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Learning to Fly with Confidence

21 Jun

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Watching these tiny little birds on our porch, I wondered what it must be like for them when they take their first flight.

I’m not sure why, but these last few days I have doubted my abilities in just about every area of my life. I have honestly felt like there is someone shouting in my mind, “Who do you think you are? You certainly aren’t a writer, why would anyone want to read what you have to say?… Start running again? ha, ha. You couldn’t do that. You’ve let too much time go by, besides that, your too old!… There is absolutely no way you are going to find time to home school this year. You simply have too many kettles in the fire!… Give up! Give up! Give up!”

Even though I know better than to listen to these self destructive thoughts, I admit they got my attention. I was listening to them and even beginning to believe them. In fact I was tempted to change my course in a few areas.

Not being the first time this has happened to me, I knew the first step I needed was to seek God and listen to Him for clarity in my mind. As the condemning comments continued, I chose to read and reread the scripture verses I have been focusing on. ( For more on learning to listen to God, click here.)

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need for endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (NASB)

“But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul takes no delight in him.” Hebrews 10:38 (NASB)

Yesterday I came across an article that my good friend, Shara, wrote called,  Marathon Training and Homeschooling.  No, I’m not interested in marathon training, but the principles were exactly what I needed to hear! 

“Whenever it comes up that I’ve run 2 half-marathons (not that this comes up much…HA!), the response I get from people who don’t run is, “I could never do that!!

I am here to tell you…you can!! Unless there is some REAL medical condition keeping people from running, a vast majority of the people who tell me they “never could”, in fact, very much could. They maybe couldn’t today, I couldn’t today:). But they could in 6 months (and usually much sooner). You start one step at a time and train. I started with a novice schedule. It assumed I could run 2 miles. If you can’t yet run 2 miles start with running one block. Then 2 tomorrow. You can, it just takes persistence and time.”

Shara’s, article isn’t just about running or homeschooling, it is about life! It reminded me that I need to trust God and act on what I know to be true.

Another woman I know has a blog she has kept up for many years called i am baker. Last night as I looked over some of her posts, I noticed how she declared who she was in her titles: i am baker, i am mommy, i am author, i am servant.

This morning, as I woke to the same lousy voice in my head, I remembered the declarations of i am baker. I chose to declare who I am, not who I’m not.

So, those are all good points, but it wasn’t until I physically acted on my beliefs, that I started to regain my confidence.

“For by Thee I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall.” (Psalm 18:29)

FYI: I conquered 2 miles early this morning! :)

Special thanks to my dear husband that always, always, always supports and loves me!

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Learning to Listen to God

14 Jun

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Looking into my child’s eyes, with his cheeks resting in the palms of my hands, I answered the question – for the third time. “Each time you asked I replied, but you weren’t listening.” I continued, ” You need to learn to be still for a moment and listen!”

I stopped and reflected on my own words. How am I doing on listening? How many times do the children speak before I hear them? Do I quickly take care of something my hubby may have asked me to do, or do I procrastinate?

Mark repeatedly has done a character study with the kiddos, beginning when the older were the younger…

Part of it includes something like this:

True listening means paying attention with your ears, eyes, mind, and hands.

1. Ears: Try to block out any other noise, and focus on what is being said.

2. Eyes: Give full eye contact, not looking away, distracted by something else.

3. Mind: Embrace what is being said, thinking it through. Mull it over in your mind.

4. Hands: Put into action what you have heard.

In my recent post In a world full of contradictions… , I referred to gaining wisdom by seeking God. Learning to listen to God can be just as hard as teaching our children to listen to us, but it doesn’t have to be. The same principles apply to both situations.

1. Ears: Take time to be still, quiet before the Lord. (As a busy mother of young children, sometimes the only semi-private moments are in the bathroom!)

2. Eyes: Take time to read the Word of God, even just a verse or two if time is short.

3. Mind: Ponder what you have read, applying it to your daily life.

4. Hands: Don’t just forget and move on. Put it into action.

These are lessons I am still learning. In fact, I am sure it will be a lifetime of learning. But, I have seen that the more I practice listening – and put in to practice what I have heard – the better listener I become.

she looked up at me, stunned

8 Jun

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Sitting next to my eighth grade lab partner, we attempted to conquer the day’s assignment. The frog was placed before us.  Our job was to dissect the unlucky creature. How we had ended up as partners, I don’t remember. What I do know is that I was glad she got along with me. I had seen how she treated her enemies, and it wasn’t pretty.

