Lessons in Grace

 

GRACE

Peace. It’s the word God put before me multiple times on Monday. In my Jesus Always devotional, she spoke about how often we forget that our peace comes from God. In all our striving, we easily lose our peace.

Our day was anything but peaceful. The realness of deployment is setting in. Add a feverish, fussy toddler and you can imagine the battle I faced for peace. My sweet mama came late that evening to let me exercise, stop at Publix, and just have a minute to myself. Lifting heavy is usually my go to, but Great Are You Lord (All Sons and Daughters) came on my headphones and it felt like a night for yoga and a relaxing walk. As Unitied Persuit’s song Running in Circles came on,  I found myself  identifying with the lyrics:

“Lord I come.. to tell you I’m sorry, for running in circles,

for placing my focus on the waves and not on your face….

You’re the only one who brings me peace”

That described my day. I had moments of peace, and moments of just dealing with the day. Minutes later, mom called to tell me something was wrong with one of our girls. 20 minutes later, we were on our way to the Peds ER. God had JUST prepared me before I even knew my need.

Grace.

Peace.

Promises that never run dry.

He gives us the exact amount we need each day…

not too much… not to little…

just like the manna in the desert.

I earnestly prayed for his protection of my daughter, and for the medical staff we would encounter. We waited less than a minute once through the door, and everyone who cared for us either had a cross tattoo or necklace. Jesus came through in their kindness and attentiveness. A friend (who might as well be my sister) came to hang out with us and help lighten the mood.  All is well, and she’s on the mend. Yet, the reminder that He always goes before us and carries us along the way is embedded once again in my mind and heart. While I can’t let myself think of the length we have to go before daddy is home, I have grace for TODAY.  To THRIVE in this season, remembering we are held steadfast in His hands. I’m sure I’ll need more reminders, and we will have our share of rough days, but I rest in the fact that God holds us close. His promises prove true every single time.

May the Lord direct your hearts to the lvoe of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.2 Thessalonians 3_5

 

What’s In a Name?

A few months ago, my most spirited angel had a melt down. The “almost-dropped-her-for-all-the-flailing” meltdown. She’s grown so much in this area over the past few years, but when she’s on sensory overload, you can see the tornado brewing for a few hours or days. Oh how God has grown me as I’ve waded through the waters of motherhood, and most often, it’s with this one. I took her to the back yard (it was still nice and warm here in Alabama in November and the baby was asleep), and whispered to her the parameters that she must stay in the back yard and stated the consequences if she disobeyed. She’s a stomp it out and scream at the top of her lungs releaser. I’ve shared my “scream zone” aka the garage with her the past two years. So she pushed away, ran to the swing and forcefully made it swing back and forth while screaming at the top of her lungs. I sat on the back porch, asking God for the wisdom to speak life into my girl. Asking turned to begging as I heard “I’m WORTHLESS. No one WANTS me. I’m STUPID. No one loves me. I can’t do ANYTHING…..WORTHLESS. WORTHLESS” I sobbed and BEGGED the Lord for answers. I recalled the tape of lies the Accuser would play over and over for me. To think she believed those things about herself broke me. “Those aren’t things she hears at home. Lord WHERE is the coming from?? Lord HOW do I help my baby? “My Name.” He whispered. “JESUS!”As she heard my cry, she ran to me, proclaiming how much she loved me and how sorry she was. I was able to wrap her in my arms and whisper truth into her heart. “I love you. Don’t believe the lies you hear the Devil say to you. You are smart and kind. You are worth so much to God that Jesus died for you to live in heaven with Him! He calls you beautiful, priceless, blameless, and perfect…..and at the name of Jesus, he has to leave!” Grace upon grace that was lavished on us at the cross. It’s ours for the taking EVERY single day.

