Wednesday, August 6, 2014

When You Don't Know Where You are Going...

Sometimes not knowing where you are going brings fear, anxiety, and doubt. Some people allow those feelings and emotions to cripple them. They never cross the threshold of new beginnings. They never swing wide the open door and walk through it. They never truly live because they are stuck.

Hebrews 11:8 says, "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." (ESV)

I don't know what "big" things you have stirring up. I don't know if you are viewing those "big" things as a positive or a negative. I don't know what God has made clear to you. I believe a little bit of fear is healthy but it was by faith that Abraham obeyed. He had no clue where he was going, but God promised him GREAT things. 

"I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." - Genesis 12:2-3 (ESV)

I'm sure the promise God gave him was absolutely appealing but he still had to leave his country, his people, and his father's household. I'm guessing that not knowing where the final destination would be would make him he was just a little bit scared, but once again in faith he obeyed God. Your next step may not be as alluring as Abraham's promise but a next step is still required.

The end of this month will mark our one year anniversary move to San Antonio. A year ago I felt a little like Abraham. We had no jobs lined up, no place to live, and we were leaving behind lifelong friends. But deep within our hearts we knew this was our next step in our journey. I don't know what God has in store for us and I don't know what God has in store for you, but God will lead you like he's leading me just stay attuned to His voice.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lessons from a Two Year Old

The past few days my two year old has been walking around the house with a set of Ninja Turtle trading cards I found at a thrift store and a Buzz Light Year figurine. If we head out the door he’ll proudly pack them up in his back pack so they travel with him wherever he goes. He even sleeps with all his favorite things tucked under his blanket. If little brother grabs a hold of those things a blood curdling scream is soon to follow. It’s as though he can’t live without them. The objects seem completely random to me, but to him they are priceless pieces that are dear to his little heart. Something about those objects bring him comfort. 

What brings you comfort? We may not walk around with toys in our hands but we do have things that we feel we can’t live without because without it we don’t know what to do. Maybe it’s our phone or an iPad. Dare I say a game on one of those devices? Could it be your television, a person, money or a hobby? Personally, I enjoy all of those things. After a long day I like to sit in front of the television. On a bad day I’ll seek my husband’s comfort. None of those objects or people are bad until…..until you are placing them before our loving God. When it is all we think about or can’t seem to live with out it has become a problem.

So is there something you hold on to so tight you’ll try to fight God for it? It may sound silly but as adults we do the very thing my two year old does. I have to ask myself this very question a lot. I can get swept up in too much of something and my heart and time become divided. 

So what can you learn from a two year old today?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hello, my name is Lora and I’m a Control Freak…

Hello, my name is Lora and I’m a Control Freak…

There. I said it. The reason why I share this is because I have a feeling I’m not alone in this. I’m not alone in the sin I’ve been meddling with. I’m not alone when it comes to not trusting God. 

I have never parted oceans, I did not create the starry night, I have never formed a planet yet I trust myself way more than I trust the very God who created all those things.

I’ve been brewing over the passage of scripture in Exodus, chapter 16, where the children of Israel had just come out of Egypt. They witnessed some of the most miraculous things and you’d think they’d be in awe of God’s wonders but instead they grumbled and complained about their current situation. Now that’s an entire different post you can read some of my thoughts about that here

But what I want to focus on is the part where you and I have failed many times before. When the Israelites woke up each morning, the manna would be like dew on the ground, and they collected it and prepared it for the day. If they gathered more than they needed, it would rot. God was teaching them to trust him for their daily bread.

I’m a goal oriented gal. I like schedules and plans. I like to look ahead into the future and try to set myself up for success. I don’t think that those things are bad but I do think that it became a problem when I noticed a hiccup in my plans drove me crazy because that meant I was no longer in control. I slowly went from happily sitting in the back seat of the car watching God take me from point A to point B to invading His space, to kicking him out of the driver’s seat while He watched me take the wheel because after all I knew better. Sigh. The good news is I’m in recovery. I know it’s wrong, but how many times have we subtly done that?

Gloria Furman says it best in her book Glimpses of Grace, "We have a problem with letting God provide for us. We have a problem with that in the broad scope of our lives — we’d rather save ourselves from our sin. And we have a problem with letting God provide for our daily bread in the minute details of life. We fail at letting God provide for us because we think we know what we need better than he does. So we go and take it for ourselves. I do this every time I don’t consciously trust him; I trust myself."

Since my “aha” moment I’ve been praying this daily prayer, “Lord I trust you for today. Whatever you have in store for today. Whomever you have in store for me today. I will not worry about tomorrow. Help me to live for today. Amen.”

This simple prayer has moved me to quite a perspective shift especially when it comes to my family's finances. My husband for the last 13 years received a weekly paycheck. We knew when to expect it and how much to expect. We are now in a season in our lives where it is about completely trusting God for our daily bread. Last year he started his own business which means we no longer have the comfort of knowing how much we’ll receive each month. But God has been ever so present and faithful. 

