Simply and Always Remember to PRAY

I’m a sucker for a good product. Especially anything that helps my baby/toddler to sleep! Who doesn’t love a good nights rest? So, I have all the machines – white noise, lullaby music, grow clock, sleep sack, stuffies, blankies… and don’t get me wrong, they work great! Until they don’t. It’s this: “until they don’t” that gets me all worked up. What? My child NEEDS ME? In the middle of the night?! What about these MACHINES?! Gimmicks. Nothing but eye-catching gimmicks that if she didn’t have them – I’m sure she’d sleep just fine. If not, the exact same. She falls asleep on her own – that’s all you want as a parent. Sometimes I rely so much on the MACHINES to do “their job” that I forget to do mine – pray.

God knows best.

To pray and ask God about what my child needs and who SHE is. Every mother, has a different birth story – no birth story is the same. Just like every person is different and no person is the same. I love mom blogs and resources that help me parent well. I love books, tips and tricks – of course! The conviction for me comes when I rely more on the gimmicks than Jesus to teach me how to parent.

Remember to Pray…

Dear Jesus,

Not only do you know my daughter, but you created her, and loved her before I did. Thank you for the gift of bringing her as my own and allowing her to call me “mommy”. What a treasure that already is to being someone’s mother. Forgive me Lord, for I have put my trust in gimmicks more than in your wisdom to teach me. To teach me about my daughter, her needs and her character. I pray that you would help me become a gracious, loving and wise mother to this specific little person; whom I call my daughter.

Thank you for your wisdom.
Amen.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:6

The Known Path of Jesus

You Will Not Abandon My Soul

A Psalm of David.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

The KNOWN Path

Despite our physical and earthly unknowns – God makes His path of life KNOWN. What is this path that David is talking about? It’s the path of following Jesus. In Matthew 7:14, Jesus says its not an easy path rather it’s narrow and hard and few will find it. But it leads to eternal life. The easy way is a wide path which seeks the approval of man rather than God. So to have confidence in this KNOWN path of God – we must follow Jesus with our lives. Regardless if its hard, because it will be. Thinking of a narrow path there is only one direction I can walk, straight. In a wider path there is so much room to roam I may actually start walking sideways or backwards, losing my sense of direction completely. I choose to follow the narrow path, where it keeps me directly inline with Jesus, the original trail blazer.

Fullness of Joy

This brings me to the second part of the verse, where David says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” So, not only is the path guarantee life for us, although hard, there is still a fullness of joy. Where is this joy found? In His presence! Where is His presence? It’s in us who believe in Him! I can receive the joy of Christ where ever I am or whatever I am doing because His spirit lives in me. By believing and accepting Jesus as my Savior I no longer fear which path to take. Instead I make a commitment to the KNOWN path that promises a fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. This brings me great peace because its not by my own strength that I must follow. It’s the Lord’s strength that goes before me and guides my steps. I have joy in knowing His presence is always with me.

I am Encouraged by the Known Path of Jesus

My husband and I have no idea where we will live or work come next year. We are facing so many unknowns about our own lives currently that this verse brings me great comfort. To know that my joy is not found in a location or in a job but its found in Jesus. His presence with me anywhere I am. Praise God for the narrow path, although hard to see (physically) where it leads, (spiritually/mentally) I know its good for me.

5 Pitfalls of Self Care

Self care is important but there are pitfalls that can negatively impact how we self-care. This post looks at warning signs by describing 5 pitfalls we all face.

Pitfall #1: The Binge

– The binge of “I deserve”. A mentality of self reward with excessive indulgence. This may include a shopping spree, eating whatever food I want (lots of it) and later feeling great regret or guilt because of it. This pitfall lures us with temptation assuming if we engage in that activity or spend that money it will make us feel better. To avoid this temptation of indulgence we must realize that this is not self-care it’s self sabotage. Self care is supposed to fuel you up with a great sense of confidence and joy – not regret or guilt.

Pitfall #2: Being Reactive not Proactive

– Someone who self cares is a proactive person. The opposite is being reactive. A reactive approach is acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it.

This one hit home for me as a new mother. I did not realize that I needed to schedule in advance my “break” or “me time” to self care. Instead I waited until the wall came and smacked me in the face. Then my husband, unfortunately for him, took my reaction of burn out. This pitfall involves zero self care as it doesn’t plan for it. Be careful for the wall – its coming and coming fast!