That night we had the Spring at church. It’s our once-a-month instrumental worship service. My heart was overflowing with the truth God had placed before me that day. The songs that night bathed me again in His truth:

My heart will sing
no other Name
Jesus, Jesus
(Hillsong, Forever Reign)

The mountains shake before him
The demons run and flee
At the mention of the name
King Of Majesty
There is no power in Hell or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the Great I Am!
The Great I Am!
(New Life Worship, The Great I Am)

There’s a calm that covers me
When I kneel down at Your feet
It’s a place of healing
It’s a place where I find freedom. I’m gonna lift my hands
Til I can reach heaven
I’m gonna shout Your name
Til the walls come falling down
I’ve come to worship
(Highlands Worship- Place of Freedom)

Songs proclaiming His name and His power. He reminded me when he told Moses His name “I AM”. He is I AM! He is our rescuer. Yet we sometimes believe the lie that He only rescued us from hell by dying on the cross. One and done. He longs to rescue us every single day from temptation, fear, and the lie as old as the Garden… “did God REALLY say….”. David puts it so beautifully in Psalm 18:19 “He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me”. Our heavenly Father DELIGHTS in us. There’s a lyric in Place of Freedom that says

I’m gonna sing my song
Like I am unashamed
I’m gonna shout for joy
At the mention of your name
I’ve come to worship

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Creation proclaims the majesty of God. He’s given us a song to sing, completely unashamed. What terror that must bring to the gates of hell if God’s people believed that so deeply that they sang unashamed, proclaiming His goodness and faithfulness. We see glimpses in our life when we aren’t drug down with the stress and distraction of life. Even when we have our moments with God and He speaks truth to our souls, Satan is always around the corner with some version of “But did God REALLy say…” Weather we whisper or shout the name “Jesus”, he has to flea. When we fill our mind with His truth in scripture, we can say His name AND recall the TRUTH! We can’t trust our feelings and emotions. But we can trust in the name of the Lord our God! Sing boldly, my friends!!

Thoughts…

Deuteronomy 6 has been a favorite of mine since becoming a mom. It’s a lighthouse that helps guide me in this journey of motherhood. Family worship has been more of a spontaneous than planned “thing” at our home. We crank up worship music and dance and sing together (it puts EVERYONE in a good mood!), we read Bible stories at bedtime, talk about the Lord’s goodness, and pray with our girls. Tonight, however, I was reading “Grace for the Moment for Kids” (Max Lucado — LOVE HIM!) Today’s message is that OUR own name is written on the Lord’s hand and spoken on HIS lips. Let that sink in, just how incredibly amazing THAT is! Towards the end, it suggested reading Psalms 139 to see just how closely the Lord watches over us, and at 10 p.m., we did just that. A passage so familiar to me made tears fill my eyes. We stopped and discussed portions as we went, but verses 17-18 is what stood out the most tonight:

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”- Psalm 139

We are beach people. We “close down” the beach on a daily basis as we play while the sun sets. I cook most of our meals ahead of time so that dinner is easy (I, for one, do not think taking my 3 kids out to eat after a day at the beach sounds even the least bit fun!). One thing my kiddos know is sand. They LOVE it! We dig in it, build with it, and explore all day every day. They get that you can’t count grains of sand. My prayer is that they get how much the Lord loves them. That His never-ending, can’t-hide-from-him presence is a GOOD thing.

The cherry on top tonight is the section of Psalms Chloe spontaneously started reading as I was flipping through looking for something. She kept talking about Psalm 29 and when I flipped there, Psalm 28:4 was where her eyes landed:

“The one thing I ask of the Lord- the thing I seek most- is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.” – Psalm 29:4-5

 

An amazing friend reminded me this week that our kids need time to “Be still and know that He is God.” I’m working with sweet Chloe to carve out that time in her day with her bible, notebook and things to write and draw with. I told her that some times the Lord may put a song in her heart, or give her something to draw, or something special she wants to write down. I long to help her establish a habit of sitting still with the Lord and listening for Him. I can’t wait to see the blessings flow.

