To God Be The Glory

Selling our house has been a test of faith. When the deal fell through on our home almost a week ago, and we had to back out of the house we loved, my husband felt God tell him that we were going to get more for our house. My faith was wavering, but he really believed this was the case. As our move date approaches, the butterflies in my stomach start flapping a little harder.

On Sunday we received an offer a few thousand above our last deal, from people that we were excited to sell the house too. We have been praying that the house would be a blessing to a family, and that it would sell at the price that we need, and they need. We have since received a back up offer that would be take effect if the other offer fell through.

This deal isn’t final yet, but I’m seeing a glimpse into what God is doing. I am reminded of a line in the movie The Sound of Music.

In the time of Maria’s greatest anxiety, a motherly nun says to her

“when God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.”

The timing of this offer was interesting. It was five hours after we lost my lovely little house in our new city because we didn’t have an offer. Part of me was frustrated thinking, could this offer not have come through a little sooner?

I have been reading a book by Max Lucado called “It’s Not About Me” and it talks a lot about how we make our lives all about us, and imagine God is continually working to satisfy us, but that actually God is working everything out for his glory.

I wouldn’t put house hunting in the same category as pain, but you get the idea. This whole thing is really being worked out so that the Lord receives the glory. Yes, God does know what we need, but let’s be honest, probably what I think we need, is not exactly what God thinks we need. He can do the most fantastic balancing act of holding our needs, fulfilling his promises to us, and getting himself maximum glory.

My question to myself has been “am I stealing glory from God or am I giving him the maximum amount of opportunity to show himself awesome and powerful?”

Psalm 115:1 says

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.

It’s not about how well we can wheel and deal, or how quick our realtor is, or how great we are at bartering. I believe the Lord is going to show his greatness to us as a family, and to those around us. It may not come the way that I expect, but I expect that he will come through.

Us receiving an offer for more than the last one was simply:

so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other. I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things.” (Isaiah 45:6-7)

Though my soul is still unsettled at times over where and what our new house will be, my prayers have been changing. I’ve been asking God to work this situation out to bring maximum glory to his name, to be the greatest testimony possible to our realtor, and to be the most faith building experience.

Yeah, I realize that’s a dangerous prayer! But since my life should actually be lived to reflect the Lord’s love and to bring glory to his name, finding a house seems like the safest, easiest place to start praying these kinds of prayers.

In the words of the hymn writer, Fanny J. Crosby;

To God be the glory, great things He hath done! So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, who yielded His life our redemption to win, and opened the life-gate that all may go in!

 



Advertisements

When Congratulations Are Not In Order

Our morning walks and playground times seem to be a little earlier than most of the young families in our area. We generally are the only ones at the park, hanging out with the before work dog walking crowed. I think Caleb secretly wakes up early so he doesn’t miss watching his furry friends run around. He sure gets a thrill from it.

This morning, one of the dogs ran up to play with Caleb, so I asked the owner if the dog was used to kids. He told me that they had a 2 week old baby boy.

I jumped to offer my congratulations and starting jabbering on about how wonderful being a parent was and all the blessings that come with a baby. I stopped halfway through my passionate soliloquy and noticed that the man didn’t seem to be relating.

All the feelings of the first couple weeks with Caleb rushed back to me, the exhaustion and the overwhelming sense of life never being the same. I shut my mouth and stopped my congratulating.

Instead I looked at him and said that when my husband went back to work I cried everyday, not knowing how I was going to get through. I told him transparently that the first six weeks were really hard, but then everything got better all of a sudden.

My dose of honestly refreshed him, and he said that when he gets home and his wife is crying and he doesn’t know what to do, he feels guilty for going to work, but he has to. He was encouraged to know that this is just a stage that will pass by quickly.

The opportunity to validate what that couple was going through was huge. Instead of just rushing on with the blessings on parenting (which are endless to be sure) the Lord had me bring a message of hope. Hope recognizes the challenge and provides that things will get better.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us

Sometimes congratulations are not in order, but a listening ear, love and understanding are!

I hope you can take the opportunity to encourage a new parent today!

 


.

Angry Mama

Over the last few months, I have surprised myself with how angry I have become in certain moments. I would not have described myself as an angry person, but parenting a child whose personality is beginning to blossom has started bringing out some of the worst in me. I can peg it on hormones, life change, exhaustion, and many other things, but the truth is it comes down to sinful handling of my anger.

Today for example, I just about had a full-blown explosion. Our house sale fell through yesterday, and so we started the cycle of showings again this morning. I was trying to get my son and I backed up and out the door by 9 a.m. so our realtor could have an open house. Every thing I cleaned he would pull out, grim his greasy fingers on it and throw it on the floor. He refused to eat his breakfast, and instead crumbled it all up in his hands and through it exponentially farther than ever before, coating my beautiful clean floors in toast dust.

