learn with my feet, part 1 & part 2

learnwithourfeet

part 1

this morning. the morning after Christmas. i was determined to seek Redemption from yesterday’s disastrous moments. yes, we had pockets of shalom and we celebrated, in small ways, the birth of our Saviour. but the expectations of a day filled with shalom. a day filled with joy were quickly shattered.

because the reality is we are a family of 8 who are broken. we are a family full of sinners. we are a family that can very easily get caught up in our own wants, desires, expectations and then have to deal with the consequences of all THAT.

so…this morning, i put on my walking shoes and took my middles (q and kiki) with me and we hit the ground walking. while walking, the events of yesterday kept circling in my mind until He brought me to a verse in luke 2 where luke writes, “but mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” [v. 19]. she didn’t complain (at least, that’s not what we’re told). mary’s life was flipped upside down and yet she chose to treasure and ponder everything in her heart. and then the question, “can you? can you treasure and ponder everything in your heart that took place yesterday?”. insert sinking heart feeling.

and it wasn’t too far into my walk when he reminded me of Israel. of course. why wouldn’t He? He knows how i treasure that land, those people, the history, and the sweet time i had there last summer. so what part did He remind me of? it was this, “remember ‘learn with your feet'”.

oh yes. ‘learn with your feet’ was a line we were told by our shepherd/rabbi/pastor as we hiked through the land of Israel last summer. because that is how the Israelites learned and how the disciples learned. there was/is so much richness to those four words because not only did i learn the terrain of Israel with my feet (the narrow paths, the rocky, steep inclines). i learned about faith, trust, perseverance with my feet (and my heart. and my mind).

so…these feet of mine may have to do some back-tracking to make right the wrongs from yesterday. they may have to walk up to certain family members so that i may offer an apology and ask for forgiveness. they may have to walk into a closet and collapse under my legs to fall prostrate before my Saviour Lord and King in utter repentance and confession of this cold heart of mine. they may. truthfully, they will.

and then.

they will get back up in humility, surrender, and with full intention of following the One True Shepherd, whose humble birth we celebrated yesterday, and live out the inconvenience of the Gospel.

so that i, too, may look back at yesterday and be able to treasure and ponder all these things in my heart.

part 2

one of the things i have to do this coming year is get a better grip on my health. i gave up smoking and drinking six months ago with the help of Holy Spirit. and it was such a huge gift to be able to walk away from those shackles FOREVER. but now. now. i need to go deeper and cut out the other “go to’s” when life gets out of hand and instead i need to be more intentional about eating health-IER and getting outside to move (walk or run) MORE.

it’s that same sense of cleansing that Holy Spirit used to nudge me and convict me of my “idols” that keeps stirring in my heart, soul, and mind. and i see it all over in Scripture. this cleansing that Father desires for me and for all his children is a holy, reverent, and humble cleansing of heart, body, soul, and mind.

this temple that he has entrusted to me needs a deep cleaning. and i stand in complete surrender of that…not at all sure what that looks like. but i know. that i know. that i know. He will do it.

so…who’s with me? who’s ready to do some nitty-gritty temple cleanin’? if you’re in, come join us on fb at http://www.facebook.com/40daystofreedom. we’d love to have you join us “learn with your feet”!

an inconvenient gospel

a little over a week ago, my family committed to read through the book of james until Christmas. not because we’re super religious or spiritual but because my hubby saw the need for our family to be more intentional about our faith as a family and less selfish with our time and the way we spend it (on ourselves).

and this morning, as i’m listening to james, i start confessing the yuck in my own heart because it’s His kindness that leads to repentance. but no sooner did the confessions leave my heart then the Holy Spirit made room in my heart to ponder about ferguson, to ponder and think of friends of ours that are flying to africa to see kingdom work being done and to be part of it, and to ponder about families who are in a bleak position because of unforeseen circumstances. the list goes on.

and then i think…the Gospel.

the Gospel is key to all of it.

i know it’s no easy fix. believe me. i know.

the Gospel is inconvenient to those of us that like our lives to be just so.

but it will take the Gospel to break in and bring shalom to chaos in ferguson.

it will take the Gospel to eternally transform any work being done in africa or anywhere else for that matter.

