“Bring on the Rain”

A number of years ago, I heard this song and had to pull over to the side of the road.  I had to let these words wash over me.  It was right after my sister and grandfather had passed away and I was really struggling emotionally.  Listen to these lyrics:

 

Yeah, bring on the rain, I thought to myself.  I felt like Job in that moment.  Just bring it!  “What else can you take from me?” I thought.  Don’t.  Just don’t say these words to God.  Why challenge Him?  I was angry.  I was lost.  I was hurt.  I was one broken child of God.

I fell so far from Him in my anger and grief.  And yet, through that same anger and grief, He drew me near to Him.  He renewed my faith, sanctified my heart.  As I reflect back today to that fateful December of 1999 when my world fell apart, I realize I would not be who I am today.  I would not have the strength of faith I do today.  I would not have the deep understanding that I will never fully understand the ways of my God, but I trust Him.  Yes, even through grief, I learned to trust Him.  Trust is so different from understanding!

And yet, I understand so much.  This world is fleeting.  It is temporary.  Nothing in my hands or in my life is certain except for God.  He alone is constant.  So in all the stability I was seeking and desiring in my life, I find it in Christ alone.  He is steady, especially in the storms of life.

Then I stumbled upon this song, and again had to pull my car over to the side of the road and just sob.  Let the tears fall!

 

Yes, I have learned to praise my God, even in spite of loss and grief.  I have learned to praise Him because He is ALWAYS worthy of praise.  Even when I don’t understand what He is doing, I trust in His Holiness.  I trust in His plan, in His purpose.  In my weakest of moments, He gives me strength to keep going, to press on toward the goal.  Even when He does bring on that rain that overwhelms and consumes, He gives me a life boat.  He fills me with His strength so that I may hold on for dear life and come out on the other side of the storm.

Philippians 4:4-7 speaks this truth:  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God is so real!  We never fully understand the truth of that peace until we are in situations where we need it.  God has given me much peace over the years since my sister died.  He has given me many blessings!  Had I given up when I wanted to, and followed my sister into death, I would never understand the idea of the fullness of God’s love.  I say the idea of fullness because my small, finite brain could never fully comprehend the vastness of the fullness of God’s love.  I have seen glimpses, and I have felt that peace that surpasses all understanding.  But to fully comprehend it is out of my league.  God alone can understand His own fullness.  He only gives us insight through glimpses of the whole.

And so I press on, because God has given me strength.  I press on, because He has given me purpose.  I press on, because I desire more of you to know and love Him as I have come to know and love Him.  Whatever storm you are in, whatever crashing waves are washing over you, hold firm to His Truth:  you are loved so greatly that Jesus gave His life for you and conquered death to cleanse you of every wrongdoing you have ever done and will ever do.  That is truth, and that is worthy of praise!

The Cost of Christ

Luke 9:57-62

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

 

This is a tough passage of scripture upon which to dwell.  Really, leave my family behind and not look back?  Let my dead be, and not bury them? What does this REALLY mean?

Recently, my husband and I had to decide between staying where we were or moving three hours away for the sake of serving in ministry.  We prayed.  We sought counsel.  We received counsel from those we did not ask.  Everyone has an opinion, right?

It was difficult to make this decision, because we had just given birth to our son.  We lived near both my parents, we had family across the street, tons of friends from church, tons of family nearby, easy transportation, every convenience within a short drive.  My husband had a great job with Chick-Fil-A.  I was looking forward to tutoring while being a stay-at-home mom.  And then, the Lord brought us this opportunity to move to Champaign, IL.  My mom, bless her heart, gave me 100 reasons to stay in Aurora.  She brainstormed opportunities for income for us, reasons to stay near her and the family.  My brother and his wife were about to have a baby too.  Our kids could grow up together!  We had every reason in the world to say no to this move.

But we prayed.  “Lord, is this what you want for us?”  Every door opened.  I applied for and was offered a great part-time job where I can do most of my work from home, and Zander can come with me when I do need to go in.  It took Brandon a while longer to find a job, but we came down in faith that he would find one.  We know God led us to this house we are in now, and He has provided the money to stay here.  My hours increase at work just when we need it.  Friends bless us with gifts right when we need it.  Brandon has a steady job at the bank down the street, and he has a few clients for his editing business he does on the side.

We had no excuse great enough to say “No” to the Lord.  At what cost will we follow Him?  Well, we know we would move our stuff and our small family for Him.  That is what He has asked of us thus far.  Will He ask more?  Most likely.  Lord, may we be willing!

