Steward Well

(Honestly) part of the blessing in being a stay at home mom, for me, is that I am not a morning person (soooo it’s rare we go anywhere very early.) This morning, however, I filled in as the mops coordinator at our church. My husband got the boys ready and brought them to the church when he came to work and they went to their mops class. 
As I was backing out of the drive way, Drake stood in the front windows to wave and mimicked every kiss blow and wave I gave to him. He looked like an 18 month version of himself. Passionately saying bye to me and throwing out some sad faces bc this isn’t our norm. My memories on Facebook today showed me his first steps 5 years ago. 
How is the human heart capable of sadness over our children growing AND AT THE SAME TIME pride and joy over our children growing!?!? I totally know that’s only a mix of emotions God sets within our hearts in order to appreciate His complex way of loving us with grace and mercy. 
I’m so sick and really exhausted but we managed to grab lunch at Cracker Barrel bc dad usually has lunch meetings and didn’t today. I will say, my heart pounds equally big time as I watch my husband raise and lead our boys. It was hot and I was tired and they asked to play and I plopped down in a rocking chair and my husband squatted right there and taught them how to play. 
Feeling the weight of expectations I put myself is deceptive and unworthy of sharing space in my heart with the grace of Christ. Walking in freedom that He guides and provides what we need to parent these children brings a new measure of the gospel and love each day to lavish on them and one another. 
Let go of the confusion (He doesn’t author confusion) and the overwhelmed feelings (because He is sufficient), and do whatever comes next in the day to be a good steward of His blessings:: relationships, possessions, and responsibilities. 

finding my stride::my momma “aha” moment

i’ve been told so many wise statements since becoming a mother. perhaps my favorite “remember, they’re sinners in need of discipleship & training”. i know it’s hard to think of our precious littles as sinners, but it’s absolutely true, isn’t it? aren’t we sinners? so it’s perfectly logical to realize our small children, who have yet to understand the saving grace of Jesus, are sinners. they will always be with sin, but the great logic needing to seep into our soul of parenting, is that while we pray and pursue salvation on their behalf, they don’t have it right now. it is our accountability and stewardship of their hearts to teach and train them repentance and relationship.

so i’ve been told this. my heart knows this. my brain processes this on a daily basis while i’m home with them. but there are breaks in my understanding of this that crash into the reality of frustration, disappointment, and anger. frustration when i feel so spent with their disobedience that i am ready to punt for the day and let all chaos ensue in order to have a break. the disappointment i feel when we’re in a public place and they lose all semblance of the endless hours we’ve worked on obedience and manners. the anger i feel when they are rude and disrespectful with fits of rage, tantrums, and screaming at me.

as i reflect on the day, i see one word that is a common thread through my description. feel. that is 100% the descriptive word i used. how am i any more mature, grace-bound, or live giving that my 2 and 4 year old if my operation of parenting is fueled by my feelings?

it’s all so messy. my house. my head. my heart. it thrashes, swirls, and explodes like a tornado. one evening last week, my husband (with great provision of the Lord) found the eye of the tornado with me on our bed. somehow everything seemed tragically calm (enough) for us to lay down on our bed and talk. he was laying the opposite direction and our eyes remained in engaged for an amount of time that was cumulatively much longer than the moments we steal here or there while passing and even while trying to parent when we’re at home together as a family.

back to the eye. he said “it’s not personal, you know”. to which i responded exactly like my 4 year old or a teen “i know!” i really did know this. and i really am confident that i believe it and do not act out of feeling personally assaulted by my children. my 4 year old tells me pretty frequently “bad momma!” or “yucky momma!” or “mean momma!” and has fits of screaming at me when he’s in disagreement, with, well, anything. he’s 4. my husband has chimed in on that very powerfully and i usually receive a heart felt apology within minutes and a bonus explanation of what a bad momma really is (because in the mind of 4 year old we need a definition of the opposite if we’re going to be operating out of definitions.) my husband mostly agreed that i don’t take it personally.

most of my distress is born out of my great desire for them to “just get it”. the number of broken spoons, migraines, and missed fun is too high to count and it breaks my heart for them sometimes. when my husband comes home and takes over (which is another shift for him…i’m not starting an argument about child rearing being a job, but let’s face reality–he’s been at work all day earning a living and now the work of parenting and husbanding is just as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually filled with work). so watching him discipline and address them give me a huge release. i then watch these little boys fear their discipline. i watch them repeat the offenses over and over. it breaks my heart. just get it. please!