it will take the Gospel to step into a dark and despairing situation to turn it around and bring beauty from ashes.

am i willing?

are you willing?

to take the Gospel with all it’s power, in all its inconvenience, and bring it to those who are desperately (whether they know it or not) longing to be reconciled with their Creator through a surrendering of their lives to take up the only Life who gave up everything (sorta a inconvenience) for us. for them.

the Gospel may be inconvenient.

but it is and forever will be worth it.

amen.

p.s. wanna join us in reading through james? we’d love to have ya.

my two cents, re:ferguson

not long after we moved to the farm, i had a discussion about race with my 9 year old son, who is african american. and i was telling him a story i had once heard about a white pastor from mississippi who had invited members of his multiracial community to an “all-church” prayer night following the events that took place on 9/11. it didn’t matter their denomination or color of their skin, everyone was welcome. as the prayer time was ending, the pastor stood up to close in prayer but was abruptly stopped by one of the elders who came up to him, extremely agitated, and told the pastor, “never, ever, again will we allow you to invite those people into our church”. “those people” meaning the african americans.

when i finished telling the story, i asked my son, “how does that make you feel?” he answered, “it makes me sad. why can’t they just live in harmony?”

“why can’t they just live in harmony?”

these words coming from a boy whose parents, my hubby and i, are white, two of his siblings are white, and the community we live in is predominantly white. these words coming from a boy, who in his heart knows that harmony is the answer and in his heart does not see color. but because of the world we live in, his mind tells him that a family with both black and white family members is not “normal”. so his heart and his mind battle and, thankfully, because of Jesus living in him, his heart wins.

and harmony is restored.

so as his momma, and the momma of three other beautiful brown kiddos, my heart hurts today. because i desperately want my sons (and daughter) to grow up in a world where color does not define them. i desperately want them to grow up knowing that they are created in the image of God, the Creator of the universe. i desperately want them to grow up with the confidence that comes from surrendering one’s life to Jesus. and i desperately want them to know their true identity can only be found in Christ Jesus. and because of that knowing, they will live out “hear o Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD alone. Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might and love your neighbor as yourself” (the Sh’ma).

and harmony will be restored for them and for their generation.

hear the cry of my heart, Jesus.

amen.

.

“ding-ding”…round three

engedi

good morning, #40day-ers! if it seems quiet on the home front, it’s because there’s been a lot of wrestling going on. me vs. discontentment. and. me vs. God.

use the quiet from this page to dig deeper in His Word. to wrestle. to preach to yourself what you already know as TRUTH. i am not an expert. nope. and i’m not perfect. sorry. i’m just like you…broken. desperate. in need of daily redemption from my Saviour Jesus Christ.

okay.

so…this wrestling match i’m in, pretty sure it’s like round three. ‘cuz every time i think, “whew, it’s done”, the bell rings and another round begins.

but the post i’m sharing with you today, is just as true for me now as it was then. this deep crying out to deep. my deep of discontentment crying out to His deep of shalom, patience, joy, love…

so…i’m soaking in the TRUTH of who He is from all the psalms today. listening to them on my phone. reading them any and every chance i get…until His deep fills my deep.

won’t you join me? what is your deep today, #40day-ers? will you let Him fill your deep with His deep? i pray you will.

walk in His grace, dear one.

Day 12 • somewhere in israel
morning #40day-ers! before my head hit my pillow last night, i knew where i was gonna have to go today. ‘cuz yesterday was one of THOSE days…started out well then all hell broke loose. so…this is the pic that came to mind because this is where we read through and learned about psalm 42 and psalm 63. see…’cuz yesterday i so badly wanted to give in to my monkey. the day’s events had me worn and weary and longing. my deep was crying out (ps. 42:7). and what i wanted to fill it with would only satisfy momentarily. what i needed to fill it with would satisfy eternally. i did a little bit of studying that verse in psalms…”deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls…” [42:7]. and i came across a sermon by c.h. spurgeon from april 11, 1869. this is what he said, “…let me remind you that if in your experience there is a deep of extraordinary trial, there is most surely another deep answering to it. open now your ears and your hearts to hear the calling of this deep unto its brother deep…great deeps of trial bring with them great deeps of Promise!” by God’s grace, i did not cave. but what i am learning is that at those times when my body is crying out for a quick fix, my spirit is crying out for more of Him. deep crying out to deep. one more thing…this waterfall was in the middle of the desert. literally. we came upon it after hiking for some time in the hot, hot sun. it brought refreshment to our bodies and His Word brought refreshment for our souls. here is also where we learned, “Mayim Chayim”, Hebrew for Living Water. Jesus is our Mayim Chayim. praying you find refreshment in His Word today, dear ones, as your deep cries out to deep. #40daystofreedom #hazak #LivingWater

