Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Every Season Has Its Reason


When I look back on 2018, this picture of ice is a representation of what it felt like to me.


This past year felt like one of disorganization, fragmented chaos, and jagged edges. Some days I could only see the disorganization and chaos. Some days, the jagged edges cut me to the core. There were tons of doubt, fear, anxiousness, and overwhelming obstacles.

But just as this is a picture of ice, that fades when the heat is applied, so did the Lord teach me some valuable truths as He lovingly applied His heat to the ice of my soul. He had to teach me that what I saw as disorganization, chaos, and jagged edges were actually a beautiful part of what He was doing in my life.

I clung to Psalm 105:4 last year:
"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!" 
I literally held on to that verse daily. I did seek Him - and found Him - and look back on last year and know I would not have made it without Him.

In seeking Him, what did I learn more deeply?

Every season has its reason.

The year 2018 felt like the season of winter - all year long.

Winter is a time of barrenness, coldness, less light, and lack of color. One can see that the animals in nature have to look harder to find their food. Some have to dig deep below the snow in order to find anything to eat. In the past, if a person/family did not have goods stored up to eat, starvation could occur. Our personal winters can be the same - barren, cold, and lack of vibrancy in color.

I felt that way on many occasions this past year. I was stuck in the winter season because the whole year was consumed from January to December with what was to come. There was Wesley's brain training, then a new school year filled with new obstacles to overcome, two babies who are now Seniors and beginning to fly out of the nest, aging parents, financial uncertainties, and just the day-to-day grind of trying to keep up with it all.  I found I had to look harder for the spiritual food in order to survive. My heart grew cold at times simply because life was so overwhelming and I did not have time to dig deep beneath the cold snow of life to see what was beneath in God's Word. I continued to daily read the Scripture, but the time for digging deep was shorter like the short days of winter. I had to dig when I could and hold on to the food I found. I felt winter to the core, just as cold can creep in and you feel it to your bones. I began to look around me at times and could not see any color, but the same stark landscape that seemed to have no end.

As I have reflected on this, I did not realize how much I had gone through winter until I kept calling out to the Lord. He knew I could not shake the coldness I was feeling on my own. He had to show me what I needed to understand and attach it to the warmth of His truth.

In thinking through the seasons, the spiritual food the Lord gave me in my winter had to be found deeper than I would have had to search for in the summer season. There were roots I needed for sustenance that would not have been thought of as a need in the warmth and ease of the summer growing times. In continuing to learn how to die to self, I was able to learn the value of a deeper character in the harvest of autumn.

Winter is hard. But winter has a purpose.

Winter is a needed time so that spring might arrive. During the harshness of winter, the ground is preparing for another year of growth. The trees/plants are resting so that once the air begins to show warmth, the leaves and flowers can begin their journey of bursting forth into the beauty of spring. Winter helps us to appreciate the spring and not take it for granted. Spring is when the color comes back into the view of the landscape. It is blossoming all around preparing the world for the summer fruit to come. It is a hope that all things that seemed dead are now alive again. New life. New hope. New fruit.

I can honestly say that I am a different person than a year ago. The Lord taught me a great deal in my winter year.

He taught me to seek Him and Him alone and that I have to dig deep to find the valuable spiritual nutrients that will sustain me in the barren times.

He taught me that my cold heart can be warmed by His love and gentleness. He never left me once by myself on those cold-feeling days.

He taught me that even though the days seemed short and dark, His light inside of me would continue to guide my path. He is my light, my fortress, my deliverer. It is Him that I trust to lead me.

He taught me that even though the landscape may seem quite barren and have no color, the spring ahead would be more beautiful than I ever could imagine. I cannot have the beauty of the spring, the bursting forth of fruit, if the winter did not prepare the soil and plants of my heart.

He taught me that He is my hope and it is He who I must praise as He leads me into the spring.

I honestly do not know if winter is fully past for us yet, but I do know what the Lord has shown me regarding my new year. He has reminded me that He alone is my hope and I am to praise Him. He gave me my verse for this year:


Psalm 71:14 ~ But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.