and then. they get it. magic number ___ spanking, conversation, consequence unleashes the lesson and understanding. don’t worry, offense number ___ is lurking so we move onto something else just as rigorous. but they got it with the last one! hope to continue and remain CONSISTENT.

remember that eye of the tornado we found? my husband spoke life-giving, mother affirming, inspiring truth to me. he listened. he heard. he doted. and finally, i looked up and said “they don’t know any better”. AHA. i know, that is not profound. but it let me off the hook. it let my little boys off the hook.

it let me off the hook of the frustration, disappointment, and anger. in the grand scheme of the consistency with which we parent, they DO know better. but with every small battle we endure through the day, they are…..here it is……the eye of the tornado where my husband spoke directly to my soul……..they are testing. i know, i’ve been been told that one a million times before. i cannot explain to you whey i immediately FELT relieved.

they don’t know any better (for each and every offense). they’re testing. and do you know who they’re testing the MOST? me. the stay at home mom they occasionally tune out so that all they hear is “wha wha wha”

to top off my aha moment. we were eating dinner with the boys one night and i gave my 4 year old a few directives that he unashamedly rejected, denied, and did the opposite. my husband was in and out because we were at his office. i redirected the 4 year old with fewer directives and a promise of discipline if he didn’t obey. he handled it well and moved on. all of a sudden my husband walks in and my child says “momma, just quit going on and on and on”. my husband snapped into gear quickly and handled that disrespectful address as well as his attitude and intonation.

as we were sitting on our bed in the eye of the tornado, i told my husband about an understanding i gained while reading SEVERAL books about raising boys. it was never directly stated, but from all of our incredible opportunities to counsel, and even from my own husband, i understand very vividly and clearly that men are hard wired to loathe nagging. i mean scripture is VERY specific about what it’s like to live with a nagging women. why would i be surprised that my little boys don’t appreciate it either? (for the record, i was not nagging in the moment he decided to be dramatic!) but my husband grinned from ear to ear. he said “that’s why you are such a wonderful wife and mother,” he went on “that you can know your little boys will tune you out and test you harder with the approach and nagging says you care more about their hearts in the long run than you do immediate satisfaction for yourself”. i really do. yes, we can be heard saying “you obey momma/dadda!” but there is great relationship backing up that command. they can both tell you about how much we want them to be good men, (and they will say like dadda…which i only dream they are as incredible as my husband) we want them to be honest men, and we want them to fear the Lord with great reverence and respect. they’re learning to obey us, to believe us when we set up a consequence, and to trust us when lay out an expectation means they are gaining tangible understandings of what it is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds.

i’m finding my stride in understanding discipleship and discipline in time with my children learning obedience. it’s a long haul. i’m thankful for a husband who leads me through conversation, understanding, and an effort to help me take practical steps to continue loving him and our children in a biblical, God-honoring fashion. there’s no formula. what works for our family won’t work for others. no one can tell me how or what to do with my children because God entrusted them to me. i take suggestions, prayers, and advice on a regular basis, but it’s me who they were entrusted to for shepherding.

what has been a recent “aha” moment for you? a moment where a truth you have known for a while just sunk in so deep it became part of you?

my blind spot is multiplied

There are so many reasons why it is hard for the human heart to be vulnerable. But the “let’s just be real” reason for me most of the time is my great want for authority, respect, & admiration. I told you I was getting real. I could put that blanket reason out there-pride. That generic description doesn’t get to the root of my sin though, that word just give my root sin a label.

When it comes to conviction & sanctification, wouldn’t it be soooo much less excruciating if the Spirit just pierced out hearts? I mean, I would rather the Spirit deal with me right down to the heart….just me & all alone. I’m a coward at heart.

But He knows far deeper ways to permeate my soul & flesh. It’s far more sifting, sanctifying, & lasting for Him to go about dealing with my heart by actually utilizing the very depths of what make my church.

Let me just try to face it, I’m like my 3 year old when it comes to obedience to the Lord in becoming more like Christ. I’m going to grunt, growl, stomp, run away, cross my arms, and scream when it’s hard for some hard obedience. Especially the kind that requires a change in me & from me.