So what is it in your life that has you so wound up, so distracted, so filled with anxiety that you can’t see the miraculous of what God is doing in your life? Do you trust him for your daily bread?  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When We Forget What He Has Done

When I think of the children of Israel I think dumb dumb people. Not only did God send Moses to release you from captivity but you saw the sea parted and you walked right through it (Exodus 14:21). You ate manna that came straight down from heaven (Exodus 16:4) and come on your sandals lasted 40 years as you wandered in the desert. They despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord. (Psalm 106:24-25) After all that plus more they forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt (Psalm 106:21).

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. What a picture of my life. Time after time God has intervened. He has provided my every need and yet when fear strikes I forget about what God has done for me.

Psalm 106 continues on with a long list of wrongs they committed against God and many times God delivered them even when they were bent on rebellion and wasted away in their sin (vs. 43). But God is patient with us. He desires our fellowship. He took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. He caused them to pitied by all who held them captive. (vs. 44-46).

So what is it your facing today? Don’t doubt His mighty power. Don’t doubt his love for you. Sometimes days will be darker before you begin to see the light piercing through, but don’t lose hope and don’t grow weary. Don’t forget what He has done for you!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (Psalm 107:1).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What if...

What if I took you on my journey of the last two months what would you see?

What if sleep came in batches of three hours through the night instead of a deep slumber?
What if dirty filled clothing and precious giggles were caused by mud puddles, snails, roll pollies and worms?
What if tears of frustration were brought on by tiny people called my children?
What if the housework is daunting with a means to no end?
What if the menu consisted of sandwiches for the umpteenth time?
What if relief came in forms of good coffee, a helpful husband, and an intriguing book?
What if a change in focus changed everything?
What if God used my weaknesses to make something beautiful?
What if I started each day releasing my fears, my worries, my drama, my weariness to God?
What if beautifully living was just that?
What if... 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Crock Pot to the Rescue!

The last week has been exhausting to say the least. My husband had a wedding video shoot back in my home town (4 hours south) over Mother's Day weekend so we decided to make a mini trip out of it and spend Mother's Day with his mom and family. Unfortunately my husband got sick with some sort of crud so the trip was a bit wearing on him and then I got hit with something. Sigh. As soon as we got back home baby Chase went on a teething rampage plus fever. It never ends, but I know you all know that!

So what does one do to make life a bit easier? Well, I've taken my advice from this post and went double time with my crock pot. This morning I whipped up these pinto beans in one crock pot. I made a few adjustments of my own. I added fresh cilantro and two Knorr Chicken Bouillon cubes and I didn't add the jalapeƱo or cumin as suggested. In the second crock pot I put together a Chicken Enchilada Casserole. We had both of these for dinner tonight and they turned out great. My daughter who eats slower than molasses cleaned out her plate in a matter of minutes and even said, "Mommy you cooked good today!" Score!

Once I cleaned up dinner I went back to throwing a few things together so I could have a bit of breathing room tomorrow. In one crock pot I added a pork butt roast with some BBQ sauce. I'm making a double batch of pulled pork sandwiches. This will be for dinner tomorrow for the family and I'm also taking some to a friend who just had a baby. For breakfast in the morning I'm going to sit back and relax and let the slow cooker do the work with this oatmeal recipe here

Just writing this post made me tired! Off to bed I go! Hope you all have a good week and I hope you enjoyed the Efficient Mom Series. If you've missed it catch up by starting off here.
Sophia on Mother's Day.

Jack enjoying some swim time with our good friend Stephanie.

Had an early birthday celebration for Chase with Grandma & Grandpa!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother's Day Tribute

At this time last year I was spending Mother’s Day with my beautiful mother. You see just a few weeks before that I went into pre-term labor with my third child. I was still living in the Rio Grande Valley and mom was living in San Antonio. We could sense it. Baby Chase’s arrival was near. Mom couldn’t bear the fact that I was in pain and she lived four hours away. 

My mom, she’s the best. Honestly this post is probably the hardest one I’ve written thus far. It’s hard because there aren’t any words that will ever truly suffice my deep gratitude for this woman. Stringing out sentences don’t come easily when you’re seeking perfection because that’s what she deserves.

 My mother is a warrior. My dad worked long hours so most days she raised five children on her own. She is selfless. Our needs were always before hers I can’t think of one moment where it was the other way around. 

My mother is graceful. Her words bring comfort and her hands extend love. She is one of a kind. She listens well. Her heart is big. 

Mom, you are truly my best friend. Everyday I wish to honor you but this weekend I want the world to meet you, the person behind the woman I am today. I am so grateful God chose you to be my mother. I love you mom, Happy Mother's Day!