Sunday, October 30, 2011

living waters

Living Water
The living breathing water, oh so refreshing, oh so cooling.
When we are empty, when our well runs dry in our sinful state, His water lifts us up physically and spiritually.
How truly wonderful it is.
Life before it was so mundane. Life with it is full, and prospering.
As I woke this morning I prayed for His Spirit to lift me, to keep me encouraged and refreshed throughout the day; it was Brian’s day to work which meant I had to get all 4 kids up and ready for church alone.
I swung my legs over the bed, walked groggily out to the couch where I sank, submerging myself in the Word.
Then, chaos began. The monsters were up and the day began. Before I knew it, the peace I had gained seemed to fade and restlessness filled me. I quickly jumped into Mommy role and accomplished my task of readying ourselves for our day in God’s house.
I threw some logs on the cozy red, burning fire and walked out the door.
Thankfully the drive to church only took about 3 minutes since we are only 1.3 miles away, for I had a headache brewing from the craziness that had ensued within the walls of our home.
          The kids ran off to Sunday school and I dropped heavily into the pew, awaiting the uplifting message I would prayerfully receive upon my entrance.
He never fails me and Sunday school was encouraging and uplifting, just what I needed after the screaming rampage that had taken place only an hour before. I admit with an extremely heavy heart that I screamed entirely too much this morning, my tone of voice was not kind and my words were harsh. I felt rushed, anxious, as if I was failing the children in a cardinal way if we were late to church which only added to the feeling of uneasy that had crept in.
He graciously filled me with His words, filled me with His waters.
{Jump to church time.}
Following Sunday school I was filled and encouraged; you’d think I would be a pleasant woman, the epitome of a Godly one right?
I chatted with my church family, felt a sweet calm radiate within me.
I found the children and saw the beams of excitement coming from them following their school time, found our way to our seat. Church began, the organ played beautifully in the background. We participated in the hymnal serenades in which His great name was uplifted to the heavens—it was magnificent!
Then came prayer—typically we have one person that prays, of course not today. Not the day when I was alone in church. Not the day that I needed smooth sailing because I had already lost my cool far too many times.
No, not today.
Today, today was family prayer time (which please DO NOT GET ME WRONG, was absolutely beautiful. Hearing the beautiful little voices of small children praying with their parents was breathtaking. My only quam was the littles sitting beside me).
Side note:  Jaxson is 4 ½ and has only been in the church with us for 2 months; before which time he was in the toddler church the entire time. I was able to focus on Jordon’s behavior then because it was only him. Now add a restless 4 year old to a hyper 8 year old, a stressed out mom (who doesn’t drink coffee) and you have one not so calm situation.
There was the dropping of books, whispering, kicking of feet, coughing and at one moment a cry of impatience (I’ll leave your imaginations to decide who that came from…).
Needless to say, by the time prayer was over, I was empty again.
The children exited the church for junior church and I humbly laid it at His feet- admitting my failure and asking for the filling of Him, yet again. My pastor spoke eloquently, giving the living words our Lord laid upon His heart.
…post church time—I was filled again.
You see, that’s the most encouraging part of our Father who art in heaven; hallowed be His name.
When we are empty, when we feel desperation creeping into our souls, we must simply take a drink of His living water, that which comes from His will, and we shall thirst no more.
We may have to drink of it multiple times a day, as I did today, but He WILL ALWAYS FILL US. We can trust Him who promised.
Now, I know this passage means drinking of the living water of salvation and we shall thirst no more of death—but I thought it fitting after the morning I had. I simply needed to stop and let Him come in me. Stop and let His power fill me; after that I thirsted no more. There would be a time when my flesh would war with His spirit again and I would need to drink again, but He has promised that his Word will always fill us.
I trust that promise because I felt the truth of it today—felt Him lift me up completely as I fell in my flesh.
I am so very sorry to my children whom I failed during my fleshly fall, but I am so thankful and grateful to the One who redeemed my soul and has counted me blameless.
His grace is always sufficient and He shows it to us in abundant ways!  
His well is ALWAYS full and He is always willing to allow us a drink to help our parched desire. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Recovery from pain, it's possible!

