Saturday, August 31, 2013

Every Day With Jesus

Here I am on my bunk at summer camp trying to read my Bible.  It was a King James Version, and to me, it was like reading a foreign tongue.  But, despite that, I read on.

I was thirteen years old and in earnest.  I wanted to know who Jesus is.  It's like I had an unquenchable thirst to be forgiven and free from the burden of my sin. 

The problem was, I was deathly afraid of God.  I knew He was there, He was everywhere.  I had sensed Him all throughout my life and known that He had rescued me from some pretty difficult situations.  But, I couldn't pray.  I just knew if I did, something terrible would happen to me.

It's like the situation in one of my favorite books,  The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis

Near the beginning of the book, Jill, gets pulled into Narnia.  Guilt-ridden after a terrible accident and at the same time, dying of thirst, she ventures upon a clear stream of water, but there was a lion blocking her way.  She would die if she didn't take a drink, but she might die if she did.  Was the lion safe?  She did not know.

Like Jill, that's how I felt about God.  Was He safe?  I knew He wasn't; He was as wild and unpredictable as a lion.  But, I had to go near Him to get to the refreshing water that would save me. 

The last night of camp, as the speaker gave the invitation to pray to receive Christ, I couldn't stand it any longer.

"For He made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might have the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I closed my eyes and envisioned Jesus on the cross, when He died for my sins.

And, after I prayed, I no longer had God-phobia.

It was gone.

I could pray to God my Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, and I knew that I was a forgiven child of God.

That year in school, I started feeling anguish in my heart for a boy that I teased.  He was from France and had a funny name.  A friend and I made fun of him the year before.  That's the extent of my bullying.  But, it was enough.  I didn't want to tease him ever again.  It was later on, as an adult, I was able to find him through facebook and apologized to him.  I'm not sure what he thought about that.  I don't think I was the only one who bullied him.

Then, there was the boy who bullied me.  He sat with me at the same table in homeroom in a shop class.  The next time he said a crude remark to me, I didn't feel ashamed or angry.  I looked right at him and shook my head, no.

It's as if I was saying, that's not you.  I think you'd make a better friend than enemy.  And, after that we were friends.  We played table football during homeroom for the rest of the year, and I remember those times with fondness.

As time wore on, however, I seemed to lose my connectedness with God.  I stopped praying, I gave up trying to decipher the King James Version of the Bible.  I began to follow Christ at a snail's crawl.

As an adult, after college, after getting married, and after finding out I was pregnant with my firstborn, my faith was renewed.  And, it was in community.

The Captain and I were invited to a Life Group that met in a pastor's house.  There were about six couples who met together to talk about passages in the Bible (in many different versions) and about following Christ daily, and then we prayed.  Something sparked inside of me during our prayer.  It's like my spiritual life was like a candle barely burning, but it was ignited to full flame in the presence and fellowship of other believers.

That was carried over into fellowship in women's Bible studies:

And, then in my own personal time alone every day with Christ.

And, so, I challenge you, my friends.  Do you know Christ? Do you have a fellowship that can fan into flame your faith?

I urge you to ask God to give you one. 

This is the last day in August and here are the last seven Truths to sum up the #femaleaugustchallenge prompted by my Google+ friends, +MelanieBaker and +RaeBrooks

Seven Truths for each day of the week.  To say out loud in front of the mirror to convince yourself of the Truth of God says you really are:

In Christ...

I can press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:14)

I am strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might to fight unseen spiritual battles. (Ephesians 6:10)

I have been redeemed and forgiven of my sins through His blood and by His grace which He has lavished on me. (Eph. 1:7,8, Col. 1: 13, 14)

I am an ambassador for Christ, entreating the world to turn back to God and be reconciled to Him by receiving forgiveness in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:20)

I am a temple of the Holy Spirit, and I have been bought by the blood of Christ, so now I want to honor God by taking care of my body and living in purity. (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 20)

I have a new mind, the mind of Christ. (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23, 1 Cor. 2:16)

I am filled with the love of God. (John 17:26)

Living Every Day With Jesus,


Sunday, August 18, 2013

{The Help}: August Challenge Week 2

Here I am reading, actually singing (no, there's no audio!) to my oldest daughter, whom we call Bright Girl, when she was only two years old.  Now, she's eleven, and about to enter the dreaded middle school years.  But, I 'm okay with that.  She knows who she is. 