As we’re about to leave I’m trying to find his sandals, and I’m completely over heated from running around our house which is sitting at about 28 degrees. I’m on the brink of tears from frustration, and I look in the fridge to get the sandwich that was in there for me to take with us. I couldn’t find it. My husband took it to work (which I do not blame him for, since I had it sitting where I would usually have his), and I was still trying to find this ridiculous sandal so I could let Caleb get his energy out at the playground before making him nap in the car.

Let’s just say things did not end well. After yelling at the air, sending a snappy text to my husband about the sandwich, I picked up my shoeless child, slammed the door and stomped out to the car. We pulled away, just to turn around and come back since I forgot my coffee.

Why do I get so angry? How can I be so furious with the ones I love the most, when in reality they haven’t done anything?

This is not earth shattering stuff. Every single person has days like this, where frustrating little things happen. They should not make or break your day.

Thankfully, after a little time in the car cooling down, apologizing to my husband, and cuddling my son, I had the courage to ask God to forgive me for my outbursts.

Honestly, I hate doing that. I am so embarrassed in front of the Lord, even though he is the one who sees the whole thing, and even worse than just seeing it, he hears my inmost thoughts! I cannot hide from him.

Psalm 139:7 says

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

What a gloriously wonderful, yes dauntingly terrifying statement. I can never escape his love, mercy and forgiveness, yet I can never hide my sin from this holy and awesome God.

Today’s Focus on the Family broadcast ended up being all about helping mom’s deal with anger. Turns out I’m not alone! In fact, toddlers and teens are said to be the most aggravating two groups of kids for moms!

I recognized today that I need to start confronting how I handle my anger and frustrations head on. God’s timing is so good. He brings conviction to our hearts, and then offers an avenue of hope and healing.

I’m not proud of my actions lately, but I hope my transparency can be related to. I’m going to be getting my hands on the book “She’s gonna blow!” by Julie Barnhill (today’s guest on Focus on the Family) and gain some wise counsel on this subject.

Parenting has already been way more challenging than I could have imagined, and I hope to stay aware of red flags that I’m seeing in myself now, so that my husband and kids don’t have to live with the current me forever!

May I be ever on the path towards this spirit filled description:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

 

God IS Good

When we announced that our house had conditionally sold and that we had then bought a house conditionally, based on our house selling, we were overwhelmed with how good God is. Many people said to me “Wow, God is good.”

Today the deal on our house fell through. Something unexpected to do with their finances, which then in turn impacts us buying our new house. Tomorrow we go back to the routine of showings, open houses and uncertainty. I was so thankful to be done with having to find things for Caleb and I to do, while managing to keep the house spotless.

One the disappointment calmed down and reality set in, I had many thoughts in my mind.

“Well this is embarrassing, everyone said God was so good to us and now it’s all fallen through!”

Yikes, did my thoughts just imply that the Lord’s goodness isn’t at work anymore? 

There are many factors that come into play here, and we don’t know what the outcome will be. I do know that God in his divine goodness holds what is going on. He knows when we need to be moved, he knows the house we need to live in, and he knows how much we need to make off our house.

The bible speaks freely about God’s soveignty and goodness. Psalm 31:19 says

How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.

This verse brings great peace to me heart. We daily come to the Lord for protection, and I believe that we are walking in his will. His goodness will come forth, as a testimony to the watching world.

I just am not sure what this testimony is going to look like yet. But I know that somehow God is going to get glory, and I am going to learn to delare the goodness of the Lord regardless of circumstance.

If our house sells, God is good. If another deal falls through, God is good. If I am healthy, God is good. If I am sick, God is still good. If I live in the house that I want, God is good. If I live in my second, third, or fourth choice house, God is good.

I am so thankful for an unchanging, constant, permanent, unmoving, never sleeping God in the midst of my somewhat liquid life!

 

Prayers regarding our house would be appreciated. GOD IS GOOD!!!

 

From Husband to Daddy

I can’t imagine what kind of love I would have for my husband if we had not become parents. Watching Andrew become a dad has been the most amazing thing I could have ever imagined. From the moment he first laid eyes on Caleb, he has not been the same person. His heart of compassion, love and mercy has been widened immensely. His commitment to help, love and protect me has visibly increased. He has spent many hours rescuing me from my tears and exhaustion as I’ve become a mom.