Maybe someone who is reading this is also walking through a long winter season. Maybe you have felt just as I have felt. We must take heart and know that spring is coming. It will come in His timing - once He has prepared the soil of our hearts to be ready for the blossoming of spring and the fruit-bearing of summer so that we might have a bountiful harvest in autumn.

I will praise the Lord for winter because in those times He alone brings fullness and beauty out of barrenness and ugliness. He prepares us for the hope that comes with spring!

Song of Solomon 2:11-12a
for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come...

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Names of Christ at Christmas


Finally.

A few quiet moments to gather my thoughts that have been flowing through the courses of my mind in the last weeks and months.

Life has been hectic and crazy. I fully believe that Satan likes our lives like that so that we do not take the time to fully focus on the Lord and about what our purpose is on earth - praise and worship of our Savior. It is about giving God the glory for all He has done. When we are caught up in the rat-race of this culture in which we live in America, these truths can fall on deaf ears.

Sometimes we are part of the problem because we continue to add to what we "think" we are supposed to do. We live "on-the-go".
Sometimes it is just life in and of itself - the jobs, responsibilities, and needs of our families.
Sometimes it just out of our own laziness for us to really grasp this life isn't all about me, myself, 
and I.

We are now in the middle of the Christmas season and my heart has been pondering a great deal on the story of Christmas. As I was teaching my students the "oh-so-familiar" Christmas story of Luke 2 last week, the Lord began to really work on stretching me to grasp more deeply what He has done.

As I shared with my students, I wanted them to view the Luke 2 story of Christmas through new eyes - even though they are younger and have not heard it as much as I. But in that teaching, it was I that wanted a deeper view. I wanted the Lord to continue to grow me in something that was so familiar.

I am thankful for the Lord teaching me as I teach those children He has put into my care. Here are some things the Lord continues to reveal to me about Himself through my own study of His Word, teaching His Word, and taking the time to listen to His truths through preaching or His still, small voice.

Here are names Christ spoke of Himself while on this earth. I found it a wonderful study of the Christmas story to view it through His names. See how the Lord showed me how His names relate to His actual birth/birthplace and of what He would speak to us. I know I am far from being a Bible scholar, but I do desire to find connections of the Lord in every part of life, so why not the Christmas story?

(I used my Bible study Finding I Am by Lysa TerKeurst as a springboard for my deeper study in this.)

"I am the Bread of Life."
"I am the True Vine." 
"I am the Living Water."
John 6:35 - Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
John 15:1 - I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 
John 4:13-14 - Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 
14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for taxation with the Roman government because Joseph was of the household of David. As we already know, it was also where Jesus was born. What does this have to do with Jesus being the Bread of Life?

Bethlehem means the City of Bread! How fitting that the Bread of Life would be born in a city that is so rightly named. Our Savior, born in a lowly stable and laid in a manger - a feed or watering trough for animals - would become our Bread of Life where we would never hunger. Spiritually, we can be fed through His Word and His truths.

In researching Bethlehem, I found that it was famous in the ancient times for its abundant growth of olives, vines, and almonds. How fitting to me that Jesus, the "True Vine" would be born with that abundant growth on the hillsides surrounding Bethlehem. To apply this to our Christmas story today, we can find abundant growth in our spiritual walk when we abide in our True Vine and allow Him to prune us into bringing forth more fruit. Just as fruit cannot grow unless it is attached to the tree, so can we not grow unless we abide in Jesus - the One who was born to give us life.

Lastly, I have learned in my research that Bethlehem was also near a great spring of water. In my reading I found that the water was used to fill Solomon's pools for the Temple in Jerusalem. This water was used in part to wash away the blood from the daily sacrifices at the Temple and would be increased more during sacrifices on feast days. I can't help but link this to our Living Water who not only quenches our spiritual thirst, but also cleanses us from what the law could not.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/12/bethlehem-christ-birth-blincoe/
https://www.bible-history.com/jesus/bethlehem.htm
https://www.bibleplaces.com/grapevines-vineyards/
http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-jerusalem-temple-mount-threshing-floor-aqueduct.htm


"I am the Light of the World."
John 8:12 - Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

In the familiar Christmas story, there were the shepherds in the field who were shown a bright light that cast out the darkness around them. There were wisemen from the east who followed a star that led them to the true Light. 

