Saturday, January 17, 2015

It's MY Load

It’s MY load
Devotionals for Mom
Luke 11:28-30

     I wrote to you all about the stressful drive pulling a trailer across the country last week with my post titled, "Take Me Jesus". What I didn't tell you was how I ended up with the load in the first place. We all have a load to carry through life, and they come in all different shapes and sizes. I think you know I'm speaking metaphorically, but humor me with a few more analogies from this same moment in my life.

    A few years ago my youngest daughter was picked out of a group of campers for an illustration.  She was given a backpack to put on. The teacher started filling it with rocks. These rocks all stood for the things a young person should have as responsibilities: Church, bible study, family, school, chores etc. Then he asked if it was too heavy and she said it was fine. Then he started adding a few things that we bring on ourselves. He asked us, the audience, for suggestions. He asked her then to walk around the whole room while he was speaking. He said to her to speak up anytime it gets to hard to carry. Well, you know my kids, tough and stubborn as they are, she lasted until he was ready to finish up his lesson, some 40 minutes later. Even though she had started struggling early on, she wasn't gonna let anyone know it was hard.  He would ask, "Do you want to stop?" she would always answer “I can make it.”

    Well, I guess the stubbornness runs in the family. I was determined to keep my baggage. Here we are moving across an ocean and I'm packing up all the things I want to keep. I thought to myself, "No one will make me get rid of my junk!" My parents had told us that we could store our keepsakes in their attic. As we were finishing the packing, we realized one trailer wasn't going to be enough. So now Craig and I both have to pull a trailer across the country. When the rain and wind caused the driving to get tough I started re- thinking all I "just had to hold on to". When I finally stopped stressing about the trip and let God take the wheel, the trip went a lot better.

     In life we sometimes have baggage we choose; Not getting a college degree, Quitting my job before I have a new one, Having sex before marriage and now raising a child by myself, Spending all my money on frivolous things and trying to figure out how to pay the rent. These are choices that create  consequences we can't change and may have to carry for quite a while. Just like my truck load, once I loaded it and started driving it wasn't going to go away. I was now responsible for it. The issues we create in our past don’t go away. God forgives and we know this to be true even when we don't feel it. We can even  forgive ourselves but still live with regret. The differences are the effects we have to constantly live with. The consequences can be long lasting. For me the moment the rain started I began to regret choices that caused my baggage. The pain and stress to drive that truck were sometimes too much. Towards the end of the fourth day of my trip, the wind and rain stopped. I almost forgot the trailer was back there. I then was able to relax. If only the whole trip could have been that way. We also have baggage that is just there. Maybe we were born into it or it was caused by someone else. One thing, regardless of how we got our load, we have to carry it.

     Listen to this thought I had after my long drive. "If not for the storms I wouldn't have appreciation for the peace I experienced at the end of the trip."This made me think, and apply this to life in general.  I'm sure you have heard people be so thankful for the rough patches in their life. These things taught me to appreciate hard work or that bad relationship helped me find the right person. How do you feel when you overcome or become stronger because of your baggage? I think it's awesome when we can see the good in our past mistakes or the rough life we overcame. Just like my trip, I was so proud of my strength to drive for four day straight under those conditions. I felt more confident in what I could accomplish, but listen closely to this next point. Now before you think I'm saying you should live a life that creates lots of baggage, hear this:

      When we were traveling on the highway, I had visions of one of us flipping off the road. To think, one of us could have lost our lives over a bunch of junk. This made me wonder if it was worth it. It's the lives that can be lost that we should be concerned with before we pack our truck with heaps of junk. Not only physically but more importantly spiritually speaking. I pray you limit your baggage before you have to carry it and find peace with the loads we have from outside our control. Just as I found peace in my travel while still having my truck load, we also in life can find peace while still carrying the scars and burdens.

Luke 11:28-30
 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

      None of us knew how heavy the load our daughter was carrying. After the lesson we weighed the backpack. It weighed more than she did. I looked at her with such surprise. This wasn't even for real, it was only an illustration to make a point. We all thought she was crazy for walking around with it strapped to her back. I know people thought I was crazy to keep all the junk I kept. Now, after eight years and now unpacking it, I wonder as well. (lol)  Micah, I pray you always remember that lesson. While we learn to limit unnecessary baggage we create, we should also try letting Jesus carry our loads? He wants to lift our burdens.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Take me Jesus

Devotionals for Mom
Isaiah 40:31

    I'm driving down a highway in the blinding rain, pounding hail, while fighting against the wind to keep myself on the road. All this with a twelve foot trailer strapped to the back of my Suburban. I’m driving through steep mountain ranges with a white knuckle grip on the wheel. Add a couple days of driving this way, along with the growing fatigue and you have one very stressed out momma.

