Raising Children During Chaos

Raising children in the midst of chaos can seem like a task of responsibility and accountability because our hearts are filled with thoughts of logistics, plans, & overwhelmed by circumstances. 
Pressing into Jesus while I admonish our children has made me the most aware and humbled by the gift of the Holy Spirit. 
While their behavior is filled with selfishness, tantrums, questions, and the need for training, it isn’t abnormal. It can feel like the greatest inconvenience, though, when my heart is reeling and my thoughts aren’t captive to Christ. 
I’m overwhelmed by the grace and wisdom the Spirit speaks into me and through me when I’m gently talking through life with my children. When a directive, a calm answer, or wise training comes from the depths of my innermost heart. I’m overwhelmed because Jesus speaks to me even more than whatever I’m speaking to my children. 
When I’m speaking hope and understanding to them (through the Spirit’s leadership), it’s actually me He’s speaking to…filling up my heart and mind to prompt me towards steadfastness. I’ll never stop growing, and the inconveniences of nurturing and training my children insure this and though I don’t always thank God for it, I am today. 
So today when my heart is very aware of the circumstances today holds, as we travel to another town to meet with an oncologist to hear pet scan results and chemo treatment plans, I’m asking the Lord to calm my anxious heart with moments of truth shared with my children that are ultimately for us all. 
Grace so free, washes over me. 

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Adventures in Healing::He speaks

I cried out to God with my voice— To God with my voice; And He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, The years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, And my spirit makes diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah And I said, “This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples. You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah The waters saw You, O God; The waters saw You, they were afraid; The depths also trembled. The clouds poured out water; The skies sent out a sound; Your arrows also flashed about. The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook. Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, And Your footsteps were not known. You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron. (Psalms 77:1-20 NKJV)

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This is a picture of our monitor. I pleaded with The Lord for a nap time for both boys, at the same time. Although I FEEL as though He hasn’t answered any of my prayers lately, I won’t stop asking or believing. I will choose to acknowledge that He answers…but I have to be honest in my prayer. I’ve asked Him for His will. That’s what He’s doing. Just because my flesh seeks to determine and control His will, doesn’t mean His will is not being done. I love how honest Ps 77 is and how raw it is. Asaph is plagued with doubt-yet he still takes his all to The Lord. Sometimes the pain, physical or emotional, seems too much for us all. But not depending on Him & not trusting Him is so much more painful. In this passage, though…he moves. He doesn’t stay in this place of hopelessness & despair. Verse 11::he remembers. He made a choice to remember & meditate. His will followed. (“A Deeper Kind of Calm-Linda Dillow)

It may seem small. But my pleas with The Lord for a nap time was my desperation for time with Him. I needed a word. I needed quiet. I needed to release. He may not have healed my husband today, but He is healing & redeeming my heart from the disappointment and hurt of watching him hurt. I know if He can do that, He’s still in the business of healing….in all ways. I will continue to believe. So, he was in control of a successful nap time that I committed to Him. I could have been cleaning or on Pinterest or sleeping. But I desperately needed moments with Him. Have you spent moments talking to Him (its okay to be honest with Him, He knows your heart anyway).

If we have difficult conversations with our loved ones, don’t we also love on each other after the fact? The Lord wants that too.

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart week 2 Re-Cap

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Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

5.1.13

Melissa Sharp

Get a Life…Sentencing Myself

Most of us, when we look within, can put our finger on a strong desire to love and be loved, to accept and be accepted. Our longing for love represents one set of needs that partly defines what it means to be a person or spirit. You have experienced a sense of wholeness, a feeling of vitality and fullness, when you do something important haven’t you? Washing dishes or laundry may bore you, but wrestling with decisions of major consequence or responding to a medical emergency extends into deeper parts of our person and sense of self. We sense an urgent meaningfulness to what we are doing,

We need to feel secure and significant.

Two sets of needs in the bible:: pg. 28-29 of Marriage Builder

  • Romans 8 Paul’s excitement over Christ’s love
  • Job’s trust in a living Redeemer Job 19:25-27
  • John is overwhelmed by thoughts of the Lord’s love for His children in 1 John 3:1
  • Ruth was bound to Naomi by a connection stronger than cultural ties.
  • As soon as Adam and Eve were separated from God by sin, their capacity for love was no longer filled and was therefore experienced as a need-a need for love, a need for security.
  • Abraham was looking to leave his home and travel great distances because he was looking for a city with foundations designed and built by God in Hebrews 11:8-10.

The intangible identity that I know as “me” has two needs, which are personal realities not reducible to biological or chemical analysis. They have a personal existence, independent of the physical body, which constitutes the core of what it means to be a spirit.

“The image of God is reflected in two needs. God is a personal being who in His essential nature is love and who, as a God of design and purpose, is the author of meaning. We too are personal beings, but unlike our infinite, self-sufficient, and perfect God, we are limited, dependent, and fallen.” Crabb

Security: a convinced awareness of being unconditionally and totally loved without needing to change in order to win love, loved by a love that is freely given, that cannot be earned and therefore cannot be lost.

Significance: a realization that I am engaged in a responsibility or job that is truly important, whose results will not evaporate with time but will last through eternity, that fundamentally involves having a meaningful impact on another person, a job for which I am completely adequate.

Depending on the Lord to meet your needs

Our personal needs for security and significance can be fully met only in relationship with Christ. To put it another way, all that we need to function effectively as persons (not necessarily to feel happy or fulfilled) is fully supplied in relationship with Christ and in whatever He chooses to provide.

