There's More to Come

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.''  - Maya Angelou

The day we realize that life isn't everything we wish it were is the day we start to find the path to maneuver through and still find joy.  It takes some longer than others to make this wise discovery and unfortunately, some never quite get there.  I know I've not got it all under my feet but I'm thankful I'm on the path to finding more joy each day.

We all go through hardship, trials, misunderstanding and struggle with circumstances in our lives that are beyond our control.  Some are more painful than others as they reach closer to our hearts while others just create frustration and aggravation.  They all affect us in some way though and none of it is pleasant to go through.  The ones I want to talk about however are the deep dark cocoons that we find ourselves in...the ones that heartache is present and we struggle trying to find the truths in the midst of our pain.  We struggle through trying to hear the voice of God and the direction He wants for us.

The thing I find interesting about the butterfly is that "he" was created to do a little bit of his life as one type of being and then to go into a place of darkness for a period of time.  The butterfly spends the first part of life as a caterpillar eating and sleeping until it reaches a time where things begin to change and he decides to cocoon himself into darkness at which point things start to take place and change begins.  Now, I don't know about you but I don't think I'd make a very good caterpillar.  I don't necessarily like change and I don't like the thought of living in the dark.  I like to be in control of my circumstances and if I couldn't see the end outcome, I wouldn't be the one to voluntarily encapsulate myself hoping that I was going to turn into something beautiful.  So, like you, things happen in life and although we don't like it, we unwillingly enter into darkness because there is more that we can become and the process begins.

What happens to each of us in the time of darkness is different and we each have different things we go through in learning, sharpening, feeling and experiencing so that we can become more of what we were created to be.  During these times it is pertinent to remember that there is more to come.  We need to do what we must during this process as painful or frustrating as it may be, in order to survive and eventually break free of our cocoon so we can become more.  Not because we want to but because in order to survive, we have to.  In your darkness, don't forget to pack hope, praise and bit of joy into the cocoon with you!

''There's more to come:  We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary-we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!''  Romans 5:3-5 MSG 


Butterfly Image courtesy of Ana Cole:

Mr. Clanky

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

     This week as I was telling my husband about my endless stories with the boys, he said, "You have the best job in the world." As a stay at home mom I don't always think this, but he is right; I do. When I worked in the corporate world, I felt like I lost sight of the important things in life. I lived and breathed deadlines. Now, I live and breathe my boys and their crazy antics. Seeing life through their perspective, I believe, has brought me even closer to my heavenly Father.

  There are days where I get myself all worked up in a tizzy about absolute nonsense--Take yesterday for an example. I had an old acquaintance who was supposed to stop by for a visit. Immediately, I began cleaning the house (as if she were to believe that my house always looks that way). After hours of cleaning and running myself ragged, I looked around and the boynados had managed to destroy the two rooms I had just cleaned. It seriously looked as if I hadn't touched a thing. I became so overwhelmed and angry! Just when I was about to lose my temper, I began to hear the soft and high pitched giggles of my little guys. I peeked in my baby's room to see what was so funny, and there they all were, all three of them--the baby in his crib and the boys on the opposite side-- jumping in tandem and giggling uncontrollably. Innocence. Pure joy.

     Later that day I shared the best conversation I have had in a long time with my three year old. It went like this: Luke (in a funny high pitched voice), "I'm Mr. Clanky." Me (racking my brain through all the shows we've seen) "Who's Mr. Clanky?" Luke: "Me!" :) Ah yes! The obvious answer ;) I haven't laughed so hard in a long time! God spoke to my heart at that very moment. Could it really be that simple I thought? "Yes," I could hear Him saying, "yes it can be."

      Sometimes I overcomplicate things far more than I need to--case in point, my house cleaning episode. My friend ended up cancelling. All that stressing and frantic cleaning for nothing. As I said before, sometimes I overcomplicate things. I would like to encourage you, if you have a tendency to do this as well, to remember that God reminds us that His ways are not our ways. If you have a moment, I encourage you to read Isaiah 55.

