living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Dying to Self

 

snow mountain

The Lord has used this in my heart over the last few days and it was too powerful to not share it with you. May the Lord help us all to die to self daily! It is an ongoing process!

Blessings,

Leah

The following poem in practical terms what self denial means for a Christian:

“When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught, and you sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ-that is dying to self.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take all in patient loving silence-that is dying to self.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, or any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured it-that is dying to self.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any attitude, any interruption by the will of God-that is dying to self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown-that is dying to self.

When you see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances-that is dying to self.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself, can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart-that is dying to self.”

(Bill Britton, “Dethrone the King: Dying to Self,” The Heartbeat of the Remnant, July/August, 2002, 19)

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Little Boys and Septic Tanks….Digging for Treasures!

Friday morning, October 19, 2012, started with a bang! A big time bang! And believe me, I KNOW bangs! Those adrenaline packed episodes that take you from high-alert status to limp as a dishrag…no more energy installments until tomorrow – maybe – kind of days! Our oldest son has severe food allergies and struggles with migraines from time to time.  He stayed home from school because he was dealing with a major headache. Around noon, I needed to run an errand and Jackson was feeling better, so we decided to make a quick trip to the store. Picture this, we are riding down the interstate and Jackson says, “Mom, my headache is back and I really need some medication NOW!!!! LIKE NOW!!!!” Now, as life would have it, this girl had just changed her purse and couldn’t find the Tylenol or Advil that I KNEW I put in my purse. We limped into the store, because he couldn’t be left in the van, and boy were we a sight! Jackson has his head in his hands because the light is hurting his eyes and he is PANICKING because he is afraid that he might throw up. Elliot is along for the ride and is picking up everything in the store on the way back to the medication. I opened the Advil in the aisle, gave Jackson some…..ran up to the register to pay for it…..get him settled in the van and back on the interstate when I hear, “Mom, I can’t help it! I’m about to throw up!” So…..I pull off of I-459 (a very busy interstate here in our town) and help him. We survive all of this and make it back home (Mommy is kicking herself the whole way for trying to venture out of the house!).

The boys lay low and take their naps. While they are napping, this mom decides to scrub her kitchen floors. You know, not just mop, I mean DEEP CLEAN AND SCRUB these floors and boy, was I proud!!! I was beaming. I kept looking at them and saying, “Wow, this feels really good!!! Clean floors!!!” I sit down for a few minutes and drink a lovely cup of coffee and you guessed it, the boys woke up. “Mommy, can we play outside for a few minutes? I am feeling much better?” I questioned this for about 15 seconds, and then decided that this was a PERFECT idea! Clean floors….boys occupied….yummy coffee…..absolutely wonderful. It was almost 5:00 and it was time to cook supper.  As I am chopping veggies, I look down at the floor to my right and see cowboy boots……muddy cowboy boots……I breathe deeply and the following conversation occurs:

Mommy: “Oh my!!! What are you doing? These floors are clean!!!”

Jackson: “Mommy, you must come see! We just hit water!”

Mommy: “You did what?”

Jackson: “We just hit water….you have to come see!!!!”

I walk outside and to my absolute horror I see my three year old…sitting in a hole….all I see is from his head down to his shoulders……COVERED IN MUD (or was it mud??)…..when I say covered, I mean ABSOLUTELY COVERED – like blonde hair is now brown!! HE WAS SITTING IN A HOLE! I run to see what damage was done and realize that this hole was not just any hole, it was a hole that they had dug OVER THE SEPTIC TANK!!!!!! THEY WERE COVERED IN YUCKINESS!!!!!! I am ashamed to admit it, but one of the first thoughts that popped into my mind was, “OH MY SOUL!!!! THAT ISN’T MUD ON MY FLOOR…..IT’S (you know what)!!!!!”

When Jonathan, my husband drove up in the driveway, he said it looked like a complete war zone. Four cowboy boots were thrown all over the driveway. “Mud” was ALL over the concrete and he heard this hysterical mother trying to hose her children off in the shower (might I add that the closest bathroom was the guest bathroom and guess what color the shower curtain is??? You guessed it…..white!! Thank the Lord for bleach!)

This is one of those days, that now, a week later I am finally laughing about our adventure. In the heat of the moment, I wasn’t exactly laughing.  Later that night, I was reminded that these are the moments that make memories! Memories that no one can take away! Memories that make me so glad that the Lord placed these two precious boys in my life! I am so thankful to the Lord for allowing me to be their mom!

My heart is reminded that there is no “ordinary day” in the life of a child. Each day is more precious than the last. Moments like these add up to make the whole of life. What can I do but lean hard on the Lord to guide me as my heart swings on the parenting pendulum from migraines to septic tank…..and whatever else the Lord allows in our lives.

This childlike behavior reminds me of some thoughts my Dad brought to our church Sunday:

We should be childlike in the way we receive others.

Forgive easily – Children can be fighting one minute and loving and playing together sweetly the next. Adults tend to hold onto disagreements and prejudices.

Do nothing for spiritual status – Do I consider myself better than someone else around me?

Do I compare myself with others? The Bible clearly reminds us of how unwise this is.

Do I glory in talents, assets, abilities, degrees?

Be thankful for the “No” answers the Lord sends our way. They are for our good.

Beg the Lord for wisdom and guidance daily – we have not arrived!

 
We should be childlike in the way we receive our Savior.

