the Scriptures promise, He rewards those who honestly seek Him: “And without faith is it impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”(Hebrews 11:6 NIV)
Sometimes I get so consumed with seeking my unmet longings, I don’t earnestly seek Him. But then I miss out on His reward. And His reward is the only thing that will fill the void in my heart.
Yes, I still struggle with unmet desires.
But not as much today as I did yesterday.
And that is good. Not easy. But good.
Dear Lord, I sacrifice chasing this so I might more fully and with more focus chase You. I release this grip of desire. I praise You for who You are, what only You can bring, and how You will fill whatever gap this release might leave. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


God is outside of time. That means He sees past, present, and future all at the same time. He sees NOW how pain and trials and suffering of the past and present WILL work out - He sees them as already worked out. It's not like He's in heaven thinking through options until He creates a good one for us. He already KNOWS. We just continue to walk in faith and we will walk into the existing answers to our current problems and trials.