Side note:  I have had many opportunities to drive back “home” to see family and friends.  I am thankful we are within driving distance, and pray for more opportunities for them to come visit down here as well!  Secretly, I pray some of them may even move down here with us.  😉  Unlikely, I know.  But a girl can dream!

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 5

This chapter is tough.  There are only 3 lies addressed in this chapter, and all three seem to point the opposite direction of where society is today.  And you know what?  I am ok with that!  I WANT to point the opposite direction.  Sometimes I feel like the opposite direction from where we are today is a GOOD thing, especially when it comes to families and faith.  However, some areas are just fine not going back to where they once were.  Areas of race can keep progressing forward, for I know we still have far to go in that regard!

 

Lie #18:  I don’t have time to do everything I’m supposed to do.

Truth #18:  Oh how I feel this one!  Ironically, I am a work-from-home mom now, and only have to work 10-12 hours a week.  I still feel like I am unable to get it all done!  Cleaning, entertaining my son (who is 14 months old on Friday!), cooking, grocery shopping…I feel like I have more distractions now than I did when I was teaching!  Of course, I didn’t have a child then.

Truth is, there is time to do everything that GOD wants me to do; and what God wants me to do is not watch Murder, She Wrote all day (and yes, I did watch all 12 seasons in their entirety on Netflix…).  So the key to getting things done is to prioritize the To-Do list.  Luke 10:38-42 shows us some of this prioritization: Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  Philippians 4:6-8 reminds us also, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

So what is it God would have me accomplish each day?

  • Time with Him
  • Time with my husband and son
  • 2-3 hours of “work” time with my job.  Whether that is at the office or at home, that is up to me.  I have 12 hours a week to divide as I need to.  So, I need to pray and communicate with my coworkers on the “To-Do” list, prioritize that list, and tackle it.  There are specific things that NEED to be done each week, and then a running list of things that need to be done by July 1.  Then we’ll create a list of what needs to be done by December.
  • House-cleaning and cooking, putting away laundry, etc.
  • Preparing for Sunday mornings.  I have been writing children’s devotions for our small church, so that needs to be done by Saturday night each week.  Also, some weeks I teach the Sunday School lesson, so I need to prepare that.  Song sheets need to be printed also.   Our weekly leadership meetings are a part of my weekly routine also.
  • Tutoring:  I tutor one young man from church, and I am looking to tutor others as well.  I am just starting my own tutoring business, as you saw from a previous post.  My business cards came today!  🙂

 

Lie #19:  I can make it without consistent time in the Word and prayer.

Truth #19:  Honestly, every time I try to make it on my own, life gets too crazy and I get stuck in depression and anxiety!  I am weak.  I am prideful.  And pride always comes before the fall.  I am quickly learning that everything I have, every hour I work, every paycheck we receive, every gift we get from people around us is completely from the Lord.  My God knows what He is doing, and I need to spend time with Him so that I follow the path He has set before my husband and me. Proverbs 2 is full of verses about wisdom and seeking Wisdom from the Lord.  I also find myself drawn to the book of James, specifically chapter 1, verses 5-7:  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord…”  Then there is my life verse, 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

Lie #20:  A career outside the home is more valuable and fulfilling than being a wife and mother.

Truth #20:   After my son was born, I did go back to work after my 6-week maternity leave.  Do you know what happened my first day back to work?  I cried!  I came home from work, embraced my newborn baby, and cried some more!  It was such a struggle to finish the school year!  Within a month of being back to work, I realized I truly wanted to be home with him!  Do you know how much daycare costs???  Thankfully, we were paying between $100-150 a week.  That was 1 of my 2 paychecks each month.  Add in the cost of gas, lunches in the school cafeteria, mileage on my car and I pretty much had no paycheck.  Why on earth did I push myself to work 70 hours a week teaching and grading papers, tutoring students, etc., just to pay for someone to watch my son all day?  (So very thankful that the someone who watched Zander was my aunt and cousins!)  So my husband and I prayed about it.  I resigned effective at the end of the school year.

And I don’t regret it.  The Lord provided this 12-hour a week position where only 4-6 of those hours are at the office, and I can bring Zander with me if I need to.  And guess what?  I am making the same amount each month as I was teaching full time!  Talk about provision!  I am SO thankful to the Lord for providing this position!  I am learning to balance my time between housework, Zander, and paid work.  I am so thankful!

