Friday, November 19, 2010

Security - Where is Yours?

Where does your security lie? Hmm...good question, eh? My girls both had to have things to sleep with as small children...Lauren still does. Rachel used to take her "lovie" and twist it around her index finger and that is how she would put herself to sleep. I guess it made her feel safe. We all want to feel safe...whatever that means to us personally.

I have come up with four basic categories that most people find their security in:

1. things
2. others
3. self
4. God

THINGS
Some people put their trust in their material things. The more "stuff" they have the better they feel...but do they really? I used to think that. When I was young, I didn't have much. It was a treat for us to go out to eat. I remember just wanting to get a pair of Keds tennis shoes. That was always what I wanted for my birthday and I was SO excited when I got them. I felt like a million dollars all because I had a $20 pair of shoes! When I got married to a successful young man and could buy just about anything I wanted, I realized that money was NOT where happiness was. It makes living a little easier sometimes but it certainly is not where I place my security. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Along the same lines, some people place their security in food, drugs, and alcohol - substances. I will be the first to admit that I am an emotional eater! I eat when I am stressed or sad! It does NOT work out well for me. I ALWAYS feel worse afterwards!

OTHERS
Psalm 118:8
"It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans."

I never intended this to be a confession blog but this is MOST DEFINITELY where I have the hardest struggle. I love people. I thrive on relationships. God knows and understands that we are relational people and I absolutely believe that He places people in our lives to show Himself BUT BUT BUT He does NOT place people in our lives to REPLACE Himself!!!! Please please please hear me on this one!!! I learned this the hard way! PEOPLE WILL LET YOU DOWN! I know that might shock you but it is the truth! Even the people that you think are the most perfect people in the world - yep, they will too! Because, I know, another shocker, THEY ARE NOT PERFECT! Please understand me when I say I know how hard this is. I have to pray about this almost daily.

This is what the LORD says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him."
Jeremiah 17:5-7

SELF
Some people place all of their security in their own self. No one can do it better. They are the person they trust. I like to refer to this as self-centered. Prideful. I first thought of my 4-year old daughter always saying, "I don't need your help! I can do it myself!" Lord, I hope she outgrows that stage!! Or at least matures to the stage where she realizes she DOES need help with some things! At first glance I immediately said, "I am way too insecure to say this is me" but I think we all have a little self-centeredness if we really dig deep. Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know. I found a tiny bit in myself, unfortunately. I am so glad though that God did not call us to rely on ourselves. I would be in a WORLD of trouble!!! "Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe." Proverbs 28:26

GOD
I guess I could say "Or a higher power" but this is my blog and the only higher power we will discuss is the ONE TRUE GOD - JESUS CHRIST! Ultimately, this is where it's at, folks! This is where our security should come from and be rooted in. Nothing else is worth it and all else will fail! "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever!" Isaiah 40:8  My prayer everyday is that God will draw me to Himself and allow me to trust in Him and allow me to see His face.  That I will rely less on my friends and my husband and more on Him. 

Now that we have looked at the four areas, have you been challenged to see where you put your trust and where your security lies? I have. It is eye opening. I am reading the book "So Long Insecurity" by Beth Moore and it has just been a GREAT book. I certainly struggle with insecurity but I have tried to figure out why. I can blame it on my childhood because I certainly had a rough one but I cannot dwell on that. I can't...I REFUSE! There was a time that I did...and quite honestly, I think I wanted to. I was thinking the other day and I came the realization that I think people like dwelling in the dark places of their lives because of the attention that it brings. I know that sounds ridiculous but think about it...when a child acts up in school what happens? They get attention. It may be negative attention but it is attention nonetheless. In the "social work world" we like to call that ODD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Sometimes that comes from neglect from parents and an unstable childhood, etc but children act out to get attention a lot of the time. They get in trouble and stay in the "bad places" in order to reap something they perceive as "good." Stay with me....if we stay in our "dark places" of sin or sadness people have a tendency to feel sorry for us....at least for a little while. If those people get tired of us, we move on to other people, right? Again, in the psychology realm of things this is often referred to as playing the victim. It is hard for these people to see the good that will come on the other side of their hurt. They can't optimistically look past their current circumstances...or their past.