new monkey business

so…#40day-ers, after writing out my confessions in my journal this morning (because, let’s face it, even in choosing joy there was still a part of me that wrestled with that monkey of discontentment which then led to a sorta-snarky-less-compassionate mothering of my kiddos), these verses dropped on my heart which brought me to tears…

“consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” [james 1:2-4, niv]

and then this one, as i was in the bathroom getting ready this morning…

“surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…” [Isaiah 53:4]

He knows the sadness i hold in my heart because i miss the community we had. He’s no “newby” when it comes to grief and sorrow. and that is the TRUTH i can take comfort in and will use to combat the lie of discontent.

what’s your TRUTH today, #40day-ers? what do you have in your arsenal to combat the lie/s from the enemy?
whatever it is, speak it out…loud and proud. let the enemy know, he has NO foothold, NO grasp on your heart or your life. you have been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ…the One who bore your/my griefs and carried your/my sorrows and by His stripes you/i am healed. amen.

****below is another post from my first #40days that spoke to my heart again today****

mtcarmel

Day 25 • somewhere in Israel

good morning #40day-ers!

oh what a journey this has been for me and i pray you, too. are you beginning to soak in the truth of God’s love for you and his desire to set you free from your monkey? i pray you are.

so…what’s this a pic of? well, you are looking at the view from the top of mt. carmel. the story we’re gonna touch on today is from 1kings 18. i highly recommend reading it…slowly. and take in the truths it contains.

but what i wanna touch on are a couple things… first, how apathetic the israelites were to what was going on around them. yes, they worshipped YHWH but they also has a foot in the world. look at their response to elijah when is asked them who they are going to follow, “the people said nothing” v.21. NOTHING!!! then they proceeded to watch elijah do what he set out to do…prove that the LORD- he is God (which, btw, is the meaning of elijah in hebrew). okay…so you know how the story ends, right? God wins. in what looks like the most impossible of circumstances…God. YHWH. I AM. wins.

and we were challenged by our pastor/shepherd/rabbi to ask ourselves are there things we need to stand up for and we don’t. in my notes i have the words, “the worst failure is NOT to go for it”. and proverbs 24:16 says, “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes”. listen, #40day-ers, you are clothed in His righteousness. seated with Jesus. made new in the attitude of your mind(ephes. 4:23).

it may feel like the monkey is on your back but it’s not. because of what Christ has done, the monkey a.k.a. the enemy and father of lies is under your feet. step on him! tell him where to go! be an elijah and proclaim that the LORD- he is God! #40daystofreedom #nomoremonkeys #forfreedomChristhassetusfree #hazak #presson #besmall #knowTruth #chutzpah

a #40day post from present and past

#40day-ers, this monkey of discontent is bigger than i thought. the other two monkeys (drinking and smoking) that i have been set free from for over 100 days, bless God, were big, but this one is bigger.

and since discontent is an emotion not an actual object that i can choose to walk away from, i’m struggling with how to fight it. so that’s why i am going back to my first #40days, to remind myself of the TRUTHS instead of being sucked in by the lies.

the TRUTH that came to mind this morning from His Word, is Nehemiah 8:10, “Nehemiah said, ‘go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. this day is holy to our Lord. do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.'”

the joy of the LORD is my strength…that’s the TRUTH.

when i went back to the beginning of chapter 8 and read through, i found out that the Israelite were weeping because ezra the teacher of the Law read to them from the Book of the Law of Moses. and in verses 5 and 6 we read, “ezra opened the book. all the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, ‘Amen! Amen!’ then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”

can you feel it? the awe and reverence and fear of the LORD the Israelites had for YHWH?
they wept.
they stood for the reading of God’s Word.
they lifted their hands.
they bowed down.