    It all started a few weeks before when we began selling everything we owned in preparation for our move overseas. We have been in ministry for many years, but this would be our first time to work fulltime in a whole new country away from four of our five children.

    I was thinking about my kids and all the little things they had called me about while we were traveling. Car issues, tears late at night, discussions on how to best handle situations they were going through. They really had no clue of the stress I was under at the same time. Isn't that what we moms are supposed to do? Sure my kids knew that I was driving, but they needed me. Even if it was just to listen to their stories. I started thinking about all the things big or little I wouldn't be an easy phone call away, once we were in Australia. I felt overwhelmed not only by my situation, but for the many issues my children had going on. The peek of my fear on this trip was passing an oversized semi with several thousand pounds of load, up the side of a mountain with wind barring down on us.

    This reminded me of a time a few years ago when I was trying to sing a song while driving. Craig was my passenger and I mixed up the words and sang out “Take me Jesus!” (I should have sang "take me deeper"). Craig immediately said, "not while you're driving"! We both laughed. I then thought about the song "Jesus take the wheel" by Carrie Underwood. As I began to laugh to myself this song came on the radio. “When I call on Jesus” To add to the stressful moment tears now run down my cheeks. This became my prayer for myself as well as my children while I drove that day.

Isaiah 40:31

31 but those who hope in the LORD

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

    I felt such confidence as I prayed. I knew God would carry me through. At times I still kept that white knuckle grip on the wheel, and think somehow I've got to carry it on my own. Kids don't be afraid of the challenges in life, go for it with all you have and call on Jesus.

    After a while the rain and wind died down. I had a few hours of relief. I thanked God. My neck and arms needed the break. Then as the rain started again and I got ready for the storms ahead, before my eyes I saw a rainbow. Ahh… God’s promises. I knew no matter how hard the rest of the trip might be, He was with me.

When the white knuckle grip isn't enough

"Call on Jesus"

Friday, January 02, 2015

I need to be Thirsty

Devotions form Mom
Devotions from Mom
          God created this whole world. Have you ever looked at all the many different species? There are things that live in the air, on the ground, under the ground and in the water. Some that fly, crawl, and swim. Of those that live in the water there are some that live in saltwater, while others that live in freshwater. Neither of these wouldn't live long out of water. Then there are others that wouldn't live if they were held under water, not being able to breathe. I was thinking about the deer. The're a quiet animal, so graceful in movement, but what are they created for? I have even heard they make a pretty good meal. They eat, run, and produce young, but what else? Have you ever tried to catch one? When I was little I saw one in the corner of the woods on my Grandfather’s property. I wanted to get closer to it. As I was sneaking up on her, she saw me. We both stood in silence and stared at each other. After a moment she took off and I followed after her. Before I knew it, she was no where in sight. The dear had taken off like a bullet. Have you ever seen one run? They are fast and when in the woods they are there one moment and gone the next. I was thinking about all the animals and what they are made for. In Genesis we read that they were created for us. Now today's world will argue as for what purpose they were created for, but that's not up for discussion today, right here. So besides staying alive and reproducing, there isn't much more. After a long run for their life they look to their needs. Water! This is what I think is most important to notice and discuss. 

Psalm 42:1-2
    As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

          I was reading this one day and tried to make the connection. For the Deer to live it needs water. He sees the need and thirsts for the water. They plan out where they live, eat and sleep around where they can fine water. Do I see the primary needs for my life? As the body needs water my Soul needs God. The deer can’t speak a word yet it knows what it needs to crave. I was created that way also. Our Soul is created to thirst for God. Unlike the Deer we sometimes deprive our Soul. Who would figure that the smartest beast on the earth would behave as if it had no intelligence? The deer have kept it simple. We think we can do so much more. I remember becoming an adult and was so excited to do it all. I got married had a full time job and then became a mother. I had people to answer to at work and the more I worked the more money I made, and I was good at it too. Then there was being a mom. He was young and needed me. Then that husband got what was left over, only because he asked. Then there was God. He got Sunday’s and Wednesday nights. I taught classes and served where I could. "Hey!" We even through in extra weekly bible studies and then worked with the teens on top of that. We were the cream of the crop, but what I began to see was that the relationships that were left thirsting were the most important. It wasn't that all the things I did were wrong I just thought they could last without being feed. Like I said, "dumber than the four lagged animals." Along with my family I was depriving my Soul of the most important things. People will let us know when we are depriving them, but what about our Soul? Was I feeding it? Was it telling me It's needs? Was I becoming like David in this text?

Psalm 42:3-5 
     3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.  5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

          Do people see my God in me? Am I leading them to God? Is my Soul downcast and disturbed within me?  The way to know is by your hope and praise. When I thirst for God the whole body is healthy. Like the Deer we are made to thirst. When our thirst is satisfied we then can lead the processions to the house of God. Are you Thirsty?        

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