Look for eternity with the heart.

I see you have lost your understanding of what is good. Just because you mourn? Because you ache? Because you are hated on my account? Did I not tell you ahead of time that these things would be true, and yet you are surprised by them.

Oh, child. You have forgotten to believe in my Spirit above your troubles. You have forgotten that through my Spirit I would continue to teach you, that Christ is always with you. Your unbelief and lack of faith are a sad state to your heart, for I am greater than even your biggest enemy. He has already been judged. His time is already up. You can rejoice in me even in the thickest of sorrows because I am Truth, I am eternal, I am your deliverer.

I chose you. You did not come to me. Nay! You do not have anything good within you apart from my Beloved Son. He came to your rescue because we loved you long before creation.

So I allowed for you to stand on the precipice of faith and unbelief, and you are angry with me for this? For not making each place you go carefully protected? Never. I never said that would be the way of this life. I said the opposite because I want you to believe in me. I want you to stand in the middle of the battlefield, in the midst of the fire, the raging sea, even in the mouth of the lion and declare your faith in the One who will rescue you from the most impossible places. I want you to find your deepest joy in Me without using as a crutch something of this world that will just rot away. Even your body, your health, your family, all of the gifts I bestow on you there I do out of kindness, but! But those things will whither and pass away, they are just a foretelling of my grace and goodness to come. They are a gift to help you understand in your spirit ahead of time what I have planned for you when you are with me.

Everything I have planned for your life, everything I allow, as I did with Job, is for your benefit, though you cannot see now.

Allow my Spirit to teach you in the quiet meditation of your heart. Do not delay the Truth with your human unbelief, your misperceptions, your inability to see the whole picture. Jesus came to free you and bring you the Spirit so that you can learn even more than your mind could possibly comprehend, because He teaches in the heart.

Do not allow your heart to grow cold or hard, but surrender those tendencies and temptations of your human nature and let me do my work. You will see, dear one, but you must be looking with eternity in your heart, not with your eyes, for what is present will soon pass away. Be careful to secure your undivided devotion to me, for I am eternal and have all things in mind each passing moment of your brief life. Watch for eternity with your heart and do not trade what is eternal for what will rot away when my Kingdom is fulfilled.

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Honesty.

In my first draft of this post, a bunch of this didn’t really make sense. I guess that’s what happens when I have a limited amount of time and run on less than ideal sleep because of an adorable little three-month-old. So, this is revised and shortened.

I am often thinking about the state of our hearts in relation to a God who has no beginning and no end. He is Almighty, we are nothing and yet so loved. I worry that those who follow the Lord (or those who say they follow the Lord) do not truly cherish Him. And by no means do I cherish Him enough. Never enough. We want what we want without considering, pondering, and resolving to hear and do what the Lord wants of us. We are double minded. We have desires without taking seriously this sacred relationship. We have an agenda and often want to skirt the hard work of letting God burn the chaff and refine us in the process of getting where we want to go. We must accept in humility His discipline and wisdom, and consistently fill our hearts with His word.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:3-5

But we want what we want.

“They say to the seers,
‘See no more visions!’
and to the prophets,
‘Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
prophesy illusions.
Leave this way,
get off this path,
and stop confronting us
with the Holy One of Israel!'” Isaiah 30:10, 11

And what is it that I really want? Where am I wrong and prideful? It’s a little too private to post online. (This is no cop out. If you really want to know I’ll be glad to tell you privately.) But God has shown me what He wants me to do in the middle of this ugly situation. Of course I’ve growled and thrown fits because God’s truth about our lives isn’t easy. So let’s suck it up, give our hearts and faithfulness to Him, and see what He does with it because He is the definition of faithful. What He does and what He asks of us (rather than us pushing our agenda) will always be better than what we want to do, even if the process is painful or not very sexy. What God does is worthy; let us remember that.

The Joy of the LORD

“The joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

We have been talking a lot with our boys about why we suffer, why life is hard, and what it means to be disciplined by God (and the differences of all mentioned). Their young hearts are processing so much, more than they should at their age (as far as I’m concerned). They ask big theological questions that even Kelly and I have a hard time comprehending as adults. The hard stuff never really goes away, because there is always some new challenge or hurt we have to hurdle and make our way through.

So of course we explain that life is just that, it’s hard. But our strength comes from the Lord to get through these difficult trials. It’s not just getting through a trial, though, because God uses the hard times to shape us and give us character that resembles His perfect character. And beyond that He promises us joy in the midst of sorrow and trial.

I found this quote from Andrew Murray (which we’ll be using to continue our conversation with our strapping boys next week), and it is positively spot-on:

…Paul gives the strongest evidence as to this unceasing joy. He understood the paradox of the Christian life as the combination at one and the same moment of all the bitterness of earth and all the joy of heaven. “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”: these precious golden words teach us how the joy of Christ can overrule the sorrow of the world, can make us sing while we weep, and can  maintain in the heart, even when cast down by disappointment or difficulties, a deep consciousness of a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory…The presence of Jesus, distinctly manifested, cannot but give joy. Abiding in Him consciously, how can the soul but rejoice and be glad?

Like a Queen

Needless to say, being a wife and a mom is quite amazing and wonderful. All three of these guys are the best thing that’s happened to me. Ever.

Today the whole fam was in Trader Joe’s picking up some delicious and budget-friendly pizza dough, and the lady passing out samples asked if all “three of those guys” belong to me. I laughed and said yes. She responded, “I have three boys. Whenever our family went out for dinner or a special event, I felt like a queen surrounded by my wonderful men.” She nailed it on the head. I feel like a queen. Especially when I get a picture like this in the middle of my work day:

Men at work

I have plenty to say, but not enough time to write. For now? Pictures and some video. Enjoy!

Click here for a video of the boys’ reaction to their sweet little surprise this week. We bought them two Desert Collared Lizards. Needless to say, they were and still are, quite excited.

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Upcoming Changes

Hey all, I’m about to make the blog private. If you would like to have access you’ll need a WordPress or OpenID account to do so. Sorry for the annoyance, I know it’s a pain to have one more account and one more password to remember. I hope everyone is having a lovely summer!