Sunshinelittleone's Blog

All about my love for the Lord

Day three…The Blindside

Milk Duds

Milk Duds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Halloween is a blindsiding event.

It is amazing how one can stand firm against temptation, rather I can stand firm, and then I fall.  I cave to the delight of sugar and sweet.  I am powerless.  I run from God’s voice in my head.

I am ashamed.

I knew going into this evening activities that I would be tempted.  I caved.  But, not to justify, I realized midway through my second mini box of Milk Duds that I was going against me declaration to treat my body better.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

And, I think it is important to note, when in the face of temptation, even if we cave, we can be redeemed if we chose to turn from that which tempts us.  I did that.  I put the candy down and delighted in the sweetness of all the little treaters in their creative costumes.

I am fallen. But I am in the grace of the Lord.

Tomorrow is a new day and I am purposing in my heart to NOT be blindsided!

May the Lord go with you through your day.  May He cover you in His grace. May you delight in undeserving mercy!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Day2 Re-learning to lean…

God is amazing, He reminds me of how much I stray from Him.  Instead of walking directly in His presence, I am parallel to Him.  It is amazing to me; how far I can stray without really leaving.

But, He woes me back. He calls me out of the crowded-ness of my life and sets me free in Him.  He allows me to be liberated from the insecurities that bind me.

I love who I am in Him.

I love that the Lord created me ‘fearfully and wonderfully’.

He created me to be exactly who He needs me to be.

Right now I am going through a season of adjustment.  And that’s ok.  It’s exactly how it should be!

This time of my life was scheduled longer ago than the farthest reaches of time.  He knew that at this very moment I would need him so very close!

He allows for seasons of introspection to draw us closer to Him.

Be still and listen to His heart.

He will whisper His desires for your life.

Listen to His Holy Spirit…it will light on you ever so gently.

Be blessed and be confident in the uniquely, wonderful human you are!

He loves you-perfectly!

 

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Day one….

Cupcake!!!

Cupcake!!! (Photo credit: Ana_Fuji)

I am learning about myself that I am 1. a creature of habit and 2. unable to sit still for longer than five minutes.  I have also learned that I meander into the kitchen looking into my pantry or refrigerator several times a day.  But, only to look.  What am I looking for?  Am I checking expiration dates or moldy cheese?  Am I making sure the eggs aren’t cracked; that the milk isn’t shaken?  No, I am really searching for Jesus.

When I stand in the doorway of my pantry, I am not seeking out bags of chips or cookies, I am seeking a void to be filled.  The void is the God size hole in my heart. I am seeking a deeper relationship with my Lord.

Now, don’t get me wrong, by all accounts I live a very wonderful life.  I have a loving husband, two wonderful children, a warm home, and a sweet circle of friends who remind me of who I am in Christ.

I live out loud for the Lord.  I share the gospel openly.  I try,  in earnest, to be His hands and feet.  I am abundantly loved by the King of Kings.  And yet I still search.

But, that is what it’s all about: Life long searching and seeking the face of God.  I forget this, often.

I forget that I am a daughter of the King, bought by His precious blood.  I forget that He is ever-present; always available.  It is I who turns and strays and seeks filling in places other than Him…His Word. I forget that it is truly my life’s goal to be completely sold out for Him.  No wonder I feel a void.  I am not nearly close enough to Him, at least not the way my body and spirit and heart desires. Not yet.  It is good to seek Him.

Today began 21 days of committed change.  It was a day wrapped in the Lord’s self-control. It was a day that I spent pressing into Him.  He and I baked cupcakes, roasted pumpkin seeds and cleaned up dinner.  He and I spent the day together, not rehashing the why-s of my seeking, but falling in love.  He has been in my sight all day.  He has whispered, “You can do this, I am here.“, over and over again.

Each time I have fasted, I have found a stronger, deeper relationship with the Lord.

I am grateful for the grace and mercy only He can lavish.  He washes me in His love moment by moment.

Thank you Lord for meeting me and loving me right where I am.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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Put the cookie down…

Fasting is about a relationship.  It’s about commitment.  Commitment between the Lord and myself.  I don’t fast for my husband, my children or my best friend.  I fast because I feel the presence of the Lord upon me; guiding my every step.  Tomorrow I will begin a fast.  In our faith, the Lord warns against presenting your fast.  Do not show that you are tired or burdened. “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen, and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, rewards you.” Matthew 6:16-18

Rather, I am proclaiming my fast for one reason and one reason only, ACCOUNTABILITY.

