Often

I was doing my daily Bible study when a verse suddenly jumped out at me.  It is something I’ve read before, but I’ve never given it much thought.

But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.  Luke 5:16

I’m not sure why, but the adverb in that sentence is what grabbed me.

Often.

Jesus didn’t just withdraw for prayer, but He did it often.

Jesus had just healed a man of leprosy and told him to take the customary offering to the priest as a public testimony of his being cleansed.  He also told the man not to go making a spectacle of his healing.  Jesus told him not to tell anyone.  He healed the man and told him to just do what the law of Moses required and don’t go making a huge deal out of it.

But, of course, the man talked.  We know he talked because the Bible says that news of Jesus’ power spread and people came to hear Him preach and to be healed.  And not just a few people.  Luke 5:15 says “vast crowds” came.  Vast!

Vast means great in size.  A lot.  We’re talking about multitudes.

But even Jesus knew when to take a break from the multitudes.

He withdrew often.

Often.

To the wilderness, which is a bit of a solitary place.

For prayer.

This example from our Savior, during a time where so much is being demanded of Him, a time when I am certain He felt the stress that we so often feel, is an example of taking a much needed break.  It’s an example of stepping aside from the hustle and bustle of life.  And it’s an example of seeking God first.

Often.

I get stressed out.  I can feel like everything and everyone is coming at me at once.  The needs of my children and my husband and life responsibilities can stack up and press in and have me frantic.  These demands can often send me into a tizzy.  I can try to not be noticed, and I can even ask my family to give me space, but the demands will keep coming.

And today God reached out and said to me, through the example He gave us in Christ, to just withdraw.  Take a moment.  And take it often.  Step into another room.  Walk outside.  Go in the closet.  Whatever I need that will be my wilderness for the moment… Go there and go there often.  And pray!

My kids, my husband, my life, all of it will always be there and there will always be demands.

But I need to pray.  I need to set my mind straight.  I need to make sure I am seeking after God first so that I can meet the demands that life presents.  I need to withdraw, even if for just a moment, often.  God will meet me there, and He will make sure that I can keep on going.

And I won’t be quite as frantic if I do this often.

When is it Sin?

I’ve got something on my mind.  I’m not exactly sure what the right words are, but I feel that I need to get it out so here I am.

I guess the question I have is one that is very offensive in nature to other Christians, because asking questions and thinking is almost always offensive these days.

You see, what’s on my mind is this… At what point do you view what you know to be wrong as sin?

I’m not going to go into some big long post about a recent movie that came out and why you should or shouldn’t see it, because that’s up to you.  Rather, I am just going to say that the controversy surrounding it is what prompted my question.

I will not spend my money on the movie for a couple of reasons.  One is the content.  No matter how “subtle” people say it is, it is not content I wish to pay money to see.  And the other is the quoted comments of the film’s director.  Basically, the guy said he wished he could rip pages out of the Bible, and I take issue with that.

Without diving into the movie, I want to look at what is surrounding it in terms of how people are reacting.  The issue at hand that I am referring to is with people who yell and scream about things like same sex marriage, but then turn around and spend their money taking their families to see a movie that is being massively marketed as some sort of breakthrough in terms of a first “exclusively gay moment”.

My issue is with people who take to social media to flip out about bathrooms and cake bakers, but who will shell out money to a company that is supporting what they so greatly oppose.

And then the people say, “Well, it was just a small moment.  No big deal.  Just a tiny little thing.”

So, what’s the deal then?  Is it because no one kissed?  Was the line not crossed?

Who draws the line?

At what point do you call it sin?

Look, I am in no way perfect.  I have watched things that I know very well I should not have watched.  But what is different here is that I am now so fully aware of it.  God is working in my life in some huge ways right now and I am seeing things revealed in my own character that have me making serious changes.  In those changes, I have realized that we can deny Christ with our money.  How we spend it speaks volumes.  To financially support something in the name of entertainment while dismissing it as just a “little bit” sinful is absolutely disgraceful.

Because when we stand before the Lord, He will not judge us as being a little sinful.  Sin is sin.  Period.

Everywhere I turn right now I am seeing Christian moms calling out “go see the movie” and “it’s just little thing, the kids may not even notice” and “we need to be tolerant.”

I won’t see the movie.

Kids do notice.

And tolerance doesn’t mean accepting what I know to be wrong as right just to fit in.