I’ve been hanging out in 2 Peter a LOT the past week:

“By his divine power, God had given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

– 2 Peter 1: 3-4

It’s our job to guide them; to parent from the fullness of Christ that bears HIS fruit in us. When we want to scream back at that 2 year old pitching a fit– we respond with love and grace (along with a good measure of discipline!). We are in a battle for the hearts of our children. Thankfully our weapon is Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We are called to be Image-bearers of our Savior, to all who meet us; ESPECIALLY those the Lord gives us stewardship over. Let’s walk together as we live for Christ!

Blessings!

Overwhelmed

We are in a particularly rough season at our house. We’re making the best of it. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed, even in the day to day tasks as a wife, mom of 3, and getting our homeschool routine established. Add Warrant Officer School and potty training and you’ve got one potentially stressed out family!

To help combat the stress, I’m up at 4:30. I exercise on the weeks Rob is in town, and spend time with Jesus in the morning. They are super sacred hours for me. When he’s gone, I get to do Insanity in the afternoons, and I’m working on still getting up EARLY. It’s a process.

Easter weekend has been such a blessing to my soul. It started with Secret Church on Friday. I LOVE David Platt’s preaching. He’s real; he strives to live what he calls us all to. The theme this year was “The Cross and Everyday Life” (check it out here). Sundays with our church family are always a blessing, and Easter Sunday is always a special time together! God has been working on my heart for weeks with this question: Overwhelmed: by the world or by God? And then this came on while I was struggling through my saw planks this morning:

 

I see the work of Your hands

galaxies spinning a heavenly dance

Oh God,

All that You are is so overwhelming

 

I hear the sound of Your voice

all at once its a gentle and thundering noise

Oh God,

all that You are is so overwhelming

 

I delight myself in You

Captivated by Your beauty

I’m overwhelmed

I’m Overwhelmed

by You

 

God, I run into Your arms

unashamed because of Mercy

I am overwhelmed

I’m overwhelmed

by You

 

–Overwhelmed, Big Daddy Weave

 

I want to live in the place of constantly being overwhelmed by God. I realize its a choice. It’s a discipline to make time to spend studying the Bible and memorizing Scripture. I can tell you from experience, being overwhelmed by God is a MUCH better place to be than overwhelmed by the things of this world.

Give me Jesus.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 

“I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will mediate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds with be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness.” — Psalm 145:1-5

 

Here’s a full version of Overwhelmed…

 

Overwhelmed– Big Daddy Weave

 

Buried or Risen?

“Let no one caught in sin remain, inside the lie of inward shame. We fix our eyes upon the cross and run to Him who showed great love and bled for us. Freely you bled for us!” –Matt Maher Christ is Risen

Good Friday.

Easter.

Sacrifice.

Redemption.

I’ve been on a journey lately. Wrestling with truth God was teaching me, and letting Him work through my heart and transform it. Christine Caine spoke at the IF: Gathering conference on how we settle for the deliverance of the desert, when we were meant for the FREEDOM of Cannan. We can live in such a way that the blood of the Cross saves us from hell, but does it TRANSFORM our lives? As I danced in the kitchen this morning with my girls, as I looked at their precious faces and looked deep into their eyes, I YEARN to teach them that Jesus died and SAVED us, but the cross is about so much more than NOT going to hell. It’s restoration, to the fullest. It’s about the FREEDOM we have to abide in our Jesus all day. He stands by our side, ready to defeat the enemy daily, moment by moment if necessary.

Its about moment by  moment resting in who He is, and His power in our lives. My girls are familiar with consequences. We are having a particularly rough season with one acting out in anger. I’ve recently told her to take a deep breath and run away. And not to yell at her mommy when she’s angry. I’m praying they notice the time outs that Mommy takes with Jesus. One day, they will not be under our roof and daily instruction. But we all have the opportunity to be under the wing of our Savior, walking in His daily instruction. I want them to run, calling his name, like they do mine. And boy am I thankful He doesn’t want to change His name (like many days I want to change mine!).

