Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Evaluation

Spiritual
  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- Yes
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Yes! God has given me a passion to devour the Word!
  • Memorize verses with the kids - We are not learning anything new currently
  • Memorize Proverbs 31:10-31 and Romans 1 (I hope to add more to it, but this is where I want to start)- I read over Proverbs 31:10-31 and have 10-16 down
Marriage
  • Go out for a date once a month- We have been on at least 1 a week! 
  • Go on a night away once this year- Yes, went overnight to Lexington for our 10th anniversary
  • Read 3 books together this year- We are currently working on our 2nd book together this year, "A Praying Life"
  • Discuss plan weekly on Sunday afternoon- Still improving, but mostly
Kids
  • Spend 30 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- Some, but not a lot. Right now Jim and I are working on making our marriage 1st priority, so this will come later
  • Go to playgroup each Tuesday- Yes
  • Take kids to Science Center or Zoo at least once a month- Nope
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- Wrote in Sam's
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- Did nothing with this during July, not sure this one will happen
Homemaking
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- Did not do this 
  • Keep up with my calendar- Did fairly well with this overall, still room for improvement
  • Being fully present when with my family- Getting better at this. God has been really working on me and helping me to do better in this area
Ministry
  • Continue to host Women's Prayer once a month- Yes
  • Have at least 4 Childbirth Conversation classes this year- This may have been too, lofty of a goal. As of right now I might get 1 more in this year
  • Start Childbirth Conversation blog- Yes! It is finally launched. You can check it out here
Personal
  • Read a book a month aside from Class material- Yes! This month I read "To Walk or Stay"
  • Journal 5 days a week- I might have averaged this, but a couple weeks I only wrote twice
  • Write (books) 3 days a week- Nope
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing and research publishing options- Did a little editing one day
  • Complete Childbirth Conversation book- Did not work on this at all
  • Plan for next novel and write in November- Did not get any planning done this month
  • Finish Rosetta Stone Russian level 1 and begin Level 2- Have not worked on this
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- July was too crazy and it did not happen
  • Blog 3 days a week- Not at all. I've wanted to, but my thoughts are really scattered in the busyness. Got a few down last week, but still wrestling with what all to write
Health
  • Go to water aerobics once a week- Unable to do this this month, hoping to start back soon
  • Maintain weight until birth- Gained more than I wanted, but less than previous pregnancies!
  • Lose weight after giving birth- Beginning to lose the weight, but not being super active about it at the moment
July went by fast! Much faster than I was expecting. Perhaps that's because June crawled. Either way, I'm still boggled that it is already over. It has been all over the place as God seeks to guide us and grow us more in the image of Christ, growing our marriage, our kids, and our responsibilities. God has been good to us in all of it as He guides us both gently and harshly. I am so thankful that He is my God, even as I wrestle with Him about who He is. Clearly a lot of my goals are not being met and likely will not be this year. But honestly, I'm OK with that because I'm closer to God, to Jim, to my kids and my local Body.

How was your July?

July Blessings

July was all over the place and went by so quickly. We saw family for a couple of days, had VBS, lots of learning, and enjoyed being together. Our family has grown a lot this month, especially Jim and I. It's been hard and good as we learn more about God and His design for life. Here is a peek at some of the blessings He gave us this month, though I know there were many more.
  1. Jim finishing the school year with the kids. Seriously, since Sam was born he did school with them everyday. This is such a huge blessing. Thank you, Jim! 
  2. Finishing this school year
  3. Having a month long break
  4. Lillian acting out movies as she watches them
  5. Free parking downtown
  6. Half priced tickets at Louisville Slugger Factory
  7. God moving in my heart
  8. Jim and I growing together in Christ
  9. Growing more in love with Jesus
  10. God teaching me more and more about His character
  11. Jamey asking about Jesus
  12. Having an hour alone with the Lord outside
  13. Being reminded of things God has asked me to do
  14. Learning about sinfulness and forgiveness
  15. Watching Jamey and Lillian act out movies
  16. Growing in communication
  17. Meeting with Julianne to talk about prayer
  18. Laura Brandt
  19. Having needed discussions even when they are hard
  20. Meeting with Tom and Robyn
  21. Being encouraged in the faith
  22. Watching less TV
  23. Growing in prayer
  24. Teaching the kids to play Go Fish
  25. Learning to trust God more
  26. Learning more about Jim
  27. Learning more about myself
  28. Going out on a date every week
  29. Jamey learning to draw more
  30. God still working on all of us
  31. Reuben and Gabriel communicating more
  32. Reuben beginning to transition to big boy bed
  33. Many teachable moments
  34. Jamey and Lillian learning about Jesus at VBS
  35. Seeing the Knowles
  36. Seeing the Jacksons

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

To Walk or Stay by Lara Williams

I cannot speak highly enough of this book. There is so much truth breathed into this book and it is grounded in Scripture. Lara Williams speaks from her heart as she tells us about what she learned about God and herself in the wake of an affair, thus the name of the book. But what she shares is true for everyone of us no matter what is happening in our lives. It breaks down who we are before God and exposes the idols of our hearts. The book focuses on who we are and that we are responsible to God for ourselves and not others. We are to seek God no matter what we are facing in life. Though the title of the book speaks to marriage, it also speaks of our faith. In the tough times will we walk away from God or maintain the faith?

