Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thank You God For Saving The Day!

Every night I pray with my kids before bed. I started doing this about two years ago when my oldest started having trouble sleeping at night. My oldest worries a lot and so praying before bedtime helps calm his fears. It's now a habit in our household and the kids do not go to sleep without praying first. Our daughter has a different bedtime and room so her prayer time is just for her. When I began the prayer routine with her I would always thank God for my sweet little Hadlee. A few months ago she asked if she could pray first. My heart just about bursted open " yes, sweet heart I think you praying first is a great idea". So she began, "Dear God, thank you for me and thank you for saving the day"! ( We watch a lot of super hero cartoons in our house with two boys) I kissed her on the forehead and told her great job sweetie. So every night from then on she thanks God for herself and for saving the day. I laughed at her innocence and didn't think anything of it until God pointed it out very clearly that He does save the day, everyday, wether I thank Him for it or not. It's funny how my three year old gets it, my 10 year old and 7 year old get it, but I can't seem to grasp it. I need God everyday to save my day and to thank Him for it before I can close my eyes at night. I love how my daughter put God and saving the day together. When you watch super hero cartoons the good guys are always saving the day. Funny to compare spiritual warfare to super heroes but it's the same idea. See, everyday there are invisible battles going on around us that we are unaware of most of the time. I do believe the closer you walk with the Lord the more aware you are of what's taking place around you. So God is literally saving the day in ways I can't even imagine and fathom. The battles that I do see are As I write this I am surrounded by bills, plans for a women's dinner and a grocery list for next week. I stress over ever detail that is out of place daily. God is ready to save my day. He is ready to take the burden of finances away, the burden of expectations and planning off my shoulders and to show me the joy in getting to buy groceries to feed my family because of so many who do not have that opportunity.  It's so easy to become overwhelmed with the busyness of each day. As a mom of three I can always find something that needs to be cleaned or picked up, an errand that needs to be accomplished or bills that need to be paid. The hectic life becomes the "normal" and I quickly forget who is in charge and has the real plans for the day. And that's a scary place to be if you ask me. What's the point of the crazy hectic day if God's not included? If all I had in my life was the "normal" routine day in and day out I would lose my mind. I am not kidding.  Here's the truth. I am a pastor's wife and so I feel like people may see that the things I "do" only happen because I'm married to a preacher. It can be seen as my job to attend church, sing special music, write a blog, teach Sunday school, read my bible or Christian books. So I want to be very blunt, I do none of those things because I am a preacher's wife! I am a child of God! I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior when I was nine and have never once regretted it or doubted my decision. I love God! I love God more than anything or anyone else. Jesus is my Savior, I am in awe and overwhelmed by His love for me therefore I attend church to learn more about Him and to worship Him with other believers, I sing because it's one of the ways I can worship Him, I write a blog to talk about Jesus and what He is doing in my life in hopes that some one else will want what I have in Him. I teach because I believe that is one of my spiritual gifts and honestly when you love someone why would you not want to teach someone else about them.  I read God's Word because it is food for my soul, it strengthens me on the hard days, gives me hope in the dark moments and guides me on how to love my husband and kids. I read all the time because I like too! It's that simple and I don't want to fill my mind with anything that doesn't bring praise and honor to God so I read Christain books. I am a sinner saved by Grace and I am so grateful for my relationship with Jesus. I guess what I'm saying is God saves my day...everyday! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Chair

When Robert and I first got married he was a youth pastor.  We loved doing youth ministry.  Ministry was very new to me but I  enjoyed all the new challenges that came my way.  One of the challenges I faced was becoming a Sunday school and bible study teacher in the youth department.  I was not use to being a leader and teacher coming right out of college.  I was very intimidated and took teaching very seriously.  One night I was asking God to show me a verse that the girls could learn to help them durning a difficult time.  God took me to the book of Habbakuk.  I smile thinking about it because I didn't even know that book existed, and I remember having to ask Robert how to pronounce it several times.  Reading through the book it wasn't until the very end that God said "Remember this".  I honestly didn't understand why I needed to remember Habakkuk 3:17-19.  

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor the fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  God, the Lord,is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."

