Thursday, January 19, 2012

Joy from Life Letters

James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers & sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Dang, that's hard.  And I am no good at it whatsoever.  

Our 13 month adoption journey has left scars from repeated delays, not being matched with certain kids, gross repetitive errors in our home study, and unrealistic promises.  So many times Satan tempted us to give up.  Even now when we are closer than we have ever been, it is excruciating to try to have joy at the "chance to grow."

Hope, however, would not curl up and be still.
Doughty, Becky (2011-07-01). Life Letters: The Fruit of the Spirit (Kindle Location 285). BraveHearts Press. Kindle Edition. 

I can look back and see God's hand moving through it all; His provision in things we never would have imagined.  

We have finally pushed our way to the edge of the crowd.  We are waiting to stretch our arms out and declare, "We have brushed the hem of His robe with our fingertips."
Doughty, Becky (2011-07-01). Life Letters: The Fruit of the Spirit (Kindle Location 300). BraveHearts Press. Kindle Edition. 

When the burden of the wait is finally over, I have no doubt that joy will make us free!

I was free to hope. I was free to love. I was free to live.
Doughty, Becky (2011-07-01). Life Letters: The Fruit of the Spirit (Kindle Location 328). BraveHearts Press. Kindle Edition. 

Psalm 30:4-5 (NLT)
For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime!  Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Love from Life Letters

I was completely baffled.  Nothing about Michal's story had ever spoken of love to me.  Disappointment, betrayal, misunderstandings, bitterness, and ridicule permeated her story found in I & II Samuel.  But love, not hardly.  At least not in my mind anyway.  

How on earth could the story of a princess's forbidden love lost, regained, abused, and shattered, much less her later consuming malice and self-righteous vengeance be the chosen tale to portray the fruit of love?  

Until my eyes landed on these words:

There was only One who could love me the way I longed to be loved and I spent my whole life setting Him aside. I did to Him what the world had done to me.  
Doughty, Becky (2011-07-01). Life Letters: The Fruit of the Spirit (Kindle Locations 125-126). BraveHearts Press. Kindle Edition. 

Slipping beneath Michal's skin to the true nature of a woman's heart, Doughty erased Michal from my mind.  This was now my story.  

Believing myself insignificant, overlooked, and useless, I reached out to people, accomplishments, and possessions for fulfillment where none could be found.  All the longings, desires, and dreams I held so tightly completely blinded me to the only One who could satisfy, the only One who’s Love could make me whole, the One who was waiting for me to “come down” from the window and “receive Him.”
Doughty, Becky (2011-07-01). Life Letters: The Fruit of the Spirit (Kindle Locations 131-132). BraveHearts Press. Kindle Edition.

Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)
And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. 

And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

5 Minute Friday: Roar

Peace & Self-Control are 2 fruits I am severely lacking in.  Discipline & Acceptance play into both of those for me so when I stumbled across Five Minute Friday on The Gypsy Mama's blog I knew God was giving me an opportunity to practice.  Thanks you very much!  lol

Every Friday Gypsy Mama will post a word, such as roar, and the challenge is to:

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – don’t edit; don’t second-guess.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Must: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!
Scary stuff for me!  My inner editor is a foul fellow, but this challenge will make me squash him at least for 5 minutes and give me the habit of discipline for each Friday & hopefully acceptance of whatever it is.  I may have to ask my husband to monitor my behavior to make sure I don't tweak it before posting!  Hello my name is Deborah, and I am a control freak.  

I'll be using Write or Die from Dr. Wicked to keep me at 5 minutes.  Now if I could just have Mission Impossible's Theme song streaming . . . 

Off to write or die!  If I survive, I shall post in 5!