I want to scream from the top of my lungs GET UP AND GET OUT!!!!! There is SO MUCH MORE on the other side!!!! I know!!! I have been there and I am so past that! I don't want to say that I have a tendency to go back from time to time but dwelling there...NEVER AGAIN!  I have experienced the hurt of a painful childhood, I have sinned and know the pain that comes from bad choices and suffered BAD consequences! But the question is WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT???? Romans 8:28 says that "that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Now please hear me when I say that I know it is a process...I KNOW! But you have to CHOOSE to get there! Talk to me...I want to help!!!

I love you dear people! I LOVE YOU!!! Be SECURE in HIM today!!



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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Authentic

I think we all as Christians have those "mountain top experiences" when we feel like nothing can stop us from living out our dreams or pressing on with what God would have for us. My fear is that sometimes this can be brought on by meer emotions. My husband and I have had this conversation before...about how emotional revivals and youth camps are. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE revivals and I think that youth camps are awesome but I just think that sometimes the emotional "highs" that come from them are so easily deflated. When we are so protected between the boundaries of the camp or so driven by the daily messages of the evangelists it is easy to get pumped about what God is doing but what happens when we get back to reality? Many times we go back to the life we were living prior to those events. Perhaps they weren't bad lives but mediocre at best.

One of the things I have been focusing on lately is doing the will of God. I want to know and do the true will of God for my life. I want to be authentic and not fabricate what God is doing. For the past several months God has been doing AMAZING things in my life and it has been authentic...no doubt about it but what I DO NOT WANT is for me to EVER get to a point where I start "making up" what God is doing. You see, I have a GREAT imagination! :) I have a tendency to think BIG! I have dreams and I know what my ideas are and what I want for my life. Sometimes being able to discern the difference between God's will and my own is difficult.

"And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:17

I found the above passage of Scripture this past weekend during quiet time at a retreat. I do not think it was a coincidence. God is working and He is showing Himself to me but I have to be still and wait for Him...something I am not good at! :)

"All I want to do is give my life to You,
All I want to do is give my life to You,
All I want to do is give my life to You.
Let Your will be done
Until it's all I want to do."


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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rachel Mackenzie - You Are 4!

Hey Sweet Girl,

Just minutes after birth

When I had you in my belly, I knew life with you would be so fun because you NEVER stopped moving! I will never forget the first time I felt you move - it was magical! I always worried that something was wrong with you because I could not understand why God would bless me with such a wonderful gift.


Meeting Mommy for the first time

I didn't think it was possible to love you any more than I did when you were born but my love for you grows everyday. You are beautiful inside and out and it has been such a delight to see you grow into yourself and for your little personality to develop. You are so tenderhearted. You cry easily and get your feelings hurt in a second - one of those gifts that your mommy gave you! You are SUPER smart like your daddy.

Proud Daddy

From the time you were just a little girl in my arms, I would rock and sing to you. Our song became "I Love You, A Bushel and A Peck." I LOVE that you now sing that WITH me and know that it is "our song." I love your kisses, your hugs, and the way you just want me.

You spent the first couple of days in the NICU

You love people and you care about others...a trait that is such a joy to see. You want to pray for your friends and for people that you don't even know. What a special girl you are! And, you also love your sister which melts my heart!

1 year old

You are hard headed and independent and some days you make me crazy but I will never love anyone else like I love you! You teach me more about life than anyone I know and I hope that we will always have a special relationship.

2 years old

My desire is for you to always know that Mommy and Daddy love you and more importantly that God loves you and He gave up His Son so that you would not have to bear the burden of your sins. I want to always protect you from bad things and I will do my best to teach you wisdom and discernment. My greatest desire is that one day you will come to know Jesus as your Savior and accept Him into your heart.

3 years old

I love you more than life itself - I hope you always know that. Happy 4th Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Love,
Mommy

4 years old!
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

This Day Four Years Ago

I told you I would probably have another "Rachel story..."