Here’s how He reveals my blind spots. He uses my husband & children. CRINGE.

Not fair, says the immature 32 year old wife and mom.

I was looking in my rear view mirror to change lanes & I thought, I rarely even use my rear view mirrors. It was busy traffic & I desperately needed to change lanes. I want to make sure those blind spots were clear.

Instant parallel. I wanted to make sure my family was safe, so I checked my blind spots. Same principal in life. When He’s leading & speaking, check my blind spots. Where am I missing Him and where I am trying to just “make things work” by just weaving in and out of traffic? Jumping around in life and not really being intentional (buzz word I know, so TRY to think about the reality of that in relation to what I’m sharing).

We love people. We love serving. This is what God uses to purge the sin from our flesh. This side of Heaven, He will not ever finish sifting us. I’m thankful that He pursues me hard and constant to purge the sin. It may take so very long in some places, but He never gives us. I must learn to not give up checking my blind spots. My blind spots are usually revealed by my relationships with my husband and children. As much as I would love for them to not have to learn of my sin or be a part of the purging thereof, I’m grateful for the great testimony they are of God’s grace.

They love me just the same.

Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

the one word that sums up all i’ve learned about myself when i became a mommy

 

it’s so painful to my flesh to say it.

selfish.

it’s painful to my flesh for 2 reasons.

1. because i’m embarrassed i didn’t learn how selfish i was when i got married…it took having a child for me to realize that i’m selfish.

2. because i have a root sin of pride and to realize, confess, & grow beyond this selfishness means i’m not perfect.

1 John 2:16

King James Version (KJV)

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

when i have on the filter of Truth, i can see my selfishness for what it is (sin) & press into Christ’s redeeming forgiveness. when my heart is bent towards asking God to produce based on the good intentions, motivations, & desires He has put within me to steward the lives of my children, i am outside of my flesh & directed towards the idea of redemption.

yes we are all selfish. but praise the Lord of all Heaven and Earth that He is in the great and glorious business of Redeeming.

Ephesians 5 Amplified Version

13 But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light.

14 Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light.

15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.

so there is no condemnation for the temptation to be selfish towards my husband or children. but an ever present reminder of what success really is in the realm of home. success in the Spirit is waking up each morning and asking of the Lord

Psalm 139 New Living Translation

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

so that when our children will not give us a break, they spill milk, have a potty accident, pull their clothes out of their drawers, wake up 3 times each in the middle of the night, scream and run away when discipline is knocking on the door of their hearts……….or when our spouse forgot to do something important for us, forgets something special, makes a decision we don’t agree with, or is having a rough day and their attitude effects us–we can confess we have selfish hearts that want to scream or pout, but then repent and remember Lord’s ability to lead us in the way everlasting.

He puts His Spirit within us to walk and guide us in the trenches. yes, even the trenches of our selfishness. our hearts are deceitful (Joshua 1:9), but He is grace. He forgives. He gives. He extends mercy and grace.

He knows our hearts. our very fragile, worn out, over-extended, but very very very full hearts. the heart that beats harder and faster during the hard days. the heart that explodes at night when our littles snuggle up on our chest while we read. the heart that grows more full as our children begin to speak Truth themselves and model all that we’ve spoken about Jesus. and as we hear and watch our sweet babes talk about Christ, He is sweetly beckoning us as we watch the little seeds we’ve planted begin to be harvested by Him.

it’s so hard during the drag of day and sometimes night to remember that we are living out a calling. a calling to love our husband and children well. it is weary sometimes when we don’t know what “well” is and we’ve lost track of our purpose. but He says we can call on Him. so my prayer for myself and other mommas is that we reevaluate what it means for us (as individuals, not as compared to other mommies) to love our husband and our children well. we are all gifted, interested, and experienced in different ways. press into Him with your deepest and grandest expectation that He will speak directly to your heart about how you can rest in who He has made you and love your family well with how He has equipped you. no more trying harder. no more being better. no more rules and regulations. just asking, exploring, and living out who you already are and loving with the tools and resources He has already provided.

just ask Him. and then abandon your own idea of what the pressure tells you it should look like for you to be a mom and wife and, instead, be the mom and wife He’s already equipped you to be with a whole heart full of expectation. sometimes your greatest equipping and resources come from your children and your spouse. be sensitive to the Spirit.