I love being in the complete presence of the Lord.  I love feeling His breath on my face.  I long to be in His midst.  I need him, and I am making it public.

Our pastor has been discussing some pretty serious and social topics.  Without going into detail, I was bowled over by his words as he preached in transparency today.  He spoke of sin.

My sin is lack of self-control; among others.  But, what drives sin nature is lack of self-control.  My sin is not greater or less than yours. In the eyes of the Lord it is all the same.

I have Jesus.  He does not require that I fast.  He desires a close, personal, loving relationship with Him.  He wants me to repent of my misgivings.  So in order that I may press deeper into the core of Jesus, I have to seek His forgiveness.

I have to lay at His feet that which draws me from Him.  I need to omit that which causes me to stray.  For me that is food.

I am not talking about life sustaining food. I am talking about the vanquishing  of food that gives me comfort and causes me to turn from Jesus.  I am powerless.

Here is a bit of a back story-I grew up a child of an alcoholic.  A woman sweet by day and horrible by night. She waited all day; traversing her life with anxiety and fear until evening, when she could quell the fury with a false friend; a drink.  I am not different.  I know that alcohol is not my enemy…food is.

I find my comfort in wheat and dairy.  Chocolate calls me from the darkness of my pantry.  I have fought this fight my entire life.

I wonder why right now? Why is my comfort eating taking toll on my self-control?  I am not in a time of worry or want.  My life is, by all rights, wonderful.  Thank you Jesus.

I think am trying to fill an unnamable void.

As I write this, I am acutely aware of the void I am filling.

See, over the past two months I have relied on the Lord fully to see me through a scary medical issue.  I have clung to Him.  As medical reports poured in confirming my good health, I relied less and less on the Lord…turning my attention to my greatest tempter…food.  As I draw further from the Lord, I am drawn deeper into my kitchen.  Tonight I woke up from my food coma and realized I need Him now more than ever.

I love that the Lord does this…He reminds us ever so subtly that we need Him in EVERY SITUATION!

So, I proclaim a fast.  I will also commit to writing of my journey, and I expect YOUR accountability.  I expect questions and reminders.  I am turning to the Lord. Pressing in as Daniel did when he met Nebuchadnezzar.  I am steadfast and committed to falling into the arms of the Lord.

Lord God,
You are ever present.  You ordain each breath.  Please be with me as I stand in Your self-control.  I pray that through this cleansing I grow deeper in Your goodness and faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I will wear a face of humility and press into His goodness.

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Riding out the storm…

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control.”  2Timothy1:7

Just a sweet little anecdote before the ‘storm of the century’ hits.

We often chose, as parents, to keep information from our children.  Especially information that may cause them to worry or feel fear or be anxious.

However, in today’s age of instant information it can be difficult to avoid sharing.  Such was the case today when my sweet Max heard about Hurricane Sandy.

With wide eyes and a forced smile he asked if a hurricane was going to hit our city. I told him that we are expecting a storm, but not to fret because Jesus is in our home, our city, and the storm.  He knows the story of Jesus halting the storm on Galilee, and he trusts greater than anyone I know the mighty saving power of the Lord.

So, tonight as we said our bedtime prayers; Max said, “I know we are safe but even if we aren’t, while it will be sad if we die, it will be ok because we will be with Jesus and there is no place better than that.”  As he finished his proclamation he looked heaven-ward and his checks flushed and a sweet smile graced his face.

There is no one who can predict the storm’s path, strength or outcome perfectly. Our reliance should not be on the forecasters but rather on the Lord.  He will  see us through.  There may be damage and loss, but this too He will redeem by His mighty hand.  Trust Jesus as Max does.  Press into the Lord, cast your fears on Him.


Thank you, Father, for children who embody great faith.  Thank you for your promise of Heaven. Thank you for carrying us through storms and protecting us in Your great and Mighty Name.  In Jesus I pray, Amen.

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In need of some fruit…

English: Uploaded with permission of artist, M...

