Monday, December 26, 2011

Part 2 - Look to God

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden” (Matthew 11:28 )  Sometimes family life is hard.  The housing market crash and economic nose dive in California severely affected my family leaving me weary and heavy laden!  Working on my goals was not on my radar during this crisis.
Before setting my goal in Jan ’09 to be like Mrs. Duggar, I had been asking God in daily quiet time to gently show me what I was unwilling to turn over to Him.    My inability to always have a meek and quiet spirit is one thing he showed me.    I thought I was a pretty average homeschooling mom with a pretty mild temper.  Obviously God thought I could have something so much better.
God invites US to come to HIM.  I have to recognize my weaknesses so that God can change them. Whether known or unknown, God will not automatically change or remove my disposition, the way I  think, feel, act or react, because that would be taking away my free will.  God is a gentleman.  He will not violate my free will by forcibly taking these things from me.  It has to be an offering of myself that I’m willing to give freely. 
What if I don’t know what my weakness is?  I didn’t know of my weakness either, but in looking to God in my daily quiet time and asking Him in prayer to reveal what I needed to change, the answer came unexpectedly.   One day I watched the Duggar’s show on TV, it jumped out at me and caught my attention in a very unforgettable way (read part 1 for details).  If I had not been praying I may not have noticed a thing.  I’ve  since watched that episode over and over and that moment that changed my life, happened so quick.  It would have been so easy to miss amongst my other, seemingly bigger life problems.  That’s where God comes in. 
When God speaks to me, it amplifies all the senses – I hear more, I see more, I feel more, I know more and I do more.  Instead of the thought diminishing over time, it stays right there, at the front, constant and persistent.  God promises thru His Word to show me my weaknesses so that I can give them to Him. “Ask, and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7) 
Our Heavenly Father is such a good and loving Father.  As I lay myself before Him, He promises that His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It’s a choice.  God is waiting at the door - we have to knock!
This is a 6 part series:

Part 5 Daily Spiritual Checkpoints
Part 6 Prayer

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Part 1 - Overcoming Weaknesses

Every January I write a goal list for the New Year to give me a vision of what’s important, what I dream and hope for and what I want to accomplish.  In January 2009 I wrote on my goal list "Learn to be kind like Mrs. Duggar".  She's the mom star of “19 Kids and Counting” on The Learning Channel (TLC).  Why did I make this goal?  A couple years ago, I was watching their show when Michelle was getting a Mother’s of the year award on Mother’s Day. A few children commented on why their Mom was so special but one son in particular said something I’ve never forgotten.  In fact, thru the wonders of technology I’ve been able look it up and write it down. He said, “Most people, when they discipline their kids, they’re more angry. But my mom, she’s real calm and she disciplines us that way. So I like it.”

 I’ve watched most episodes of their show and read both Duggar books.  I’ve never met Michelle Duggar but I consider her a mentor of sorts.  I’ve seen so many desirable, Godly attributes in her like the respect she shows her husband, her meek and quiet spirit her ever present smile and encouraging words, and even the tone of voice she uses.  I know she gets angry but her response is different than the norm...instead of yelling, she instructs and basically tries to be an example of Jesus.  In her own words she says "I want our home to be a safe place where our children feel love and acceptance.  Anger is a destructive force (and) can destroy everything we are trying to teach our children. It can build a wall between them and us"A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make it Work, p. 219).  I truly want to learn what she has learned.
Fast forward to Jan 2010…  Here I’ve been working on this goal for a whole year and in my mind I’ve made no noticeable progress.  I’m still the same old me!  So here we go again - “Learn to be like Mrs. Duggar”  I write on my 2010 goal list with the resolve to work on it harder.  I don’t know from experience, but surely it’s possible to be as 1 Peter 3:4 says, to "adorn myself with a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." 

Many more months go by-no noticeable progress - when one day I’m on the phone with a long distance friend. My friend says to me, “Will you excuse me just a moment?”  I hear her voice drop real soft as she addresses one of her children and then she quietly send them on their way.  I didn’t think much of it at that moment, but the memory of that event kept coming back to my mind, over and over again, till the awareness fully dawned on me – She knows something you don’t, so you need to ask her.

I did talk to my friend.  She taught me some important Biblical principles about child training and discipline that I didn’t really know or understand.  In hindsight I see now that I needed to learn and implement these principles in my life to enable me to reach my goal. 

I’m trying to be very real and very honest as I “spill the beans” on myself and tell you how God is helping me. The whole point of my new blog is to embrace my God given life mission and share what I have learned with my family and anyone else who God leads to this blog.  I’m going to chronicle this journey of Overcoming Weaknesses in a 6 part blog. Watch for them!
Part 5 Daily Spiritual Checkpoints
Part 6 Prayer