If you know me, then you know I love to read. The more I read, the more I learn and the more I grow. Learning and growing are two of my favorite things to do. I think it is just a waste to be on this earth, living this life and never growing. There is so much freedom in this life especially, in this country. We shouldn’t waste it.
Somehow, in a recent morning quiet time I began reading the book of Revelation. Not sure how that came to be but I learned quite a bit. Growing up, my grandmother would always tell us how life simply repeated itself because people don’t learn from their mistakes or from the situations of those who came before them. As I began reading Chapter 12 in Revelation, I was reminded of my grandmothers’ words. Reading this chapter taught me about the strength of women and the struggle that will forever haunt young boys who, without proper guidance, will become men under attack.
From reading this particular chapter in the bible, I thought about my own life and the lives of the boys I raised. When my love and I met, he had three boys and I had one. So, I had the pleasure of raising four boys. Saleem is now 25, DJ is 24, Jaylen is 21 and James is 15. Our two oldest are out on their own, Jaylen is doing well in college and the baby, James, is still at home giving us a run for our money. All of our boys are the sweetest, kindest human-beings I know. After reading Revelation, I think there is one area where we may have failed them. While we made every attempt to raise them to be respectful, thankful, grateful and to treat others as they wanted to be treated, I think we failed to teach them the undeniable power that they held within.
Yes, we took them to church, prayed with them and talked to them about developing a relationship with God, however, we didn’t tell them the story about how they’d be attacked on every side through no fault of their own. We didn’t know to tell that that the attacks they’d face were due to the power and strength they possessed to stand as the kings they were born to be. Our boys were born to be fighters, to stand up for what is right and to be examples of God on earth. When we know better, we do better. It’s never too late to turn and that is just what I intend to do. I will work to remind my boys that they are true kings of God and within them, God has placed all they need to fight against any darkness that is meant to take them down.
I had a plan this summer! I was going to rest…a lot, summer clean the house, clean the garage and spend my evenings with a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other. I am one month in and I have been just as busy thus far as I normally am during the school year. Not sure how it happened but I think it’s my mother’s fault. That lady never knew how to sit still for more than a few minutes and I believe I inherited that gene!
Being that we purchased our first home last summer, I thought it would be a great idea to work “part time” this summer and use that extra cash to paint and decorate. Yes, I know, now…that was a bad idea! Although I only work about twenty hours a week, it is a bit more than I bargained for. The work is easy and my co-workers are pleasant enough but couple that with trying to fit in appointments for me and the kids, squeezing in all the things I intended to do this summer and it makes for some very long days.
The week school ended, my fifteen year old daughter announced that she signed up for a summer course to prepare her for dual enrollment in the fall. The course is eighteen days, three hours a day, four days a week! To make matters worse, she goes to a magnet school for business, the school is forty-five minutes from our house and there are no busses running in the summer. Needless to say, my plans to sleep in are a bust. I can’t be mad at her though, she is at least looking toward her future. Now, if she does not pass this course, she will be grounded the rest of the summer for making me get up early for nothing!
I am optimistic! I am certain I will have time to do most if not all of the things I had planned this summer. There is still plenty of time to sleep in, read, write and clean.
Here’s to a restful July…:)
It took a little while but this morning I was able to complete my 90-Day study of Awaken by Priscilla Shirer. I love the format in which this book is written. Each day begins with a scripture and then a short discussion followed by time to write down your thoughts. If you are looking for a short daily devotional with high impact, I would definitely recommend this book.
On Monday, when I realized that I was almost done with Awaken, I stopped at my local Lifeway Christian bookstore to find my next bible study jewel. I had no idea what I wanted to read/study next so I browsed the shelves for about an hour trying to find a book I was hoping would speak to my mind, spirit and soul. I thumbed through all of the authors I am familiar with but nothing felt quite right. I then turned my attention to authors I had not read before. Low and behold I came across a book titled Craving Connection by (in)courage. (in)courage, I have since come to know, was founded by Dayspring as an online community for women to share stories about their every day lives with God.
I purchased this little gem and brought it home. I am looking forward to cracking it open in the morning and taking the next step toward building an even closer, deeper relationship with my heavenly Father.
On to greater heights...😊
Why I Pray
After spending about fifteen minutes complaining about her life and all that was going wrong in it, she asked me, “how do you stay so positive?” My response, “I pray.” Then she asked, very sarcastically, “why, why even bother?” To say that I was shocked or even bothered by her asking why would definitely not be telling the truth. To be perfectly honest, I am no longer bothered or agitated when people question my ability to stay positive or, in this case, why I bother praying. I actually thought it was rather ironic that she would question my positive attitude amidst her complaining, frustration and negative attitude. Now, are there times when I’m not so positive…absolutely. But those times are happening further and further apart. The older I get, the more I come to realize what is really important in my life. For me, that is my faith, my relationship with God, my family and my true friends.
Each day I wake up, turn on my television or browse the internet, I am being constantly fed the negativity that has begun to blanket this world. Here and there, I will find a few newsworthy bright spots. However, it seems that the negative definitely outweighs the positive. So here is my response to her “why” question: The way I see it, I can continue to contribute to the negativity of this world by complaining about all the things that are going wrong with the world, with my life, with my job, my family, etc., and in the process negatively impacting my own health and peace of mind or I can pray. I can pray for peace, positive outcomes, a clear heart and mind. I can pray for my family, for my children and for my students. I can pray to see the goodness in others rather than assuming the worst about them. For me, prayer helps me to keep the truth about my real identity in constant, unbroken focus before me. Prayer also makes me aware of all of the resources and strength and protection God has already placed at my side. It works for me. It may not be for others but if you find yourself in a constant negative state, you might want to give prayer a try.
Know your worth…:)
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is a story in this chapter about a young man who wanted to be the very best lumberjack. Although he tried everyday to beat the goal he had set for himself, he always seemed to come up short. One day a much older and wiser man asked the young man about the frustration he saw on his face. After the young man explained his dilemma, the older man said, “I can tell that you’ve been swinging your ax with everything you’ve got but I can’t help wondering, when was the last time you sharpened your ax?”
How many times a day do we venture out into the world with a dull ax or should I say a dull sword for us believers in Christ? Just like the young man in this story we set goals for ourselves and the lives we want to live. We get up each day working our plan and planning our work yet sometimes find ourselves coming up short. We’ve been working the same plan (ax or sword) for the longest time and even though we are finding that it is no longer getting the job done, we haven’t stopped to re-evaluate the plan (sharpen the ax or sword). Are there areas in your life where you feel you’ve been using a dull ax or sword? If so, what is the best way for you to sharpen that spiritual ax or sword?
God calls each of us to have faith. His word gives us the ability to strengthen and grow in our faith. When we don’t take the time to read and study God’s word regularly (daily) we are simply swinging at our struggles and challenges with a dull sword. God’s word is full of promises that sharpen us as followers of Jesus. (p. 70).
Put on the full armor of God, Ephesians 6…:)