There was a point when Bright Girl really started to "get it." She was a very verbal, precocious three year old.  One day, she was being mildly defiant (which was rare), and she refused to eat her mac and cheese for lunch.  I tired of trying to convince her to eat, so we took a brief break and then came back and tried again. 

Still, she wouldn't eat. 

Then she said, "Mommy, I feel yucky inside."

"What do you mean?  You feel sick?  Is that why you won't eat your lunch?"

"No, I feel sin," she said.

She was in AWANA Cubbies and was learning and memorizing Bible verses about our sinfulness and need of salvation in Christ Jesus.  So, I knew she had a very basic understanding of the gospel.

"Mama, can you take away my sin?"

"No, honey, I can't," I replied, "But if you know you have sin in your heart, you can ask Jesus, and He will take it all away.  Remember John 3:16?  God the Father loved us so much, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and take away our sins so we can live with Him forever."

"I want Jesus to take away my sins, Mama."

"Okay, go ahead and ask Him."

My little girl, clasped her hands together at the kid's table and prayed right there.


That evening, I wondered if she really did believe what she prayed in her heart.  On the way home from getting ice cream, I heard her whisper, "I love you," in the backseat of our car.

"Who are you talking to honey?" I asked.


The hairs on the back of my neck pricked up.  I knew this was a special day for my little girl.  She knew she was a child of God. 

With each of my children, I've been given opportunities to tell them the Truth about God, and themselves and how "God loves so loved the world He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

For me, I didn't grow up this way.  I went to church from time to time with my grandparents.  I saw pictures of Jesus on the walls of the church or at my grandparents house, but I didn't really understand who God is.

It wasn't until I was thirteen that I heard the gospel at summer camp.  I closed my eyes and prayed for Jesus to save me from my sins.

Little by little, I learned more and more about following Jesus by listening to the teachings of my youth pastor and reading my Bible.

Although, my three-year-old daughter was able to fully trust in Christ quite readily, I had trouble trusting in my heavenly Father's heart.  I knew that I was a child of God at that moment, but I had a lot of baggage that I needed to sort through to "get it."

Over the years, having other people of God coming alongside me, reminding me who I am, has helped me immensely.

They have been the voice of Jesus, telling me who I really am.

I recently read an article that Alley Mills, who played the mother in the hit T.V. series, The Wonder Years, had become a Christian.

She had parents who were absent during most of her childhood and she was basically raised by her caregiver, Mary, an African American woman who was a devout Christian and brought Alley to church with her.

She had later become a Buddhist, but went to a church for the first time in a long time when one of her grandchildren was going to private school at a Lutheran church.  She saw a very old picture of Jesus, the same picture she used to see by her caretaker's bed.

When she a child, her caregiver, Mary, would rock with her in her rocking chair, read the Bible to her and pray with her. She said she completely forgot about this part of her childhood possibly because her parents forbade the caregiver from teaching from the Bible at a certain point.

In an interview with Christian Post, Mills shared how she became a Christian: 

"I remembered that happened in front of me when I was about six and she stopped reading me the Bible, which was awful. It must have broken her heart," Mills explained. "Unfortunately, she died before I became a Christian. I am convinced she prayed for me every day."

Read more at 

Her story reminded me of this clip from The Help.

We all need a little help to remind us who we really are ( I know I do!)

If you have put your trust in Christ Jesus as your Lord and your Savior, let me share with you who you really are.  I encourage you to print the following Truths out and say them out loud in front of the mirror, as I have been doing for the past week, which I shared in last week's post prompted by my Google+ friends, Rae Brooks and Melanie Baker for the #femaleaugustchallenge.

Here's seven new Truths (1 for each day of the week):

In Christ...

I am intimately connected with Jesus, the Vine, and His Life will overflow in me. (John 5:18)

I am born of God, and the evil one has no authority over me. (1 John 5:18)

I am the salt of the earth, a light in a dark world. (Matthew 5:13-16)

I am called to do a heavenly work here on earth and my true citizenship is in heaven Hebrews 3:1, Philippians 3:20)

I am a priest of God, proclaiming the gospel to the lost. (1 Peter 2: 9, 10)

I have complete confidence to be in the holy presence of God by the blood of Jesus. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

I don't have to be afraid, because I've been given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Striving for the Truth with you,


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

{Proof of Love}: August Challenge Week 3

Me at age 3

I've always wondered what it would have been like to have a dad growing up.  I see the way The Captain interacts with the children, and I witness the love he has for them.  It leaves a little ache in my heart for what could have been. 