We need to be proactive like adding a new routine that opens space and time for our self care. This may include new daily habits that positively increase your rest, energy and ability to thrive. As well as, planning for things that bring you joy like a friend date (within your bubble/distant walk), reading or exercise. Scheduling and pre-planning is a great way to avoid the wall of burn out. Do not wait for plans to come to you, create the time now. To quote my husband, “present self doing future self favours.”

Pitfall #3: The Social Comparison

– The social comparison of assumptions, which manipulates the truth to make ourselves feel insecure. For instance, you feel insecure about your progress compared to someones success they posted online. The key is to stay in your lane of growth, success and achievement. We are all in different lanes but in the same race. As Christians we are racing for the same goal – to grow in likeness of Christ and to bring heaven on earth. Surround yourself with like-minded Christians that support, encourage and build you up in the way of Christ – not in the way of social comparison.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Pitfall #4: The “No Time” Theory

– Lack of prioritizing God in your life. This theory is an excuse we often use to reduce the guilt about not knowing God and His Word. If we want successful self-care, we need daily spiritual care. As Christians our priority is God. Him in us, through us, all by the workings of the Holy Spirit. Make time for God first.

Pitfall #5: Its Only About Me

– Its about who is around you. We all have a circle of people we lead and influence daily. By creating healthy boundaries in our use of time and daily habits it will help us become better people to those around us. Love your neighbour as yourself

Conclusion

To sum it up self-care is spiritual care for the Christian. No magazines, online blogs (like this one) can really tell you how to live a well-balanced life without adding a pitfall as a positive. There is a mandate to loving others and ourselves. The key is in humility. To reach this type of humility we need Jesus (loving God first). Let’s be a people of the church that talk more about the benefits of spiritual care in likeness of Jesus than self care in the likeness of people.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus in human form as an example in how to live and how to self care. As Jesus took time away from the crowd (Luke 5:16) to spend time with you, Father God, may we do the same. I pray that as I start to make more consistent time for you, I will learn how to love myself and others more humbly with a focus of Christ as the centre. Amen.

Comparing David and Goliath to The Hunger Games

The first heroic act we see from David, in the book of 1 Samuel, is his “volunteer for tribute”. Yes, a Hunger Games reference. He asks King Saul to voluntarily fight against Goliath. The reason for the one-on-one fight is whoever wins will have victory for their nation. All the men in Israel were fearful of Goliath, except for David. He bravely volunteered to fight Goliath. Telling the King, “let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:32).”

Katniss and David both Volunteer to Fight

In The Hunger Games, the main character, Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place to compete in the “Games”. The competition is a fight to the death against other teenagers from twelve districts to be the last one standing. Each competing teenager is chosen at random because no one would volunteer to fight for their own potential death. But when Katniss witnessed her sister be randomly selected, she protected her by volunteering for her spot. David also protected his family – the nation of Israel by volunteering for their spot against Goliath.

Katniss and David both learned wild survival skills from their fathers.

Prior to fighting in the Games, Katniss, learned to hunt wild animals with her bow and arrow. Skills she learned from her late father. In comparison, prior to fighting Goliath, David worked in the fields herding sheep. He came across lions and bears that he would tear apart with his own hands to save his captured sheep. In the end both Katniss and David experienced perseverance through tough trials by simply providing for their family. Unknowingly, both were being trained up for a much bigger battle. In the end their experience led to their volunteer to fight and their victory to win.

However, unlike Katniss, David already had the knowledge that He would win because He trained from his Heavenly Father. As Christians we too are trained by our Heavenly Father. We rely on His strength not our own to win battles.

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

1 Samuel 17:37

Here is the difference – we are not fighting battles alone.

The key in Christian training is having a relationship with God – learning who He is from Him. This way in times of battle we go from knowing God to believing God. Even with Goliath’s threats towards David and mockery of his lack of “amour”, David’s faith stayed strong. He says to Goliath, “the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hand (1 Samuel 17:47).” And he did.

Conclusion

In comparing David to Katniss, I choose to be like David. As he goes into the fight remembering it’s God’s battle to win. The glory always goes to God. We are His sheep and He is our good shepherd. Confidence in our Heavenly Father means boldly volunteering for tribute – if it means bringing glory to God.

God is Merciful

God is merciful – saving us even when we least expect it or don’t expect it at all. How quick we are to forget the blessings of God or ignore God’s hand over our lives when we fear our circumstance.