it’s humbling to me.

because when i choose to live in discontent, my heart becomes numb to the awe, reverence, and fear of the LORD. when i choose to live in discontent (or give into my monkey), my joy is stolen and this life that i have in Christ Jesus becomes dim.

so…today, #40day-ers, is a new day.

today…i choose joy. not discontent.
i choose to be in awe of, and fear the LORD my God.
i choose LIFE in Jesus Christ…LIFE abundant.
because greater is He who is me than he who is in the world [1 john 4:4]

how about you, #40day-ers? what’s got you? what’s holding you back from living in reverent fear of the Living God? confess. repent. and praise Him for his kindness that leads to repentance. He loves you with a huge, deep love.

***below is a post from my first #40days***

stairs

Day 14 • the “x” stairs
#40day-ers!! it’s been 14 nights for me not giving into my monkey. and can i just tell you, every night is still a struggle for me. but in a weird way, i do sense a strengthening taken place in me. the strengthening doesn’t make the struggle any easier but in the end…His strength in me helps me overcomes my stinkin’ monkey. which brings me to this pic. this is a pic of where our Israel team trained at least once a week to get us ready for what we would be doing once we hit the ground in Israel. and every time we did these stairs, it was hard. but every time we did these stairs we were making our bodies stronger and our endurance to last longer. and this is also where we learned the word, “chazak” or “hazak” which is Hebrew for “be strong”. often times we would yell, “hazak” as a cheer for those like me who needed to push through and keep going even when we didn’t feel like it. so…i looked up the word “chazak” and i came across this video by eric ludy, titled “rak chazak” sorry, you will have to copy and paste the link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhGZ_3yj_HQ)

it is powerful. powerful. powerful.

my dear #40day-ers, chazak!! (photo credit @libbyvs) #40daystofreedom #dohardthings #forfreedomChristhassetusfree #hazak #presson

“broken” love

i’m not sure how much sense this is gonna make…but i’m goin for it.

politics and me are like oil and vinegar…don’t mix. at. all. which is funny because my husband is very passionate about politics aside from being passionate about Jesus and me and our six kiddos. i’ve never been one to pay much attention to what’s goin on in the political world. it takes too much brain power for me to try to concentrate and figure out who stands for what and why and, etc. but it’s when the political world and the body of Christ are in the news or social media together that my ears perk up and i pay more attention.

admittedly, i am not by any means an expert in politics or an expert in the Church (a.k.a. body of Christ). but i am a student and disciple and follower of Christ who has and does mess up and who has and does see the power of Christ’s love for me and (at times, when i’m not being snarky, prideful, selfish) his love in me and through me.

so when i hear or read about what’s goin on in the world and the Christian response/reaction to some of these stories, i take a step back and ask myself, “what is my response?” hypothetically, if a news reporter would stop at my big ole farmhouse, climb out of his/her vehicle and carefully walk trying to dodge the swamp that our driveway has become up to my door, and ask me what my thoughts were on the current events/political news/the Church…i’m almost certain (99.99% certain) this would be my response…

it’s about “broken” love. not because God’s love is broken, it absolutely is completely opposite…it’s 100% perfect.

“broken” love is where the God of the universe took me when i was at the lowest point of my life. ever. He ever-so-gently and ever-so-kindly broke me. humbled me. loved me to a place of confession and repentance of all my darkness and hidden sin. He was the Shepherd who left the 99 to look for the one (me) and bring me home and on our journey back home, whispered of how much He loves me. what He intentionally went through in order to find me. to save me. to redeem me. because i matter to him. and it made His heart sad to see me in such a dark place that he couldn’t just leave me there. His love for me prompted him to do something. because He is jealous for me.

i used to think love was a feeling. and then i realized, nope. it’s more than that. and then i used to think love was an action. nope. it’s more than that. it’s both of these but it is SO. MUCH. MORE. just read His word the Holy Bible and you will see how high, and deep, and long, and wide His love is.

what’s gonna be a game changer for all that is happenin in the world today? in our communities? in our homes? in our own lives?

“broken”. love.

are you willing to be “broken” for Him? for His kingdom? for the Gospel? and to love our neighbors (all people) from that brokenness?

Jesus was.
Jesus is.