A Leap of Faith

     Have you ever wanted to try something new, or learn a new skill, but you were afraid to get started? Or is there a desire or dream within you to do something and you just don’t feel qualified to do it? 

Many people today lack the courage they need to start new projects or follow their dreams.

     The other day while buying a new computer at the Apple store, the sales associate and I were talking about what I would be using my new laptop for. I told her that I was an author and blogger and that I would be using my new laptop to write my first book. She was very excited for me, and thought that what I was doing was really neat. She told me that she also had a dream of being an author, and one day hoped to write a children’s story.

She was bursting with excitement as she shared with me that she already had a great book idea, but something was holding her back from acting on that dream. This young lady is currently going to school for her teaching degree and wants to be a kindergarten teacher. I don’t know if she was just afraid to get started, or she didn’t think she was qualified enough to write a children’s story until she had a degree, but I sensed her hesitation—something was holding her back. So I encouraged her to go ahead and get started on her book now.

Too often, I see people who are held back from pursuing their dreams because they don’t feel like they have what it takes to pursue them. But the Bible tells us a different story.

According to 2 Timothy 1:7:
“God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and of love and self-control.” 

In 2 Peter 1:3 we learn that:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”

     I would have missed out on some of God’s greatest blessings for my life—like motherhood, homeschooling, or blogging—if I would have waited to start until I felt qualified. God equips those He calls.

God has given us everything we need for an abundant life.

     If God has placed a dream or desire in our hearts, then we do not need to be afraid to proceed. Through His divine power He has given us everything we need, and through Christ who strengthens us, we can do all things!

So don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith: step out of your comfort zone, knowing that you are empowered by divine power, and follow your dreams.

Leave a comment below if God has recently empowered you to do something out of your comfort zone.

Declutter My Heart

Last weekend, I cleaned out my closet. I don’t know why the prospect of cleaning it out is so hard for me, or why I waited so long to actually clean it! My closet was a disaster. I could barely hang anything in it, and there were clothes and shoes strewn all around.

Sometimes, I really have a hard time letting go of things that belong to me.

Maybe it has something to do with growing up with a post-depression era Mother. As a child growing up, we didn’t have a lot of excesses, and I can still hear my mom say, “Don’t throw that away. We may need it someday.” I think that is the attitude that I still have toward my clothing. Maybe I will wear it again, or if I just lose a few pounds that outfit will fit really nice. “Don’t get rid of it, you might want to wear that again someday,” I tell myself. And sometimes, that someday never comes, and so things are there taking up space, making it difficult for me to find things I really want to wear because I can’t see through the clutter.

How many times in life do we miss out on God’s best for our life, because we clench things so tightly with our fists that we don’t let go and make room for God to bless us?

I wonder what blessings that I have missed out along the way because I was holding on too tightly to things, or feelings and emotions, or sins like jealousy or envy.

Back to my closet: My husband and boys helped me clean out my closet. They would pick things up, and say “Mom, the 90’s called and they want their clothes back!” It was straightforward for them to see what was faded, stained, or things I no longer wear. It took us the entire day to clean out my closet. Wouldn’t it have been easier on the whole family if I would’ve just periodically cleaned out my closet along the way? Or take a hard look at what was cluttering my closet?

On a different level, what about the sin that is cluttering my heart and my life?

It’s easy for us to make judgments toward other people. It’s easy to compare ourselves and say “well, I am better than that person because I don’t _____.” But our own sin clouds our hearts and minds and keeps us from living the abundant life God has called us to live.

” Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” -Matthew 7:3-5

Just like cleaning out my closet, sometimes it is easier for other people to see what I don’t see. Lord, please help me to see what is obvious to others, help me to let go of whatever holds me back from living for You completely. Help me deal with the sin in my heart, before it gets so cluttered that I can’t contain the mess.

Cleaning out my closet was a very liberating experience. I can now walk in and find exactly what I am looking for, and I also have room left to add a few new pieces. The Bible is full of verses detailing God’s great blessings for our lives.

For example, in Philippians 4:19 (ESV), Paul writes, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

If God will take care of everything I need according to his riches, then why would I want to hold on so tightly to things, attitudes, behavior, sin, that keep me from God’s best in my life?

Lord, help me not to judge others but help me become a better judge of my own condition!

 

(Un)Apologetic Parenting

     Recently I went to judge at a speech and debate tournament, and much to my surprise I found out that a little book that I made for the junior speakers when I directed a tournament several years before was still being used.  This was really my first attempt at writing, and it was a little booklet of apologetic questions and answers that I made for the children aged 6-11 who were competing in the NCFCA-National Christian Forensics and Communications Association.

