Hopes Dashed

Disappointment is a smile turned upside down and a heart shattered. It comes to all and shows no discrimination; young and old, rich or poor, introvert or extrovert, each and all have high hopes and at times find those hopes dashed. It is never easy to keep a stiff upper lip, suck it up and put on a happy face.

I can find renewed hope in what merely appears to be hopeless situations. “Now to him who by the power of work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 RSV).” Disappointment tiptoes in darkness of despair, hope marches in the light of God’s grace!

Coming Up For Air

In this house

we do dishes, yes…

Dishwasher Boy

But we also do wild.  Unorthodox.

We do mistakes.

We do second chances.

And third.

And four hundred and seventy-ninth.

*thankfully*

We do silly.

We do laughter.

We do real.

We do tomfoolery.

{and plenty more mistakes}

We do “I’m sorry’s”.

{A lot of “I’m sorry’s”}

We do loud.

We do long hugs.

Lots of sweet kisses.

We do grace.

We do family.

We do us.

Perfect imperfection.

 

It has been a tough parenting day.  One of ‘those’ days.

Actually it’s been a rough week.  Ever since returning from our anniversary getaway, we’ve been dealing with incredibly unpleasant {see…I’m choosing my words wisely} behavior in my daughter; over-the-top whining and drama about every little thing, constant boundary-pushing, mega attitude and rudeness like we’ve not experienced from her before.

And today, I fell apart at the seams.

And it was the furthest thing from pretty.  It was downright scary.

I failed miserably, shouting – in the heat of the moment; where utter exhaustion and intense furry collide – with such anger in my voice that my heart ached with regret as the dagger-like reprimands left my mouth.

Sure, she was wrong in behaving the way she did.

But now, so was I.  My immature, impulsive handling of her behavior simply added fuel to the fire.

I get to choose: water or fuel. Today I grabbed the fuel.

It was one of the most ferocious crazy cycles we’ve ever been caught in, her and I.

I modeled such poor anger-management skills today that it breaks my heart to think about.  The very heart attitude we are working to mold and transform in her was so starkly, blatantly revealed within me..and found wanting.

One of the hardest parts for me to swallow is this: I never was an angry person before this season of my life.  Where is all this rage coming from?  In 7 years of marriage, I have never spoken to my husband in the harsh, unkind way I did to my daughter today.  I have become a yeller.  And I hate it.

Maybe it’s simply that I was good at stuffing…and my toddler is good at digging.

Immature outbursts drenched in selfishness & impatience: 2

Tenderly delivered, grace-filled lessons in {tough} love: 0

And despite {many} apologies, my heart is still heavy.

What a horrible, ugly side of my heart emerged today.  And my 3 1/2 year old, tender-hearted little girl, had a front seat.

Oh, how desperately in need of saving I still am.

How deeply I need accountability in the way I process my weary frustration in mothering toddlers.  How vitalsupport and friendship is to surviving this rollercoaster ride of parenthood.

How very grateful I am for God’s incredible patience with me.  His ever-present mercy, grace and direction on this journey.  His faithful protection of my daughter’s impressionable heart.

So I press on.

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.”

Lamentations 3:23-23 {The Message

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

GOODBYE, SUPERMOM!

God, my life is a mess. How are you ever going to use me again? I don’t understand why you’ve allowed this to happen. Lord, please help me.”

I prayed those words countless times over the past four years. In 2006, I was diagnosed with a crippling autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, which causes hardening of the hips, spine, and major organs. Within months of the first symptoms, my life was transformed.

I was Super Mom. Maybe you know what I’m talking about: wife, mother, Kindergarten Room Mom, entrepreneur, Registered Dietitian, Bible teacher, crafter, family gourmet cook, and last, but not least, manager for my daughter’s modeling career.

ARE YOU TRYING TO BE SUPER MOM TOO?

I certainly tried, but God showed me I couldn’t do it. The illness crippled me. I spent three years as a prisoner in my own body, unable to move without excruciating pain.

My former Super Mom Super Powers were gone. I couldn’t stand up long enough to cook dinner, fold laundry, or sit on the floor to play with my children. All of those roles were delegated to someone else, while I took up residence on the living room sofa.

Those haunting prayers returned, “God, how are you ever going to use me like this? I’m more than broken—I’m shattered. You have stripped me of myself. I don’t know who I am anymore.”

