Sunshinelittleone's Blog

All about my love for the Lord

To obey or not to obey…

English: Holy Spirit depicted as the dove (det...

“Honor your mother and your FATHER, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

The fifth commandment is a tough one.  Teaching your children to honor their parents is truly a lifelong commitment.  It is all about obedience.  Obedience to the Lord, really.  That is what I struggle with…obeying the Lord.  My Father in heaven.  The perfect father.

It came upon me the other morning; how very disobedient to the Lord I am…can be.  I don’t always listen when He speaks.  I ignore His calls.  I am distracted when He asks me to do something.  I am very disobedient.

Recently, two things happened within minutes of each other. As a typical child, I chose how I was going to obey.  I was ‘semi-obedient’ (is that even allowed?  I think not!!)  The Lord kept nudging me to pray for someone.  Someone who I have a difficult time with, I don’t understand their blatant disregard for the Lord and I see a lot of who I was, before Christ, in them.  The Lord kept telling me to ‘lay hands’ on this person…pray for them.  But I didn’t.  I chose to pray for them silently to myself, never laying a finger on the one God was asking me to love for Him.  I choose to disobey.  The second-within moments the Lord filled me with His Spirit. I could feel a burning inside of me.  A complete wash of the Holy Spirit urging me to deliver a word to our congregation.  This is a common occurrence at my church, not for me, but for others.  People feel the pull of the Lord leading them to the Word, leading them to the altar.  I was, at first, really ready to rebel.  I turned to Rick and told him what was going on and he encouraged me to go…so I did.  I did it with a happy obedient heart.

That is just an example of my choosing to be obedient.  I do it daily.  The Lord reminds me of the way I should go and I, very willfully, go in the other direction.  This is a common occurrence.  He reminds me of this often…how I go my way and not His.

It’s funny how I can justify my own disobedience, but get frustrated when my kids chose to disobey.  How dare they???  How do they know to do this?  Oh, yea, right…it’s me; I am their (not so shining) example.  They are unwittingly following in my footsteps.  Time to pull in the reigns and make an effort to be the most obedient daughter I can be to my Father, so that my little lambs will desire to obey their parents.  Surprisingly, they are joyfully obedient to the Lord…Thank God!

A friend recently shared with me the secret to her parenting…she doesn’t really know that she shared this, but I gleaned a lot of hope from what she said.  As we were gathering our children up at a playdate she said to her son, “You have choices, you can chose to obey or you can chose to disobey, I hope you chose to obey.”  In that very instant it occurred to me, I have the same choices.  I need to press into the goodness of the Lord; His perfect will for my life.  I need to listen and obey.

Father God,
Your mercies are new each morning.  You know every step I am to take.  You direct my path and yet I stray.  Thank you for forgiving me.  Help me to honor my Father.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

How thirsty are you?

“This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8

Domestic interior by Jan Vermeer showing a lea...

I have been that bush in the wasteland.  I have missed opportunity and blessing from the Lord because I relied not on Him, but on myself.  I spent years trying to figure out the key to life…on my own.  Faithful self-reliance left me parched and alone.  I felt the lack of life in my bones.  It is a very lonesome place to be…trusting self and man.  I cried out to the Lord and He answered my call.  He filled me to overflowing with His peace.  He forgave me my sin of self-reliance.  He set me next to a spring of fresh and life giving water.

I am someone who needs fellowship and friendship.  I am someone who thrives on interaction.  When I was relying on myself and others for joy and comfort I would find myself desperately lonesome…even in a crowd of loved ones. I am met by those feelings of inadequacy when I am in a state of vulnerability or when I have taken my eyes off of the face of God.

In times when I am rooted firmly in the Word; reading my Bible daily and meditating on the promises of the Lord I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding me to lush pastures and streams of cool water.  I am able to accept the lavish of His love. I am able to pour into others the Fruit of His Spirit.  I am full of peace and joy.  However, when I chose to turn from the hand of God, I am left feeling dry and desperate.  Because of my inherent stubborn nature,  it wasn’t until I sought God in those time of barren wasteland that I realized through Him and Him only that I may feel the fullness of life.  The life that the Lord desires.