The shepherds were going about their daily lives tending the sheep at nighttime. Darkness was part of night - and darkness had been surrounding the Jewish people for around 400 years with the Roman rule and no signs or visions from God. The angels broke that darkness with marvelous light to announce the birth of Christ - the Messiah - to the shepherds. The shepherds' lives were changed forever as they went to seek the Light of the World - the Messiah as a baby in a manger.

The Wisemen - such knowledge they held. They searched the scriptures and searched the skies watching the stars as they lit the night sky. God was telling His story through His creation and they were willing to view it through the truth of His Word. They were not Jews - God's chosen people. They were Gentiles - those outside of the beloved nation of Israel - but God chose to let a light lead them to the Light of the World. Jesus did not come just for the Jews to be rescued from Roman rule. Jesus came as the angels declared to the shepherds in Luke 2:10 - I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  

That should make us all rejoice in and of itself. I imagine most of those reading this have no Jewish ancestry. We would be those Gentiles. We would be the ones following the light to the true Light of the World. 

"I am the Good Shepherd."
"I am the Gate for the Sheep."
John 10:11 - I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 
John 10:7 -  So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

This one seems much easier to connect. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was born in a lowly stable and who were the first outsiders to meet him? It was those bumbling, smelly, awkward shepherds who were just doing a regular night's work taking care of those wandering sheep on the hillside. When that light exploded the night, and the angel spoke of the Messiah being born and lying in a manger, they took off running to see what had come to pass. They didn't have to go all the way to Jerusalem to herd their sheep through the Sheep Gate for sacrifice. They could go directly to Bethlehem to see the "Lamb of God" who would enter that Sheep Gate once for all (Hebrews 10:10) and become our sacrifice for our sins.

This is a beautiful picture of ALL coming to our Savior. If Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords had been born in a palace, do you think those smelly shepherds would have ever darkened the courtyard of the palace, let alone come to His room to fall at His bed? Never would they have been allowed because of their lowly stature. But they were the first to greet Jesus - our Good Shepherd.

Have you ever thought about it this way, though? As I stated above, those shepherds were bumbling, smelly, awkward, and lowly. That is basically what sheep are - and God's Word tells us we are like sheep. (Isaiah 53:6) We need our Good Shepherd and we must fall before Him with our bumbling attempts of righteousness, our smelly sin nature, and our awkward excuses for not following Him with a lowly and humble spirit. Then, we must go and tell others the same. (Luke 2:17-18) He brings us through the Sheep Gate, cleansing us and making us whole while He became the sacrifice in our place.

"I am the Resurrection and the Life."
"I am the Way and the Truth and the Life."
John 11:25 - Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Think again on what I shared above. Jews and Gentiles alike came to see Jesus when He was born - the Messiah. The part of John 14:6 that has struck me most for this section is: "No one comes to the Father except through me."

This name couples with another name of Christ - one that is spoken of and sung about much this time of year but can become so heard that we forget the majesty of it - Emmanuel - God With Us.

This was God coming down among the creation He made and becoming one of us so that He could be the "Resurrection and the Life." No other could take away our sins. The priests gave sacrifices, but none could take away the sins completely. It was only one WAY through Christ - fully God and fully Man, perfect in every way - that our sins could be forever paid.

God came down.
God came to live among us. 
God humbled Himself and came in the form of an innocent baby.
God, through His Son, came to face what we face, live what we live, yet without sin. 
God, through His Son, became our sacrifice so that even though we might die physically, we can live forever with Him.

This name brings to my mind this Psalm from David - the ancestor of Christ:

Psalm 8
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

I hope this helps you see Jesus as more than just a baby in a manger born in Bethlehem. 

He is the Great I AM.  God in flesh.

Let's celebrate Christmas in light of that great name.

Monday, August 06, 2018

The Glorious Unfolding in the Journey

This is a long post....
But so was the last six months.
There is a lot that has happened.

This is a snapshot of mine and Wesley's last six months. 