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the hard decision

The hardest decision is to let someone else decide, sometimes.

I’m so thankful my husband makes decisions.


We both make decisions all day. Some big. Some small. Some important. Some just preference. Some of our decisions effect each other and our family. Some don’t.

It is a great responsibility & accountability to defer to my husband.

 It is responsible for me because scripture calls me to acknowledge and respond to him as the head of our family. It is responsible & accountable for me to defer to him because I am called to teach and exemplify what it means to be a biblical woman in my marriage. Scripture calls me in Titus to show younger women. I’m also responsible & accountable to defer to my husband so that my children grow up with a discerned view and understanding of their role in marriage…and life.

There is great unity in trusting my husband. 

Trusting my husband draws me closer to The Lord because I’m ultimately trusting The Lord IN my husband. There is great unity in trusting my husband because this shows him, above all the voices and chatter of the world and my deceitful heart, I choose to believe & follow him. There brings great confidence for his present decisions and whatever may come in our future. I intentionally married a man with whom I agreed with in the realm of money, sex, theology, and calling. Within those realms are vast degrees of opinions and preferences. Where we don’t agree or even know if we agree, we talk, pray, think, and talk some more. Of course we have intense moments in our marriage. We have moments of frustration and confusion. Then, like all other areas of my life, I’m convicted and humbled. We come together and talk again. After the strife. After the rebellion of my heart.

Other times-it’s easy to defer to my husband. There are just some decisions that I’m glad I don’t have to make. My role as the female in our marriage bears great responsibility.

 I don’t have to assert myself and take control in places where I’m not called to in order to be important and necessary in our marriage. I am already necessary.

 I am already valued and worthy and needed. For the places I don’t have to or need to be responsible and the decision maker, I will gladly turn to my husband.

For all the ways this culture and world speak up about how men are not men and they are boys and they aren’t stepping up, I question whether they’re being asked or allowed to? We judge them for not being leaders. Yet we aren’t acknowledging the training and support it takes to be a leader. Anyone can be a bulldozer & tell others what to do. It takes a servant with humility and grace to lead well. Those are not qualities that come naturally, nor are they attained by a “just be it” attitude. It is a difficult, weighty opportunity to lead…peers, employees, a family.

So for all the ways women wrestle with their biblical role of what a wife is called to be and do, the men in our life have an equally valuable and difficult calling on their lives and responsibility. 

Our journeys and calling as women and men are very different and vary individually, but are deeply necessary.

When we are obedient to Scripture’s defintion, we are satisfied.

what i’m not taking for granted.

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we left saturday at 9am to travel to colorado with our two boys and my parents. we were headed there for my grandfather’s (my dad’s father) funeral. so many have asked about the circumstances. he was ill, but it is never expected and it is always grievous to experience loss.

we lost my grandmother (my mom’s mother) in december. she was buried christmas eve while i was in the hospital.

having experienced loss and a temporary goodbye, my heart is in the place of receiving grace and giving thanks for the now…

salvation. 1. i am redeemed & expecting eternity with Christ. 2. my loved ones will not have to ache in wonder about my eternal destination. for the sake of the cross, your eternity, and your loved ones…accept the sacrifice and blood covering for sins of Jesus.

my husband. 1. he’s the greatest person i’ve ever known. 2. he is redeemed. 3. he loves me like Christ loves the church:::sanctifies me and leads me.

Ephesians 5 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

4. an exceptional father. he is intimately involved in every aspect of our children’s lives.  from morning until night he is top notch and top request (DADDA!!!) for both of them. 5. his sacrifice:::for me and the boys. he sat in the backseat with an uncharacteristic gigantic fit throwing baby so that i wouldn’t get car sick. needless to say his chronic pain didn’t do him any favors, but he calmed a baby and saved momma’s stomach. i cried the entire time.

my children.

Psalm 127:3

New Living Translation (NLT)

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.