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN SO BROKEN THAT YOU THINK GOD CAN’T POSSIBLY USE YOU?

I was there right where you are. It took time—years, in fact—for the Lord to humble me and then build me back up in Himself. By pouring myself into the Bible

I DISCOVERED MY IDENTITY WASN’T SUPER MOM, IT WAS IN CHRIST.

God doesn’t love me for everything I accomplish on a daily basis. He loves me because His Son died for me and on the third day came back to life, paying for my sins.

GOD LOVES YOU TOO, BUT NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU DO FOR HIM.

Can we ever DO enough? Can we ever BE perfect enough?

Super Mom isn’t the answer. Jesus Christ is.

I HAD A CHOICE TO MAKE. I could either spend the rest of my life blaming God for ruining me with this horrible disease, or I can trust that even in the midst of the gut-wrenching pain, my life counts in Christ.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE, TOO.

If God has allowed you to be broken, maybe even shattered, you have a decision to make. Will you shake your fist at Him for destroying everything? Or, will you surrender to His plan, even though it’s NOT what you desire? Will you say Yes to His call on your life?

WILL YOU SURRENDER YOUR MESS TO HIM?

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him;

It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-26

WILL YOU WAIT QUIETLY FOR THE LORD?

Carrie Cooper @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

Keeping Your Word

commitmentCommit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Psalm 37:5,6

On Saturday, I had to have a little life talk with Carson.  Thursday night he had told us that he was going to go to school on Saturday and work a concession stand for one of the games.  It would give him service hours for National Junior Honor Society.  No problem, Bobby said he’d run him over and then go pick him up when he was done.

But we had a full week this past week and had been out on Friday night at a friend’s for dinner, and when Saturday morning rolled around, Carson was tired and decided he didn’t want to get up and go to school to work, he’d rather stay home and hang out with Chase.  And the more Bobby tried to encourage him to go, the more adament Carson became that he didn’t want to.

I asked Carson if he had committed to working this event.  He said, “No”, he’d just told them he might be there. 

I explained to Carson that he could stay home this one time, because he’d not made a commitment, but that it was very important to honor his word, whether he was tired or not.  If he said he was going to do something, he must honor that.

I work with a lot of volunteers at church.  Some are always on time, always doing what they said they would do.  Others … not so much.

Yesterday, our Pastor was talking about our commitments to God.  We make vows with him on Sunday, when we’re caught up in the emotion of the moment … we say, YES LORD, but then by Tuesday or Wednesday, we’ve let life get the best of us and we are back to … “No God, can’t do that right now.”

I want my little Carson to grow into a man of character … in life and with God.

I want to grow into a woman of character … in life and with God.

Father, thank you for teaching me how to be a woman of character.  I want your character, your spirit to fill me up, to flow through me, to flow out of me.  And Jesus, please teach my little Carson the same lesson.

I love you Jesus!
   In Your Name I Pray,
   Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow.
http://www.alifedecision.org

Are You Listening?

 
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27
We have a new family member, Jack, a Jack Russell Terrier. Jack is a sweetie pie, cute as a button, the total opposite of Zeke. Jack loves to hunt, he has a field day in our yard running from tree to tree chasing whatever it is that he is chasing. He plays keep away with Zeke, they chase each other around the house, each one trying to keep the ball or stuffed animal away from the other. Jack has never had an accident, he’s not chewed up anything except chew toys. He’s a good dog. But Jack does not listen to me.

I can be calling his name and he’s so focused in on what he’s doing … he totally ignores me. I have to actually go over to him and pick him up for him to stop doing what he’s doing and look at me. Jack does not hear my voice.

Zeke, on the other hand, who has been my best buddy for over five years always hears my voice. Even when I don’t want him to hear me, he does. I cannot say one word without Zeke being at my side. Sometimes I don’t have to even speak, I can just look at him and he’ll come over and lay his head on me. Zeke loves me, he listens for my voice and the second he hears it, he responds.

Sometimes I act like Jack, with God. I am so busy running around doing my thing, I don’t hear His gentle whisperings. He literally has to put a wall up in front of me for me to stop what I am doing and listen.

I want to be more like Zeke in my walk with Jesus. I want to hear His voice, whatever I’m doing – where ever I’m doing it. I want to stay attuned to His call.

I want to be part of His flock. I want to follow HIM.

IMG_0753

Father, thank you for allowing me to see this example so clearly. Teach me Lord Jesus, how to hear your voice, no matter what the circumstance.