English: Uploaded with permission of artist, Magda Szabo, on December 15, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For months I was really really good at praying the Fruit of the Spirit over my family…for nearly 10 months I would pray this prayer daily.  Then I erased the passage from my vanity and, as the old adage goes…”out of sight out of mind.”  So, I pressed into the Lord last night and asked Him to fill me to overflowing with HIS fruit.  The fruit that makes the Creator of Heaven and earth the magnificent and benevolent God He is…

Father, let me be a PEACE maker, not just a keeper.  Help me to see when there needs to be calm and  justice restored in myself and family.

Help me to speak words of KINDNESS that breathe life into the hearts of my husband, children and loved ones.

I seek to bask in Your JOY; in times of trial and triumph let me feel YOUR JOY.  I have learned that humans can be happy, but I want full-fledged JOY in every circumstance.

Teach me LOVE, to speak in LOVE, act in LOVE, sow LOVE.  Let me share agape (unconditional, Christ-like) LOVE with all I encounter.

It’s big, but Father, I ask for Your PATIENCE.  I am so poorly equipped to be PATIENT on my own.  I fail every time I try, but You are perfectly PATIENT, please lavish me.

I desire to be GENTLE in how I treat my little loves, that when I rebuke or restore them, I do it as You do to me, with GENTLENESS.

Help to restore my FAITH, so I walk obediently in You each day.  That I am FAITHFUL to depend on You and accept Your will for my life.

You are so GOOD to me Lord, help me to see Your goodness in every aspect of my life.  Help me to understand that in ‘all things You work for the GOOD’.

And finally, God, I pray that I may walk in Your SELF-CONTROL.  That I submit to You and not to temptation. I want to have SELF-CONTROL that is from You so that I may walk as an example to others. (Adapted from Galatians 6:22)

Father, I ask to be filled with Your Fruit  and to understand that You have given me a guide to live my life abundantly in You and in the MIGHTY SAVING NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, Amen.

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You are an amazing woman…

“I praise you because I am wonderfully and fearfully made.” Psalm 139:14

I am broken and fallen.  I am sinful and jaded.  I am anything but perfect.

And I am ok with that.

I am ok with being Samantha, the sinner.  Well, not exactly ok with it, I am striving to be like Christ.  But, He accepts me right where I am.  He takes my dirty, stained self and washes it white as snow each day.  He gives me opportunity abundant to redeem myself.  He wants me to be me.  Because, even as a sinner, I am exactly who He created me to be. He created me to love fully and honestly.  He created me to encourage and care.  He created me to stand up for what I believe is right…even when I become unpopular because of my voice.  He created me to see the world from a bright point of view.

I am who He desires me to be.  I don’t have to try to be like anyone else…save for Him.

As women, our days are filled and marred with ‘wish I could be-s’ and ‘oh, if only-s’ .  We spend so much time and energy trying to be someone else that we forget the precious gems we are in the eyes of Christ.

I find myself caught in the web of mother insecurity.  I compare myself regularly to the moms who seem to have it all together.  The ones who appear to have found the secret of good housekeeping, time management, budgeted finances.  The ones whose children stand still in line at the grocery story, or who never raise their voices.  I compare to the point that I lose who I am created to be.  Me.

I will let you in on a few secrets…

My kids sometimes leave the house with messy faces and mismatched socks. (the socks rarely are mated with the proper pair)….or no socks at all.

I write already done items on my ‘to-do’ list only to feel the satisfaction of marking them off.

I think cereal bars a cup of juice and a stick of cheese make for great and wholesome breakfasts and lunches.

I make a menu each week to cook from and instead I spend time whining about having nothing to make for dinner.

I have learned that a fashionable scarf hides a multitude of permanent stains and, at the same time, a pudgy tummy.

All this to say that I am sure that I look, that we all look, like we have it completely together from time to time.  We don’t and that is ok.  Christ knows that we don’t and He is ok with it.  Each moment we take breaths here on earth are moments for him to breathe life into and refine us so that what other people see is the joy of Christ radiating from us and not the dark circles that seem to take over our face.  They see a woman who radiates brightly with the love of the Lord.   They see a woman who strives daily to be better, love truer, and give abundantly…sacrificially.