Money and man will parish.  The Lord remains true forever.  He is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow.  It is through Him that we are replenished.  He fills us with His Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of Truth.  The Spirit that heals our wounds; transforms our lives and wipes our broken slates clean.  The Spirit of the Lord fills us with the essence of God.  To be baptized in the Holy Spirit sets us apart, giving us a desire for the things of God and not of man.  But, to get there we must die to self.  We must give our lives entirely to the One and only True God.  We must know that He is setting us on a path of righteousness. Unlike man, He will never lead us astray.  His desire for our lives is to live fully in His promise of peace and hope.

Father,
My desire is to live in Your midst; You guiding my feet. You quench my thirst.  You feed my soul with Your beauty.  I know that I will be watered in times of draught by your divine Hand.  Lord, help me to seek Your face above man and the temptations of this world.  I desire to be fully immersed in Your goodness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

1 Comment »

The road fearfully traveled…

English: A country road

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul…Teach me to do you will, for you are my God; may your Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:8, 10

I have to drive out to the country today.  Sounds perfectly peaceful.  A nice, sunny afternoon drive in the country.  A big blue sky above.  Ready to pick corn lining the road.  Hope of seeing the wonders of nature that are banished from the city.  Sounds lovely…or does it?

My dad always told me that driving offered a freedom that few things offer.  Being able to drive a car is a ticket to explore the world around you.  I love that notion.  Rick and I have spent countless hours meandering through the world around us…and I always love it…enjoying freedom.  I love the drives…unless I am at the wheel.

A few years ago, at least a decade, I was turning out of a driveway on one of those wondrous country roads and missed the road but made it into the drainage ditch beside the driveway.  Yes, I flipped my car into what seemed like a never ending crack in the earth…but really it was only about 6-8 feet.  The flip was in relative slow motion.  But, as I hung there from my seatbelt I felt terror like I have never felt. Fear of traversing the narrow rural roads set in and I battle that fear each time I set out on journey into the country.  The fear has seeped into driving highways I am unfamiliar with and night driving.  I am cautious to nearly frozen in rain and snow.  Unless I find the funds to hire a driver…I need to let go of my fear and trust God fully.

As I map-quested the route to my friend’s home, I realized that she is only .10 miles off of the main road…phew!  Glory be to the Lord.  Reading my morning devotional I came upon the above scripture and felt confident that I will be in the hands of God as I take the trip to big blue sky and cornfields.  God is good!  He always knows what we need and what will give us confidence in Him.

I love that the Lord leads me to level ground…in this case literally.  But, in all instances of my life He leads me to level ground.  When I ask in His will, He sees me through the most daunting tasks and situations.  It is when I forget to call on the Lord that I am plagued with uncertainty.  I am unable to muster up Godly confidence on my own. I am unable to rest peacefully in the face of challenge.  Yet, His unwavering strength inside of me allows me to rest Him.  I am assured of the perfect and level path He will set me on.

I have purposed in my heart to trust the Lord as I venture into the country today.  I have purposed in my heart to trust the Lord on all the paths of my life.  I will trust in His promise to be with me always.

Dear Lord,
You know the paths we are destined to take. You set us on a course that glorifies and brings you honor.  Today, as all days, I will put my complete trust in you.  I will enjoy the splendor of Your beauty and creation.  I will not be riddled with the fear of the unknown…I will rest in You and Your mighty plan.  I am blessed to serve a God who cares for me personally.  I am blessed to know that You are in control and that I am to trust completely in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Leave a comment »

Can you forgive like Christ?

forgiveness

forgiveness (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:34b

There is no greater comfort than knowing that my sins are forgiven and forgotten.  The act of forgiveness is cleansing and freeing.  When we allow the hurts of our past to rest in the hands of God we are liberated from chains that can bind our hearts.  Unforgiveness grows like a weed.  It strangles the life out of us.  Unforgiveness keeps us from loving fully.  We are to forgive just as our Father forgives us.