I was a little confused because although we didn't have much we weren't going through a hard time.  Every time I would read that verse I remembered how God wanted me to always remember it.  I even taught on this verse a few times during the last few years.  I would always get excited when I read "yet I will rejoice in the Lord".  I thought for sure if something really bad ever happens to me I will rejoice in the Lord too.  Man was I clueless!

This is where the story becomes very personal.  I didn't want to ever talk about my "dark season".  I mean we are suppose to be authentic and personal but that's a little too personal for my comfort.  And I'm a pastor's wife so I am pretty sure I am not suppose to struggle, right?!  Sorry to burst anyone's bubble but I am only human.  I have no special spiritual powers and I am not immuned from  tragedy and bad days.  I can't explain how the depression started but it happened very quickly.  Depression is like wearing a coat of darkness, except you can't take it off.  For 10 months I couldn't find any joy in my life.  There was no peace, in fact my anxiety got so bad I started taking medication so I could at least sleep at night.  If you have never suffered with depression it's hard to understand the thoughts of someone going through it.  I tried to fight the darkness.  I would read scripture, Christian books, went to a Christian counselor, wrote in journals (which were destroyed, the darkness brought out too many evil thoughts).  I can't say that those things didn't help, even though at the time they all felt useless.  I see now how each thing I did helped me take a step toward recovery.  Funny how in the moment you can't see how God is with you and you definitely can't  imagine God moving in your life-but He was!  I can look back now and see how God was with me every time I sat in that chair and cried and wept for my life to change. That chair was the place where I would sit in the darkness and moan for understanding.  If you look closely at my chair you can see how the "leather" (don't judge my fake chair) is pealing off.  It's because I sat for hours in that chair everyday not wanting to do anything but cry.  I didn't want to be a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife or a mother.  I definitely didn't want to be a pastor's wife and try to smile at church every Sunday and act "normal".  It was very scary.  My thoughts were so negative and hateful (which is a testament of how forgiving my husband has had to be).  This chair use to represent the dark hole I was living in at the moment. Those 10 months seemed to last forever.  I can honestly say that was the hardest time I have ever endured in my life.  It was life changing for me.

If you don't tell your story how will God receive the Glory.  This has been running through my head for months now.  I want everyone to know that the chair I use to sit and bawl my eyes out of misery is now the chair that I sit in and bawl my eyes out because of God's unfailing love for me.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep the chair at first.  It was a harsh reminder of the dark season.  But now I am so thankful for everything God has shown me that I don't think I will ever be able to get rid of it.  Jesus saved me from an eternity without God (that's Hell) and saved me from the darkness of depression.  I am so grateful to talk to my Savior and read His Word.  I am grateful He talks to me because for 10 months I could hear nothing.  I had forgotten how special my relationship with Christ really is and how I need Him every minute, every hour of every day.  Did I lose Jesus for 10 months?  NO of course not but my thoughts and feelings were so strong and overwhelming that I couldn't see or feel Him at the moment.  When the darkness began to lift a little everyday it was like being given a second chance at life.  I can't explain it and I think everyone experiences different situations in life according to how God wants to speak to them.  God wanted my attention but I had become to hard hearted in my walk with Him that I wasn't listening. 

Let me explain.  Some where in the 13 years of ministry I stopped repenting and became self righteous.  I would read God's Word and teach all the time and in doing so became very prideful of my biblical knowledge (and funny thing is not that much knowledge was abtained).  But I convinced myself that my little sins (gossip, pride, lying) were all ok compared to other's sins.  I became numb to conviction.  I became numb to things and events that should have broken my heart for Jesus.  The sin in my life hardened my heart but I was so arrogant I just counted it as spiritual maturity.  I'm not proud of this at all.  I honestly can't believe I lived this way as long as I did.  So in order for me to really listen to God I needed to be in a place of totally depravity.  Depression brought me to that place very quickly.  During the darkness God revealed my sins to me.  It was a lot to take in at one time.  It brought me to my knees and left me broken.  Which is what I needed.  Brokenness helped me repent and broke down the walls that had left my heart so hard.  Can I just say how much I missed being brought to tears.  I am so excited when I cry during my prayers, reading God's Word and during worship.  And I'm not saying you have to have tears to make a difference.  What I am saying is my heart is now tender to God speaking to me and I haven't felt that in a long time.  I also have conviction for my sins and boy I am I glad to feel that again.  It's a scary thing to not ever feel the wrongness of sin, because with out the conviction there is no gratefulness for the forgiveness and salvation.  Life changing events took place in that chair.  I now know why God wanted me to remember Habakkuk 3:17-19. Some things need to be personable.  These two verses are very real to me now.  And I will rejoice in the Lord!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Watch Mommy"

