Sunshinelittleone's Blog

All about my love for the Lord

His path, not mine….

Jesus said, “Follow me.” Matthew 9:9

How often do we say that to our own children, “Follow me”?  And they do.  In most cases they follow with obedient hearts, but there are the times they follow begrudgingly.  They want to go their own way because they feel like they know best.  Our children are no different than their parents.  We follow Christ most of the time obediently…but a lot of the time begrudgingly.

When I am following Jesus, I feel peace that permeates through my being.  When I follow Christ, I feel His presence in all the decisions I have to make.  He sets my feet on paths of righteousness.  He breathes life and truth into my heart.  Following Christ is a discipline.  It takes motivation to humbly walk the path of Christ.  It is not easy.  Following goes against our inherent desire to figure things out for ourselves. A lot like Eve.  She thought she could lead…she led herself and Adam right out of the Garden of Eden.  How often do I lead myself away from the Lord into unwanted circumstances?

I want to walk and follow in obedience.  But, my fallen human nature keeps me from following Him honestly.  I can talk a good talk but when I really survey where my desires have taken me, I fall short of His path.  He redeems me and sets me straight.  He is mighty to save.  He heals my sin nature.

Now, sin is sin. I am not a murder or adulterer and I try in earnest to always tell the truth. But, I sin.  I believe my greatest sin is cloaked in reservation.  I confess that I don’t always trust that the path the Lord has me on is the one I should be on…but then he reminds me to “Follow”.  He changes my heart.  He makes me very aware that He is the Light and the Way.

I am learning, as I follow Christ, that I do not always understand why He sets me on certain paths.  I am quick to doubt, but He reveals to me His reason.  He leads me away from danger and heartache. He leads me to still waters and green pastures.  He makes me rest.  When I am following the call He has for my life things are always sweeter.  They may not be fun or without struggle, but they are always wrapped in His peace.  When I follow the Lord and rely fully on His way, I am certain that I am on a path of Goodness.  For He is good all the time and all the time He is good.  He will not lead us astray.  He will always lead us on the path of Life.

So, why does the path lead us through difficulty?  Because, it is through our suffering that we are better able to cling to the Lord.  The best thing that could have ever happened to me was being stripped of everything that I claimed as comfortable.  Because in my discomfort I sought His guidance and He cemented in my heart a deep abiding Love that carries me through.

Life in this world has never come with the promise of easy or happy or just.  But, when we serve the Lord and lay all we have at His feet, He makes straight our paths.  He gives us what we need, even what we desire…when it’s in His will.  How do we know when we are following and asking and desiring in His will? For me, the evidence has been tangible.  When I follow and ask and desire the things of God in my life, I feel a peace that surpasses understanding.  I am free in the Love of Christ to live out my life for Him.  My life becomes His and not my own.  When I obey…He uses me for His glory.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for always lighting my way.  I am yours to follow.  Please give me a desire to stay on Your path and to follow Your will.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Happy Birthday Sweet Caroline!…

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Today we celebrate Caroline’s fifth birthday.  She is, what we call, our exclamation point!  She completes our family.  She brings joy and delight and a bit of spark to our every day.  She is strong in her opinions.  She loves fiercely.  She has a servant’s heart.  She is every bit of delightful.  She is a blessing.

I will admit the day I went for my ultrasound and learned that I would birth a baby girl my heart was full of joy and worry.  A girl.  I didn’t know what to do with that information.  I had always envisioned having a brood of boys.  But, God had different plans for my life.  My joy came from the notion that I would have a sweet little girl to love and fawn over.  But my worry came from the relationship I shared with my mom…and her with hers.  It was a worry deep-set in the dysfunction that followed my mom and me from my early childhood until the day she died.  It was a dysfunction that has taken years to recover from…or at the very least understand.  I am not my mother.  Caroline is not me.  God is amazing.

God knew long before I was even a blink of an eye that someday my arms would be filled with a redheaded bundle of joy.  He knew that the fear and anxiety planted in my own maternal relationship would be far from the relationship I share with my daughter.  He knew that there would be redemption.  He has sung life into our hearts.

His mighty to save.  He saves us from our past.  He guards our hearts and reveals the beauty of Love.  I love my mom to the very core of my being. I wouldn’t be the woman, wife, or mother I am today without her love and guidance, and perhaps her faults.  I learned from her mistakes just as I desire Caroline to learn from mine.  She will.  She will look back on our life together and dissect the good and bad.  The most profound difference between my mom and I and Caroline and I, is that Caroline and I share a love for Jesus.  We know that any issue that arises will be set at the feet of our Savior.  We will seek His hand to guide us through the times that we cannot traverse alone.  But really? Are there any times that aren’t completely guided by the Lord?  No.  He is with us always.