It would have been wonderful to be able to call my father, Daddy, and have him pick me up and put me on his shoulders so I could see the world from a new perspective,

Bright Girl with her daddy at Disney World

  To read me stories at bedtime and give me a piggy-backs ride to bed, 

Little Bit and Sunshine Girl reading stories with their daddy

To crawl up into his lap and tell him my troubles,

Bright Girl with her daddy

To be able to venture out into the big wide world and know that I am safe in my father's arms, or

Little Man with his daddy on our way to Arizona

To restrain me and discipline me for my own good as he knows best.

Little Man in his car seat with his daddy at the Grand Canyon

I did get to know my dad later on in my teenage years (you can read about it here), but by then, I missed all those formative years where I could call him daddy.

Because of Christ's sacrifice for my sins, I am now a child of God.  That means that I can relate to God, my Father in heaven. 

A girl needs a father, a woman still does, too.  And, I've learned through watching The Captain, how I can relate to my heavenly Father. 

I have found that God, my Father in heaven, can satisfy all my needs as His child:
  • That I can turn to Him and He will lift me above my circumstances to see His point of view. (Psalm 121:1)
  • That I can seek His face and bask in His presence, He will tell me all over again His story and plan of redemption for the world in His Word. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • That I can tell Him all my troubles and He will remind me that He is in control of all things. (Matthew 16:33)
  • That I can be brave even in the darkest hour for I know He is with me. (Psalm 23:4)
  • That I can rest assured that He will not let me make a total mess of my life and He will gently lead me to live a life of faith. (Hebrews 12:11

If you'd like to know more about how to know God as your Father click here.

And, since God is my Father in heaven, and I am His child, I can take hold of these Truths and know who I really am in Him.

For the month of August, I've been sharing seven Truths, one for each day of the week that you can print out and say out loud in front of the mirror to remind yourself who you really are.

Here are the next seven Truths prompted by my Google+ friends and sisters in Christ +RaeBrooks and +MelanieBaker in the #femaleaugustchallenge:

In Christ...

I have been saved from the judgement and wrath of God which will come against sin. (1 Thessalonians 1:10, Romans 5:9)

I have been delivered from the domain of darkness, and transferred into the Kingdom of the God's beloved Son. (Colossians 1:13)

I am a child of God with all the rights and privileges of a son and can cry out "Abba! Father!" (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6)

I am free from following the futile principles of this world and can now follow Jesus. (Colossians 2:20)

All my needs are supplied by my God according to His eternal, unlimited riches as Lord over all. (Philippians 4:19)

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

My mind and heart are guarded by the peace of God which is beyond our understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

Living in The Father's Love,


Monday, August 12, 2013

Accepting the Challenge: Week 1

I like a good challenge.  It forces me to try something new, to stretch myself and attempt the impossible. 

Last night, as I was about to write a new post on The Mommy Haven, I felt lexically challenged.

I got writer's block. 

It was the first time I had nothing to write about since I started this blog a year ago. 

It made me wonder if maybe something triggered it.

About an hour before I tried to write, my Google+ friend, Rae Brooks in her blog post titled, Foundation, challenged me to speak God's truth about myself in front of a mirror.  I accepted the challenge but got sidetracked.  The rest of the evening, there were so many distractions, and I felt bombarded and overwhelmed with worry and anxiety.

I just couldn't seem to make it over to the mirror,

look at myself,

and tell myself who I really am.

When I sat down for the evening to write a post (another distraction at this point), I couldn't write anything.  And,  I usually have so much to say. 

I went to sleep last night, bothered that I didn't get to write my blog post for the week.

Waking up this morning, I remembered the challenge.

I prayed and felt prompted to speak something out loud that I learned years ago in a women's Bible study:

Holding up my hand I lifted one finger at a time for each truth:

"God is Who He says He is.
God can do what He says He can do,
I am who God says I am,
I can do all things through Christ,
God's Word is alive and active in me,
I (pointing to my heart)
believe (pointing to my head)
in God (pointing up to heaven)."

