Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

Active Patience….

These words just do not seem to go together…Actively patient? Patiently waiting? Eagerly awaiting?…

Active: engaged in action characterized by energetic work, participation, etc.;

Patience: an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.

So if we play the old teacher trick of learning how to use words properly and write a sentence using those words…so here’s mine ~

To be engaged with energetic participation while at the same time being willing to keep annoyance at a distance when faced with task of waiting. {rab}

Doesn’t that sound like fun? 🙂

Our brains just don’t seem to work that way to think that these words could actually be a complement one another. The season that our family has been in for the past several months has been one of excitement and sorrow, anticipation, joy, and sadness. As the day drew closer for her daughter’s wedding we were eagerly anticipating that special day and praying that God would be honored in that day. And He absolutely was! It is a surreal for sure to watch your baby get married and pledge her life to the man that you have been praying for years since she was a child. To see the reality of those prayers, those 24 years worth of prayers, come to fruition is joyfully humbling. To see how their lives have been shaped by a variety of events, how their paths crossed so many times, how they could’ve met on many different occasions…But God knew the exact moment that He wanted to bring them together and it was perfectly timed.

That is the kind of anticipation we all dream about and become giddy about when we see it coming true.

But what about the anticipation of knowing a loved one has the proverbial one foot in this earth and one foot at the threshold of heaven? When you know their heart is eagerly awaiting a moment of being Jesus and with those who have gone before them? How do we put that together in our mind? There is nothing you can do except to be patient while your loved one appears to be helplessly waiting for their time to come.

Twenty-five short days after the most joyful day of our year, watching our daughter as she got married, we watched my father-in-law and my grandmother called home to be with the Lord ~ within one day of each other. The sorrow that overcame me in those days was real, but just as real was the joy that they are whole and complete in the presence of the Lord…their Savior they both so dearly loved.

In the midst of all of that, my husband developed a terrible case of shingles on his face just a mere six days after the wedding. I’ve had my own issues with shoulder pain that seemed to come out of nowhere. And then we added some more joy (TRULY!  It’s fabulous!!) in the form of a new job opportunity for my husband and a very quick transition of our youngest daughter moving away to her dream college… finding ourselves in the proverbial beginning of being empty nester.

That whole empty nest part of life, well, I can tell you honestly it is not something that I have been eagerly awaiting. It is not something I have been longing for. Sure, there are days that I remember what our three girls were small children, and I would fantasize about having the house to myself…More importantly, having a clean house to myself. But I do not like the quiet. I do not like it at all. But this is where God is going to meet me and I suppose if I am being honest with myself, and with you as you read this maybe you find yourself in the same place, I am not necessarily eagerly awaiting to be alone or to be quiet with God.In so many ways it is nerve-racking to admit this. I have been a Christian for 40 years, I love the Lord and my heart is to serve Him, and besides that, are we supposed to admit these times when we are a little nervous or maybe even afraid to be alone with God?

I can say that I am nervous about what I will hear from the Lord.

What does He want from me in this new season of my life? What will he require from me in order to serve Him? Will it be hard? Are there decisions ahead of me that will be difficult to make? All of these things ramble around in my mind and I am grateful that the Lord is patiently awaiting my availability to be with Him. Oh sure, I will read devotionals, I will read inspirational books from fantastic authors, I will read the youversion Bible app verse of the day… but I know God is calling me to much, much more.

Psalm 37:7 {AMP} “Be still before the Lord; waitpatiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him; Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.”

God is calling me to a place where I can be patiently waiting – actively patient – dare I say, eagerly awaiting even?

God wants me in a place every morning where I can honestly pray and tell the Lord, “Use me today however You want to, in the way that You need to, in order to bring You glory.” Even now it is really easy to write this because I have followed the Lord for so long, I know the right answers. I know the right things to say to make me sound as though I have my “Christian walk” all together. But until I put all of that knowledge to work, nothing that God has called me to do will be accomplished the way He intends.

I have researched hundreds of verses that talk about being patient, being eager, about waiting…And all of them point me to the same place.