My husband constantly refers to “Proverbs 31 Woman” with me.  I am not there yet, and I know that is my ideal.  The Proverbs 31 Woman is who I strive to be.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 [d] An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[e] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Forgive me, please

Yesterday, I posted a rant.  Please forgive me.  One thing I love about this country is that we have freedom of press, freedom of speech.  We are able to each have our own opinions and still encourage and lift each other up despite our differing thoughts.

I had some realizations yesterday.

  1. When I forget to refill my prescription of Sertraline (Zoloft), bad things happen in my brain.  It had been about a week as of yesterday that I had taken my last pill.  I also drank a lot of coffee yesterday.  Jittery and chemical imbalances building, my brain was a pinball machine on hyper mode yesterday.  Thoughts everywhere!
  2. It is that time of the month.  Ladies, you KNOW what I am talking about.  I should have been wearing a T-shirt that said, “Warning:  don’t mess with me.”  The hormone fluctuations coupled with the chemical fluctuations did NOT bode well for my husband.  Hon, please forgive me!

Needless to say, I went to Walgreen’s last night and refilled my prescription.  Took a half-dose last night and will for 5 more days to build it back up into my system.  Already, not because of the meds but because of the awareness of the effect all of this had on my system, I am feeling calmer.  I am not going to drink as much coffee today.  The 84 ounces I drank yesterday will be closer to 24-32 ounces today.  Then cutting back to 16-24 oz for Sunday.  I’ll be keeping my water bottle fully stocked and available all day long!  Loving my new one from Family Christian Store with a flip-up straw  🙂

 

So, lessons learned:  fill my prescriptions for pills (I never seem to forget to fill my scripts for insulin…), and keep better track of my cycle, and all will be well in my mind….I hope…  🙂

So frustrating…

I have to say, I am getting fed up with political posts.  One side blames the other, and then that other side points the finger right back.  Why?  What is the point?

One man, one issue, even a series of issues, is NOT the main problem here.  The problem is more than one political official.  This is a systemic problem that has been developing for years!  I know I have issues with ALL the political parties right now.  There does not exist a party that fits my political views.  And you know what?  I am ok with that.  My God is still on His throne, and He is still in control.

But please, can we stop with all the negative stuff???  Can we start posting about the positives?

The current plan for healthcare reform may not be perfect, but can we acknowledge that healthcare NEEDED reform and this is really one of the first successful attempts at trying to make change???

Can we admit that even though things may not have the same effect as they did in the 1930’s, the work of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has obviously influenced our current government during this last recession?

Again, things are not perfect.  And people are doing what they know how to do.  We need to make a lot of changes individually and collectively if we are going to have any chance at progressing forward.

 

OK.  I am done with my soap box statement now.

My New Tutoring Business

Since I am a certified teacher, I thought I would open my doors to students of all ages who may need some assistance with classes.

 

Areas in which I can assist:

  • Organization of course materials
  • Outlining large projects and breaking them into achievable smaller chunks
  • Supervise and assist students through completion of homework and projects
  • Reinforce and equip students with skills in grammar and reading comprehension
  • Teach and reinforce skills in all levels of elementary and middle school math, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus at the high school level, and basic math courses at the college level.  With some prep time, some Calculus and Statistics needs may also be filled!
  • Assist students in social studies, science (including chemistry and physics), reading, writing, and other courses through senior year of high school

My Qualifications:

  • Bachelors in Mathematics, North Central College and Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Aurora University
  • 10 years of middle school and high school math education and years of Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Camp Counselor responsibilities with children of all ages

My schedule offers some great flexibility, and my rates range from $10-$40 an hour.  Why the range?  Let me break it down for you:

  • Individual tutoring sessions (one on one, just your child, his/her work, and me working together to set and achieve educational goals) will be $40/hour.  We can break this up into half-hour sessions as well, depending on the attention span of your child.
  • Small and large group tutoring sessions break down according to the number of students present.                2 students:  $30/hour each

            3 students:  $20/hour each

            4-5 students:  $15/hour each

Groups larger than 5 will be on a case-by-case basis, and would be $10/hour per student.  Students in groups this large should be focused and work well with others.  To develop these skills, we can start with smaller groups and work up to larger groups as focus and drive increases in each student. 

Tutoring sessions will be available in my home and at local libraries and/or coffee shops.  Champaign Public Library, Biggby Coffee at Springfield and Mattis, and Panera at Kirby and Mattis are some examples of said locations.  I will bring extra paper, writing utensils, calculators, rulers, scissors, etc. as needed.  Students should bring school books, binders, any worksheets and assignments, and assignment notebooks (students in middle school and above).