Today, I rejoice in the delight that is the gift of my daughter.  She is joy, pure joy.  She has transformed my heart.  In five years she has wielded a love-sword greater than any past disappointments.  She brightens my day…her father’s day…and even her brother’s.  She is ours to love and encourage.  She is ours to grow deeply in the Lord with.  She is ours to enjoy all the days of our life.

Thank you, Lord, for little girls.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Gotta love a Valley girl…

“Then Jesus said to His disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear….Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Luke12:22-25

If worrying added hours I would have time to spare.  I am learning to indulge less in my anxiety and more in Christ.  I have yet to master the act of spending time with God before my day really begins.  I tend to ‘fit’ Him in to my schedule.  He should be my schedule.  My day should undoubtedly begin with the Lord.  I do say my prayers as soon as my eyes open, but that doesn’t mean I am walking out the rest of my morning with the Lord.

For instance, yesterday…I spent less time in the presence of the Lord and more time in a frenzy of anxiety and worry.  Why?  For what?  It served no purpose to get in a whirlwind of emotion.  But, God is awesome!  He meets us where we are at and stops us in our tracks when He sees us spiraling out of control.  He gently reaches inside our hearts and flips a ‘God-switch’.  He calms our personal storm.

I waste time in worry.  It does not benefit anyone.  It makes my children anxious; my husband annoyed and puts me in a foul mood.   I must resolve to worry less and trust God more….completely.

We recently spent a week in the Shenandoah Valley.  Everything about our trip was pure delight.  From getting the day started to putting the kids down to bed, the days were calm and serene.  There was no rush or annoyance in getting dinner on the table.  Tidying up didn’t become a production…it was just done-joyfully!  But, when I returned home all the serenity must have flown out the window on the ride east.  I was a ball of nerves as I prepared a simple, thirty minute meal for my family.  The idea of completing any household task sent me into a fit and then the Lord stopped me (as He always does).

He planted in my heart a need.  I need to make myself savor the monotony of every day.  It’s good to be in a routine.  It’s good to not be on vacation all the time.  But, it’s equally good to bring the calm from the Valley home to my little house in the suburbs.  Is it possible?  Is it possible to be calm and restful in my hub of activity? Sure…with God.

When we ask, if it is in His will, we receive.  So, I am confident that as I ask to be patient, and kind, and good, and loving to my family; He will fill me.  He desires that I am a Proverbs 31 woman.  Serving my family joyfully.  SERVING!  That’s the key…to serve my family with JOY!  It isn’t always easy to muster the joy on my own, but in His mercy, I am filled to overflowing.

Father,
For all the moms and dads out there who feel the crush of worry and anxiety, please heal us from the inside.  Change our hearts.  Help us to see the eternal value in dishes and homework.  Housework and laundry.  Help us to see that the family you have created for us is to give us joy not to evoke complete confusion and anxiety.  Thank you for Your grace and mercy.  Thank you for filling us with Your Fruit that we may love abundantly.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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I am already here….

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

I accepted Jesus when I was 15.  I was a member of Young Life.  I remember sitting in the Rocky Mountains overlooking the Continental Divide.  I confessed my need for a savior…a friend.  I felt the peace of the Lord press into my heart.  I didn’t realize, at the time, that as a child of God, I needed to walk out my faith.  I kept my love of Jesus hidden in my heart.  Little did I know I was to spread the message of His amazing grace.

My deep desire to be in the presence of the Lord has grown exponentially since I was 15.  I spent several years running from the Lord.  Turning my back on Him.  Turning my gaze from His face to worldly delights. Christ didn’t fit into my lifestyle.  When I did seek Him, I was ashamed and battered in my condition.  My prayers were fleeting and selfish.

He found me and turned my heart back to Him when I was in my early thirties.  He made me a new creation and cemented in my heart a deep desire to live fully in His glory.  Living in His glory means being His hands and feet.  Loving with His heart.  Seeing the world through His eyes.  Living in the glory of God means loving when it’s hard.  Giving when you feel barren and dry.  Living in the glory of God means a willingness to share the message of salvation-even when your words fall on deaf and defiant ears.