I must seek him first. Always every day.I need to trust the voice of the Holy Spirit when He whispers to me an idea, something to pray about, someone to pray for, even the thoughts that come to me for ideas about writing a blog post or writing a book. After seeing how God has created so many opportunities in my life for His glory to shine through because of how He has provided for me and for our family, it is a wonder even to me that I doubt the call that God has placed on my life.

Where do you find yourself today? Are you in the same place that I am right now? Are you wondering how someone can call themselves a “good Christian” and have these doubts that I have? {but please please remember that our salvation is NOT based on works…we are only saved through the grace and favor from the Lord Jesus Christ ~ John 14:6}. What part of the journey that you are on, the call that God has put on your life, where are you at with it?

Are you simply sitting back waiting for God to show up and do something or are you eagerly anticipating thoughts and ideas that have been whispered to your heart in a way that is filled with actions and excitement? The beginnings of a new year are always full of resolutions, new promises to ourselves and others, and a sense of renewed hope for the future. But the one common denominator in all of those things, for any of those things to happen in the way God intended, is for us to be active participantsin the adventure! If I want to see God working in my life I have to be in direct communication with Him so that I can recognize those moments when they come.

This reminds me of a conference I went to last year where I met with the main speaker afterwards. She spoke a word over my life and shared an image that God gave her for me. She said, “I see you in a hot air balloon and God is asking you to become completely untethered. Let go of all those things that are keeping you safely on the ground. Trust Him to take you to height that you have never imagined…but God is asking you to cut the ropes.”

That word absolutely excited and terrified me at the same time! As you can well imagine I’m sure. I believe that there are several of those rope tethers that I have cut loose. But even now as I write this blog, God is showing me a picture of that hot air balloon still halfway tethered to the posts on the ground. It is off balance and the fire that is needed to lift the hot air balloon properly off the ground cannot be fully realize because if it is, it will simply burn a hole through the side of the balloon, and I will not be able to take off.

All of the ropes need to be untethered so that I can fully let the Holy Spirit’s fire burst forth in my life. I have to trust that that fire will not burn me…It will only shine a light and bring glory to the Lord as He leads me to the places He intends for me to be. When I sat down to write today, actually I am voice texting all of this into my Notes app on my phone while I drive home from Orange County. Honestly, sometimes the only time I feel that I have to myself, even though I am now an empty nester, is when I am driving in my car somewhere. Especially in Southern California there is a lot of traffic to sit through so it works out pretty good.

That aside, when I was beginning to say is that I had no intention of going so deep but this is what happens when I let go of my intentions, my agenda, my expectations, and let Jesus truly take control.

Psalm 130:5 “I wait [patiently] for the Lord, my soul [expectantly] waits, And in His word do I hope.”

My goal and prayer is that these words will cause a fresh wave of God’s peace to wash over you. Maybe that wave needs to knock you over like it does for me today, but He will not let you be overwhelmed. Have you ever done one of the “trust falls” ~ that’s what it’s like trusting the Lord a lot of time…lean back and trust that He will catch you when you lean back and/or pick you up when you fall.

My prayer is that you hear God’s voice in your own life, right now, telling you what your next step needs to be, what rope you need to cut and become unattached from. And of course, the verses that I am sharing with you today, I pray that you will find rest and solace in the truth of God’s Word. Don’t just take my word for it, go to His Word and dig deeper so that you have the awesome experience to encounter with what the Holy Spirit has been trying to tell you for so long.

Today is that day that you can start again……Where you can embrace the opportunity to patiently yet at the same time eagerly, a wait and see what God has for you!

Blessings,

René

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

What’s all the fuss about marriage?

What’s all the fuss about?  It seems to me that this year of 2015 has had so many conversations about marriage ~ what it means, what it’s for, who needs it, who doesn’t, when to give up, when to stick it out, and so much more.  I’ve personally had several friends dealing with truly difficult circumstances in their marriages…and what can I do?  What can I say to someone dealing with things I never have (and pray that I never will!)  All these questions swirling around in my mind have made me draw upon the one place I know I can get all the answers I need.  God’s Word.