     As adults, we tend to think we need all the details. We want to know how we are going to get from point A to point B. We want to know what we will need to bring or what preparations we need to have in order. We are frantically cleaning house for people who were never coming. Or searching for the answer that was never intended to be there in the first place. Just like my conversation with my three year old, when God says in Isaiah 55, "Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost," why do we say to ourselves, "Can it really be that simple?"

    Yes. Yes it can. "My ways are higher than your ways." Some things are just not meant to be figured out. Sometimes they just are. We forget that He has gone before us and knows what lies ahead. His thoughts are not our thoughts and there is purpose in that. There is joy in not having all the answers and overcomplicating life...Perhaps that is why we are called to have childlike faith...

Written by: Jacklynn Graham of Raising Mavericks

D.I.Y. Inspiration - Oilcloth Peg Bag

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I thought I'd share a rather practical tutorial today, from a fellow Australian. Ros, from Sew Delicious has a tutorial on making an oilcloth bag for your clothes pegs (that's what we call them here in Aussie-land - I'm not sure if the same term applies where you are).

I think I probably chose this particular tutorial today because I have laundry on the brain. I have spent much of the day trying to catch up on washing, folding, ironing and putting away clothes. Isn't it strange how the dirty laundry seems to multiply after a weekend away? Anyhow, I hope you enjoy today's D.I.Y Inspiration. Don't forget to visit the original Sew Delicious blog post for all the step-by-step instructions.

The Bee in Me

"According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway, because bees don't care what humans think is impossible."  -Bee Movie

I was busily getting "Mom" things done after popping in Bee Movie for my kiddos to watch.  I'd seen bits and pieces here and there but had never seen the movie in its entirety.  The movie trailers were done and I walked over to get the remote, hit the play button and turned to head back to the kitchen.  The movie starts with a quote and it caught my attention.  I'm sure at that point I became a real annoyance in the life of my children as I rewound it a few times to listen so it could really sink in, and then I wrote it down to further contemplate...because I'm a thinker and that's what I do...I must analyze everything!

There are so many things that this quote offers in relating to our lives.  I'm certain you can come up with a few of your own that may relate to you personally.  Fortunately for you, I'm not going to bore you with all of the ways I feel this quote could apply to life, I'm going to take just one and focus on it.  It's amazing to me that in everything God creates, there's a story.  There's a bigger picture and if we look deep enough, we can figure out how it might relate to us or something else.  I've personally never sat and watched a bee and realized its disposition, surprising, I know.  I've never noticed that a bee is "fat" or that it's body is much bigger than what its wings should allow to take flight.  I've only noticed how they love to suck nectar from flowers and that I personally enjoy honey.  

I know that the Lord sits watching us at times after speaking to our hearts about things.  I can only imagine the patience He has, as well as the desire at times to kick us in the rear end to get us in motion because He knows the end result.  He often warms our hearts to things He wants for us and things He would like to see us fulfill in our lives and the lives of others.  Sometimes it's just a small thing that can be accomplished in a matter of minutes but we just can't seem to get the words or actions out because of what we imagine others might think.  Sometimes it's calling us to do something we really don't want to do, but the outcome if we follow through can be so fulfilling for us that if we don't do it, we are really going to miss out on a huge blessing.  At other times, it's a calling that may take a lot longer, perhaps a path we need to take in life with a very specific goal in mind that will ultimately change our life and several others along the way and likely end up blessing you beyond belief all along the way.  I believe that each pressing from the Lord that we feel will ultimately end in a lesson and or a blessing for ourselves and others.  Some may think this life is by chance but I believe nothing in life is by chance and everything has a purpose.