In Egypt, Pharaoh finally set the Israelites free from slavery due to the power and mercy of God through Moses and the ten plagues. They left Egypt to pursue their freedom. Upon their journey God shared with Moses His plan to rescue them once again. The Lord told Moses to lead the people of Israel through the wilderness to reach the sea. As their pursuit for freedom was not finished. Pharaoh and his hosts are coming after them. However, the Lord assured Moses that He would win over Pharaoh.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.

Exodus 14:1-4

In this passage we see God sharing His plan with Moses. The Egyptians are on their way to pursue and bring back the Israelites as slaves. But the Lord will have glory over Pharaoh and save the Israelites. This is all the information we get. No details as to how God will save them at the sea, just that He will. This is when I think of times when God gives me a plan without much detail. I know I have to trust Him anyway. But the Israelites were scared and lacked any trust! Once they saw the masses of angry Egyptians on their trail they trembled in fear. I would too if I was led through the wilderness and to the sea without a Noah-built-size-arc waiting for me.

The Israelites’ circumstantial fear trump their fear in the Lord.

The Israelites cried out to God and to Moses. They said, “is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? (Exodus 14:11)”. The Israelites’ fear in their circumstance overshadowed their fear in the Lord. Even though the Lord said He will get glory over Pharaoh. The Israelites are viewing their circumstances without reference to the fact that the Lord brought them there.

Trust in God for He is merciful to see His plans through.

God rarely gives us details of how His plans will unfold. But that doesn’t mean we stop trusting Him. The Israelites had proof already of God saving them through the signs and wonders that brought them out of Egypt. Yet, they chose to ignore those signs and feared their current circumstance instead. They were given plenty of good reasons to believe God would save them. How quick we are to forget the blessing we’ve already received.

Crossing the Red Sea – How God Saved the Israelites.

In the next few verses to follow, Exodus 14: 15-18, the Lord again reassures the Israelites. He repeats to them that He will get glory over Pharaoh, “and the Egyptians shall know that I am Lord“. The rest of chapter 14 explains the miraculous power of God controlling the red sea by splitting it half. So the Israelites have dry ground on the sea bed floor to walk through. The lord then closes the sea once all the Egyptians have entered, sweeping them up, not one remained. Then in Exodus chapter 15 the Israelites sing a song to the Lord in praise and worship! They have been saved and finally set free!

God is Merciful

God shares His plans but leaves out the details – not to harm us but to protect us. We learned about the Israelites’ fear in their circumstances and not in the Lord. I want to be more fearful of the Lord that my first response is to thank God for His plans not to doubt Him because of my circumstances. Through all the fear and doubt swarming over the Israelites, God’s plan to save them still prevails. He rescues them by parting the Red Sea and destroying their enemy. God is merciful. His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts, and His plans higher than our plans! We just need to trust Him.

 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
    the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Exodus 15:1-2

God’s Plans

I have been reading Genesis and what amazes me is how God prevails His plans. Even when evil arises and people are disobedient – God’s plans still prevail. It makes me think of my own life in how I tend to fear the “what ifs” of my own plans. Instead I need to think of “what is”, which is God already going before me and working out His plans for my good. So my life’s “story” becomes a life’s testimony of who God is! He redeems, restores, saves, loves and is merciful.

Faith in God’s plans never fails because He has what’s best for us.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Game plan with scripture – learn the promises of God.

  1. God gives me strength when I am weak – 2 Corinthians 12:9
  2. Prayer relieves my unbelief – Mark 9:23-25
  3. Every opportunity teaches me to persevere and draw near to God – Romans 5:3-5
  4. God works out everything for good – Romans 8:28
  5. I trust in God, He gives me the desires of my heart – Psalm 37:4

God’s plans will always be better than whatever we can dream of.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Pray

Thank you God for wanting and knowing what is best for me. I pray for belief to take over my unbelief. May you guide me to learn to seek you with all of my heart. I pray for faith to increase over my fear. Thank you for the plans I have yet to see and thank you that it has already worked out for my best! Amen.

Time and Purpose

Procrastination

Learning something new takes time – this is true,
The reading, thinking, the studying too,
Failure then improvement is how we learn,
Unavoidable, yet a good return,
I know I will find my joy by the end…
As for now, I’ll imagine it instead.

The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.

Ecclesiastes 4:5

Refusing to work only ruins yourself. Don’t allow procrastination or predication of “what might be” stop you from living with daily purpose. Procrastination tells you, “wait for the perfect time” and God tells you, the time is now (2 Corinthians 6:2). We need to trust in God as He is the creator and ruler of time itself, the beginning and the end. We will make ourselves dizzy like a dog chasing his own tail trying to predict the future or wait for the “perfect time”. There is no time for procrastination and predictions. Time is for purpose and that time is now.