So why does it seem that marriage is under attack?  Notice I didn’t say “Christian marriages”, because it’s not just those relationships within a home of Believer’s ~ it’s EVERYWHERE!!  I have heard some great sermons and talk radio lessons on what marriage is and how we can gird up our mind, heart, and soul to combat the true enemy of marriage.  So, I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and wanted to share my thoughts with you. ** And it’s a long post today…but I want to share my heart on this subject of marriage and have a lot to say today. **

First, marriage is the epitome of who God is.  He created man and woman in His own image, to complement one another, (Genesis 1:27).  He wants us to need each other ~ not in an unhealthy way, but in a way that balances one another so that as husband and wife, we can be true partners (Genesis 2:18, 22-24). God is the one who created marriage ~ not a church, not a religion, not a people group of days gone by…GOD created marriage from the beginning of time.

God intended for man to have a wife and that the two would be an inseparable team (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7; and Ephesians 5:31).  God intended marriage to be a good thing; a beautiful symbol of how He loves us is how He intended for us to love our spouse.  So the answer to the questions above?  Why is marriage under attack?

It is actually really simple….every good and perfect gift from the Lord God is the exact thing that will be targeted by Satan and his demons.  The goal of the enemy is to undermine, destroy, annihilate, and defame any and ALL of the things of this world that God has determined is good and honoring to Him.  And Satan HATES marriage.  He hates anything and everything that reflects the image of God.

James one 17-18 bible verse with photo

If you are a Christian, then you know that we already have the victory in Christ and that He is still on the throne!  BUT….we have to live here on this earth, which is run by the principalities of the devil, and deal with the mayhem he causes.

Of course the enemy wants to ruin marriage ~ because He stupidly thinks that if he can attack marriages enough, then he will tarnish the beauty of who God is.  If marriage is a picture of who God is, and how He has established the heavenly realms, then when difficulties arise and marriages go awry, the enemy wants marriage to reflect everything that is opposite of who God is.  If people believe that they cannot find trust, unconditional love, faith, support, guidance, truth, kindness, gentleness, or absolute commitment in marriage ~ the danger is that they may begin to believe that they cannot find those in a relationship with God.

How do we know for sure that Satan has been attacking marriage since the very first one? Shortly after God created Eve to be a helpmate to Adam (Genesis 2), Satan comes along in Genesis 3 telling Eve lies and making her doubt what guidance God had given her and Adam.

Doubt brought about deceit. Deceit brought about shame.  Shame brought about fear. Fear brought about blame. Blame brought about accusations. Accusations brought about punishment. Punishment brought about separation.  Separation brought about the need for restoration.

Everything good that God created about the marriage relationship has been under attack from the enemy since the beginning.

In studying these verses in Genesis 2, I just realized something exciting!  Adam was referred to as “man” from the time he was created by God UNTIL God decided to create a woman to be “a suitable helper” for him.  Adam was given his name when he was made complete by Eve.  That is so cool!  Now don’t go thinking I’m about to have a Jerry Maguire “you complete me” moment ~ far from it!  I am made completely a woman.  My husband has been made completely a man.  But when man and woman join together as husband and wife, there is a new sense of completion that we cannot have alone.  We are complete individuals because we are created in God’s image, but the marriage relationship brings about a whole new sense of purpose in relationship like no other relationship.  On the flip side, I’m not saying that if you aren’t married now, or never plan on being married, that you aren’t a whole and complete person ~ you ARE!  As a child of the living God who created the universe, you are complete in HIM!  In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul talks very pointedly (and candidly) about the benefits and wisdom of being married or staying single.  Paul is very clear to make sure to remind the reader that these are not his own whims and recommendations, but instructions from the Lord via Paul’s hand on paper with pen.

What God created in marriage:

Adam (man) ~ the head of the household

Eve (woman) ~ the helpmate to complete Adam

their bodies ~ naked and unashamed

marriage benefit ~ to be fruitful and multiply ~ sex inside marriage is a gift

What Satan has imposed on the world about marriage:

Man ~ fight for superiority using threats, violence, and other means of domination.

Woman ~ made to feel a doormat; decides to emasculate by intimidation; made to feel “less than.”

Our bodies ~ riddled by comparison, jealously, insecurity, and shame.

Benefits ~ sex used as punishment, or withdrawn as a punishment; partners sought outside of marriage relationship

God did not create men to be overlords ~ He created them to be creative, bold, problem solvers, and kind leaders who walk alongside the wife God created for him.

