Monday, May 30, 2011

More than I bargained for

My small fraction of Irish heritage basically allows my skin to be one of two colors: white or red. So, needless to say, when it came time to dividing my family's outdoor projects this weekend, I took the project shaded from the hot Texas sun.

My project was to pull weeds in the front flower bed...again. I'd recently planted some new tufts of decorative grass along the border but it seems I got more than I bargained for. Another breed of decorative grass was intermingled with the kind I chose and it was taking over the flower bed.

I was shocked to see it taking over so aggressively now, it had been several weeks since I'd planted it. But as I started digging it out I realized it has formed a complex root system beneath the surface before it ever made it's presence known. I was going to have to till up the whole area to get all of the nasty roots out!

This grass didn't magically appear, I brought it. I had unknowingly sown seeds that will cause a lot of damage to my other plants. I thought about all the times I have sown destructive seeds into my own life or the lives of others.

Sometimes we say things just to be mean. But the majority of the time, we don't realize how hurtful our words or actions can be to other people. We can offer up suggestions or comments without realizing how critical our words sound. While we feel we've helped someone, all we've done is sow seeds of doubt and insecurity. People are not machines, they don't need a constant 'fine tuning'!

I have been struggling with this a lot lately. Being self-employed and the parent of teenagers is ideal soil for bad seeds to grow in. The constant doubt, worry and lack of instruction can create the most destructive weeds. My critical nature can sow insecurity and resentment in myself and my kids. By the time the bad behavior shows up, a root system of emotion has already taken hold in their spirit. We then have to choose to live with the new growth or remove it at the root. Praise God that His word tends to us and can free us from our weedy infestations!

No matter what you're situation is, you have the opportunity to sow both positive or negative seed. Filtering the seeds will help you determine if they are good or bad: “Will this help them?”; “Does it build them up or tear them down?”; “Am I trying to 'fine tune' their behavior?”; “Is it necessary?” Filtering your words will keep the negative root system from taking hold. Especially in your own heart and mind.

God uses us to tend to His garden. We are supposed to sow into one another. Our friends and family will flourish if we'll only filter our seed. Only then will we bloom for His glory!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12

“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5
(My heart needed to hear this!)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tuning In

My alarm clock didn't go off this morning. I would probably still be snuggled into my blankets if Greg's phone hadn't started to ring. He darted out of bed and straight into the shower as I yawned a sleepy yawn and wondered when I'd be going to the store to replace the clock.

This happened yesterday as well. I needed to be up early to take care of a few things before church. No alarm. Fortunately my body clock woke me up in time for church.

I couldn't understand why this kept happening. The time was set for 6am (not pm), the alarm switch was turned to the 'ON' position, and there was no power outage. What was going on? I turned on the radio switch and that's when I heard it...complete silence!

Instead of the sound of friendly banter from the morning deejays, I heard nothing. I turned up the volume. Nothing. I wiggled the station dial and then there they were... my favorite morning crew.

I laughed to myself as I walked across the house to my office. God doesn't normally lay a message on my heart to share with you in a blog until Monday morning. Today was no exception! How many times have I missed hearing from God because I wasn't tuned in? Alarms He sounded in my spirit. Information or encouragement I missed out on. All the sweet music He sings over me. I miss it all when I'm not tuned into Him!

What are you hearing? Do you feel God speaking to you through the Holy Spirit in your life? Or do you feel that you're stuck in between channels and only hear silence? Pray that God would reveal anything that may be blocking the signal and help you tune into Him again.

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“... then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.” Job 33:33

Monday, May 16, 2011

Scoring the line

This weekend Greg, my son Jordan and I started a long awaited backyard project, building a fire pit. Well, rebuilding a fire pit to be more accurate. A few years ago the kids and I built a fire pit as a Father's Day surprise while he was out of town. We worked really hard on it but it still came out like a kid making a birthday cake... a sweet idea but kind of funny looking.

After unloading some of the flagstone from our pickup truck, we began creating the puzzle. Each larger piece of flagstone needed to be cut down to fit our needs. Jordan and I began with a chisel and sledge hammer. Excited for the new challenge, I banged away at the first piece of stone but quickly grew tired. The small sledge hammer grew heavier with every swing and soon my arm and shoulders were begging me to stop.

Telling myself I had picked too thick of a piece to start with, I moved on to another one. This time every whack resulted in a thin layer of the rock chipping off. Well that's not what I wanted. I wanted to hit the center of that rock with a few mighty blows causing it to split in half victoriously.