This was the place of such a mess, but that was not my main concern. What we did at that table with the chairs on either side was a place the Lord was allowing us to take a "mess" and begin to make it "straight."


Six days a week.
Two days a week at the training center with his trainer for 90 minutes at a time. 
Four days a week at home for an hour + at a time.

There were things missed in the social parts of life because we had to train.
There were moments of frustration.
There were moments of triumph.


But this table and these two chairs are special to this Momma's heart.


We laughed a lot here.
We got on each other's nerves here.
We struggled to be happy over our circumstances at times here.
We had some wonderful conversations here.
There was GROWTH here.


The metronome and timers were sometimes our friends - and sometimes not. 
They made us stretch ourselves in ways we had never been stretched before.


But no matter what we clung to this promise the Lord gave me when we began this journey.


You see, being a teacher is what I do. However, I was walking into this not knowing or understanding a thing of what we would accomplish. For the past six months we literally walked by faith and not always by sight.

Watching Wesley begin to grasp things right in front of our eyes was amazing to see unfold. We knew everything would not be "fixed" in all of this - he had too far to come in a lot of areas. However, the Lord revealed to me that His meaning of the verses He gave to me were not that all of Wesley's academic areas were where we would see Him work "far more abundantly."

Here is why:

Wes and I both grew spiritually - and it was wonderful to walk through this together. We created a bond that is hard to describe. It gave me a chance to minister to Him with what the Lord was teaching me through this process.  

Some days were real and raw. 
Some days we both wanted to quit. 
Some days we did all we could to complete the goal for the day because we both were so exhausted. 
Some days we both had to cheer on each other when we knew we had to train. 

BUT 

There were the days of accomplishments and triumphs. 
There were the moments of beating his own time record or finally "getting" an exercise he had struggled with for so long. 
There were awakenings in his knowledge. 
There were improvements in his retention.

Far more abundantly, in this program, the Lord taught Wesley:
GRIT. 
Determination.
Perseverance.
Focus.

That is something that has to be learned through trial and "fire."  It is easy to say something is too hard and just quit. He learned that failure does not mean it is over. He learned that failure means you tried and you get back up and keep trying again - and again - and again.


We officially finished the week of July 9 but the waiting was still part of the process. He had to be re-tested and then we could get the final results.

I will be the first to admit that those 2 weeks were long in the waiting process, but the Lord showed me great things in that waiting period.

Allow me to share:
I have been in II Chronicles 20 for some time this summer. If you don't know much about that passage let me give you a synopsis. The tribe of Judah was being attacked by the Moabites and Ammonites.  King Jehoshaphat knew they were up against a large army and he didn't know how they were going to overcome these enemies. He chooses to seek the Lord instead of allow his fear to overtake him. The Lord delivered him from the enemies. This is what the prophet told Jehoshaphat:

15b Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's.  
16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel.  
17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

I wish I had time to go into more detail of what the Lord taught me but here is the huge point God was making in my life: this battle was not MINE. This was going to be all the Lord's doings and He would receive praise. I did what He had called me to do by training, but the outcome was the Lord's.

I read the above verses in detail the day before we were to have his "graduation" and test results revealed. It brought tears to my eyes because the Lord told me to not be afraid - the Lord will be with me - and Wes.

After the passage above, King Jehoshaphat fell down and worshiped the Lord. He also called on others to praise the name of the Lord as they were going into battle the next day. Here is what happened:

21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,
“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.”
22 And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.  
23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.


The passage then goes on to say how they went on to gather the spoil:

25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much. 
26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the Lord.


The day of Wesley's graduation and test results reveal, I chose to praise the Lord for the improvements we had recorded and seen. I praised Him for His timing. I praised Him for what He has done. I went into the battle with the Lord. Then He showed us the results. There was "spoil" to be gathered.


Why am I telling all of this in such detail? I guess because I just had to share what the Lord has done. I must praise Him. I must give Him glory and what better way than to use His Word in that praising.

  • Wesley's "enemies" were not Moab and Ammon. They were his weaknesses in his Mind and Abilities.
  • The Lord went before us and began to make a way for Wesley's brain to begin connecting pathways that had not been there before. He had the battle plan all along.
  • I chose to praise Him even when I still didn't know the outcome.
  • We received "spoil" from the training - growth in so many ways!!!