Its time to confess. God’s been showing me just how much I’ve lived in deliverance, settling for something other than the freedom He died for. That I live life so much in my own strength and not in His. So during this season of Lent, I’m waking up early to spend time with Jesus, to worship Him. When I begin my day that way, it’s a lot easier to begin our day as a family that way. I can live sacrificially for my family when I’m tucked under the arm of Jesus.

As we approach the celebration of Easter, I want to challenge you (and me) to bury in the grave the secret sin that so easily entangles us.

“Come awake and rise up from the grave”

Anger? Withholding yourself from your spouse? Worry? Wandering eyes? Self-sufficency? Gossip? Self-righteousness? Too much time in front of a screen?  There are so many things that keep us from the relationship with Jesus that He died for.  Let God bring them before you, acknowledge sin as sin, and let Him cast it as far as the east is from the west. Walking step by step with Jesus each day helps us then be able to conquer the temptations Satan throws our way daily.  I pray our lives, as well as our mouths proclaim: “Christ is risen from the dead! We are one with Him again. Come Awake! Come Awake! Rise up from the grave!”

Are you participating in Lent this year?

Dependence

“We wont move without you, we wont move without you.

Your the light of all and all that we need”

{ bridge from The Lord Our God; Kristian Stanfill}

Those words to one of my favorite songs speak of such dependence on God that we don’t move without Him. It’s what I aspire to, but I’m not there.

I feel that dependence on Coca-cola from time to time (that relationship is way more “ON” than “off”) Sad I know. I opened up months ago about struggling with eating issues…and this is the other end of this thorn. God has been working on my heart the last few weeks about my dependence on things other than Him. When I’m tired.. I want a coke. When I”m stressed, oooh I need another one. I’ve been known to load up the babies in their pjs and drive through the golden arches (there is just something about coke THERE..I don’t eat their food, but their cokes are the best!). It’s been my legal drug of choice.

When I’m stressed, God wants me to run to Him. I love to camp out in Psalms from time to time and read of the promises written:

“Be still and know that I am God!” – Psalm 46:10
“Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.” Psalm 68:19

There are times I feel like the 1 sheep. You know the story. The shepherd is counting..98,99…..99….. oh where did she go again?!?! I know the original parable found in Luke 15 was speaking of salvation, but when I fall out of total dependence on God, I wander away from His voice. I think I can find green pastures and still streams by myself. It’s not always a conscience choice, but I’m headed for a meltdown when I don’t come when He gently calls me back. We belong in the arms of our Shepherd!!

Today, I had two very different experiences with my kids. During a mid-shopping meltdown, Molly (age 2) turned into a limp noodle and kept trying to wiggle her way to independence. In contrast, when I pick up my 3 year old out of the bed to take her potty before I rest, she MELTS into me. (those are the sweetest moments of the day!) I think most of the time, we fall in between these two points, but I long to learn to just melt into God every day. To put away the distractions… or even in the midst of them “BE STILL and know that I am God”. To rest in Him, and not get my feathers ruffled.

  “I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you.” – Isaiah 42:6

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

These are  the verses I’m going to camp out on while I fast from coke. Day one was not hard. And you know what….. God kept His promise- He met ALL of my needs.

What in your life calls you away from constant companionship in the arms of Jesus?

Please enjoy this awesome song!

Sweet Anniversary

Today marks a special day for our family.

Our Prince Charming has been home for a FULL YEAR!!!!

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As you can imagine, it was a VERY emotional day!

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The day daddy arrived home, he had spent a total of 5 weeks of this girl’s life with her (she turned 1 twenty-one days before he came home). Thankfully, they are big buddies (it must have been all of those skype dates.)

I’m so thankful that we have a year of new memories, ones that include daddy at every turn! Our family has adjusted beautifully back to normal this past year, and for that I am so grateful. We have quite a few friends who are deployed/have spouses who are deployed, and I hold each of you close in my heart and prayers. Rest in Jesus my friends, it will be over soon!