God designed the bee, fat little body and all.  God designed us as well.  The Great Creator obviously knows what we were created for and what our capabilities are regardless of what others may think.  He knows what He created each of us for regardless of what we think of ourselves.  Human theory and law doesn't necessarily matter when it comes to God's purpose for our lives.  When God works with us, there is something quite different that happens when we choose to follow His lead.  He blesses us with supernatural power to accomplish exactly what we know we can't accomplish alone.  To others this may seem a little "out there" but I know from experience that when I rely on His power, I am able to see Him being glorified and others may see Him as well.  I know that I am not good enough on my own to fulfill God's purpose or to bring Christ's light to others lives.  There is nothing I can say or do on my own that points to Christ.  I am not perfect, I make plenty of mistakes.  When others look at me, they see all of the faults I have, they see that I am capable of hurting them, of making them angry.  I am human and the only thing that makes you and I different is the fact that we have been made clean and pure in Christ's eyes.  The truth is, if we did not have the supernatural power of Christ in our lives, people would never be able to see our Lord in us.

I challenge you to take a look inside.  What is it the Lord is talking to you about?  What is it that you feel is too big to accomplish?  What is it that you feel others would question and doubt if they knew what you felt called to do?  I believe we are all called and can be used for greatness...if we believe.  There is nothing the Lord will place on our hearts and minds that cannot be accomplished with Him.  It may be taxing on you and you might have to keep working at it.  You mail fail several times before you make progress but friends, get moving, He will not ask you to do anything that cannot be done with His help.  He will not leave you alone and you will see Him and His ways if you follow His leading.  Get those fat little bodies in motion; give your wings a workout and fly.  

"So, brethren, we [who are born again] are not children of a slave woman [the natural], but of the free [the supernatural]." -Galatians 4:31  AMP

"This also comes from the LORD who commands armies, who gives supernatural guidance and imparts great wisdom." -Isaiah 28:29 NET

Many Blessings,

Treasury Tuesday!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Well, its Tuesday again...already! I'm really sure that some weeks the days go by so much faster than others!  And I realize that Tuesday is almost over and I really wanted to take a moment to share one of  our Team Jabez July treasuries.   I really love the sweetness of this collection that Dianna of put together and don't we all just need to hear that we are loved!

I'm looking forward to seeing all the new team treasuries that are made this week and to sharing more with you next Tuesday!

~Jean xoxo

D.I.Y. Inspiration: Newspaper Gift Bags

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Do you find it hard to throw out old newspapers (even if they are going to the recycling plant)? I have to admit, sometimes I do. I think to myself, "I bet I will need that later today if I throw it out now!". So I have a small stash of newspapers -  to use under kids' painting or craft activities; to cover the floor of our birdcage, and for various and sundry other uses. Here is another use for those newspapers you have lying around, courtesy of How About Orange blog.

Make your own gift bags using newspaper! Don't forget to follow the link to How About Orange for all the instructions.

Mustard Seed Faith

Saturday, July 6, 2013

When I became a Christian in 1999 I told God I would do anything for Him...anything with just one simple request.  "Please Lord, I want to serve you with all I am but please don't ask me to go to a foreign country."  So a year or so later, the opportunity to go to Africa dropped in my lap.  I really didn't give it much thought even though there was this ever so slight tugging at my heart.  I thought surely that wasn't Him tugging at my heart...after-all, I did tell Him I'd do anything but just asked that He'd honor just that one small plea.  As time passed, I started seeing more signs and feeling even more tugging on my heart.  The Lord just wouldn't stop nagging until He finally spoke so loudly that I could no longer deny that He indeed wanted me to go.  However, the Lord has an interesting character, He can make things very clear to you in life and let you know He wants you to do certain things but He isn't going to make you do anything you aren't willing to do.  So as I struggled, I decided I would follow His leading, face my fear, and decide to trust Him and in August of 2001 I was on a plane headed to the far away place I asked him not to send me too.

When we finally arrived we met up with the missionaries there.  I remember loading up into a Land Rover and sitting in the back on some benches with a few of my friends.  We started driving down these roads...paved at this time (only 10% of roads in Tanzania are paved) and I remember looking out the windows at a bunch of homes, no businesses, just a lot of brush and land.  Every once in a while in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere I'd see a person, generally a man, standing on the side of the road dressed in tribal garb with a long "stick" as I called it.  One of my friends had been on a trip to Tanzania before so I asked her "What in the world do these people do all day?”  In that moment, my mind was perplexed.  All I could figure is that these people must be either very lazy or very bored.

