Help Me Regain My Passion in 2019

I didn’t even know the devil had slipped in and slowly began dampening my fire, my passion to seek the Lord and pray.  How could this happen?  I love the Lord.  I am learning it does happen and if it has not happened it more than likely will happen.  I could blame this on lots of things, busyness, laziness, or my dear friends and pastors moving but the truth is Satan would love nothing more than to squash my passion.  Life is busy, sometimes awfully hard and we get tired but Lord help us recognize our enemy’s strategies and pray.

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In the last couple of month, the Lord has been pressing upon my heart to pray.  I reached out to a trusted sister in Christ and asked her if she knew of any good books on prayer.  She sent me an awesome message on prayer (I’ll post the link below, it’s long but well worth your time) and recommended the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer.

I am on page 39 of this book and the Lord has revealed to me that a very real enemy has been strategizing and schemeing to steal my passion.  My passion is my desire, my “want to”.  My “want to” to read His Word, pray and keep fighting the good fight.  People around me might not have recognized it and even I myself wasn’t fully aware but I believe that was part of the enemy’s plan.  Slowly.  Sneaky.  Tricky.  But our God is greater than Satan’s measly schemes.

This is my prayer as I go into 2019.

God, thank you for always being faithful.  You are so good to me.  Thank you for loving me always and saving me from sin and death.  You have given me life, abundant life.  Thank you for sisters in Christ that point me in the right direction.  Thank you for opening my eyes to the enemy’s plan to steal and destroy my passion.

Lord, please forgive me of my sin.  Forgive me for spending more time on my phone than seeking You.  Forgive me for focusing on things that don’t matter around our house, like dirty windows.  Forgive me for being “me” focused and taking my eyes off of You.

Please help me regain my passion.  Only you can do this Lord.  I can’t will it back or work hard enough to earn it back.  You seeded a passion in my heart for me to love and serve you many years ago and only you can loosen the hard soil around my heart today.  Please create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Give me a desire to seek you and pray.  Help me choose you over other worthless things.  Help me recover and regain my passion, my purpose, my want to, my desire.  You gave me a heart to know you.  I am yours and you are my God.  I return to you with my whole heart.  I want to love you with all of my heart, with all of my soul, with all of my mind and with all of my strength.

You have said, ” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  Ezek. 36:26

I believe this God.  I expect this.  Great is Your faithfulness!

Link to message I referred to:

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2F40F5wMbjugE%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR1pxp5bDB2ylLOVXLfmdqKP20bZAwtiWAfooRO-kAuT1I_TkE1FPiu_vgE&h=AT3CdSa8AEUTLStgROz_yAdeD56SEJbWokmzjcjldzepaxCJGRS4oSWuR83ZI1Ieu9oD-SmUYI0LcwWFOxz7d1Xm9l2eyJVGc3g49H7MxXD7Kkxw-HIRGyjDoUxf71fMMYMNMQ8

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Grace Upon Grace

As I sit in my cozy chair reflecting on Thanksgiving, I am grateful for…

treasured time with family and friends

cousins

sunny weather to play basketball in the driveway

friendly competitive card games

my patient father-in-law playing uno over and over with the little girls

delicious food

Sweet Caroline’s gluten free bakery (right here in our small town of Oklahoma) What a sweet treat from the Lord!

leftovers

my mom answering all my cooking questions

my sister-in-law cooking with me

double ovens

the Bible app reading plans during busy seasons of life

sisters in Christ that pray for me and my family

my dear husband asking how he can help ❤️

movies and shopping with my sweet daughter and niece

my Thanksgiving baby (our son)

the guys being able to hunt deer

naps

coffee

the dishes, laundry and mess

and much much more.

God is so good and provides all that we need and so much more.  The Lord knew it was a desire of my heart to have yummy gluten free treats for our son this Thanksgiving and what a precious gift Sweet Caroline’s bakery was to us.

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now glory be to God our Father forever and ever. Amen.”  Philippians 4:19-20

I feel somewhat like Paul in verse 18, “At the moment I have all I need- more than I need!”  Lord, I pray that you help us to be thankful in plenty or little.  May we be grateful for these blessings BUT none compare to YOU.  Forgive us when we take You and your blessings for granted.  All good things come from you.

I will forever be grateful and overwhelmed by the love of Christ.  The sinner I am deserved death, yet He has given me life, abuntant overflowing life. He loves me and knows me.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

I am GRATEFUL for…

the kindness of God our Father

His son Jesus Christ

the gift of the Holy Spirit

His holy inspired Word

mercies new everyday

grace upon grace!