1. i know what it is lose a child. i love all three of mine, including our baby not here with us. 2. i grew to appreciate all moments with my children this weekend (locked up in a car with them screaming in car seats, in a small hotel room with little space for little adventurers, no media for entertainment, no privacy for sleeping for them, happiness when we can make small luxuries for them happen, joint bath time for them that seemed like a bath tub birthday, a grandparent induced chuck e cheese visit, the list could go on and on). 3. the richness of hearing “i love you momma” over and over and over from my 3 year old. i’m not sure if all kiddos do this, but it sure does wipe away the screaming fits of disobedience when i hear this.

understanding. 1. sometimes we ask questions about our family circumstances. i’ll leave that broad. but in reality, it’s God’s design for you to be with the people you are with and related to your specific peeps. i got to see some family this weekend i haven’t seen a while. we may not see each other for a while. it’s cleansing and bonding, though, to grieve with others who you are confident understand your ache and hurt. we shared the ache of losing someone recently, losing my grandfather because we all love him, and hurting for each other as we walked through this.

motivation. 1. to love more intentionally and specifically. i feel confident i do this well with my children. 2. i have taken this area too much for granted concerning my husband. i am not taking for granted the motivation to love him more intentionally and to show him more often.

friends.

Proverbs 11:25

New Living Translation (NLT)

25 The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

1. i never realized what a definition in my head for what a friendship is or should be. that has been butchered and redefined as i have received hugs, texts, facebook messages and posts, cards, etc. people watch, care, pray and meet our needs. that is friendship. even if it’s “just” through facebook. they took the time and shared their heart. that’s vulnerable and compassionate. that’s a friend.

i could go on and on about what i’m not taking for granted especially since i’m not in my big, warm, comfortable home in the quiet while the boys are visiting their other grandparents. but i’m going to rest and relax while i can and then eagerly pick my boys up and squeeze all of my friends and family i see today.

though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes with the morning.

i had a few moments of feeling a bit like David recently. (i mean, seconds. especially once i got to the end of this psalm and read his resolution). this psalm has followed me since Shane & Shane released a song utilizing this particular psalm. i was listening to their cd (yes, we did use cds at one time) and while i was listening i was reading this psalm and the corresponding song came on at the same time. that was a time of the Lord’s deep moving in my heart and i forever remember the time i spent with Him then. i thought things were very difficult at that moment. i had no idea how NOT difficult it was and what a preparation of my heart that time was for me.

Psalm 13[a]

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart week 7 preview “on becoming whole.”

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Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

Melissa Sharp

10.17.13

on becoming whole.

1 corinthians 1:26-31

Glory Only in the Lord

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”[c]

We cannot seek relationship and maintain relationship the way the world does relationships. We have to be different. We have to care about others. We have security in the Lord so our security doesn’t come from a person here on earth. The world doesn’t understand how we do relationships. They don’t understand how we can love because He loves us. We must process through the sin and hurt in our own lives on a regular basis in order to love others.

There are no shortcuts to personal growth & wholeness. But there are a few suggestions & steps we can take in order to voluntarily walk the road with the Lord of discovering who we are in this life & who we are in Christ.

As we read excerpts from “relationships” by Dr. Les & Leslie Parrott, we’ll discuss what it means to become whole. We’ll walk through 4 steps: heal your hurts, remove your masks, sit in the driver’s seat, rely on God.

There is a process to walk and it’s a life-long process. We’ll discuss biblical and practical direction for these 4 steps and prayerfully consider how we can each gracefully maneuver our self and relationships with regard to becoming and being whole.

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart preview week 5

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“Marriage teaches us that even the most intimate human companionship cannot satisfy the deepest places of the heart. Our hearts are lonely ‘til they rest in Him” –Elisabeth Elliot in Lonliness

Tonight we will discuss the alabaster box that contains all of our hopes, dreams, & priorities and challenge ourselves to fill it with the desires of our heart and recklessly abandon our box before Jesus. We will recall much of Ruth’s journey (our study of Ruth here) as we discuss what it looks like to completely surrender.

offerings::what do you need to walk away from? Why do you need to walk away? You will need help. How will you get help walking away? How will you stick with your abandonment?

rememberance::what Truth do you need to tuck deep inside of your heart? What did you hear tonight that resonates with you but is difficult for you to believe? How will you remind yourself of these Truths? Will you choose to believe God?

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart week 4 review

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such a time as this.

Esther’s parents die & she is raised by her cousin, Mordecai. God ordains her protection.

God ordains her favor. 2:9

Mordecai gives her directions & walks with her through this. 2:10 We must all have spiritual mentors & sensitivity to submit.