Today I will practice being just me; Samantha I pray that you will practice being you…you may come to find that YOU are a great woman…a woman you want to be!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Happy Sergejs Nathan’s Birthday!!!!!

chrisandkirstinadopt

This past weekend we celebrated Sergejs’ 10th Birthday.

 

 

Costumes, balloons, pinata, confetti, games, gifts, a cake that lights up…all the trappings of an American kid’s birthday.

 

 

He loved it. Every minute.

 

 

Chris and I loved making him officially, absolutely and completely the center of attention for a whole day.   All the adults dressed up in costume.  All the kids played their hearts out.  There were scavenger hunts, sword fights, gun fights, stomp rockets, costume changes, Lego towers, and a lot of macaroni and cheese  (his favorite food).

 

 

Later, as I cleaned up the craziness I had a rare moment to reflect on a few things:

 

 

First: I am incredibly grateful to celebrate Sergejs Nathan’s birthday as his mom.  Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself this is all real.   It still feels like a dream.

 

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Have faith….

“Cast your cares on the Lord, for He cares about you.” 1Petere5:7

I love this verse. It speaks directly to my heart and I know that it is perfectly true.

The Lord does care about me and so I can give him all of my cares…my troubles, my worries, my anxieties…He always mends the brokenness.  But, beloved, He is not only there in times of trial…but He is in the midst of all our jubilee and joy and goodness.  That is who He is; all things bright and beautiful.

I came to lean on the Lord fully about five years ago.  I surrendered my heart to Him and knelt at His feet, laying the cares of my heart out in front of Him.  I don’t rely on Him to do it all for me, I am an active participant in my life.  I do however, have blind faith, and know that when I call He answers.

Faith is a relationship not a religion.  There is no ritual.  Faith is not about saying certain prayers, but rather,  honest prayers.  Faith is not being baptized at birth or now or later.  Faith is not how we worship or how we share the gospel. Faith is knowing that the One True God created us to have a perfect relationship with Him.  He created us to love and to be loved.  He created us to cast our cares on Him.

It is with great joy that I depend on the Lord.  I trust Him to carry me through this life.  I trust His counsel for it is always sound.

Cast your cares on Him.  Take the yoke of  your heavy

FAITH

FAITH (Photo credit: cacigar)

life and put it on Him…he will carry it; gladly.  He will love you and fill you and restore your tired bones.  He created you to immerse yourself in Him.

Father,
I am beyond grateful for your provision.  I thank you carrying my ‘cares’.  I am Yours to mold and shape.  I praise you for your righteousness, your tender love and your perfect presence.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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He’s got this one…

Strong Man is Strong

Strong Man is Strong (Photo credit: LOLren)

“His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.  All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.  He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.  No one can hold back his hand or say to him “What have you done?”.” Daniel 4:34-35

The election has been decided, we just don’t know the outcome yet, but God does. He decided before the heavens and earth were created who would serve as the leader of our nation in this particular time.  He knew that our people would stand against each other, at odds, mean and nasty.  He knew long ago that we would toil over the ‘he saids and she saids’.  He knew that there would come a time when we would all but fall apart…that time is now.

I am not a a political scholar…I am Christian.  Plain and simple.  Or perhaps not so plain. I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ and that, my friend, is brilliant and…safe.

I know that no matter what the outcome of our country’s election, I am safe in the arms of Christ.  So is our country.

I watched on the precipice of baseball and rhetoric last night. I watched my beloved baseball team win a third straight win and a city find strength and hope .  And then, I listened to two grown men, who are so confident that they are better, more equipped, and more in love with the American people than the other to run this country.  They said things like… “The economy affects folks like us” as they spoke to a crowd of true middle class…moms and dads struggling to put food on their table and their children through college.  I venture to guess neither candidate is currently struggling anywhere other than in the polls…And, unlike the game, there wasn’t a lot of strength or hope to be found.

I trust God.  He knows who will be president of this great nation.  He knows that we need an overhaul.  We need to come back to the heart of our establishment…Christ.

Father,

You have this nation in your mighty hands.  I pray that you would bless us with leaders who will fulfill the ideals of our founding fathers and above all Christ.  We need to be good.  We need to be kind.  Mostly, we need to love.  I pray for Your will to be done.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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