One of the biggest blessings during our deployment year was our church family (and still is!). They wrapped around us as we did life for a year. They emailed and loved on my husband on the other side of the world. You will be cherished in our hearts for life. Thanks to all of you who came to the airport that day, and waited hours, to honor our soldiers and our family. We love you!

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Thank you Lord for your blessing of family.

The Challenge

I’ve decided to accept a challenge from one of my favorite new authors, Sarah Mae. The Unwired Mom Challenge starts TODAY. Thankfully, this isn’t a complete media fast (this mama is not ready for THAT yet), but it is a way to break the bad habits and patterns that can be associated with our “wired” world (and lets just be honest, addictions). I’ve seriously considered giving up my iphone in the recent months. Its just so accessible to check email, facebook, zone out of life as a stay at home mom for just a few minutes. And as much as I try to gain control, my will never lasts more than a few days. Thankfully,  I’m headed in the right direction… most days. How many of us get online for “Just 5 minutes” to check something, and end up being there an hour. There are nights I lose a good hour or so of sleep because I’m checking “something” on my phone. I’ve already cleared out all of the games (candy crush, words with friends, etc). I’m giving myself a few more months to learn self control when it comes to media– or the sweet, pink-cased phone will have to go. I can’t be present in my life with my 3 absolutely precious children all day every day with such easy access in my pocket.

Here’s to not missing the “little moments” throughout the day with my little ones.  It’s time to be fully present, at all times. Its time to stop wasting precious minutes of my day, checking to see what everyone else is doing (especially when that means I’m not spending that time “checking in” with my heavenly Father). 

Does this resonate with you? I would love for you to join me these next two weeks! You can check out all of the details at: www.sarahmae.com 

And if a full on media fast sounds good to you, check out what Traci has to say here.

Leave me a comment and let me know WHAT your thinking when it comes to being “unwired” and a “hands free mama”!

Ephesians and an Old Journal

I found an older journal the other day I have not used since early 2012. I found a prayer that I wrote in response to Ephesians 1:6-11. It blessed me so much to read it, and I hope it will bless you too! This was during a hard struggle with food for me. I am going to leave a blank where I had written food because this could be true of anything we have not given complete control to God about.

Lord, thank you for choosing me and allowing me to belong to Your dear Son. Your word tells me that because You are so rich in glorious grace and loving kindness that You purchased my freedom with the blood of Jesus and forgave my sin! You purchased my freedom yet there are areas i am finally learning to hand over the chains of my enslavement to my sin. 

Lord I want to walk in that freedom and  remember it cost something – SOMEONE! Lead me in your righteousness Lord. 

Please bring brokenness over my rebellious heart. Create in me a clean heart O God,  and renew a right spirit within me! Forgive me for turning to ____ instead of You! You are faithful and true O Lord!

I want to live in ALL areas of my life as a Jesus girl! Let me live my days seeking refuge in you! Please give me your supernatural strength in my battle with _____. 

I AM a daughter of the King! 

I don’t struggle with food the way I used to. Yes, there are still moments or days, but it doesn’t consume me. Yet as I read these words this morning, I still see a rebellious heart in places that should be His. We will never be perfect while we walk on dirt. BUT God does call us to surrender our flesh in response to HIs grace and mercy. Live intentionally, seeking after Him!

Before we go, here is a new edition of Just As I Am that we sang at Impact! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!! Be blessed by all He has done sweet friends!

Blessings

Wow! What an amazing weeekend Rob and I shared at Outback America!! We were blessed in so many ways through worship, speakers, being “un-plugged”, and just set apart time together with each other.

http://www.outbackamerica.org

I don’t want to share specifics, because you need to go..and I don’t want to spoil it! 🙂

Music is a huge part of my heart. So… here are some favorites from my home to yours. Be blessed as you worship the One who created all.

Grace and Peace,

AdaKate