God allows for her increased favor 2:15 and she continues follows direction.

Her submission & boldness lead to a throne & she is favored more than any others. 2:17-18

The more she obeys, the more she is favored. The more she is favored, the more her borders for trust & influence are enlarged.

As she gains more influence, more challenges come her way. With more challenges, come more opportunities for faith. 2:21-23

Near genocide of the Jews Esther 3

What is Esther’s heritage? Mordecai?

Esther’s Dilemma Esther 4

She hedges because she knows the ways of the king. But Mordecai speaks truth.

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

She responds with a willingness to walk the path Mordecai has directed, but asks for fasting.

everyone in Susa—-herself & her attendants—–3 days & nights

Her request reveals she has come into her own dependence on God & own understanding of His direction. It also reveals her need for a direction & peace higher than Mordecai.

Esther’s Approach Esther 5

The first step in her process requires the King extending the gold scepter

Next, she threw a party

Then, she keeps the king in suspense

She throws another party

Haman loves the attention & isolation of being chosen by the king. But he can’t get over his hatred of Mordecai.

His friend and wife help him plan Mordecai’s demise.

The end for Haman Esther 6

He neglected humility, so his thoughts were skewed. His answer lacked thought & wisdom.

Esther’s boldness Esther 7

She answers the king. She cannot handle her distress anymore.

Haman dies on his own pole for impalement.

The Jews, Esther, & Mordecai Esther 8-10

Esther receives Haman’s estate

God honored Mordecai’s steadfastness.

The Jews have all right to assemble & defend themselves.

How can we enter the turf of our own enemies, eat with them & encounter the beginnings of understanding?

How is Esther, a young Jewish woman displaced from Jerusalem, having eyes for her people an example to us?

God had her in a place of a foreign king at a time when high ranking officials turned on her people-the Jews.

She made a bold appeal to the king. She approached the king in a very unorthodox manner, one which would bring death to anyone (wife included) unless the king gave clearance. This is a great attachment to Hebrews 4:14-16 and of the fact that she wasn’t even approaching the king for herself. She risked her life to save her people.

peace maker & joy keeper

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We had a very busy first week back into fall schedule. Tuesday night Portico, Wednesday night family nights at FBC, Thursday morning mops & Thursday night DGroup at our house all while maintaining normalcy in our home with meals, naps, shopping, play time, etc. It wasn’t overwhelming. I wasn’t anxious. Brady kept the focus in front of us & the peace and joy at home. Most of you mommas do this all the time. This was my first week of this busy lifestyle with two littles since having Drake.

Holt was born last November so his early days were spent celebrating holidays and staying cuddled up at home. By the time he got to a place to enjoy being out of the carrier and relating to people, school was almost out for summer break and church activities were winding down for summer.

Now, at 9 months, we carry him everywhere and he’s crawling. He’s eating table food and will still go for some baby food. He wants to be everywhere Drake is and do whatever his older brother is doing. He’s all over the house and let’s me know his frustration if I limit his boundaries. So, with chores to do and to-do list tasks mountings, I’m once again approaching my “priorities” evaluation with The Lord and myself. He won’t be into everything for long. It’s a short time to really soak up and watch him develop while trying to be just like Drake.

Both of my boys got sick this week. And then Brady. And now me. But we’re doing what you do when the sickies try to set up shop. Medicine, fluids, sleep, Lysol. And cuddles….lots of cuddles. That’s how we ALL got sick! But not too many snuggles-these boys don’t slow down for much.

And during this whole journey of testing the waters this week with a busy schedule, Brady made sure he spent time at home, helped me clean and prepare, played with the boys, did some night nights and nap times, and got everything prepared and rolling for his ministry. Incredible.

Tonight we plan and meet about a new facet of our ministry. There will be more on that later. I’m so humbled that Brady still chooses me every day. He wants to see me. He wants to spend time with me. He tells the boys positive things about me daily. He trusts me with aspects of our ministry that are very close to my heart. He asks me important advice and opinions on where he’s going with his ministry. All of those actions speak to me his love and his value of me. Love is a choice and a risk. He does this well and with intention.

What a sweet Friday it is as we prepare to open a new area in our ministry and head to Salt Lake City tomorrow with a group from our church to join Bobby Wood and his family and Redemption Church for their first church service in Ogden, Utah.