Each chapter is short and easy to read. At the end of the chapters there are discussion questions that are good to think through as well as Scriptures to delve into that go along with the main point. I found this helpful as God has been showing me my idols and weeding out my sin. I think everyone should read this book no matter where they are.

I give this book 5 stars!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our Thoughts Matter

When doing training for Good News Clubs we were taught this definition of sin:

Anything you think, say, or do that is against God.

I'm not sure why, but it has taken me 5 years since learning that definition to realize that the first thing in that definition is anything we think

Our thoughts matter!

During lent I spent a lot of time reflecting on sin and asking God to rid me of it. He is continuing to do that and teach me more and more about sin and how deep it goes. I'm learning to echo with Paul, "I am the chief of sinners." But in the last couple of month God has really been showing me that our sin begins with our thoughts and our thoughts can be sinful. 

In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 we see that even our thoughts are sinful.

"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court." (v.22a)

"But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (v.28)

In 1 John 3:15 it says "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer."

Our thoughts matter!

We are sinful human beings who sin on a daily basis, and much of that sin is in our minds. Have you checked your thoughts today? Are you taking every thought captive to obey Christ? (2 Corinthians 10:5) 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Deceitful Hearts

"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?"
Jeremiah 17:9

During Lent I asked God to show me my sin. He did not disappoint. In fact He continues to show me how wicked, sick and deceitful my heart is. Your heart is wicked, sick and deceitful too. I know this because Jesus tells us over and over throughout His Word! 

"And He was saying, 'That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."
Mark 7:20-23

Our hearts are deceitful!

Because we are born sinners we have a sinful heart that leads us to sin. Sin is anything that goes against God and His ways whether only in our hearts and minds or physically saying or doing something. It is all sin and it begins inside of our wicked hearts. 

Our hearts make sin look good. It says "I can make myself look better by cutting them down." "I want what they have." "That has to be better than what I already have." "They wronged me, I need to seek vengeance." I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Our hearts tell us that what we think and feel is right and we have the right to serve ourselves. 

Our hearts are deceitful!

Have you checked your heart today? 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

4 Years in Louisville

I'm a little late on this post this year. July 16th marked 4 years of our family being in Louisville. The reason I'm late is because life has been hard. We came up here as a family of 4. Today we are a family of 7 plus my sister living with us. School has continued. Life has happened. Jim's worked. I've done ministry here and there. We have been stretched and grown. Right now there is a lot of stretching and growing. We are learning who God is. We are learning more about the Bible. We are learning how to raise a family. We are learning that God is always good. We are learning God is sovereign. We are learning that God's glory is to be our chief aim. We are learning God can be trusted even when we don't understand what He is doing and why. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who leads us beside quiet waters and through the valleys.

It has been quite a journey the last 4 years. God has moved in so many ways. Even with the difficulties and challenges, I would not want to be anywhere else. God has used Louisville to make us more like His Son, Jesus Christ. We have wrestled with God and continue to wrestle with Him as He leads us, guides us and molds us into His image.

Thank You, Father, for bringing our family to Louisville. Thank You, for loving us enough to save us and make us more like Jesus. Please continue to show us Your way.


Friday, July 4, 2014

True Freedom (Why I'm Not A Patriot)

On July 4, 2001, I was standing in a train station in Amsterdam waiting for a train in about 50 degree weather. It was freezing and hard to believe it was summer, but I was thankful to be in another country. On July 4, 2003 I was in a blazing sun eating at an outdoor restaurant in Oradea, Romania. It felt like it usually did in metro Atlanta that time of year. Again I was thankful to be in another country.

Why was I thankful to be somewhere other than America on our Independence Day? Because I was sharing the love of Christ with those who had yet to hear the Good News of Salvation from our Lord. The day I said "Yes" to Christ my citizenship and loyalty went to God and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Don't get me wrong, I am so blessed and thankful to live in America that still has religious freedom, but that is a gift from God that has been given to me. My true freedom comes from Christ and Christ alone.

"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free." 
~John 8:31b-32

Because I know the truth of Christ and trust in Him alone for my salvation, my life, I am free. Free from sin. Free from death. Free to live as God created me to live. Free to know God and His glory. I am free indeed.

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. ... For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." 
~Galatians 5:1 & 13

This is freedom: to live for God, not ourselves, serving Him and others in love.

Will you seek to live in true freedom today?