If you live in the Champaign-Urbana, IL area, feel free to email me at kara.miller.math@gmail.com for more information or to schedule times for tutoring.

 

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 4

So Chapter 4 took some serious reflecting!  So, here we go!

Lie #13:  I can sin and get away with it.

Truth #13:  We can hide NOTHING from God!  I am reminded of this in Psalm 139:  O Lord, you have searched me and known me!You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

In Genesis 3, we see God call out the sin that Adam and Eve had just committed:   And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” [not because He did NOT know where Adam was, but to give Adam a chance to reveal himself.]And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

God questions them to give them an opportunity to confess.  Have you ever had a moment with your parents when they start asking questions about something?  My mom tells me the story of when I was 6, and the teacher had called her about something I did at school (not BAD, but bad for my health).  I was newly diagnosed as having Type 1 Diabetes, and had been sneaking Ho Ho cakes at school.  The teacher called and asked if I should be eating those?  Of course, NO!  So I got home from school.  Mom looked at me, and said, “Something seems off.  Let’s check your blood sugar.”  And the number on the screen gave everything away.  “That looks like the exact number of someone who has eaten a…HO HO!”  My jaw dropped, and eyes got wide.  “HOW DID YOU KNOW?????”

Just as that information ALWAYS gets back to our parents, God knows.  He needs no phone call, no secret agents.  He knows ALL our thoughts, good and bad.  Nothing is done in secret from Him.  Hebrews 4:13 affirms this:  “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

I think the biggest reason this lie gains so much traction is that the consequences of our actions are not usually immediate.  When we touch a hot stove, we get burned immediately.  When we choose to live in sexual sin, or lie to our parents, or steal a couple of dollars from the register once in a while, or eat that second dessert (as I eat strawberry pop-tarts for breakfast…), we might get away with things for a while.  For most of us, we can avoid unexpected pregnancies, can cover our lies with ease, can stay within the “allowable range” of being off on the register totals that day, or exercise away the extra calories.  But, eventually, we will be found out.  Sexual sins take their toll on our hearts and souls (trust me, I spent a few years in counseling for this one…), a teacher calls our mother (or a sibling tattles on you!), the boss installed cameras last week and didn’t say anything, or the pounds start to creep on because you forgot to work out more often than you remembered.  Eventually, we will be found out.

 

 

Lie #14:  My sin isn’t really that bad.

Truth #14:  All sin is NOT HOLY.

In my thinking, the Romans Road to Salvation seems to address this lie more than anything else:  We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and that sin leads to the consequence of eternal death.  No matter how small the sin or how BIG the sin, it is still a blemish on the incomprehensible (for us) purity that is GOD.  We tend to view sin in relative terms.  We compare and contrast our sins against each other.  “I’m not bad; look at THAT guy!”  The art of distraction may work on people, but not on God.  He alone sees into the depths of our hearts and sees well beyond the masks we all wear.

1 John 1 sets a clear image of our deceit toward ourselves:This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

 

Lie #15:  God can’t forgive what I have done.

Truth #15:  Nothing is too big for our God.  In Romans 8, Paul proclaims “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Psalm 51 also paints a good picture of forgiveness.  King David models for us how to cover up sin, struggle with guilt, and then to confess before the Lord.  His affair with Bathsheeba, his conspiracy to kill her husband under the guise of war…he SINNED.  This was a BIG one.  Again, no sin is too small to be ignored, but we can use the example of David to view God’s mercy and grace.  Even murder is not too great a sin for God to cleanse through Christ.  Now, don’t go out and kill anyone.  Grace is not a license to sin, remember.  To break the habits and chains of sin, though, it is going to take a lot of transformation and redirecting of our thoughts.  We are not without help in that process though, and I will address that after a few more thoughts below.

 

 

Lie #16:  I am not fully responsible for my actions and reactions.