The Lord has taught ME to trust Him more through this process. The Lord has shown ME many valuable truths from His Word that I would not have had if we had not done this very hard thing.

So, yes, the Lord has done far more abundantly beyond all we asked or thought.

Here are a blurred version of Wesley's test results. He had so many areas that needed strengthening. The green is what he was before. The purple is where he is now.  The one on the far left may not look like much - but that was his long-term memory. It barely registered at a 0.1 when we began. It improved 140%. He has other areas that are so important for the learning process that skyrocketed.



Is everything perfect and not needing any more strengthening?
No.

We know there are still areas of growth. But isn't that for any of us? We all are works in progress.

But now, Wesley has the "spoil" from the battle that he can take with him and continue to improve in so many areas.

In this training process,Wesley has reminded me of a butterfly coming out of its chrysalis when it is becoming an adult. The struggle to get out of the chrysalis is what allows the butterfly's wings to become stronger. If one were to cut the chrysalis to "help" the butterfly, there would not be enough strength to pump the wings. The struggle makes the butterfly stronger. It is something the butterfly must go through in order to unfold its wings and FLY.

Wesley's struggle has now made him stronger. This is just the GLORIOUS UNFOLDING of how Wesley's future will continue to have hope.  

I am looking forward to watching him FLY.

To God be praise!

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Wrestling in the Journey

I have never been a wrestler. I have no idea about the rules of the sport.

But what I am finding, in this Journey of Hope for my son's future, I have been in a wrestling match.


My opponent changes.

Some days it is Satan.

Some days it is Myself.

Some days I am just wrestling with the Lord.

Ever since day one of this brain training I have had something or someone I am wrestling.

I think in the past weekend it has been Satan himself. He has been around like a roaring lion seeking to devour what the Lord has been doing.

It is summertime and we are still in training mode. It is a sacrifice, as I have mentioned many times, but now it takes on a different level. When we normally would be "off" in the summer doing different things, we are still working our brains hard - and even harder now that we are in the last third of the program. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE learning and am always wanting to learn over the summer. This is just different. Summertime training has taken my son and me into a different summer mode than we have ever had - and we have wrestled in that.

However, the real wrestle match came within my heart over the weekend. My wrestling came in opening up the mail and viewing a report card which we knew what would be shown, but the reality of what was shown hit hard. It became yet another reminder of why we are doing what we are doing this summer. I began to look at a website to help me figure out where to help my son with his struggles to strengthen areas academically in math - since that really is his weakest main subject. What I found shocked me.... areas we are trying to work through in training now actually began back in the third/fourth grade. He had been taught all of this - but he had not been able to retain it and then build on it. This fact that we are trying to make up so many of the "lost years" began to overwhelm me.

You would think after all the Lord has taught me so far in this journey I would not even be having these moments!

Unfortunately, because of being weary (I normally am this time of year anyway), Satan took that as a small opening in my life to begin a wrestling match with me. He was pinning me down to the mat with lots of his accusation moves:

"See, I told you this wouldn't work."

"He will never accomplish what you are wanting."

"Why did you wait so long to get him help?"

"You have wasted so much time."

"You have failed your son."

Now, I realize all of these are lies, but the wrestling match was ON. I began to hear the lies louder than the truths. I began to feel I had truly failed my son and no matter how much brain training we would do, it would never be enough to help him even graduate next year let alone get into a college.

I wanted to cry - and I did. I cried out to the Lord for mercy because Satan had pinned me down. I knew I was weary because of the wrestling I had been doing all along, but I couldn't let Satan win. He is NOT in control.

The Lord heard my heart cry and began to reveal to me what I needed to remember and learn from His Word. This wrestling match didn't need to end in defeat! It was the Lord's match to win - not mine.

Let me show you how the Lord, in His love and mercy, reminded me how HE was going to win this wrestling match.