Four years ago today I walked into the doctor's office for my 36 week appointment only to be told that I would most likely be having a baby THAT day - to head to labor and delivery! I had been on home bed rest for about 3 weeks and that day, I was told that I had "failed home bed rest." Isn't that nice? Anyway, my mother in law was with me because Brice was in Pittsburg, PA. After I got settled into my room and got the blood pressure cuff on, the doctor came in and said, "Best case scenario your blood pressure will be monitored for a few hours and then you will go home. That's not likely. You will likely AT LEAST stay overnight." She went to get her hair done and then came back and said I would be in the hospital until I had the baby - which I was thinking was going to be 4 weeks away! I started freaking out just a little. I called Brice who was calmly panicking thinking he needed to come home right then! I worked in the hospital where I was and I told him to just come when he could - that I was okay. He got the first flight the next morning.

I actually stayed pregnant for another week! I started getting really sick the day before Rachel was born which is likely why I ended up back in the hospital with HELLP Syndrome 5 days after Rachel was born. She was born at 37 weeks and did not suck/swallow/breathe well...typical of 37 week babies - what we call late preterm babies. She got to spend a few days in the NICU.

Four years later, Rachel is incredibly happy and healthy and I am healthy too - it was scary after she was born and I was on blood pressure medication for 8 weeks afterwards. It repeated itself when I was pregnant with Lauren but the doctors were a little more cautious because of my history and I spent 14 days prior to her almost 38 week delivery in the hospital with no ill effects after she was born.

I am so blessed to be her Mommy! I will post more about that next week! :)





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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November

November is a tough month for me. There are a lot of things in this month that cause me to remember...loved ones that have died, things that have happened that I would like to forget but have changed my life forever, and my sweet Rachel was born. My first born baby girl!!! I CANNOT believe that she is going to be 4 years old this year.

This picture was taken when I was at home on bed rest at about 35 weeks pregnant...the last picture of us before she was born and probably one of my most treasured pictures even though I was as BIG AS A COW! I went into the hospital shortly after this.

There will be more "Rachel posts" I am sure...just warnin' ya! ;) Yes, I am that kind of sappy momma!

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Sweet?

One of my best friends had this as her Facebook status recently:
..."loves how when God has a message for you it becomes a recurring theme in your life!"

How true is that!? I could not shout "AMEN" loud enough...internally, of course...so that people in my house would not think I was nuts! ;)

Someone else was talking about on her blog recently about when God becomes the center of your life that you cannot help but notice Him in things. I LOVE that and it just resounded with me!

You see, this is such a new concept for me! I have shared with several people recently that I am at a place in my spiritual walk right now that I have honestly never been before. It is amazing! To say I have arrived is FAR from the truth and if I ever say that I am in SERIOUS trouble but I am MILES from where I was, say, 6 months ago and I would like to share with you why I think that is...

I have said things about myself before that went like this:

"I wish I were more sweet spirited."
"I wish I didn't have such a short temper."
"I wish people looked up to me like they do her."

Those are just to name a few...but more than anything, the first one on my list is wanting to have a sweeter spirit. I have always wanted to be kind. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think I am just a horribly hateful person but those of you that know me know that I am blunt and outspoken and you also know that I am VERY tenderhearted. I would DIE to know if I EVER hurt someone's feelings but the truth is that I do...ALL OF THE TIME! I LOATHE that about myself. It makes me have a knot in the pit of my stomach just typing it...thinking about it. Here is what I will say about this, what I like to call, character flaw within myself - God calls us to all be different people. We cannot all be the sweet ladies at church and at the supermarket. Hang with me here...that is NOT a cop-out! Some of us are "go-getters" and some of us aren't. That does not mean that God does not want us to strive towards possessing all attributes of the fruit of the Spirit which include love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galations 5:22-23a. What I am saying is that although I will never be JUST LIKE that specific person that I am trying to model myself after at church God has called me to be gentle in my own way. He wants me to model myself after HIM.

God tell us to "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33

For the past 2 1/2 months, I have been seeing God's work in my life more than ever because I have decided to follow His call. It has been an amazing journey and He isn't finished yet! I cannot wait to see what is in store but just as a healing journey is, as a friend of mine describes it, like a peeling of an onion - layer by layer - sometimes coming off in junks - that is also what a spiritual journey is like. I see God taking parts of my life that I don't like - that He doesn't desire for my life - and peeling it away. It isn't easy...sometimes it is even painful!

If we choose to walk with God and choose to see God in things, He will reveal Himself to us. He will use us for His glory. My desire is that everything I do be about Him and not about me.

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

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