Truth #16:  I’ll be honest:  I struggled with this one.  We are so quick to blame!  Even Adam and Eve pointed the finger to another; Adam pointed to Eve (“She made me do it!”), Eve pointed to the serpent (“The snake made me do it!”), and so it goes.  If you have siblings, you know exactly how that goes, right?  “But he did something to me first!”  I tell my students all the time, “the majority of the time, the one who retaliates is the one who gets caught.”  Sneaky people…instigators who get away scott-free… but that’s not the point here.  Others may influence us toward sin, but ultimately WE DECIDE.  We choose to ignore the red flags, the exit signs God gives us to escape the sin.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  He provides the way, AND we have to choose that way!  We have to learn from our mistakes!  When I met the man who would become my husband, we both had past relationships we could reflect upon to help us set boundaries that would help us keep our relationship as pure as possible.  Yes, we had sinned before.  Yes, we had  both made mistakes in these previous relationships.  And the Lord is gracious in that He allowed us to see our downfalls, our mistakes, to not blame the former lover for those mistakes.  He allowed us to take action and to build those boundaries based on what we now knew our weaknesses to be.  It is so much easier to blame the other person though…to blame our parents for the way they raised us, to blame our circumstances, the government, the society in which we live, etc.  Change begins only when one person has the courage to make a change in his or her own life though.  If we remain in our ways, nothing will ever change.  2 Corinthians 5 shows us, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  When I came to Christ, I alone was made a new creation through the work of the Spirit.  Not my mom, not those who bullied me when I was 13, not my siblings, not my teachers or my peers.  God transforms my heart and mind.   I cannot change what has been done to me by others; I can change my perspective and how I respond to those who have hurt me in the past.

Ultimately, it boils down to this:  Nothing happens to us that is outside of God’s awareness.  Nothing is hidden from him.  Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, those who bullied me, my sister’s choice to die by suicide and the painful road of grief that followed…I had very little responsibility in CREATING those situations for myself; and yet God allowed those things to happen to me, knowing I would learn and grow because of those things and those people.  He would deepen the gift of compassion, open my eyes to see the potential of others, allow me to reach out and embrace those who are hurting.  I am responsible for MY RESPONSE to each of the situations that happen that are outside of my control.  I am responsible for the path I have chosen to walk instead of choosing the path of obedience when I have fallen to the temptation of sin.  I chose to ignore the red flags the Holy Spirit waves in my face when it came to temptations of the flesh in my late teens and my 20’s.  And now, I choose to give all of me to my Savior.  He creates the most beautiful patchwork quilts from the scraps of fabric that remain after I have destroyed parts of it and others have attempted to destroy the rest.  Yes, I have no impact on what OTHERS do, AND I have every impact on what I choose to do from here.  God takes my broken past and is transforming my life continually so that He alone may be glorified.  None of this is by my strength.  I simply cast my cares before Him, as we are told to do in 1 Peter 5:7.

 

 

Lie #17:  I cannot walk in consistent victory over sin.

Truth #17:  This truth that we CAN BE and ARE victorious over sin is a life-long lesson.  How many of you struggle like me with that one sin that seems to be a weakness we just can’t beat???  Conquering diabetes burnout, gluttonous eating, over-spending, conquering debt are all areas in which I continue to struggle.  I take 2 steps forward then 10 steps back, right?  In my past, it was sexual sin.  Satan would whisper to me, “Well, you had sex with him last week, why not again tonight?  You already fell once…what does it matter?”  Or he’ll say, “You’re not strong enough to resist me.  I got you on this one before, and I’ll get you to fall again.”  When we fall to the temptation, Satan thinks to himself, “Let me remember this weakness, because I will play that tune again.  It works!”

What I have learned through Christ is this:  Yes, I have fallen.  Yes, that is a weakness that Satan likes to poke and prod.  And yet, when I am weak, my God is strong.  When I can’t stop myself from opening that door to sinful behavior, my God can.  I cry out to Him in my weakness, and He lifts me up, lest I dash my foot against a stone!  I can choose to let Satan drag me down by keeping the cinderblocks of sin tied to my ankles as I swim in the sea of life, or I can reflect on those situations in my past and allow Jesus to cut those soul-ties for me and pull me to safety in His arms.  In each reminder Satan brings to try to reattach those sins to my life, Jesus reveals a lesson I learned and need to remember or a whole new lesson.  Like I mentioned before, my husband and I were able to reflect on the mistakes made in previous relationships to allow the Lord to build something completely new in our lives!  In overcoming food addictions, I am learning it is easier to eat healthier when I don’t buy candy bars to keep in the house!  Right?  Also, I am learning that when I order from the kids’ menu to split something with Zander, we both get more than enough!  And, it is CHEAPER!  Praise God!

Romans 7 has so much truth about this!  When we are growing in the Lord’s strength, Satan is right there to try to snatch us away.  “ So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”  This leads straight into Romans 8 where Paul reminds us of our victory through Christ.  We are more than conquerors through our Savior!  Praise the Lord!

Struggling to get this last video to post, but here is the link for Rush of Fools, Undo.