"Mommy Watch!" is what my daughter says to me a million times a day. Ok, that number may be a little high but if you are a mom of young kids you understand my need to exaggerate. When she hollered "mommy watch" this morning it was to show me how she was going to jump from one step in the pool to the next. Now I'm gonna be honest, it was not an impressive jump at all. It wasn't challenging, life threatening, creative or funny. I'm not honest all the time so I said "good job, I love watching you have fun in the water". I was very sweet and supportive of my children, especially at the age of three. I laughed as I sat by the edge of the pool and then thought " God, do I say the same thing to you?". Hmmmm....guilty!  God began to slowly (and gently) remind me of moments where I have said "God watch!". Going to church sometimes I will catch myself thinking " ok Lord, I'm gonna need some brownie points today because I am tired and the kids are driving me crazy but we are still headed to church" or "Did you see that Lord I volunteered and you know I don't even like kids". The one that really made my stomach turn was when I give financially. It's like I need to make sure He sees that I did the "right" thing and wrote my check. I am grateful for these moments of correction. He is so good to expose my heart issues and the selfishness I need to remove. So after God reminded me of my "God watch!" moments I heard Him say " my child I'm not impressed either". Then this verse came to mind "We have all become like the one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away" Isaiah 64:6. My spiritual immaturity was showing up, like a child I was needing recognition. Like my three year old I wanted the world to revolve around me. That's not something that you have to teach a three year old. The selfishness comes easy and it's teaching them to think of others that's hard. It's a constant battle to fight my flesh. Some times I just want a reward or maybe just to check it off my list of accomplishments. I love to check things off a list. Makes me feel like I am awesome. I got this all wrong. God doesn't want me to do things out of rewards and recognition. He just wants me to love Him and let that love flow from my life into my actions.  So what would that look like? Well, let's start with church attendance. My attitude should never be to check it off the good Christian list. How insulting! God didn't create church for it to be a "have to" burden for me. He created church for His worship. If I am spending time in His Word during the week, talking with Him daily and recognizing Him in all of my daily actions then come Sunday morning I should be about ready to burst with praise for God. I should wake up Sunday morning saying "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it" Psalm 118:24.
I should be telling God I can't wait to lift up your name with my brothers and sisters in Christ to exalt you Lord. It's not a "watch me" moment it's a "Praise be to God" moment.  Then comes volunteering. This act can become very selfish very quickly. I have to make sure my pride is taken out and my God is put in its place. The reason I volunteer is because it is an act of worship and service for Jesus. Volunteering is the way God works through His people. If all I want out of volunteering is brownie points from God and man then I don't know my God very well. No where in scripture does it have a brownie point system! It's not what I do! It's how my heart is involved with the service I'm helping with. If my heart is centered on God and what He wants to accomplish through me during my acts of service then I will not want to say "God watch me" because I know He is with me giving me the ability to do what I am doing. Then comes the giving. Oh the financial giving! Man, that's a topic no one likes to think about. Here are two ways I can approach giving. The first is at the end of the month, after I have bought all I wanted and needed I see what's left I write a check. I put that check in my bible to make sure I don't forget to put it in the offering plate. When the plate comes by I slowly pull that check out and place it in the plate smiling and patting myself on the back because I helped God out... "God watch, your welcome". Let me just say this, God does not need your help. It's not about the money it's about the faith and obedience. The right way is that I calculate my 10% at the beginning of the month and write the check. Sometimes even knowing i may not be able to buy anything fun this month or not sure how a medical bill will get paid. But it's ok because I am using my faith and trusting in God to provide all my needs. It's not a proud moment for me but a humbling one because I can't take care of myself without God's help. I am giving God the opportunity to be Lord of my life and take care of me.  God wants to have a close relationship with me. He doesn't need me to check things off a list or try to make Him look good. If I'm just trying to make myself look impressive then I have got it all wrong. I need to remember that I was a wretched sinner who deserved an eternity away from God but because He loved me (way before I could ever say "God watch") He sent His one and only Son to die a horrible death for me. The least I can do is get to know Him personally. Stop acting like it's all about me and recognize that the God of all the universe wants to talk with me❤️. So it's time for me to grow in my walk with the Lord and stop asking God to "Watch me" but instead ask God to walk with me. Because I want to be able to hear God when He says, "My child, watch Me!"