I want to be a messenger of His goodness.  I want to speak His truth.  I desire to share the joy of the Lord.  So, when He says who will I send? I raise my hand.  But where will He send me?

I thought for the longest time that He would send me into the far reaches of the world to share the gospel message.  But not right now.  Maybe someday.  My mission field is not in a foreign land but rather in the confines of my own home.

He has sent me to the heart of my children.  He has given me the opportunity to lavish my little treasures in the love of Christ.  He has cemented His Fruit in my heart so that I may share with my children the Rock that is Christ; that they will always know that that no matter what they encounter in life they are shrouded in the strength and mercy of Jesus.

Will He send me into those far reaches I think I long for? Only God knows.  For now I will abide in Him as He draws me and my family into His lap.  I will be grateful for the way He equips me to parent my children.  I will be thankful for the Word I stand on, knowing that the seeds are being planted in the ever growing hearts of my littlest delights.

Jesus,
Thank you for sending us where you need us most!
I pray that I may be your hands and feet.  I pray that the seeds planted in the heart of my children will grow to produce an abundant harvest for Your glory.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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Teach me to number my days….count every moment…

Teach me to number my days….count every moment….

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Teach me to number my days….count every moment…

“Man’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” Job 14:5

I have spent many moments in my life fearing death.  I think it stems from the loss of my father at a young age and then the death of my mother unexpectedly when I was a new mom.  Regardless of the origin of my fear; I have spent far too many precious breaths worrying if I am taking my last.  If my husband has an ache or pain I think the worst…immediately.  I hold my breath when my kids try new and daring adventures.  I spend my prayer time petitioning the Lord to keep my family safe and well.  I forget that He created us with distinct purpose and that He will use us here on earth until His work in us is done.

We don’t know how long His work will take.

For my dad, the Lord used him on earth for 45 years.  He spent his time here working hard, loving well and sharing his experiences.  I recently stumbled upon one of his journals.  A running journal.  He wrote of his adventures on the trails.  He wrote of wildlife and full moons. Listening to the call of geese over crisp autumn nights.  He wrote of the beat of his feet on wooded trails and the calm he felt in his heart as he traversed stream and brook.  He saw life in everything.  It is no wonder that I am fueled by the majesty of God’s natural world.

My mom died unexpectedly on a Sunday night.  She had feared that she would leave this world without a loved one present to usher her into heaven.  Her fears, in the human sense, were realized.  She did die alone…in the physical sense…but she was carried to heaven by the Lord himself.  She was not alone.  Her time on earth was a brief 56 years.  She spent them loving and giving and showing fierce opinion.  She fulfilled her purpose on earth.  Her days were numbered…just like mine.

My fear is unfounded.  I think it’s a fear for the heartache those who are left behind feel.  When we say good-bye we must trust that we are going to the most perfect place…heaven.  There will be no tears, or sickness or sadness.  We must trust that if we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our good-bye is more like ‘see you later’.  But the pain and twist of our heart is still palpable.  He will heal it…

I must trust.  I must trust that when we say good-bye to our loved ones or them to us…we are shrouded in the love of God.  His strength and mercy will carry us through even the deepest heartache.  He will reveal to us the mystery of life…if we are still enough to listen.  He will give us the ability to rise above death.  He gives us the strength to fear not, but rather reveal in the precious moments we have shared.

The notion that time heals all wounds is wrapped in human understanding.  We want to tag-line our emotions.  We give name and diagnosis to our hurt.  We seek others to fill us to happy again.  But we must turn from our own inability to understand the numbers of our days and trust that God has it all under control.  We must seek His face to heal our hurt.  He is the God of impossibilities.

Father,
You are mighty to heal.  You take our brokenness and renew us.  You know the pain we feel and you pour Your joy over us.  I pray that I receive all that you bless me with.  If my days are numbered, then let me live them to overflowing in Your light that I may be a beacon of hope to all who I encounter.  May I remember the joy and love of a family halted by death…may I rejoice in who brought me into this world and how well they loved me…let me leave behind the hurt and heartache.  In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

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I can so totally do this homeschool thing…

One Room School House

I am flooded with so much information.  I feel like I am on the brink of circuit overload.  But, I must yield to the One who numbers my steps.  “Would not his splendor terrify you?” Job 14:11  Oh! does it.  I am standing in humility at the feet of the Lord pleading for His mercy and grace and patience and goodness and and….Oh I am standing with the emptiest of hands ready to be filled with His presence.