START Our roar has been a year in the making. It still hasn't hit its full stride. Some days I fear it never will, but then God reminds me who started the growl that is climbing into a steady roar waiting to burst forth. We have been on a year long adoption journey with DHS. In January 2011, they said we would be have kids by summer. Um, not so much. With every delay, obstacle, & hurdle, God has graced us with His roar that is louder than bureaucracy, louder than man, louder than our anguish and tears. I just have to be quiet long enough to let His roar drown them out. Yesterday, He cranked up the volume. We are finally OFFICIALLY open for adoption! By God's grace, our family of 4 will soon be a family of 8! Roar loud, roar strong for the whole world to know this is the Family you have placed together! STOP

and technically it IS Saturday . . . probably need to work on punctuality, too. . .

ALL FUTURE 5 On FRIDAYS can be found on my other blog. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Life Letters: The Fruit of the Spirit


After my Bible, Becky S. Doughty's Life Letters will be the first tool in bag.

The letters are the author's imaginings of what MIGHT have been going through the character's mind.

Here's the blurb from Amazon.

Life Letters: The Fruit of The Spirit is a collection of letters personally penned by nine women from the Bible whose lives demonstrate what it means to produce the character traits of a believer; the "fruit" of the Spirit. Each letter focuses on one of the fruit listed in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Every letter concludes by taking the reader back to the Scriptures for a life-application study.


Starting from Scratch

I went to sleep last night as Mama to two fresh-faced, blue-eyed boys I could carry at the same time and somehow woke up as Mom to one 195 pound man-child who towers over me and one near-teen who whips us all at Boot Camp on Kinect.

Or that's how it feels anyway.  I blinked, and they're almost grown.  And almost gone.

Life happened, and I let myself focus on the dailies instead of the forevers.  I've been more caught up in the doings of life than the impact of living life together.  Somewhere along the way, I lost track of what being Mom is all about.

All to soon, I am in danger of waking up to morning bear hugs being replaced with the occasional call home from college or boot camp.

Thankfully, God has a way of yelling at me when I ignore His whispers.  He has been known to use a 2x4 to get my attention.  This one came in the form of an article from Preparing the Soil.

At first glance, Janet's thoughts on giving her children her "Best Me" felt like warm fuzzies.  Oh, what a nice little list of ideals!  (I fully admit to having intermittent bouts of masquerading as Captain Obvious.)  As I read the explanations behind the warm fuzzies, I realized I talked to my boys about these characteristics, but I failed to LIVE them out on a daily basis.  And not just with my sons, but my husband also.  If there were remedial spouse & parenting classes, not only would I be in the class, but I'd be the one in the corner wearing the dunce hat of old.  Just saying.

I read the article, prayed the article, re-read the article, and decided to share the article with my family in an attempt to give them my "Best Me" as a promise to salvage the time we have left.  So I went to work in Photoshop typing it up all pretty to present to them as a nifty flip chart.

All that time absorbing and then regurgitating Janet's words paid off.  That's when God smacked me upside the head with a fistful of conviction followed by a swift kick of urgency in the rear.  The warm fuzzies are the Fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.  Hello!  Captain Obvious has left the building.

So here I sit in My Bare Garden completely void of the Fruits of the Spirit.  Well, that's not exactly true.  I'm sure if you looked hard enough you could find some puny remnants of love and joy and maybe one or two more.  But trust me, patience, self-control, the REALLY hard ones, not so much.  And not even enough of the aforementioned to give them a second look.

My goal for 2012 is to study each of the fruits in Scripture along with other resources, get out of the way, and let the "Holy Spirit produce this kind of fruit" in my life.  It will be dirty; it will be messy; it will be painful; it will be grand!  (I'm sure someone will have to remind me of that last statement at some point.)

This blog will be my gardener's journal, a means for me to share what I'm learning, my struggles, my failures, and eventual successes.  I hope to post weekly; it may be more or less; and occasionally be totally irrelevant.  (Captain Obvious' friend Sergeant Random takes over frequently.  You were warned.)

Full disclosure, I have killed every plant I have ever tried to grow.

This will truly be an Act of God because there is nothing in me that could begin to cultivate all that I long to be to my family apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.