(from Believing God, by Beth Moore)

Now, standing in front of the mirror, I read from some handouts that I had, stating my Identity in Christ with accompanying verses.

There was something significant about seeing myself as spoke my true identity in Christ to my reflection.

My heart flooded with joy and I sensed that the Lord was with me and He was pleased with me. 

He wanted me to know this is who I am.

But, the enemy of our souls doesn't.  He is our identity thief and tries anything and everything to get us to forget who we really are in Christ.

Sure, my own distractibility came in to play last night, but I think there was more to it than that.

The challenge was so simple and yet and couldn't bring myself to do it.

I felt opposed.

It was only through prayer and putting up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:10-20) that I was able to get to the mirror with the Truth in my hands and actually say who I am in Christ out loud to myself.

After that, I was flooded with ideas for blog posts. 

So, I am going to join with Rae Brooks with this #femaleaugustchallenge.

And, I challenge you to join me!

Keep in mind, you may experience such opposition as I did, so it would be a good idea to first pray.

I will give you seven Truths about your identity in Christ each week in August.

All you have to do is say one out loud in front of the mirror, each day of the week.

Just one!  Or all seven everyday if you wish.

Believe the Truth about yourself and see what happens!

Here they are:

In Christ...

I was thought of, loved, and chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4, Colossians 3:12, 1 Thessalonians 1:4)

I am truly a child of God and will resemble Christ when He returns (John 1:12, 1 John 3:1-2, Philippians 3:20)

I am now a saint, pure and blameless, having the righteousness of God (Ephesians 1:1, Hebrews 10:14, 2 Corinthians 5:21)

I am free from my sin nature, no longer needing to be controlled by it (Romans 6: 2-7)

I am a new creation, with a godly heart that longs to be pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24, Romans 6:18)

I am a temple of God, a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19)

I am now a workmanship of God, showing His handiwork in my life (Ephesians 2:10)

More to come next week...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

{A Great Inheritance}

Lesson 462: (Theme TBA)

{Take 3}


I may look pretty happy here, but that's before the sunburn set in.  And, this was right after I fully recovered from my spider bite, the one that sent me to the ER (you can read all about it here).

Spider bites, skin burnt to a crisp from a sunburn, a rude comment taken to heart, and...

 a horrible reaction (mine).


These are the things that made up my latest tests.

And, I initially failed to react in a Christlike way in each and every one.

Being a huge overachiever, I was devastated.

I don't like to fail.

There was a lesson that I needed to learn, and I missed it because of my sin.

What was the lesson?

Well, there was only one way to find out:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.   For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;   he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8)

So, I did.  I asked.

And, I waited for the answer.

It came in Psalms.

Psalm 135 to be exact.

"He defeated many nations
And slew mighty kings—Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, And all the kingdoms of Canaan—

He gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance to His people Israel. 

Your name, O Lord endures forever, Your renown, O Lord, through all generations. For the Lord will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants." (Psalm 135: 10-14)

During my morning devotions, these verses really stood out to me.  Like they were specifically for me to learn something.

The word "inheritance" especially resonated with me.

The Psalmist was speaking of when the Lord promised Canaan as an inheritance to Abraham and his offspring the Israelites.  But, there were people already living on the land.  And, these people were nothing but trouble. 

How does this apply to my situation?

How do I look at these verses with spiritual eyes?

We are called to believe the gospel.

To remember that this world is not our home.

And, it's full of troubles!

Reminds me of something Jesus said,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

One day, Christ will Return and He's going to
Renew and Restore
everything that's gone wrong in this world, everything that is broken.

And, then we will realize our inheritance.

Each time we face a trouble, it is an opportunity to learn to turn to Christ and to long for His return.

And, there may be pain, frustration, and tears, but if you trust in God and follow His directions in your situation, you will pass the test.

And, if you fail, and you may fail many times (I do),

Return to the Lord, and He will forgive and cleanse those long-standing wounds in your heart that caused you to fail in the first place (1 John 1:9)

God is gracious and will give you the lesson again.

And then the test.

And, you're allowed to use your Book (The Bible) to help you along the way.

Just remember, you are not alone, and you can't do it alone.

Until the next test comes...

Lesson 462: Realizing my Inheritance

{Take 4}


"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)