The Lord literally began in Isaiah 30 - as my Bible opened up when I went to search, THIS was where He opened it for me to defeat "Your son will never accomplish what you are wanting":

Isaiah 30:19-21
For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Isaiah 30:23 (Look what the Lord showed me in this passage for my farmer son....)
And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures

Then to help me make the move against "You waited too long" in the wrestling match, He took me here:

Isaiah 43:18-19
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

When the in the wrestling match he pinned me down with "You have wasted so much time.", God sent me here:

Isaiah 51:3
For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.

Isaiah 58:12
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Isaiah 61:4
They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

I know we are not dealing with ancient ruins here - but look at those promises! I have been wrestling with devastating news of a ruined future but the Lord has shown me it WILL be built again. He is building up my son's foundations one "brick" at a time.

One last area the Lord showed me that became precious to me - and my son:

Isaiah 42:16
And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. My son and I discussed this part - this is our time of training. We have felt a bit "blind" in this journey as it is a path on which we have never been.
I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. This reminded my son of how this brain training has caused what seemed dark to him in learning now has light - aka - the "lightbulb is turning on!"
These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. WHAT A PROMISE!!!


So, to end this wrestling match, here is a quote I found:



The Lord has shown me so much through this journey - and then I have been able to share these moments with my son. He and I discussed all of these passages today and it was a sweet time. We are both getting training in this process....and it is not all "brain" training.  I am thankful I am not wrestling alone even when I have felt that way at times. I have increased my hold on the One that matters and He will have the final call of "WIN."

Here is a song I was reminded of by a school parent when we began this journey. I honestly just thought about it again as I am writing. 💗✌
How fitting:



"Keep fighting" will be our mantra. We WIN.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Lessons from a Big, White Cabinet

My classroom has had a huge, white cabinet in it to enable this teacher to store wonderful items to enhance the learning pleasure of my students each year.

It has been dear to me. You see, I could put many, many things in that cabinet. Last year I heard from my administration that I needed to learn to let go because it would be leaving my room in the future. I just couldn't think of life without this cabinet! I cleaned out last year and reorganized it hoping to help them see that the cabinet was still good. It might be old, but it was still worth saving!

(insert emotional music here....)


 A couple of weeks ago, the inevitable happened. There was a new kid, er - cabinet, in town and I was told to purge some more and get my supplies into my new cabinet.

(insert more emotionally driven music here...)

How was I going to get all that was in my big, white cabinet into what was now my new - smaller - cabinet? I had just purged so much this past year so I knew what I had was needed.....

....or so I thought.....

As the new purging began, I began to open up the boxes and view the supplies. I began to see some items in each box that I had kept for a long time. When I looked at them through new, "you have to get this done" eyes, I began to realize I had no need for some of the items I had been holding onto through the years. There were a lot of things that were kept that as I pulled them out I wondered what I was thinking when I kept them. There were other things that had been hidden and needed to be thrown out completely. Then there were just some items I needed to release. Period.

You see, my big, white cabinet actually became a holding area to things that were a hindrance to my teaching. Even though it seemed organized, it was distracting when I went inside to look for the items I really needed. There were too many places that things could "hide." As the purging continued I began to rethink and reorganize in a different way. Some of my old storage boxes would not fit into the new cabinet. I had to visualize a whole new way of storing what was needed.

In the end, I had actually done more cleaning out than I originally thought a year ago. I truly purged things I had been holding onto for so long that they became comfortable and "ignored." The new cabinet has been a blessing because I have been able to keep what I truly needed. I have found I can do more with less.

In the coming weeks my old cabinet will be torn out. My new cabinet will take its place.

As I was finishing up cleaning my room for the end of the year, the Lord began to impress a spiritual twist to this cabinet. He began to help me see how this applied to our spiritual lives.

How many times have we been just like how I have felt about the big, white cabinet? We love a place that can hold a lot of things inside - but they are not always things that are needed. We are comfortable with the space that can be filled with items that can actually hinder us instead of help us.  They are things that we hold onto - and sometimes hide. Then there are just some things that need to be released. Period.

Things like.....

Anger.

Jealousy.

Bitterness.

Doubt.

Fear.

Anxiety.

Worry.

Complaining Spirit.

I could go on....