We ventured down into the middle of nowhere until we finally arrived at one of the missionary homes near a Masai village.  This would be the beginning of a journey that would impact my life and I would be forever changed!  I was in Africa for about 3 1/2 weeks and we did some amazing safari but for the most part we were there with the people.  We helped them clean up, build, paint, and repair schools.  We went to church with them; we shopped their markets and bought forever-treasured souvenirs.   I had once in a lifetime experiences over the next few weeks...I'm talking about the stuff that you see in National Geographic and think you would never experience.  I was privileged enough to be welcomed into their traditions and villages. One night, they held a celebration, in our honor.  They killed and roasted a goat and later I joined in the tribal dance with them as they taught us how they danced.  I watched kids stand in line to be served porridge for lunch and as the line got shorter, the pot ran dry and kids were turned away without food.  I rode a quad across the field to one of the schools in a dress...stood in the back of a very packed and quite small Toyota pickup truck on a very bumpy road to get to the school each day.  I was offered a quite a few goats for my hand in marriage...Ha!  We had story time in which one of the men told us the story of being chased by a lion; he literally got in a fight with a lion!  He showed us the scars on his legs from the claws of the Lion and how told us his story of survival.

I was invited to a Masai man's home for Chai tea.  He had become a Christian and had several wives and children before coming to know the Lord.  He shared with us his experience, how after he came to know the Lord, he still had to care for all of his wives and children but choose just one to live with.  He traded in his life of polygamy to serve the Lord.  He shared with us how he would pray for us every day when we would leave and the passion in his voice and heart was so rich that I know he honors his word and prays, still today, for each of us.  He stood before us with a faith and belief stronger than what most of could even get close to.  He was a man who loved and served God with everything he had and knew God on a deeper level than we could probably imagine.

Another Masai woman invited us into her home...a hut made of sticks and mud that was no larger than a 5x5 ft. area.  I'll never forget the tears I held back as she welcomed us in, offered us food to eat and was so very proud of her home and how honored she was to be able to share it with us.  Tears...there were many tears.  Tears of joy, tears of hope, tears of living a journey that was so filled with material things in my own life and somehow I still wasn't filled with the appreciation and life that these people were filled with.  One Sunday morning I was blessed to have my ankle wrapped with a coil that they use to adorn themselves.  I sat on a chair as the woman wrapped this thicker than hanger copper wire around my ankle into a perfect coil.  To this day I still have no idea how she was able to coil that material from straight metal to a perfect coil around my ankle.  Blessed by her, myself and several of the other girls who had their ankles wrapped collected some money to bless her with.  We sat her down and the missionary handed her about $300 in US Dollars.  The Masai believe crying is a sign of weakness and did all she could to hold back tears of joy as she had just been blessed to the equivalent of winning the lottery.  That money would take care of her and her family for years and years to come...and we did our best to honor their belief and not just fall into weeping ourselves.

Then there were the children...I fell in love with the children.  I wasn't married at the time and did not have kids of my own.  I never really connected to kids unless it was my niece and nephews.  It wasn't that I didn't like kids but I just didn't have a reason to connect on a deeper level then.  The Masai have a tradition in which the kids when approaching an adult come "head first" or "forward" for lack of a better explanation.  They do this waiting for you to reach out and touch their head, which signifies that you are giving them your blessing.  I didn't understand it and thought it to be a little strange until I myself had one of them come to me in this manner and I touched their head giving them my blessing.  I can't explain it but there was just something that happened in my heart at that moment.  I connected on a level that I never expected and found myself wanting to give each of them my blessing.  Today, I may not know each name or even remember every face but that as I pray, I can pray for each and every head that I touched.  It wasn't long into our trip that I was nicknamed ''Miss Popularity'' by one of the guys leading the trip.  He thought this was the perfect name for me due to the fact that wherever we'd go, if there were kids nearby, the entire group would just flock to me.  It was as if they could sense that I was interested in them and wanted to connect with them...that they mattered.  The majority did not speak English but that didn't stop us from communicating on deep levels.  They were interested and in awe.  They didn't have hair on their bodies and would touch the hair on my arms, both women and men and children had short hair.  They were just enamored with my long hair and would sit and twirl it, play with my hair clips, look at my painted nails and look at me for hours.  Some of the best parts of my trip were sitting on the ground with children all around me, laying on my lap, sitting with me, looking at me and me looking at them.  There was a heart connection that was so strong and meaningful that I will never forget.