He has called me to homeschool my children.  This, in and of itself, is a pure miracle.  I have, for years, been acutely aware of my inability to articulate a sentence-let alone a lesson.  I have patience that flits faster than a shooting star and I am quick to sharpness in my tongue and heart.  I am not a homeschool mom.  Until now.  Now I am standing at the most intimidating starting line I have ever stood at.  There are moments when my body is full to overflowing, not with joy of the Lord, but rather with the anxiety of a thousand races.  I stand paralyzed in the fear that I will fail.  Then I remember that He is with me always.  I am standing in the presence of God.  I am standing firm in His call.

I am standing in a moment in time that will change the face of my family and generations to come.

His splendor is almost more than I can fathom. I have seen His hand at work in my life.  I have borne witness to profound transformation.  His splendor is terrifying in a way that makes my heart yearn to be in His presence….living in His majesty.  He is tangible.  Palpable.  He exists.  And sometimes I forget…

I let myself become weighted down by the doubts and fears and vulnerabilities that I am so quick to rest in.  Rest in the lie that I am not smart enough or kind enough or good enough.

The notion that I am incapable.
And I am…without the Lord.

When I make my bed on layers of doubt and fear, I am turning from the One who equips me with strength greater than Samson.  He speaks softly to my Spirit offering truthful and convicting encouragement.  He tells me I can do this and I will succeed…because above all… I love my children.

I am learning to trust Him in situations where I feel powerless.  He fills me.  He blesses me because I rely fully on His provision.  Don’t misunderstand…the world considers blessing things that shine and draw attention…the Lord’s blessing is simply the whisper of His goodness over our lives.  It’s not always valued by the world…it can’t always be bought or sold.  It’s His amazing grace filling our Spirit and renewing our confidence.  Blessing is His mercy when we are so undeserving.

I am a week out from the first class I will ever teach.  The pupils are sweet and tender and look uncannily similar to me and my husband.  I am assured that regardless of whether or not we complete the first day’s lesson, we will end our day with abundant love…for one another and the Lord…for with Him all things are possible.

Dear Father,
I rest in your strength. I reach for your Hand to hold mine as I traverse this unchartered course.  I thank you for friends who love us and encourage us; for the resources you have poured into our lives abundantly; for your provision.  I thank you for allowing me to repent daily…hourly…moment by moment for my fear and anxiety.  I rest in Your peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Oh it’s been too long!

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” 1 Corinthians3:16

The mere whisper of Jesus draws us into His lap.  The Lord is a breath away.  He is the breath of life that threads our hearts to our heads. He dwells in the depths of our soul- filling our Spirit.  The Lord is the fountain of life.  He gives us strength in His name.  He sets our feet on solid ground.  He does this even when we turn our gaze from His face.  He is always forgiving.

I need to seek His forgiveness.  I am learning that in the midst of fun and adventure, I turn my gaze from His face with as little as a bat of an eye.  I am so easily distracted.  I am so capable of happily meandering through life’s excitement without giving thanks and praise to the One who creates delight and joy.  I find myself retreating from the Lord each summer.  I find myself outside of the Word instead of firmly planted in it…

But, I serve a forgiving God.  I serve a God who understands our fallen human nature and extends great mercy and grace to us when we least deserve it.  He sees to it that our hearts are filled with the desire to repent.  I am awed by His love.  He is always there…even with I am far away.

Each day I wake ready and willing to be filled with the Spirit of God.  He graciously pours into me the goodness of His heart.  He reminds me that He surrounds my every moment.  I see Him reflected in the downstream flow of a river; the ever-so-tiny flowers that grow with great abandon among the rocks of a sea’s shore.  He is evident in the curious eyes’ of little ones exploring the greens of meadow.  He is abundant in the love shared in a family.  He is ever-present.  He is there even when I am not.  I am grateful.

So, I repent.  I ask Him to fill me with the desire to seek and be still.  I seek to see Him in every facet of my day.  I seek to be filled with His love to overflowing.  I repent of my time spent marveling at His creation without properly thanking Him for His gifts…the gifts He pours out over me when I am least deserving.  I am humbled by His amazing grace.

I am His-always.  He is deep-set in the core of my being.  He dwells in my heart.  He fills me with Joy.  He opens my eyes to the delight of His majestic artistry.  I will spend my days marveling in His grace.   Thank you Lord for your Spirit that fills me with the peace that surpasses understanding…thank you for abundant forgiveness that sets me on solid ground to press into You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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