Sometimes the Lord has to tell us He is removing our big, white cabinet that holds all of these items that hinder our spiritual growth. Sometimes He gives us a "heads up" that a purging needs to happen. We do our part and purge in the way we think takes care of the spiritual problem, just as I had purged "enough" last year in the big, white cabinet. But when I was forced to further examine what was in my cabinet I found out I was holding on to more things than I originally thought. It is the same in our spiritual lives. The Lord uses circumstances in our lives, like my new cabinet was at school, to force us to recognize things that are not needed. He uses His Word to help us spiritually purge the anger, jealousy, bitterness, doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, complaining spirit, etc. These are not needed as we become more like Christ.

My old cabinet began to lose its sentimental hold on me. I began to see that, while it had its purpose, it was time to let it go. As I was leaving school I began to spiritually connect that the old cabinet is like our old sinful nature.  The old nature wants us to think we need to have a big enough space to carry around the extra items. We believe we have to hold onto attitudes and beliefs that are not needed.  When the Lord makes us a new creation, like my new cabinet, He helps us to get rid of things we hold onto that are taking up valuable space. We need to let them go. Instead, we can be filled with the items that will be useful and needed. Spiritual things such as....

Faith.

Love.

Self-Control.

Patience.

Goodness.

Joy.

Peace.

Gentleness.


When my big cabinet gets torn out, I actually want to be there to observe it. I want to see how the new will replace the old. I am grateful that the Lord is always there when He tears out my old sinful nature "cabinet." He replaces the old with new. Our theme verse at school for this just finished year was II Corinthians 5:17  ~

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

How fitting for me to end the school year with another view of how God makes all things new!

So what big, white cabinet is the Lord trying to help you get rid of in your life?

Don't hold to what you think you need - allow the Lord to show you what needs to be purged.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Praise Him - in the Journey

Wesley and I have been in our brain training now for four months. There are some days we feel like we just began, but other days we feel like it has been forever.

Tonight we were training - or at least beginning to do so - but then the training turned into a conversation that has been on both our hearts since we began. I needed to talk and share - and he did, too. In our talking through tonight the Lord reminded us both of some things we needed to hear.  The Lord had been preparing him and me all week for the conversation we needed to have.

I am not going to lie - his training has been hard. It is always in the back of our minds that we must "train" every day but Sunday. We have persevered. We have kept the faith because of the promises from God's Word that He will do far more abundantly beyond what we ask or think.


But in the last week it seems as if it has gotten harder. Between the end of school, typical dealings of teenage life, a weary teacher-Mom, and our brains being tired, Satan has decided to attack. He has chosen to use events and people to become "uninvited guests" on our journey.  May I just be real here? Recently, we have felt beaten down and chained to the journey.   There have been sacrifices of time and energy that have drained us in ways we didn't realize. We have had moments of wondering if all of this is really working for him. Are things going to get better for him - is his future going to work out as the Lord promised?

I have recently taught my students from Acts about Paul and Silas on their missionary journey in Philippi. I have written about this story before - Praise Him at Midnight - and this week the Lord has brought it back again to my heart.

Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown into jail for doing the right thing. They were placed in a dark dungeon and chained. Instead of complaining about how hard things were for them, they chose instead to sing and praise the Lord - while being chained - while suffering from their beating.

While I know that our circumstances are NOTHING like Paul and Silas, the Lord gave me some spiritual reminders as my boy and I were talking tonight.

We are doing the right thing - this brain training is exactly what the Lord planned for us to do because He led us to this journey, just as He led Paul and Silas to Philippi. We must trust in all of this that God has a plan.

As he and I talked, I shared with him different things the Lord has been showing me - and he shared some things the Lord has shown him. We discussed that we could complain over feeling beat down and chained. We could allow our circumstances to control us. Or we could praise the Lord for where we are - and what He is doing in our lives.

We listened to each other as much as we talked. We grasped what the Lord was showing both of us. Because of this journey, he and I both have grown closer to the Lord in ways we never would have imagined. We have been able to have moments and talks that would not have happened if we had not been in this journey. And we are learning to trust even deeper in the One who brought all of this about for His glory. While we have been "chained" to where the Lord has brought us, we are learning to praise Him while we are still in the dark of exactly how this will all turn out. We are not alone.