About half way through the trip I hit a level of emotional fullness.  I had seen and experienced so much with the people that I simply could not take one more thing in without gathering my thoughts.  I went to a safe place not to far from the building we were working on at the school to be by myself for a while.  I sat and chatted with God...I cried my eyes out and tried to process everything I possibly could.  When I left for Africa, I went with the idea that I would be bringing Jesus to a people who needed Him.  That I would be changing lives and reaching to help them.  I had no idea when I went to Africa that they would impact me.  In fact, I am quite certain that they changed me more than I changed them.  In the big picture of things, we have it all.  We have big houses, food on our table at each meal, jobs, cars, lots of "stuff" and things to do to keep us busy and entertained.  And when I first arrived, I could not fathom walking around with a stick all day in the middle of nowhere.  We think they are poor and do nothing but struggle in life.

True, it is not easy to have to figure out where you are going to get your next meal, how to get medical help when you need it, how to take care of your basic needs on a daily basis, keeping clear of wildlife and lions of all things!  However, the fact of the matter is, they have what matters most.  When we die we aren't taking a thing with us to Heaven except our soul.  We aren't taking our houses, our cars or all of the things we think we love to Heaven.  Where does this all this "stuff" we are chasing fit in when we look at the importance of life?  It doesn't!  What does matter is the other souls that will or won't be in Heaven with us someday.  What matters are the relationships that we have with people, with Jesus.  When I think about that, I realize how poor we are in America.  Most of us have our basic needs met to survive but we have to fight to have relationships with people!  We don't have a clue what's it's really like to struggle for basic needs.  If you ask me, our battle and struggle is different.  We have to fight against the daily schedules we have in place so we can do what we have to in order to pay our bills and get more "stuff" and in that daily way of life we don't seem to make much room for others or getting to know Jesus on a deeper level.  Most of us don't count on Him to have our daily needs met, we do it ourselves and then lack in relationship, trust and faith in how great and more than capable He really is!

The people in Africa told stories of miracles that happened in front of their eyes.  A boy named Moses that they buried dead and was alive a few days later.  I know and have heard of miracles happening here but when the people in Africa tell of these miracles, they tell it as if it is no surprise to them.  As I see it, they have a different and deeper level of belief than we do.   They are not busied with the nonsense that we are chasing.  They are not competing to have bigger and better things like we do.  Instead they are focusing on a relationship with Jesus (those that know Him), their daily schedule is not getting in the way of knowing Him.   Jesus is not a God put on a shelf while they try to meet their own needs each day.  Instead they trust the Lord; they believe He is a God of miracles and provision.  They TRUST Him, they KNOW Him, and pray for miracles and daily provision in their lives and because they believe without a shadow of a doubt that He is faithful, things happen!!

There are plenty of verses in the Bible that I could use in connection here but this one talks about the Disciples when they try their hand at driving out a demon in a boy.  When they were unsuccessful, they asked Jesus why they were not able to drive out the demon.  Here is what He answered:

"Because you're not yet taking God seriously,”  "The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain,  'Move!' and it would move.  There is nothing you wouldn't be able to tackle.'  Matthew 17:20-21 MSG

Be Blessed!


Blog Design by Nudge Media Design | Powered by Blogger