When we pray the Lord’s prayer we say…”Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  How are we forgiving the trespasses of others?  Are we limiting our forgiveness by our fallen human condition or are we forgiving the way God forgives us?  Forgiving and forgetting? We can expect to be forgiven by the Lord the way we forgive others.  I have to measure myself against the actions of Christ.  Am I truly letting go of the wounds to my heart?  Am I able to see others the way Christ sees them?

Forgiveness heals our broken hearts.  Forgiveness allows us to grow in Christ.  When we grow in the abundance of His love we are able to extend love and peace that surpasses our own understandingLoving our neighbors as ourselves.

I believe that we are able to extend forgiveness outside of ourselves and in Christ.  To be immersed in His goodness.  He is our perfect example of unconditional, agape LOVE.  His word shows us the simplicity of forgiveness.

We are all sinners and fall short of the grace and mercy of the Lord. We trespass against our neighbors daily.  We are in dire need of forgiveness.  We must be the first to forgive.  We must find in our hearts a way to extend olive branches; even when it seems impossible.

Forgiveness means love.  Loving fully in Christ.  Forgiveness shows that we are capable of moving past the wounds of our hearts. I find it much easier to love than to like-especially when I love with the heart of Christ.  Loving like Christ is a means to draw ourselves and others closer to the lap of God.  We are able to move on with our own lives when the wounds are healed and closed.  There may be scars to remind us the hurts, but those scars are also pain-free and never to be opened again.

Who do you need to forgive today?  Who do you need to seek forgiveness from?

I offer this prayer…

Father God,
Please forgive my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me.  Please help me to forgive with Your heart and not my own.  Please forgive me for that which I am aware of and for that which eludes me.  Forgive me, sweet Lord, for the words and actions that come from my mouth and heart that do not give life.  Lord help me to see everyone with Your eyes.  Help me to sow forgiveness.  Thank you for the Cross and the promise of salvation through Your son, Jesus Christ.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

3 Comments »

Happy Birthday …

A contemporary birthday cake

There are few things that I enjoy more than celebrating a friend’s birthday. I got to do that with great delight tonight!  I celebrated my friend Jodie.  Oh, you have to know Jodie.  She is the real deal.  She is as honest and genuine as the day is long.  She is a friend who welcomes you into her heart and into her family.

The very instant…no exaggeration…I met Jodie, I became her friend.  In an instant.

Tonight we welcomed her new year on a beach deck.  We traveled into a different world as we drove the ‘s’ curve to Sandbridge.  A quintessential oceanfront community.  Sand lines both sides of the roads.  There isn’t a lawn on the strip. Sandbridge throws you back to a time when the grocer knew your name and you could leave your door unlocked…all the time.  Sandbridge is, in my opinion, a seaside fantasy land.  Is there a better place to spend your new year than in a land removed from time and space?

I spent the evening watching a pod of dolphins; a flock of pelicans sail over the ocean; and a house full of people who couldn’t have asked for a more amazing place to be.  The home was filled to bursting with love…for a very special and kindred spirit.

So, Jodie.  She embodies love.  She loves fully and significantly.  She is honest.  She is loyal.  She is full of life.  She is rooted and grounded in love.  Her heart expands further than her reach. When she says she loves you; she means it.

The invitation to celebrate her birthday was like Charlie’s golden ticket.  When a friend, who by nature is so very humble and so full of humility, invites you to be a part of their joy-you must answer yes.

I am blessed by the love that my friend shares.  Jesus in her is so very beautiful.

Sweet Friend…You have sat patiently with a loving and listening ear.  You have unopened your heart and your home.  We, as a family, love you and yours.  We are honored and blessed to shared our evening with you…may your new year; your new journey; everything you do…be blessed by the hand of God.  In the might name of Jesus, Amen.