“For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift]. For the Law was given through Moses, but grace [the unearned, undeserved favor of God] and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  ‭‭JOHN‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Do you know this grace?

Gracious Lord, help us live a life of thanksgiving that will glorify you.  Thank you for your saving grace!

Grandma Bess

For those of us that called her Grandma, we experienced the love of Christ in her presence: kindness, compassion, gentleness, patience, wisdom, selflessness, forgiveness, never in a hurry but most of all, we knew she loved us dearly.  She had a perfect way of caring for us.  We all wanted to be at Grandma Bess’s house.  Quite possibly because she would play Uno and Skip Bo over and over, pick pretty flowers and strawberries in her garden with us and nourish our creative side by crafting with us into the wee hours of the night.  She had a gift of making something out of nothing with just the right amount of sparkle, glitter or puff paint.   Maybe we wanted to be there because she would watch and judge our performances on the brick wall in front of her house again and again, let us sip coffee in tiny cups (mainly milk and sugar because too much black coffee would make your knees turn black), and allow us to play dress up in her night gowns and Kay’s bridesmaid dresses.  Then after all that fun, we would lay our head in her lap and she would scratch our backs as long as we would lay there.

She always said yes to sleepovers or long walks.  The out of town grandkids always looked forward to spending a week at her house in the summer, seven days of pure spoiling.  She would even help us come up with a list, for our parents, of reasons why we should stay longer.

Holidays at Grandma’s were always a great time.  We will cherish memories of kickball in the backyard, Christmas gifts made by her delicate hands, talent shows where we could shine in front of the whole family, much laughter during the dirty Santa games, anticipating who would win the Christmas bear from the drawing, and even the hole that got knocked in the wall in the garage by Tod and Mat.

Grandma truly enjoyed making things for us.  Each one of us can remember stockings, Halloween costumes, Chi Omega stuff, wedding pretties, baby blankets, pants being taken up or a zipper being fixed at the last minute.  Grandma Bess sewed and crocheted with much love.  It never was a burden.  It was her delight.

May these memories continue to bring a smile to our face as we strive to pass on this beautiful heritage.  Thank you Grandma Bess for loving us like Jesus loves us, unconditionally.  It is an honor to call you Grandma.  We will miss you dearly.

Tomatoes and Chickenfoot

“Are they almost here? Are they almost here?”

“How far are they?”

These questions kept ringing through the living room.

Papa and Grandma’s headlights finally sparkled through the window.  It was going to be a weekend of homemade food, canning lessons and chickenfoot.

The following morning first thing, the gals went to the farmer’s market.  We brought home tomatoes, peppers, onion, squash, okra, cucumbers and even some Christmas lima beans.  Shortly after unloading all the fresh veggies, the work and lessons began.  We blanched tomatoes, peeled tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, chopped peppers until we were choked up, and chopped onions until tears were flowing.  Thank the Lord for a food processor.  We all pitched in and helped.  I hope I always remember Kate’s youthful excitement to lend a hand in the kitchen.  She is an expert tomato peeler.  Next, we sprinkled in seasonings and let it simmer in a giant cooker.  This looked like enough hot sauce for a small army.

Then when the peppers and onions were soft the canning began.  Lathan used Grandma’s funnel to neatly pour hot sauce into each pint sized jar.  We placed lids on them, screwed rings on the jars and put them in my great grandmother’s pressure cooker.  A pressure cooker is a giant pot that builds enough pressure to seal the lids.  This is the oldest tool in my kitchen and it still works great.  That ole saying, they don’t make things like they used to, is sometimes true.

Mother said, “You have to make sure you screw this lid on exactly right or it will blow.”

I have learned this lesson the hard way.  My mom reminded me of a time in college when my sister in law and I failed to get the lid on correctly.  Green beans and glass erupted everywhere but luckily no one was hurt.

I got the lid on the pressure cooker and we waited for the pressure to build.  When the pressure came down and the jars were sealed, we wiped the jars off and lined them up on the counter.  We canned about 60 jars of hot sauce and 16 jars of tomatoes.

As a family we shared yummy meals and meaningful conversation.  Lathan discovered he liked fried squash and figured out how to beat Papa at chickenfoot. This is a weekend I will cherish and I hope my kids store it in their wonderful memory box.  When you can, spend the weekend with people that mean the most to you.  Cook.  Eat together.  Play games.  Share stories.

A Brand New Thing

Open your Bible to Isaiah 43:14-21 and read with me.

“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sake I send to Babylon and bring them all down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:14-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In verses 14-17 God is reminding Israel and us who He is, what He’s done and what He is going to do. He is Lord the Holy One. He reminds them, I am the one who saved you from Egypt and I am about to set you free from the Babylonians.