Noticing my frustration and complete inability to actual break the stones, Greg retreated to the garage only to return with an air hammer. Now that's more like it! I felt my excitement returning and my sore muscles relaxing.

After a quick tutorial I was laying into the center of the rock with a lot more power. But it still didn't seem to break the rock in half. It did, however, create a deep score line. We began using the air hammer to score all of the rocks so we could drop them causing a clean break.

Isn't that how we are with breaking strongholds in our lives? We get excited about the idea of being free from its burden but quickly grow tired by the effort it takes to break the chains. Sometimes we may see a little progress, like the chipping stone, but get discouraged that it is taking so long to see results. All the while our bodies grow weary and sore, crying out for us to stop trying.

Only when we apply God's supernatural power to our stronghold will we begin to see results. But it's still not an instant break. God's power will cut through the walls of the stronghold, scoring a deep line. This is the plumb line of His truth. This is the line to measure all things by. When we realize the lies we've been believing don't measure up to the plumb line He has created, the wall will finally fall. And because God created the scored line, it will be a clean break. You may choose to rebuild the wall of stronghold again later, but on this day, God creates a unmistakable line between truth and lies and you are free!

Do you have a stronghold creating a wall around you? Do you want to break that wall down and become free? Allow God to score His truth unto your heart and He will set you free...

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Main Road

You shouldn't have to set your alarm clock on a Saturday. Perhaps we need an agreement that all weekend activities will take place after we've woken up naturally and had a cup of coffee. Alas, no. The alarm sounded at 6:30am.

Today is the day my son Jordan takes his SAT. Weeks of me bugging him to take practice exams and his complete indifference to the magnitude of the event has culminated into this very day. I had butterflies in my tummy and I wasn't even taking the test.

The testing center was hosted in a high school on the other side of the lake near our house. Several unmarked roads twisted and turned their way around the lake to the main highway leading to the school. Since Jordan had never driven those roads before, Greg and I decided to lead him through the maze and get him to the main road. From there he could find the school on his own.

When the main road was in sight, we pulled off to the side and waved Jordan on. As he passed he gave us a quick wave and headed on his way. My heart was in my throat as I watched him drive away.

This began the last chapter of his high school story. Soon he'll be a Senior. Time spent with him will be filled with college applications and prayers for scholarships. We'll see him less and less as his school and social schedule fill up. Family hang out time will happen less often and become more precious. He'll be getting closer and closer to a new chapter in life. Just as it should be.

As parents, our job is to lead our kids to the main road. We equip them with what they will need for the journey and then allow them to take it. I sometimes forget that no matter how much I love my kids, God loves them even more.

There's no doubt that the roads of life are bumpy. There will be potholes and detours. But there's also a plotted course. God's not 'winging it' with our kids! He knows what the road ahead will look like for them...He's walked on it.

Watching our kids grow and develop can be so bittersweet. We love the talents and skills they acquire but miss their dependence on us. We begin to feel unneeded. But that's not true! They may not need us to make decisions for them, but they do need us to believe in them. That gives them the confidence to make the journey down the main road...

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.” Isaiah 49:11

Monday, May 2, 2011

Making History

May 1, 2011 left its' mark in the archive of history. Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy Seals in Pakistan. The al-Qaeda leader was responsible for the death of thousands of people beginning with the attack on September 11th almost ten years ago.

I know it seems a little abnormal to celebrate an assassination. However, his death brings closure to so many families who have experienced loss since the attacks. Countless lives have been lost since the war on terror began. Although precious loved ones can never be returned to grieving families, hopefully those families feel that “justice has been done.”

In the midst of the excitement, I can't help but feel a little apprehensive. History has proven to me personally that the highest highs can be quickly followed by the lowest lows. When I'm basking in the glory of a victory, I have a tendency to let down my guard. The enemy then pounces on the opportunity. But we serve a Mighty God who is able to protect and defend in our time of need!

Please join me in prayer as we lift our great nation to God asking for His direction and protection. God has a plan for the days ahead and can use every minute for His glory.

Heavenly Father,
We come to you today Lord to thank you for defeating our enemy. You alone have the power to crush the head of the serpent. Please surround our nation with a hedge of protection from our enemies. Guide our nation's leaders in the direction You'd have them go and claim every glory You are due.
In Jesus' name. Amen


Be blessed,
Jennifer

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10