Leave a comment »

hello again…

I have not signed off, only stepped away.  I have fallen out of routine and when I do that I fall away from God.  Not intentionally.  I have enjoyed an amazing week basking in the love of my family.  We have spent hours loving each other well.  Tasks, that have seemed to loom over us for what feels like forever, are done.  I feel organized for the first time in a long time.  Unfortunately, I tend to make an idol out of my to-do list.  Never, ever a good thing.  God is so amazing. He sees me through it all and forgives me for being so absent in mind and spirit.

I have a ping in my gut when I let go of the hand of God.  He is a Father-the perfect parent.  While we may loosen our grip on Him, He rests His hand upon our shoulder and continues to guide us.  I realized this as I guided Max and Carly through the traveling carnival last night.  They really didn’t even feel me guiding them. I praise God for never letting go of His children.  I am awed by His amazing grace when we fall short.

Perhaps I haven’t written in a few days because as I sort through the cabinets and shelves of my home; I am dually cleaning out the forgotten spaces of my heart.  I have had a great deal of time and blessing to walk through old memories this past week or so.  The Lord has been so gracious to clear out the clutter of my old self and reveal to my new self the beauty of new creation.  I am grateful.  I look back on the woman I was and who, without Christ, I would have been.  It makes me shudder, but then in that exact moment I am comforted in the Holy Spirit.

I am learning to let go of who I was.  I am learning to live within my means.  I am learning to seek Christ in every facet of my life and being. I am learning that perfection is not the goal-realization of salvation is the goal.  Walking with Christ covers the rocky paths I traversed.  I am free in His mercy and grace and thanksgiving to live abundantly with what I have and not what I think I should have.  I am grateful to the Lord for giving me new perspective and a forgiving heart.  He is mighty to save.

May the Lord of peace and patience and kindness guide your day.  May you feel His joy and love and goodness as you lavish those around you in the LOVE of Christ.  May you continue in your faith, being gentle of Spirit.  May the Lord bless you with self-control in every area of your life…especially in the words that come from your heart…be they sweet as honey.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Leave a comment »

He’s a keeper…

I praise God for the man I married.  I am blessed beyond measure to share my life with such a wonderful person.  I am delighted to watch him usher our children through this world. I praise God for the father and husband he is.  I am amazed at how he takes each day in stride…living in the moment; fully.  I am awed by his patience and Godly character.  It is my honor to be married to this man.  It is a privilege to watch the children God blessed US with.  I am abundantly blessed!  God is so GOOD! Happy Father’s Day Rick Ewing!

Leave a comment »

Yes, I will ramble…

There is something so very nostalgic about the first Saturday of summer vacation.  Excitement fills us as we lazily crawl out of bed with no real agenda.  The prospect for adventure swirls around us; carried on the cool spring breeze that stops short of our cozy blankets.  Max asks for a family cuddle…warmed by the notion that come fall the closeness of family will continue in long discussions of history and math and science.  This Saturday marks the first day of our journey into homeschooling.  It is official.  Max has been withdrawn from public school…curricula has been chosen…the beginning of our education adventure starts today.  The very mention of homeschool sets a new freedom in my heart.

I am grateful for the joy and anticipation I feel for the opportunity to educate my kids.  I am thankful beyond comprehension for the Lord’s answer to my greatest prayer.  I am joyfully overwhelmed by the notion that I have been called to teach my precious little gifts.  I am truly blessed.

I am a strong believer that we are called to care for our children.  That picture is different for every family.  It spans issues from nursing babies to allowing young adults to live at home until they marry.  There are so many wonderful ways to love a child.  I am convinced that the Lord calls us all to  love the way He needs us to love most.  We are called to be salt and light in all areas of the world; our area just happens at our home base.