But God doesn’t stop there in verse 18-19, He says forget about all that- that is nothing compared to what I am going to do! I am about to do a brand new thing. See, I have already begun! (NLT)

God was calling his people out from the old and into the new. I feel God is calling us to step into the new also. I don’t know what that new is for you. Perhaps it’s going to Sunday school or a Bible study, maybe God is calling you to teach Sunday school or a Bible study. Disciple a new believer. Join a fellowship group or start a family devotional at home. Go on a mission trip. Have a daily quiet time with the Lord. Love someone that is hard to love.

Some of us like new changes, but I would say most of us not so much. But I am living testiment that if God calls you to something new, He will make a way and He will quench your thirst with the Living Water.

Believe it or not, I used to avoid fellowship. I would always try to avoid that one lady who would always invite me to Sunday school or village group. You know that lady, maybe you are that lady. God was calling me to fellowship with his people. I finally said yes to the new and went to a village group. The Lord has blessed me and my kids with sweet friendships, women that pray for me and I am growing closer to Jesus due to Godly fellowship. When we say yes to God, the river of spiritual blessings will flow.

I’ll close with this…

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Let’s step into the new!

Exciting Announcement

Seeing that this is my writing hangout, I found it the perfect place to announce my exciting news!

For a couple of years now, I have wrestled with what to do with myself when my children go to school.  After studying God’s Word, cooking, cleaning and an occasional lazy exercise there still was space in my day.  Do I go back to teaching?  Do I take some Bible classes?  Do I take some writing classes?  If I do, will the laundry mold or will we eat anything besides Sonic?  I didn’t receive an answer from the Lord on any of these questions.  So, I continued doing the things the Lord placed in front of me.  All along He knew the desires of my heart.  He knows teaching and writing both put a sparkle in my eye.  He had something better in mind.

I took a teaching job today at my kids school.  The Lord in his kindness is giving me an opportunity to teach 4th-6th grade writing and one period of social studies.  He has knit together two of my passions and said, “Here, go and enjoy.”  I am so excited to link arms with these middle schoolers and together we will become better writers.  We will learn, write, create and share together.  I can not wait to see the leaps and bounds we will make.  I also know God will grow me in so many ways through this journey and I look forward to sharing those treasures with you here at discoveringtruth.

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.  ~E.L. Doctorow

Friends, take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desire.  He loves you and He knows your heart.

Lord, I am in awe that you know our heart’s desires.  Thank you for your kindness.  May we delight in You in the waiting, in the Yes, and always.

Truths I Learned at Kids Camp at Age 39

Bunk beds are fun until you are staring at the springs above you at 1am wide awake. 😉

I am not responsible enough to put my cup back in it’s proper place after lunch and I am thankful my cabin showed me grace and I didn’t get extra kitchen duty. 🙂

I really like my bathtub at home.

Do a skit, be silly, let go!  My 10 year old son pushed me into a meeting where the sponsors were putting together an opening skit.  Thank you Lathan, turns out I had a blast and I am pretty funny! 😉

If you have the chance to be with kids, do it!  Their energy, passion and childlike faith is infectious.

The good news of Jesus Christ is not complicated.  I have over complicated it for too many years.

But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

There is a generation looking up to us with open ears to hear the Gospel.

God not only did great things in the hearts of thousands of kiddos but in this 39 year old heart too.

I enjoy a friendly game of poker.  If our eyes are not too droopy after the dishes are done, this is what my side of the family does at get togethers.  I even enjoy the risky All In move.  Maybe, it’s because there never is big bucks on the line.  You push all your chips to the middle and say, “All In.”  Good, bad, whatever may come, you are playing the hand you hold.

At camp this year the theme was All In.

“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross.”  Philippians‬ ‭2:5-8‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

I was reminded that Jesus was All In.   He emptied Himself.  He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death- even to death on a cross.  The pastor went into some detail about how painful this death would have been.  Why would God’s only Son do this?  Our perfect Savior died the most shameful death so that we would not have to face eternal punishment for our sin.  Friends, Jesus loves us and He was All In!

As I reflect on kids camp, I am asking myself… Am I All In?  Are you All In?  What do I still need to push to the middle of the table and surrender to the Lord?  My kids?  My family?  My money?  My comfort?  You fill in yours…. Will we be All In to share the gospel and encourage the next generation that has eager ears to hear?

We shouted John 3:30 for 3 days at camp.  Jesus must become greater.  I must become less.

Lord, you are worth it!  Help us to go All In!