  1. We need to be secure. He loves us with a love we never deserved, a love that sees everything ugly within us yet accepts us, a love that we can do nothing to increase or decrease, a love that was forever proven at the Cross, where Christ through His shed blood fully paid for our sins to provide us with the gift of an eternally loving relationship with God. In that love, I am secure.-Crabb
  2. 2.    We need to be significant. The Holy Spirit has graciously and sovereignty equipped every believer to participate in God’s great purpose of bringing all things together in Christ. The body of Christ builds itself up through the exercise of each member’s gifts. We are enabled to express our value by ministering to others, enduring wrong without grumbling, and faithfully doing everything to the limits of our capacity for the Glory of God Eph 2:10 and that our obedience will contribute to fulfilling the eternal plan of God.-Crabb

The Truth

Our dulled eyes of faith strain to keep these spiritual realities in clear focus. The central truth that serves as the platform for Christian relationships, is that in Christ we are at every moment eternally loved and genuinely significant. Too often Christians fall off this platform of truth into error. When key relationships fail to make feel secure or significant, it may be difficult to hold firmly on to the fact that I remain a worthwhile person.-Crabb

Error 1: Rejection and failure mean that I am a less worthwhile person.

Because someone has rejected me or because I have failed, I am less worthwhile as a person. It is also possible to slip from the platform of truth into error on another side. The truth that “Christ is all I need” may sometimes degenerate into a defensive posture to avoid personal hurt by maintaining a safe emotional distance in relationships. You must not hide behind the truth of your worth in Christ to avoid feeling pain in a relationship.

To say that Christ is sufficient does not imply that He is to function as some sort of cover protecting us from the pain of interpersonal fire. His resources make it possible for us to continue responding biblically in spite of the great pain we may feel, because the hurt, though great, will never be enough to rob us of our security and significance. All we need to live, no matter what our circumstances, is the security of His love and the significance of participation in His purpose.

Error 2: Christ is all I need; therefore I can avoid intimate relationships with others.

To avoid this error, take these 2 steps.

  1. Fully acknowledge all your feelings to God. Christians often are trained to pretend they feel joyful and happy when they are actually miserable. Because we “shouldn’t” feel unhappy, we pretend we don’t. Heb 4:15 teaches that our Great High Priest can sympathize with us when we experience weakness. Talk to the Lord, through prayer and humility about your hurt and thank Him for His love.
  2. Reaffirm the truth of your security and significance in Christ. One of the central truths of the Christian life is that our feelings need never determine how we believe or what we do. Remind yourself that in Christ you are fully loved and worthwhile despite others’ rejection.

Look at the images and ponder the differences.  Where is God? Who has ultimate responsibility? What action takes place?

Until you are dangling over the abyss of rejection, held only by the love of God, and not until then, will you deeply know that Christ can meet your need for security. 1 John 4:18. We will never know that love until we depend on it to preserve us from destruction.

After you jump, there is an interval of time before the rope of love extends fully to support the persona’s weight over the abyss. Example skydiving. For the scared Christian, who makes the “leap of faith” the moments before Christ’s love is experienced as real personal security may last an hour, a day, a week, a year or longer. Now is the time to rely on His Word Ps. 73:26

Now What?

Figure out “you”.

You understand self-worth shouldn’t be wrapped up in someone else. The most important thing you can do for developing healthy relationships, is figure out your personality.

If you know who you are, you won’t have the insatiable need to be in a relationship or on a date to feel good about yourself. These people drain their dating partner (and eventually a spouse) dry because they are looking to others to meet their needs.

People who don’t have a life are really putting their lives on hold.

The Deadly D’s of not having a life

  1.  Desperation: You rush in and rush through. Your urgent need to fill a void keeps you from going slower in order to allow a more normal, natural process of bonding to occur. You don’t have the inner strength necessary to stave off desperation. This urge-to-merge scares off potential mates instead of attracting them.
  2. Dependence: dependent daters have difficulty making decisions and taking responsibility for their lives and their own decisions. When a dependent person enters a relationship, he/she usually sucks the lifeblood our of the other person. A dependent dater will depend on the other person to meet most of his/her needs to provide a sense of identity.
  3.  Depression and loneliness: this “D” usually affects the whole person; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is to be expected to experience some feelings of depression and drops in self-confidence and self-esteem. The danger in isolation and extreme depression is the downward spiral it creates. This can be prevented, but if it happens can also be treated.
  4.    Detachment: disengaging from life, this step will take you completely away from vital relationships. Withdrawing to protect yourself, can cause some serious problems just like depression, but it starts with your own actions. Therefore, this is a “D” you can be leery of and avoid if you’re really watching yourself. Just because there are some failed attempts at relationships or failed relationships, doesn’t justify cutting yourself off from friends and family.

How to get a life

When you see yourself the way God sees you, you will be free from insecurity and fear. What you believe about yourself and your core identity determines how you behave.

Get into a group

Getting into a group is all about developing replenishing relationships. It is about being in deeper relationships where there is trust, safety, and vulnerability.

  • Commit to a local church by joining,
  • find a small group, join a team,
  • serve in the community with others,
  • find a few who will encourage you and if needed-confront you

Create a life sentence

You only get one sentence when you’re gone from this earth. What do you want others to say? “Oh, I remember her….she….” My life sentence is “To be about the growth of other individuals” it ultimately combines sharing Christ and walking with them after. I’m always looking for ways to help people grow and move forward in their life. It affects every conversation I have with people, directly and indirectly. If I’m not faithful to that sentence, I feel convicted and moved to be obedient. This will help you steer clear of being unequally yolked, it will affect your ministry to your peers, it will direct your speech and actions, and ultimately hold you accountability in all areas-especially dating.

Adapted & Quoted from “Marriage Builder” by Larry Crabb

Ten Commandments of Dating by Ben Young and Dr Samuel Adama