Saturday, July 9, 2016

This Means War!

"This means war!" Is the statement I hear being yelled from my boys room in the afternoons. There is a serious battle going on daily in Legoland. I love hearing how they are the good guys and the bad guys are "going down". I wish they could stay little forever. I wish they would never lose their innocence. But I have to remember God has a bigger plan for each of my kids. His plan involves them growing up day by day to become the Godly men and woman He has called them to be. They don't understand it yet but they will get to battle for the rest of their lives, just not with Legos. The spiritual battle that they fight will never stop. It's a daily fight against the flesh and the evils of this world. But they don't have to fight it alone. That's where Robert and I step in to fight with them.    Hudson is our oldest and will be going into 5th grade. Over the past year we have seen the struggle of keeping our son shielded from the sin of this world. Satan wants to steal my kids innocence, he wants to destroy their child like faith, he wants to teach my kids the ways of the world before I get God's truth into them. You see he is just waiting for me to become confident in my parenting skills and cocky with my rules of being a strict mom but yet a "fun" mom. When I get comfortable and relaxed is when he makes his first move. You never see it coming because you are too busy patting yourself on the back for being good Christian parents. Ugh, he is so sneaky and knows just when to catch me off guard.  Here is the truth. I can't protect my kids from all the evil in this world. It's not possible. But I can equip my kids with Gods truth (no matter how young) and teach them to flee from evil. Reading Gods Word to them daily, praying over them at night and taking them to church is like boot camp. It's getting them ready for the big battles of this world. Talking with them about sex, porn, homosexuality, drugs, alcohol  (even though it's awkward) can open up the door of communication with them. I want my kids to hear about those things and how God views them from me not the kids at school or even at church. But most importantly we need to pray for our kids. We need to ask God to show us where we are letting Satan come in and hangout with our kids. It could be the music they listen to, the video games they play, the movies they watch or the kids they hang out with. I want the Holy Spirit to give me discernment about how to talk to my kids and what they need to know about God's standards. I pray for their strength in hard times and growth through bad things that happen. I am their mom but I am also their sister in Christ and I will be a prayer warrior for them till my last breathe! Robert and I have learned so much these last 10 years of being parents and we know there is so much more to come so we are ready to fight...on our knees...cause this means war!!!!!  

The Great Physician

Last week I had a biopsy done to a spot on my forehead that I knew didn't look right when it showed up on my head 7 months ago. I had made an appointment with our dermatologist for our son to have a little spot on his back checked out. Right before his appointment I asked to look at his back and the spot was gone. I mean it just disappeared. I hate cancelling appointments the day they are scheduled so I decided I would go and have her look and see if everything was ok. When she saw my forehead she immediately said a biopsy needed to be done. Even though I knew it didn't look right I was still upset about having the biopsy done. A few days later the lab results came and I was setting up an appointment to have it completely removed. So sitting in the surgery room I began to think about that spot. How it so easily appeared one day. Much like sin in my life can do. And I tried to cover it up with make up and tell myself it's no big deal. Which I tell myself the same thing about my sin. I try to hide it and tell myself "it's ok Kyla, everyone sins". But like sin that spot was deep down inside my skin. Sin gets deep down in me as well and grows and spreads quickly. I need to react the same way to sin as I did to this spot, GET It OUT! I love how God set the whole thing up with my son so that I would end up going to the doctor. If your like me I don't get excited about going to the doctor. God does the same thing with the sin in my life. My God is the great physician who would love nothing more than to surgically remove the sin from my life. All I have to do is stop ignoring the sin spot and trying to cover it up! I can can make an appointment with God at anytime to remove my sin. Will it hurt? Yea anything that has become apart of you that is removed hurts. Will it leave a mark? Yes, so you can tells other how to have the sin in their lives removed too. It was a great reminder to me that I need the Great Physician to do some surgery on my heart and it's time to get the sin out!!!!!