During the course of our science experiment, we chatted together about our classes, people, likes and dislikes… I have no remembrance of what I may have said, but at one point she looked up at me stunned. “Becky, I have never heard you speak poorly of someone else before!”

At this point, I was stunned.

First of all, I was amazed that she would have even noticed or cared. After I processed her comment, I was ashamed that I had been guilty of the accusation!

This fellow student, who was known for treating others harshly, left a lasting impression in my mind.

The words we speak are powerful, possible of tearing down or building up. As a family, our goal is to always speak well of each other. Even when criticism is necessary, it should be given in love, never spoken of behind another’s back.

A family is a great place to begin the process of learning to treat each other with respect. What a delight to hear a wife carrying on about her wonderful husband or a brother speaking highly of his sister. It takes making a deliberate effort to change our habits – to relearn, but it is worth the effort as harsh words should never be allowed!

Since that day in the science lab, I wish I could say I have never made the same mistake again. Unfortunately I have, but I am thankful my “friend” took notice and confronted me. Because of her, I guard my words more closely.

mercy triumphs over judgement

1 Jun

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Listening to an audio version of a book while I scrubbed my bathroom, I was struck by these words, “mercy triumphs over judgement.” I played the section again… “mercy triumphs over judgment.”

The thought has lingered in my mind as I have gone through the day. How does that play out in our marriage? How about in our relationships with our children?

Judgement always drives a wedge between, killing intimacy – showing a lack of understanding, a lack of forgiveness, a desire to withdraw.

Mercy, unmerited favor, reveals an unconditional love – strengthening a transparent, secure relationship where honesty is encouraged.

May our household be filled with mercy!

mercy triumphs over judgement (James 2:13)

we talked, we ate, we laughed

31 May

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Late in the afternoon, I got a call from my sweet hubby. We hadn’t gotten around to making plans for celebrating our anniversary. With birthday season, Memorial day celebrations, Mother’s day gatherings, and keeping track of a houseful of schedules, we hardly felt we needed one more event. Never-the-less, Mark was not about to let this day slip by!

So, dinner it was. We found a wonderful restaurant tucked just below street level in the historic part of town. We had the place to ourselves, or at least it felt like it. If others were there, we didn’t notice.

We talked. We ate. We laughed. We simply enjoyed each other’s company without any distractions. It was like cool refreshing water after a long run. And we had been running, not literally, but busy entertaining lots of people we love.

Life is so full, it is easy to let essential things get crowded out. I am thankful to my husband for setting the example for me – to not neglect the nurturing of our marriage.

31 years in the castle

30 May

Thirty-one years ago today, I made a commitment to the man of my dreams. The music we chose for our wedding, at the time, represented the vow we were making to each other and has now become a reminder of our continued focus.

 

I have waited such a long, long time for this day to come
And all I have to give is the love from God’s only Son
He gave to me, I give to you.
I pray that God will be with us night and day
Guide us all the way in our life.

There will be no strife with Jesus Christ
And His Kingdom which has come
And made it possible for you and I to be one.
I will make you queen of our home under the glory of the King.
We’ll raise our family in a castle full of love and trust the Lord in everything.
Let us sing to the King Hallelujah

In times of trial when things are hard to see will you stand by me with Love?
It can heal the pain, so let it rain on the roof of my soul,
There is no hole that love can’t fill.
So let us climb, let us climb the hill together
Let us climb the hill together. – Paul Clark

 

Looking forward to continuing the climb… happy anniversary, Mark.

 

trusting enough to let go

29 May

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In closing, I drew a butterfly next to my signature.  The letter was off, off to my love in Brazil.   He would be back in a few months,  what felt like a lifetime.  Our insatiable desire was to be together, yet too young to be married.  Somehow, through the distance – our love had only grown.

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Watching our grown children arrive home to visit, one by one (or two by two), I remember the mixture of emotions as they moved away.  The heart wrenching pain was combined with a joyful anticipation for their future.

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A butterfly lands on my 5 year old’s hand. Her brother explains, “Just enjoy it while it is here, if you try to hang on to tightly, it will die. Give it some room to fly and it may even come back to you!”

The joy comes in fully trusting God while watching the flight.

The richness keeps increasing, the love continues to grow.