In His love, He reminded us tonight that as we praise Him in the journey, our chains of doubt, fear, and uncertainty will fall away when He has brought about all that He will accomplish.

Until then... we will praise Him.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Be of Good Courage - I Am!

We have been on our "Journey of Hope for the Future" for a month. When we first began the journey, I was excited to watch how the Lord was going to work in our boy's life.

I still am....

...but I began to feel overwhelmed by the weight of it all.

I began to feel as if I was drowning with trying to accomplish everything I had been called to do.  The road ahead was long and the day-to-day was becoming arduous.


Then the Lord reminded me of how much I am like Peter and had to take me across the Sea of Galilee to get me to see what I had been missing about this journey on which He has sent us.

To help, let me refresh you on what Scripture tells us in Matthew 14

22 Immediately [after feeding the 5,000] He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 
23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 
24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 
25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 
26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 
29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 
30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 
32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 
33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”


I have always loved this passage of Scripture.  I guess you could say it would be one I could talk about so easily because it was a favorite.  I could "claim" it for others to give them encouragement when they are in storms of life because I know how the Lord is there for us.

One little thing - I was Peter here.
I knew the path that the Lord had us on was His plan. I saw Him perform the miracles of having every step of this process fall into place, just as Peter saw Jesus feed 5,000 + people on five loaves of bread and two fish preceding this passage of Scripture.

I was Peter when Jesus put the disciples in the boat while He finished up what He was doing with the 5,000 +.

Peter was a fisherman.  He knew what it was like to handle a boat! I am a teacher - I know what it is like to work with children and help them succeed!

I was Peter when he said "If it is really you, call me out of this boat to come to you."  I was Peter in that I GOT OUT OF THE BOAT - and began walking towards Jesus when He made it clear for us to COME along this path to help our son.

But then.....I was Peter in that I began to take my eyes off of the One Who had called me to this journey and began to pay attention to the wind and the waves around me.  I began to drown. I began to cry out for the Lord to save me....I was trying to do it all just as He had called me to do!  Only, I was Peter and I forgot to listen to the precious words spoken just minutes before Jesus called Peter to "come" out of the boat and walk toward Him.

I was Peter in that I forgot that Jesus said "Be of good courage.  It is I.  Be not afraid."

I learned in the last week that the translation for "It is I." should actually be rendered "I AM." When I learned that, this whole truth from God's Word began to take on deeper meaning and the Lord spoke to me as if immediately pulling me from the drowning waves asking me "Why are you of so little faith....why did you doubt?"

"Be of good courage, Kellie."

"I AM. "

"Do not be afraid of this journey and let the waves of what is ahead drown you. I never sent you on this journey alone. I knew all along what would be ahead of you.  I knew all along that you would need to keep your eyes on me with every step."

I AM.

He is not  "I Was."  "I Might."  "I Will Think About It." "I Could."

No.

I AM.

He is with me.  He is with our son. The Lord is with all circumstances He has placed in my family's lives right now because He IS!

He sent us on the boat for our son's future knowing full well what this journey was going to entail. He came to me when I was drowning in work expectations, home expectations, mom/wife expectations. He calmed my fears in the midst of this storm. He will see us to the end of this long journey.

He taught me also while grasping this passage that the "fourth watch of the night" is between 3 and 6 in the morning - exactly when I get up each day to head to school.  This is when I must call on Him and keep myself focused for that DAY.

Little did I realize that I needed to learn this deep spiritual truth because our son was battling the same overwhelming waves.  Within a couple of days, he came to me with tears in his eyes and said, "But what if this doesn't fix it?  What if nothing changes after you have gone to all of this for me?"

Be of good courage, our Son.

I AM is with us.

I could confidently tell Him what the Lord had just shown me to help him understand that the Lord had sent us on this journey and it WILL work because He is there giving us courage, picking us up when we fall, getting into the boat, and calming all of our fears.

He will see us to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.....our Journey of Hope for His Future.

So.... Be of Good Courage...

I AM.

This song has replayed in my mind over and over since the Lord deepened my understanding of His truths. May it bless you as it has me.