Sunshine Day

I’ve never lived anywhere in my adult life where there are so many gloomy (overcast, snowy, rainy, etc…) days.  It’s kind of new to me.  So when the sun broke free this morning and it started to look like a picture perfect day, I asked my hubby to take me to the sunshine.

Big Goose Creek at Kendrick Park in Sheridan, Wyoming

Wyoming is full of beautiful spots like this one.  And while we have only stayed in town so far, I know there are many more gorgeous spots out in the hills, valleys, and mountains.

Big Goose Creek

The gloomy days will start to fade more and more as spring breaks through and leads into summer.  Living in a place that has a true winter season does take some getting used to.  I say it’s gloomy, but I’m not complaining.  I just don’t know how else to describe it.  I tell you what though, when days like today hit, the gloom just fades into a memory.  I could spend every day at Kendrick Park and it wouldn’t get old.

Literally Fed Up

Well, I am fed up.  I guess literally.  Because I am fed up in pounds.  Get it?

I was taking a little inventory of myself over the weekend and I decided that I am just disgusted.  I don’t like feeling hungry, but I also don’t like feeling fat.  I know how to eat healthy.  I used to help other women figure out how to eat healthy.  What I don’t know is why I just let all that go.

Stress?

Emotions?

Annoyance?

Whatever the case, in letting it go, I fed myself right up to being overweight.

Again.

More than usual.

Ugh.

Yesterday, when I went grocery shopping, I made a point of getting some healthier options for myself.  I purchased things that I know I like so that I could make better choices.  That’s the first step, as they say.

I know how to eat better.  I know how to get my body moving.

So I guess this little post here is me saying that I am fed up with being fed up and I am going to start trying harder to be the me that I know I can be.

The me that I want to be.

The me that I should be.

The me that would make me feel a little better about this body I have.

They say that you are what you eat, and right now that means I am fatty, sugary, salty, oily, and just plain processed… Yuck.

Little Things

Have you ever noticed that when people look for signs from God they are often looking for something big?  It seems like people want planets to fall out of the sky or a booming voice to call down giving them assurance that they are on the right path.

But what I’ve noticed in my life is that God speaks more often in the little things.

I do have to admit that I have audibly heard the Lord on three separate occasions.  Yes, He spoke to me.  It wasn’t booming, rather, it was quite comforting.  I don’t think that is odd or weird.  I think I was blessed to have those experiences.  But He doesn’t speak to me that way daily.  Daily, I see Him in other things.

I homeschool my children.  I believe this is a calling on my life from God.  I believe that because He told me.  But as a homeschool mom there are days when I get frustrated and I start to doubt everything I am doing.  There are days when well meaning people ask me how long I will keep this up.  There are days when those questions give life to doubts that swirl through my soul.  And then I see God working in the little things.

Because I’m giving Him my trust and following His plan, He guides me in ways I never imagined would happen.

I’d like to share a well known fact about me.  It is known in my family and it is known with many of my friends.

I stink at math.

Oh, I do ok with the elementary stuff, but once you get out of long division and on to math with letters in it, well, that is where you often lose me.

I made it through my own schooling ok.  I had to work hard at math in high school, and when I was in college I had to have a tutor a few times.  I always just figured that math wasn’t my talent and I’d never be an engineer or scientist so it wasn’t a big deal.

But I homeschool.  And math is a part of education.  My kids are still young, but as the end of seventh grade draws near for my son, I find that math is getting more and more complex.  There is algebra and integers and algebra with integers.  There are square roots and extracting them.  There is algebra in geometry.  It’s a whole host of math that falls into the “I never understood this” realm of my life.

Except…

Something is happening.

I’m a firm believer that when God calls you to do something, He equips you.  He doesn’t call you to failure.  He doesn’t call you and then leave you.  He walks with you.  He talks with you.  He guides you.  He shapes you.

And over the past couple of weeks in our homeschool, I have seen God walking with me and guiding me.  The math that I never understood is coming to me in such a way that it can only be from Him!

If I was waiting for a planet to fall, I’d still be waiting.  Instead, I choose to bring my head back down to reality and look at my life as it is.  I see God giving me a more than clear sign that once again, no matter what doubt seeps in, I am doing the right thing.  He is right there with me.  He is helping me to succeed in this endeavor because for whatever reason, He wants this for my kids.

He is equipping me for the long haul in this homeschool journey and He is letting me know that He will help.

I know it’s just math.  But for me, it’s a significant sign of the Lord in my life.  To be able to stand up with my whiteboard and teach my son how to do this math with total confidence and understanding is nothing short of a miracle.