He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4

Purpose made simple by Jesus.

Jesus made purpose simple not complicated. It starts with acknowledging that we are all guilty of sin against God’s judgment and in need of a saviour and in knowing this God gave us Jesus.

Jesus (%100 God and %100 man) died on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16-18), which tore the veil between us and God (Matthew 27:51). Signifying that we can now have a direct right relationship with God Himself. Three days after His death, Jesus was resurrected. He seats in heaven, living today and passes along His living Spirit to all who believe (Luke 24:46-48, Romans 8:9-11).

The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is a perfect act of love that I choose to follow. The moment I repented of my sin, asking for forgiveness and accepting Jesus as my saviour – my purpose for life began (Galatians 2:20).

Although my vocation, location and “dreams” change, my purpose remains the same. I glorify God as the Truth, the author and finisher of my life. So whatever work I choose to do or whatever life throws at me – I do it with the intentional purpose of giving God the Glory because He gifted me hope through salvation and eternal life.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Time and purpose found in God.

Who created all?
Do we have a call?
Does it just depend?
Who stands in the end?

Striving to win, always getting ahead,
Complaining as we lie our heads to bed,
Just to beat someone else in a moment,
No one wins – everyone’s an opponent.

Only to circle back losing the trail,
Like a dog chasing his own stubborn tail.
The status, fame, followers and fortune,
And then your gone, alone and forgotten,
Wondering, what or whom shall you live for?
It’s God, who knows you, made you, long before.

With questions and answers – this sets us free,
No one can enjoy life apart from He.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

We do not have to live life on our own. Placing our hope upon things in this earth – as everything is fleeting and a “chasing after the wind”. I think now, is a perfect time to understand your life’s purpose.

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“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands!”

Psalm 90:17

Proper Footwear

God gave me a dream about the importance of wearing proper footwear. I hope it inspires and gives you hope like it did for me too!

The dream:

Whilst in the water, I looked down at my feet and I was wearing footwear. I asked my surfing instructor, “why am I wearing shoes on a surfboard, don’t most people go barefoot”? The instructor replied, “yes, but this will help you have traction and stability on the board”.

Dream Interpretation

After I wrote down my dream I prayed and asked the Lord for its meaning. Then I started thinking about spiritual warfare and the armour of God. So I read Ephesians 6:10-17 and came across verse 15 about our feet being “fitted with the readiness that comes from gospel of peace”. Reflecting upon my dream, the obvious factor are surfers don’t wear shoes so the symbolism in that came obvious to me. I have allowed the waves of fear and worry to push me off my “board” or path. Instead I need to be stable in my faith, with gospel fitted footwear, so I can ride the waves instead of letting them crash over me.

It’s all about the proper footwear

Whenever I embark on a new sport or outdoor activity my first reaction is, “what’s the proper footwear”? I want to excel at what I am learning and not waste my time with improper gear. For example, I know what my feet need in a shoe to perform well on the basketball court because of my years of experience. But when my husband introduced me to rock climbing I had no clue what my feet needed. Turns out rock climbing shoes are a lot LESS comfortable than a cushioned basketball sole. However, the tight fit of a rock climbing shoe was important in manoeuvring up and around a rock wall. Proper footwear doesn’t always seem comfortable at first, but with trust in its purpose it can help maximize performance.

Spiritual proper footwear

As Christians we need to have this same mentality when we walk in our faith. Are we wearing the proper footwear to best suit our spiritual quest? When we read Ephesians 6:10-17 we learn about the armour of God. As part of the armour of God, footwear is part of the spiritual gear.

“…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

Ephesians 6:15

My faith is in the Gospel of peace because then I am protected, supported and able to stand strong. I’m agile in my faith – ready to move in any direction. I fasten up my gospel shoes each morning because I know Jesus is the peace I stand on. Fully prepared and ready to move so wherever I go I can share the good news. I trust in the purpose of the Gospel and fasten it under my feet to be ready for anything that shakes my path.

Unlike buying a shoe at a store, the gospel shoe has already been purchased on our behalf. It is gift to receive. The peace of Jesus is a gift for anyone to receive.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”.

Ephesians 2:8

Unlike a shoe where its purpose is for one thing, the gospel shoe has purpose in all things. So trust in your fitted gospel feet – the first shoe you should be putting on to start your day!

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Isaiah 52:7