The NCFCA is a speech and debate league for homeschool students. They offer a speech category for apologetics, which is a fancy word for defending your faith. When my eldest son was in junior high and high school, he spent all 6 years seeking answers to the 150 questions of the faith that were the questions that made up that event of the competition. Participating in this activity was really helpful in forming his worldview, and seeking things out on his own. It gave him an opportunity to answer questions like explain the meaning and significance of sanctification, justification, and propitiation. Which are some really big words, and even bigger concepts for a 12-year-old?

When I wrote this booklet my youngest son was in junior speech and would be competing in Apologetics the following year. I really wanted him to start working on some of those difficult theological concepts, and I remembered how daunting tackling 150 questions of the faith were to a lot of the kids in the league. If you have ever heard the expression, how do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. Well, I don’t know anyone who has ever eaten an elephant, but I thought it was a pretty good analogy for my youngest son, and the other kids his age, to begin exploring these questions of the faith. One bite or one concept at a time. And if they could start with 10 questions, then they could do 10 more, and another 10 and so on.

So I took 10 of the 150 questions, with at least one question from each of the five categories. So they could have exposure to each of the five categories.

  • EXISTENCE AND NATURE OF GOD
  • SCRIPTURES
  • THE NATURE, PURPOSE, AND DESTINY OF MAN
  • SALVATION or HOW TO KNOW GOD
  • THE PERSON OF CHRIST

Armed with my ESV study bible in hand, I set out to explain concepts like the Omniscience and Omnipresence of God in simple basic terms, along with some key memory verses.

I believe it is important that my kids know what they believe, and why they believe it, because as old adage says, “If they don’t stand for something, they will fall for anything.” Also, as we learn from the warning in Collisions 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Why is this important? Because according to the Barna group, “Parents and leaders have long been concerned about the faith development of the generation born between 1984 and 2002—and for good reason. First, Barna research shows nearly six in ten (59%) of these young people who grow up in Christian churches end up walking away from either their faith or from the institutional church at some point in their first decade of adult life.” That means that more than half of the kids that currently go to church are leaving the faith!

I think our kids have a better chance of staying in the church and following Christ if they know what they believe and why they believe it. It is our job and responsibility as parents to teach our children in the way they should go, but it is up to them to own their faith and walk it out.

My belief on this subject has been recently challenged, as my eldest son has decided to leave the church we attend as a family in search of his own church home. At first, I was a little hurt by this, because I love having my family all together digging into God’s word, and worshipping with them. But then I realized this is exactly what I taught him to do. He is firmly grounded in what he believes and why he believes it so he will not get swept away by empty deceit or human tradition. As a man, my son does have to make his own way, and he is the one who is responsible for his faith.

There is no foolproof plan or formula that parents can follow that will assure that their kids stay in the church or that they will follow Christ for that matter. However, the bible does give us a promise to cling to, in Proverbs 22:6, that if we teach our kids in the way they should go, that when they are old, they will not depart. It is however, our responsibility to teach our children to love God, to share our faith with them, to lead them by example by spending time in the word, and praying with them.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Being a mom is the hardest job, with the longest hours, and no monetary reward, but it is the most important and best job in the whole world. Each child we are given has different needs with differing abilities and unique personalities. God has entrusted us, moms, to love and care for our children.

Motherhood is such a beautiful thing!

Just this weekend I had the honor of attending a baby shower for a first-time mom and attend graduation for another dear friend’s daughter. I have friends on both sides of the spectrum—one just starting out, and the other having to let go. I thought about how quickly time goes by, as one minute your kids are babies, and the next they are grown.

As moms, we begin to dream about our children from the time they are conceived, and throughout pregnancy, we wonder what the little ones will be like. We are filled with so much love for our little people long before we have ever met them face to face.Then we finally meet them, and we are consumed by them. Sometimes in the early years, the days can seem so long and hard, but before we know it the years have flown by.

As we approach Mother’s day, I have mixed emotions. I am sad that both my mom and mother-in-law are no longer living. I miss them both terribly. Yet I am very grateful for the three blessings that I have here on this earth and look forward to one day seeing all of my babies that are in heaven. Also, see(unexpected journey)…

Moms, understand that you have been given an incredible task:

To shape the heart of your children. Children are like arrows in the hand of a mighty warrior.

How will you shape those arrows before you send them out into the world? It is my hope and desire that my children leave our home with a deep love for Jesus and a want to serve Him all the days of their lives and to leave knowing that are loved and cherished. I hope and pray this for you and your children as well.

To all the Moms out there, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!