Caleb has been in a stage where he only wants dad. If daddy walks in the room and I’m holding him, he’ll leap from my arms. If Caleb gets hurt, it’s daddy he wants! I have to admit, this has definitely hurt me at times. I feel like Caleb’s cuddles are so limited that I want to selfishly soak them up.

However, over the last few days I have just overwhelmed with how blessed I am to have a husband who is so passionate about being a dad and so committed to showing love and affection to his child.

Transition seems to be something we are in a lot, and I know that it has really caused us to grow together and push deeper in our relationship.

As a teen, I think I viewed babies as fun accessories. You see a mom with a fashionably dressed baby on her hip, or in her expensive stroller and it looks like a lot of fun. Neither mom nor baby looks very fabulous or fashionable going through the feed/change routine at 2 a.m. Having a supportive, loving and HELPFUL husband in those moments can weld together the deepest bonds.

I hear a lot of couples say they plan on waiting a few years before having children, and I realize the reasons behind that, but I can honestly say that having a baby so soon into our marriage was the greatest thing for us. It forced us to carve out time for one another, to face our issues head on and definitely made us grow up quickly. I’m thankful we didn’t get used to two incomes for long. Andrew has said over and over that he personally would not have been ready for pastoral ministry if we didn’t have Caleb.

I love this verse that talks about having children young.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

Psalm 127:3-4 (emphasis mine)

I looked up how many arrows a quiver can hold, and I could not find a definite number, but let me tell you its a lot of arrows! As the one birthing these little blessings, I’m not sure I want to have a “quiverfull”, but I certainly want to acknowledge the Lord’s purpose in giving children to a young couple, and the beauty and blessing that it holds.

I know some couples are unable to have any children, and my heart does grieve with them. That is another reason why I find it heartbreaking when I hear someone speak negatively about “accidentally” having a child right away.

Whether through having more children, and doing other life transitions together, I’m excited for the challenges that we get to work through together. I can’t fathom the love I will have in my heart for my husband years from now when all our children are grown and we have walked through so much together.

The Lord’s design for marriage is so good! It is such a picture of our relationship with Jesus. I have walked through so much with the Lord and we have made it through many life transitions, heart breaks and triumphs. His love and faithfulness has been proved to me over and over. I know I cannot ever turn my back on Jesus. My life is completely intertwined with his.

The Lord said the most incredible statement to us, through all of our disobedience, betrayal and shortcomings. It has become my softly spoken, tear filled declarative phrase to the Lord, to my husband and to my son.
“I will never leave you, I will never forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5).

 

May the Lord open your heart and allow every day life to cultivate deep love and appreciation for those around you!

 

 

Expect a Miracle

My son has finally slept through the first night in a long time, and of course I’ve been tossing and turning a lot, finally getting out of bed. Unfortunately, sleep isn’t solely tied to him. Yesterday we received an offer on our house, and we found a house that we really like in our new city.

It feels like so much to coordinate in a small amount of time (the offer on our home was for an August 1st possession). While questions swirl around in my mind, I know that this offer could very well fall through. I also know that we could make an offer on the house that I am honestly in love with (I tried to not fall in love with it too early, but to no avail) and it could fall through.

We are truly in a place where God has this in his hands. That should make me feel completely safe! However, control is something that I’ve been working on in my own life. Here are some of the amazing little things God has been doing over the last few days, partially to encourage you, but mostly for me to see that his hand is truly at work.

My husband and I were doing our evening bible reading, and we came across this verse in Proverbs 11:28.

Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.

After we read that, my husbands phone went off and reminded him of the verse he had put in there to meditate on.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

The night before we went house hunting, I had a dream that I was standing in a field praying to the Lord, and glowing white hands of God burst through the clouds from heaven and spoke that he had us in his hands, that we were called to this new place, and he would take care of us.

So with this powerful image and these verses in mind, we listed our home and headed off to look for a new one.

While standing in the kitchen of the house I fell in love with, I know finances and details were in the forefront of both our minds. I looked up and saw this sign.

After looking at houses, we went for supper, pouring over the sheets of house details, and anxiously awaiting the phone call regarding the offer our house was to receive.

We paid for our meal and walked out to find $20.00 laying on the ground. We tried to find who dropped it, but everyone in the restaurant told us it was ours to keep. It wasn’t a huge thing, but it was like God said “supper’s on me”.

Returning home, we found two unexpected cheques waiting for us.

Expect a miracle. Expect that when you walk in the will of God he WILL direct your path. Expect that he will provide and take care of you even when you’re taking a step of faith.

So I’m going to take a deep breath, thank God for these miracles so far, release today’s anxieties and expect that he is going to come through on our behalf.

Wow, my God is truly so good.