I Love You Jesus!
In Your Name I Pray,
Amen

God’s Blessing Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

chiliMillion Copy Give-Away.
    Will You Help?

http://www.alifedecision.org

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…
   it’s about learning to dance in the rain!

Throwing Stones

There is an old saying, “People who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.”  I was reading a story in John the other day where Jesus made a similar statement.  He had been teaching in the temple, when the religious leaders brought before him a woman caught in the act of adultery.  They wanted to know what punishment the woman should have.  The Law of Moses commanded that she be stoned, but Jesus came to bring repentance to sinners; to save them, not destroy them.

The religious leaders were trying to entrap Jesus, to put him between a rock and a hard place.

Jesus encouraged the crowd who were pointing fingers at this woman to look inside themselves.  He urged whoever was without sin in their life to throw the first stone.  And no one could.  One by one, they turned and walked away.  When it was just Jesus and the woman left, he asked her if anyone had condemned her.  She said, “No.” 
 
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11)

Jesus didn’t condemn the woman, nor did he condone what she had done.  He implored her to move on … and stop doing what she had been doing.

WOW … that is such an encouragement for me.  I don’t have to beat myself up when I make a mistake.  I don’t have to be stoned to death … I simply need to STOP – to ask Jesus for forgiveness and turn away from whatever it was I was doing wrong.

And when others mess up … I need to not throw stones … but take a good hard look at myself.

no sin

Father, thank you for this lesson.  Teach me how to keep myself clean and clear; to not throw stones at others.

I Love You Jesus!
   In your name I pray,
   Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

Overwhelmed By Love

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
I John 4:7

Today I turned 50 years old. When I was a child, 50 seemed pretty old. As I’ve aged, the number still seemed to be a pretty significant number, in my mind. A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded that my birthday was approaching. I really didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to say I was 50 years old.

Maybe because if I was really 50, I shouldn’t still mess up so much?

Oh, I mean well, but some days I feel like a kid with my ups and downs and life stuff.

Maybe someone who is 50 should be more responsible – more mature.

Maybe being 50 would mean that I shouldn’t bounce so much?

Maybe it would mean that I shouldn’t drink too much coffee and be silly?

Maybe it would mean that I was on the ‘down’ side of life?

I’m not really sure what I thought would happen. I just knew I wasn’t looking forward to it.

What if? …  always an interesting question.

But then … I felt God saying to me .. “EMBRACE YOUR DAY … EMBRACE YOUR LIFE … EMBRACE ME!”

Okay … I can embrace God .. I want to embrace God. But … do I want to embrace 50?

Okay God … I’m diving into 50 – HEADFIRST!  It’s only a number, and if you gave me this number, for this day, for this year, for this time. I’M IN!

I accepted dinner out with my two best friends … MEXICAN … a good time PROMISED!

Okay … that was easy enough.

Dinner cooked by Bobby … I can invite a couple of friends … okay … I always enjoy that.

Then I decided all I really wanted for myself was to have a pedicure … I LOVE PRETTY TOES.

So … Thursday, after work, I went and got my Pedicure … and I was happy!

I came home to cards in the mail … surprise money! WOW … how very special that someone loved me enough to remember my birthday with a special gift.

Then my friend, who had had to leave the country suddenly two weeks before arrived back to her home. I was so excited to see her when I went to take care of her dogs. Even though she was leaving again shortly, I felt relief that she was back and ready to close the chapter of her life here in Naples.

I can go on and on …. from the time I awoke today, to even now sitting here on the couch beside my Bobby, I have been surrounded by love, people who I love, people who love me, people who love Jesus.

Dinner out with my friends turned into a WONDERFUL SPECIAL EVENING!  They threw me a surprise party and instead of dinner with 2, God turned it into a blessing of dinner with over 30!! I was tongue tied, I was so surprised. I’d never had anyone throw me a surprise party before and it was just the BEST evening … spending time with so many people that I love and appreciate!

I believe God gave me a glimpse of heaven today and I am so very thankful …GOD IS LOVE.

Today … LOVE FOUND ME.
TODAY … LOVE FLOWS FROM ME.

joyce and Deb

Father … thank you for filling me with LOVE … thank you for such a special family that you have given to me. Thank you JESUS for giving me a New LIFE through You.

And thank you to all my friends … I truly do love you!

God Bless you!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

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