Is Recovery Possible?
Have you ever sat down during a moment of frustration or despair over the most minuscule problem and suddenly the enemy has crept in and whispered lies in your ear? I admit this used to happen to me often after I first confessed Jesus as Lord of my life. He had been my Savior for years, but never Lord. I never gave over complete reign to Him. As I did, the enemy slithered in their quickly, tempting my sinfulness with his utter lies.
Does he ever do that to you? Does he ever lead you to believe that a sin you committed, an offense you did to someone is so horrible our gracious and loving God could never forgive you? If so, there is hope in these 4 words … HE IS A LIAR.
The enemy has no hold on your life and his lies have no weight on God’s truth.
Recovery, moving forward after a sinful life, is absolutely possible. With God, all things are possible. With God, no sin is too great. Men may have a hard time forgiving, moving forward and accepting you as a new creation, but with God, nothing is impossible.
“With men, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
He wants to bring healing to our life. He wants to heal the deepest of wounds, the one that inhibits growth from happening in our life.
“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.” Jer. 17:14
I’ve found myself asking at times, “How could you forgive me? How could you love a wretch like me?” The answer is simple—because He says so. He says I am worthy, I am made blameless, spotless in His sight upon my conversion, and I must deem His word TRUE.
“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless.”  Psalm 18:25
For me, the complete shame I lived in for the first 22 years of my life was such a burden to carry, such a weight to live with. Learning to move on after sexual abuse, turning my life into a testimony of sexual immorality, the weight threatened to crush me. It at times crushed my spirit, yanked my soul from my body. I became void of feeling, living my life the way the enemy led me to believe was my worth.
 There had to come a point when I knew that He was truth and the moment, the very moment, that I confessed Him Lord, I was then blameless and never again to be viewed as worthless. I was redeemed by the Redeemer. But, I had to confess my life to Him, I had to turn over the hurt to Him and admit, “I cannot get through this without you, please take this burden from me.” And I had to trust that He would.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:17 & 18
“cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Healing doesn’t happen without any passing time. Just as the hurt took time to sink deep within, forgiveness will take time to come from within that deep, dark place.
“… and a time to heal.” Ecclesiastes 3:3
But, rest assured that you will heal. He who has forgiven you promises that healing will take place and you can always stand confidently in His Word. Christ has forgiven you, for all of your past iniquities and He sees you as blameless and pure now. Walk upright to the very best of your ability, using His Word as guide. Do not compromise what you know is right; for what this world believes is right. The Spirit that dwells within becomes your guiding light in a pitch black world.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blog Party

I’m joining blog bash 2011 for their blog party’s, won’t you join us?

Courtney from women living well is hosting this awesome event and she wanted us to introduce ourselves.

My name is Ashley and I’m 27, married with 4 children. I am a lover of scrapbooking, reading, homeschooling and learning about the great I am.

I’ve been blogging for about 1 year, but only “seriously” for about 6 months. When I started I just wanted to get back into writing; something I have been passionate about since high school. In the last few months I have felt a tug on my heart to write more, and prayed fervently on where exactly God wanted me to go. You see, writing has always come easily to me; but sharing myself with people, that has taken some getting used to. Most of my life I have spent trying to hide who I truly was; cower away behind a rock and forget the pain I’ve endured. I’ve survived sexual abuse, an abusive step-father, a mental breakdown and date rape. Through all of these trials, I have humbly fallen to my knees and acknowledged that God is my refuge; it is in Him that I find strength. I only wish I could have seen Him through the tears that have fallen, through the bruises I’ve felt. But, I know that God, who began a good work in me, shall finish it upon His perfect timing. And His timing is always perfect.

Take for instance His perfect weaving of my relationship with my husband, the man that God brought into my path at the most inopportune moment. My partner while traveling on this earthly plain ….

He has showed me that there are good men out there, ones not set on destroying me; ones who dream of protecting me and loving me. He has shown me the love of our Lord and Savior and has brought to me more joy than I could ever have dreamed of. He has stood by my side as I found my walk and stepped into the role that God called me to…becoming a mother, a wife, a friend and a daughter. He has submitted to Christ and faithfully devoted himself to leading our family. And a family he sure has given me…..

We’ve adopted my nephew, Jordon (8) who has brought so much joy and tears to my life. He’s loud, loving, sweet and carefree and A HANDFUL! But I have enjoyed every second of the last 4 years and the lesson’s God has taught me along the journey. There’s Jaxson (4) who has been more of a delight then challenge every single day. He’s even-tempered, lovable, calm and care-free. He’s a delight and loves his baby sister to bits and pieces. There’s Hayley (2) who has been sassy and rough since the day she was born. She’s loud, proud and in charge. She pretty much runs our house. She has an attitude, yet has this sweet grin that will melt your heart; or possibly turn it cold depending on her mood. And finally there is Lily Grace (1) who has been without a doubt the blessing we didn’t know we wanted to badly. She is quiet, sweet, mellow and adorable. She is doted on by every single person in our home and her smile can wipe away any frown. I thank God each and every day for these beautiful blessings. I know that he blesses even the most sinful heart and I am living, walking proof. His grace has sufficiently wiped out my tumultuous past and His mercy reigns forth in my life.

And the most important aspect of my life is my incessant desire to walk faithfully with my Lord and Savior. I long to know Him intimately and to hear His voice in my ear as I walk along the way. He is my strength, He is my shield and I take refuge in His Word.

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."

~ 2 Corinthians 5:17~