Make sure He is your Lord and Savior! It just takes the faith of a little child to receive him.

Our homes should receive Him with the utmost respect and esteem. He is our unseen guest!

Is there anything in my home or life that I would be ashamed of if the Lord were sitting at my supper table?
He is there!!!

Is Christ honored and glorified in all that we do?

Am I as concerned about teaching my children the things of the Lord as I am about how clean my kitchen floors are?

 

May the Lord help us all as we serve Him in our corner of the vineyard!

Blessings,

Leah


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Lessons From Little Boys

“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace…” Psalm 144:12

I am a girly girl. I love all things with ruffles, sparkles and bows. This girly girl is also the mom of two precious boys (ages 7 and 3) – doesn’t the Lord have quite the sense of humor? When we found out that our first child was a boy, I asked the ultrasound tech to PLEASE check again and make sure she was seeing everything correctly. I’m not sure why in the world the prospect of us having a man-child never crossed my mind, but it didn’t! ☺ I asked the doctor, “What do I do with a boy?” and he so sweetly answered, “I’m not quite sure. I have three girls.” I have since learned how precious and energetic life can be with boys! I wouldn’t trade them for anything!!

Through this journey of “mommyhood”, the Lord is teaching me so many things. He constantly reminds me that I have NOT arrived and that I daily need His grace and strength to make it through the day. Some days I wake up and expect to have the same measure of strength that He provided the day before, and other days I live as though I’m living on yesterday’s reserve. Boy, is that a mistake!! When the testosterone is flowing freely in the playroom, and the boys are “wreaking havoc” in their own little worlds, I find it easy to become frustrated and overwhelmed. There have been MANY times where I have placed my head on the pillow at night and felt as though I had spent my whole day in constant discipline, prodding, instruction and correction. Then the horrible thoughts come, “How many times did I stop fussing at them long enough to tell them that I love them?” Satan uses these “weak” times as darts to make us feel defeated and discouraged.

The challenges of raising a strong-willed child to responsible adulthood can be very overwhelming and exhausting. I want to share with you some of the things the Lord is teaching me:

1. Our battle is real.


We are in a battle for the souls of our children. Do we really think that Satan will just sit idly by and leave us alone while we try to raise strong men and women for the Lord’s service? I think not. Fight the good fight!!! Stay strong!!

2. Discouragement in child rearing is often rooted in pride.

Have you ever been in a situation where your child just COMPLETELY had a meltdown…like in the foyer of the church building with everyone watching… and when the crisis was over and you further analyzed the situation, you realized that you were more upset because others saw the meltdown than you were that your child had disobeyed? Sadly, that has been me on MANY occasions! I have often thought, “We are leaders in the ministry…we are supposed to be helping other people in raising their families…we shouldn’t be having these meltdowns…We have to get our act together! ” ☺ In these sweet moments, the Lord quickly calms me and reminds me that my children are still children at their very best! They are sinners too! It is only by His grace and through His strength that we can handle the task at hand!

3. Our strong-willed children don’t “hate” us; they are often just testing us to see if we love them enough to maintain control.

Children long for stability and boundaries. I am learning that my boys must be kept on a pretty short leash. If given a little slack, they almost always get all tangled up! 😉 Consistent discipline and encouragement is essential!

4. Strong-willed children often need more love and positive reinforcement than we realize

Our seven year old, is a sweetheart – he really is ☺. He is a perfectionist (often a defeated perfectionist). He is very compassionate and is also a deep thinker. He loves to have things done right, but sometimes he is his own worst enemy. One day, we were having a particularly hard morning. He was at the end of his rope and I was definitely there too! I said, “Jackson, what can I do to help you?”  He thought for a minute and replied, “Mommy, I have a plan. You know what we could do, we could take a jar and put it on the counter where I can see it all the time…and then when I obey or do something that really makes your heart happy, you could put something in it…you know, like a cotton ball or a button or something like that…and when I am not doing a great job, you could take one out, or discipline me.”  This conversation opened my eyes and screamed VOLUMES to me. He doesn’t want to stay in trouble; he just needed positive reinforcement and encouragement to see when he is doing something right. Children live on praise and affirmation. Praise and positive reinforcement of good behavior often provides encouragement a much needed “BOOST” to get through the rest of the day. Our children really don’t want to be out of favor with us, they long for sweet communion and clear lines of communication.

5. Fill your child’s day with God’s Word and beautiful music.

If you walk in our home, at any time of the day or night, music is constantly playing. We have found that it not only ministers to us, but it often calms the hearts of our boys and creates a soothing work and play environment. We also love to play copies of the Scriptures on CD for them while they are playing or napping. God’s Word can strengthen, encourage and purify their little hearts too!

6. Allow room for God to work in their lives.

After all, God loves them more than we could ever love them. He created them and knows every detail about them. He knows their natural inclinations and the desires that He is placing in their hearts. He knows and controls their future while I fret about today. He created their will and knows all things.  He is preparing them for what he has prepared for them! My prayer is, “Lord, please use me to aid in the work You are doing in their lives!” Rest in His sovereign plan!

6. The strength that we need for the journey is ALWAYS abundantly available through my Heavenly Father, but it must be obtained on a moment-by-moment basis.

I’m not sure why I ever try to handle it on my own, for He has provided MORE than enough strength to meet my needs – I just need to ask. Yesterday’s strength is not enough for today. We are not promised the luxury of tomorrow. Live today to the fullest!