God did not create women inferior ~ He created them to be strong, determined, brave, help mates to walk alongside their husband on the journey of life.

God did not create our bodies to bring us shame ~ He created them to be able to care for His creation, to be able to create life, and to quite frankly, be able to bring joy and delight to our spouse.  God wants us to be excited and thrilled at the sight of our spouse because our bodies are to be a gift unwrapped only by that ONE person!  This goes hand in hand with the benefits of marriage.  Only I should have such intimate knowledge of my husband, and he for me.  It is a gift given to one another unconditionally, with the deepest level of trust ~ a place that is meant just for the two of you.

So if we are created in God’s image & created for marriage relationship, all in efforts to be examples to each other of what relationship with God is and relationship with the Heavenly realms is, why are we surprised when marriages are attacked and how they are attacked?

The devil uses many ways to attack marriage and here’s just a few:

Doubts about my worth = My spouse must not love me either

Shame about my body = My spouse must think I’m ugly too

Pornography addictions = My spouse obviously thinks I’m not enough

Walls of distrust = My spouse is always lying to me about everything

Past abuses = My spouse cannot be trusted

And so many more ~ just take a quick look at your own upbringing and ask the Lord to show you ways that you are repeating negative behavior in your own marriage relationship.  You’re going to feel tempted to look at your spouse’s negative behaviors, but don’t fall for it ~ that’s just another attempt by the enemy to place blame and make you feel as if you don’t have any responsibility.  One of the hardest things to do in marriage is to look within to see what your own contributions of marital breakdown belongs to you.  You can only fix you!  You cannot (and by the way, will never be able to) fix your spouse!  But you can PRAY!!  For yourself and for your spouse.

** Disclaimer here ** ~ I would never advocate for someone to stay in a marriage where they are being abused in any way: verbal or physical.  This is a dangerous situation and should be treated as such.  Please seek out a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor who can help you find freedom from these abuses and assist you in recovering the life that God has truly planned for you.  There is NO kind of abuse that you deserve.

Marriage is hard.  Marriage takes work.  Marriage takes a unity with the Lord AND each other to make it work.

Marriage is worth it!  Marriage can be fun!  Marriage can be a great adventure!

Don’t let the lies and deceit of the devil destroy your opinion of marriage.  God created man and woman to be married to show the world ~ through Christ-like love ~ who He is!  Let us take up the task as followers of Christ and believer’s in God’s Word, to point our own flaming arrows of the truths of God’s Word and fire them into enemy camp.  Let’s remind the enemy who the true Victor is!  Stand up and fight for your marriage and for what marriage stands for!  Pray, pray hard, and then pray again!

Ask God to help you determine what needs to be worked on in your marriage and go from there ~ He won’t disappoint you ~ He will answer you!  If you are struggling with any kind of addictions, please go and see a counselor who will help you win those battles.  If you are feeling “out of love” for your spouse, ask the Lord to give you His love for them and although it will take time, you will feel love for them again.  If you are angry (with yourself or with your spouse) first seek to find out why the anger is there (might be a long process), ask for forgiveness (or give forgiveness) but stick with it so that you can find restoration and move out of anger into contentment.

In the marriage vows, some Pastor’s will say the phrase, “If there be no objections, let no man put asunder what God has ordained.”

There will definitely be hurdles to jump over and issues to deal with in your marriage caused by man; but the one you have to be even more aware of is the enemy of God ~ the devil who seeks to destroy His children by any means possible.

If you have stuck with me this long, I really appreciate it!  I know this was long, but I’m so passionate about couples saving and protecting their marriages.  I wish I could fix all of them…I can’t but I can pray.  Even if I don’t know you, I will pray!  I will keep praying for marriages in this world to be strengthened by the love and power of the Almighty God!  It’s possible!!

Promises from God’s Word to lift you up & encourage you in your marriage:

Romans 5:11, “Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”

1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

1 Corinthians 6:19, “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 Thessalonians 4:3-5, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;”

1 Corinthians 7:3-5, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 5:2-4, “and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”

Titus 2:4-6, “Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.”

James 1:17-20, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.  My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

Blessings,

René