Joshua 24:15

...choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Refine Me

This past Sunday during the congregational worship time we sang "Rejoice in the Lord." That song gets me... every. time. I was a blubbery mess by the time we reached the refrain for the third time, which, is when our song leader calls for the instrumentalists to keep playing so the congregation can greet each other. I didn't have enough time to get myself put together before having to greet people, so I'm sure I was quite the sight!! Praise God for mercy - and merciful brothers and sisters in Christ. No one poked fun at me! (HA! Just kidding...no one would ever do that.)

For several years now I have been experiencing some changes in my life... some pleasant, some, well...not so much. But, I know that the Lord is working in me. And I know that it is all part of His perfect, and beautiful plan for my life. It's just that sometimes, the refining process is painful. Unfortunately, sometimes, the pain is self-inflicted. If only I would learn my lessons the first time, like normal people, I wouldn't have to sit over the fire for so long! (Because normal people know better than I do, right?) ;)

So, in my study of the virtuous woman this morning I came across this story. It is pretty well known, and you may have already heard it, but here it is for a refresher. The verses I hold close to my heart during these times of trial are in I Peter and Malachi. OH the promises that in the fiery trial HE is with us, HE never leaves us, or so much as takes his eyes off of us. There is peace in knowing that He is refining us... and YES, we can rejoice!

I Peter 4:12-13 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you... But rejoice..."

Malachi 3:3 "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness."


A group of women were doing a Bible study on the book of Malachi. One of the women volunteered to research the facts of the purifying process. This is how the story goes...

"This woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining it. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot when she thought again about the verse, that He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, how do you know the silver is fully refined? He smiled at her and answered, "Oh that's the easy part - when I see my image reflected in it." 
~Author Unknown

Monday, January 21, 2013

Far Above Rubies

This past summer I started a study of the Proverbs 31 woman. It has taken me a while to get through it, but I am working on it! As I read through the booklet and the scriptures God is so gracious to give me exactly what I need when I need it.

The study begins with a truth that hit me like a ton of bricks! It's not like I have never heard it before. It's just that sometimes it takes a while for the head knowledge to make it's way to the heart.

The truth is this: a woman's virtuousness does not depend on her personal achievements. 

We can be involved in many good things. Those good things may even be all the right things. We can serve our husbands and children willfully and faithfully. We can be in church every time the doors are open. We can cook meals for our friends and family in need. We can attend every Ladies' Meeting, banquet, fellowship, and Bible study. But NONE of those things contribute to our virtuousness.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that  doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in the name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

"Wonderful works" will not grant any of us eternal life. A woman's virtuousness can be attributed to one thing only... the work which Jesus Christ has done in us! We cannot earn virtuousness. We cannot, on our own, obtain virtuousness by any means.

"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:" Exodus 19:5


Courtesy of Photo Pin
If we have a personal relationship with Christ, if we know Him, if we have turned from our sin and have invited Him into our life, then, we meet the qualification of being "treasured far above rubies."

A woman's virtuousness comes from what Christ did on the cross for each of us, not by any good works we can accomplish!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Good-bye Couch ~ Welcome Back Treadmill

When I was in high school I really enjoyed jogging. My dad is a runner and athlete. I grew up watching him run, play soccer, work out at the gym daily and even train for the LA Marathon once.  He trained me at a very young age, so running has always come natural to me.

BUT, along came college, busy schedules, deadlines and campus life. I kept it up a little and when I met my (now) husband we used to run in the evenings together. He, too, enjoys running and he was preparing for Basic Training since he was leaving for the Air Force. Eventually, we married and started a little family. Fitness fell to the wayside QUICK!

I have always struggled with my weight, which is why it was important to my parents to begin fitness training with me at a young age. But in the last 10 years I have allowed too much to get in the way. I have not disciplined myself in the area of food and fitness. As I enter the last stage of my 30s I am starting to feel the pressure. If I don't start losing the weight and get on the road to good health and wellness NOW it will only get harder in my 40s.

This winter I have started walking in an effort to get myself off the couch. So far, so good. Even my children join in with me about 3 days a week. TODAY I started a 5K training. I was pretty sure I was going to pass out!!!! But I completed it! My focus now is to take it one day at a time! I am very excited about this new phase in our life!

I should also mention, this summer I QUIT Pepsi. It was my addiction and downfall. Best. Decision. Ever. I have also switched from sugar to a natural sweetener in my coffee. My hurdle now is saying no to those oh-so-yummy, but oh-so-unhealthy and fatty cookies...and donuts...oh the donuts!

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philippians 4:13





photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/29638108@N06/5618665304/">www.metaphoricalplatypus.com</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Diligence

My word for 2013 is diligence. But, here's our story...

Some years ago I got the idea to start a new Christmas tradition. Something that was unique to our family. After pondering and praying over it for a few days this is what I came up with. My husband and I wanted to find a way to draw attention away from presents, presents, presents. It seemed to us our girls received a lot of clothes and toys at Christmas. We are thankful that they are loved by friends and family. We just wanted to make sure that they understood the true meaning of Christmas. As is our tradition, they are allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve...and it's always pajamas. They look forward to it every year. But this particular year we introduced something new...

...Christmas gifts for baby Jesus.

I took a small open box and wrapped it in silver paper and tied green ribbon around it. The wrapping is not symbolic. At. All. It's what I had on hand and I had a short time to put it together. Before we opened gifts that Christmas Eve we talked to the girls about our new tradition.

In a nutshell...

We each choose one word (or short phrase) to describe an area in our lives that we want God to help us with that year. Our gift is that we commit in our hearts to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in this particular area. It helps to have just one word to focus on during the year. At different times through out the year we check in with each other to see how we're doing. Since the children are young we continuously find ways to help them see how God can use different circumstances in their lives. We talk about their gift, we pray about it and we point out how God has worked things out for them in each area. Here are some examples of the gifts we have offered our Savior in years past.

Obedience
Verse Memorization
Bible Reading
Time
Kindness

I was very excited when I saw One Word trending on Facebook this week. I'm not big on resolutions. I found out a long time ago that they don't work (for me)! But, when we started giving our gifts to baby Jesus...that worked!! I have concluded that those things which I do in an effort to change MYSELF cannot be accomplished. But, the things I hand over to the Lord and ask Him to change...DO. And the lasting effects are far greater than anything I can ever imagine.

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us...

***This entry was scheduled to post on January 1st. Oops...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Adios 2012

Yet another year come and gone. 

We started off this year with a heavy heart and great loss in our family. My grandfather passed January 3, 2012. I am thankful for the hope in Jesus Christ that I will one day see him again. (You can read my remembrance blog on his life here.) 

What followed in the months after his death have been a little surprising to me. I have been on a roller coaster of sorts this year. Many mini trials have tested my faith. I have been contemplating and praying about how much of the ride I should share in the coming year. I hope to follow up on this blog with some of those experiences.

My writing is not for venting, boasting, or searching for acceptance and/or understanding. I write because I am a writer, albeit, not the greatest! :) It is a SMALL gift from the Lord I embrace and choose to pursue. It is my creative outlet. I have other outlets as well, but nothing allows me the freedom to pour out my heart like writing. Lastly, I aim to please, honor and glorify my Savior first of all. I pray that anything that is said and posted on this site will be a blessing to someone else's heart.

I am ending this year on a high note! Though trials come and go (and some stay) I have always found my victory in my Savior! He has always been there for me. He always will! I can think of so many ways that God chose to bless me this year. So, as I look back on 2012 I am looking forward with my banner held high...Come what may, Christ is on my side!

Happy New Year and blessings for 2013 from our family to yours!


Friday, July 6, 2012

The Return of Homeschool Mom

Forget SUPERMOM...HELLO HOMESCHOOL MOM...again.

Five years ago we started our adventure as a homeschool family. I have to admit...I wasn't exactly thrilled about it. Our decision came as a result of living in an area with very few, affordable, high standard of conduct and dress Christian schools. After much prayer and deliberation the verdict was in...we were taking the plunge into unchartered territory...homeschool. I tried to embrace it...really I did! I even got excited from time to time. But in the depths of my soul was unrest, doubt, fear, and exhaustion!

After three years we decided to bite the bullet and drive the 100 mile daily journey to school. We enrolled the girls in Christian school. And yes, you read that correctly, 100 miles every day! Fast forward two years later...our finances and wear and tear on the van have forced us to take a second look at our decision to send our children to school. We prayed...and prayed...and prayed some more...our friends prayed...and the leading of the Holy Spirit could no longer be ignored. In reality, we didn't WANT to ignore Him. We had asked for direction and we were excited that the answer was SO clear!

So here we are...again! Except, this time, we have peace in our hearts that this is EXACTLY where God wants us to be - on so many levels and for so many different reasons. And this time I TRULY am embracing it! I am very excited about my second chance. I am very thankful for a God of second chances!!! His mercy and grace always amazes me!

We all have work stations, but we seem to be more productive
when we're together at the kitchen table! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

With My Whole Heart


God mends my heart
My husband stole my heart
Izabella gave me a mother's heart
Sofia strengthens my heart
Ivana brings laughter to my heart
Andres melts my heart
Christ is the keeper of my heart