I pray that you all feel the freedom of summer vacation.  I pray the Lord will brighten all of your days with new ways to serve and glorify Him.  Delight in the blessings and gifts from His masterful hand.  I pray that you are safe and that all of your days are filled with LOVE and JOY.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

1 Comment »

Here’s to you Mr. E…

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry, He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  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.” Psalm 40:1-3

Waiting patiently on the Lord, in my opinion, refines our character.  When we wait on the Lord we put our sights completely on Him.  We trust that He will carve out a path for us to follow.  A path that is life giving and full of the Spirit.  Waiting can be difficult, yet, it is so very rewarding. My husband Rick has learned to wait patiently on the Lord.  This year has been a year of complete trust and surrender.  Rick will finish his first year of teaching today. He did it!  And, in a few weeks the postman will deliver a five year teaching license.  He is official!

This past year has offered a tremendous amount of growth for our entire family.  We have learned to live below our means.  We have learned to get up before day break.  We have learned to make lunches, do lesson plans, grade tests and care for really tough kids.  Rick has brought, in spirit, all of his kids home.  We have prayed for their trials and tribulations.  We have rejoiced in their accomplishments.  We have giggled at the absurdity of adolescence; all the while trusting in our Lord, Jesus Christ, to meet us at every new challenge.  We have surrendered this adventure to the Lord.  We have committed to following His will for our family.

The complete and absolute trust we have in the Lord is highlighted in Psalm 40; the verse that has encouraged Rick through this journey of new adventure and refinement.  Since he was a young man his heart’s desire has been to teach.  The Lord answered that cry.  He put Rick’s feet on a path toward achieving his goal.  The journey has not always been easy or smooth but it has always been in the will of the Lord.  He sees us through the difficult times.  Waiting on Him brings refinement.  He gives us what we can handle as He sees fit.  This year has taught us to be patient.  This year has brought us closer together.  This year has been the best year of our marriage.  I cannot sing praises enough to the Lord.

I am so proud of my husband and his blind faith.  He has shown me that it is in Christ we put all of our HOPE. He has shown me how to have supreme character in times of want.  He has shown me that any goal, dream, desire I have can be accomplished when God is in control.  I have also learned to be patient…rather I am learning (this one is lifelong for me!)  I have learned from my husband that it takes a family bound together in love to achieve the goals of one.  I have learned that all we need the Lord will provide and it is good…always.

Our children have seen the hard work and dedication their father has had working toward his goal.  They have seen a father who trusts fully and deliberately in the Lord.  What a gift! The gift of faith.

This year has been so very different than any other.  Our strength is in the Lord.  I praise Him for a contract signed for next year.  I thank Him for the opportunity to see my husband grow in ways beyond my imagination.  I thank Him for the joy that has threaded through the good days as well as the trying times.  He is sovereign and perfect.  He sets our feet on a rock.  He puts us exactly where we need to be so that we can make the biggest difference for His kingdom.   Although Rick is not in a Christian school, his actions and character have shone brightly the light of Christ to a class of kids who, at the beginning of the year, had very little hope.

Praise God and thank you for the man I get to love the rest of my life.

Leave a comment »

Just ask…

God, the Father watches us all everywhere.

God, the Father watches us all everywhere. (Photo credit: angelofsweetbitter2009)

Friends,

If you are feeling distant from the Lord, I offer, to you, this prayer….

Father God,
I am wandering and lost.  I have turned from you.  I have tried desperately to figure out this life on my own.  I am grateful for Your promise to never forsake me.  I am blessed by Your desire to carry me through this life.  Thank you for Calvary.  Thank you for the sacrifice You made to give me everlasting life.  Jesus, You are my savior and Lord.  Forgive me Lord for straying.  I come back with an empty heart to be filled by Your amazing grace. I am loved abundantly by You.  Thank you, Father for Your provision.  Thank you for Your love.  Thank you for the life You have created me for.  I am blessed beyond measure by Your mercy, forgiveness and grace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

May Your day be filled with abundant blessings and love from the One who loves you most!  xo

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: