Worship

Jesus, Sweet Jesus, You are my guiding Friend.
You save me.
You love me.
I worship You.
I thank You for what You are doing in our family’s life.
I thank You for what You are doing in our home.
I thank You that You are in charge, not me.
I thank You that You are helping me learn to rest in You.

You are Holy.

You are Mighty.

You are God.

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Anticipation!

I’m so excited! This weekend is going to be a mash up of two different seminar/conference events. One is a marriage seminar, and we get to leave the children with my parents during the day Saturday. Then on Sunday we will leave 2 kiddos with JE’s parents and drive out of state for a conference focusing on resting in the Presence of God. We are very excited, I’m really looking forward to a little vacation time, as well as an opportunity to seek God without the distractions of everyday life popping up. We have been given a leading to serve hurting women. (I speak a little bit about it here.) While we’ve been working hard to get the house ready, we are realizing more and more thoroughly how unprepared spiritually, emotionally, and mentally we feel for this sort of thing.

We are pretty naive, which is probably a good thing, honestly. It means we can love with less hang ups. We are not street smart-we don’t know the lingo, the pitfalls, the struggles. We’ve (praise God!) never been a part of the drug world, so how can we love and support someone who is going through the throes of withdrawal, or trying to resist a relapse? I’ve never been a single mom-my husband is an AMAZING husband and daddy to our children. We were each other’s first boyfriend/girlfriend, and saved our first kiss for at the wedding altar… how can I minister to those who gave themselves away prematurely, or had their innocence ripped away from them?? I feel very blessed and very unqualified to reach out to these women. But God has made it clear this is what we are supposed to do! So, how?

All these questions can be answered very simply, by LOVE. Just pour God’s love out on them. There are obviously other things I can do to gain experience and wisdom-training and volunteering at local women’s ministries is one avenue for this. But the most important thing, the most needful thing, is to love them. And how does one give love away, except if one has love in the first place?! I’ve been crying out to the Lord to prepare me for this, to lead us in the way He would have us go. We know we can get burnt doing this kind of ministry very, very easily. We have no interest in doing anything apart from Holy Spirit’s guidance and leading. So the big thing this weekend that I’m really pressing in and asking the Lord for-is an outpouring of His love and wisdom.

Desiring to be Desperate

Have you ever wished you had the willpower for something worthwhile? Maybe the strength to refuse those sweets and exercise more so you can lose those last 10 pounds? Perhaps the backbone to stand up for yourself in a bad relationship and turn your life around?  How about the desire to read the Bible, pray more, and become a more loving person?

I am weak. I want to desire the Lord more and more. But that strength to pursue Him is just not there. I keep falling short of being madly crazy in love with Him, getting too distracted by the struggles of life to rest in Him.

It is a good thing that having a relationship with God isn’t hinged on my strength, because if that was the case I’d obviously be a lost cause. Praise the Lord it is through His strength that He draws me to Himself! He pursues me with hot passion, I am His beloved bride, his precious one. He desires to completely overcome me and pour His heart into me. He is able.

And I am undone. My heart is overcome.

Are you hungry for love? Surrender your heart to Jesus. He will love you. After all, He promised He would, and He is always the Man of His Word.

Empty.

In the past few years of my walk with Jesus, there have been some moments of harsh realization that I was running on my own strength… and I knew that would run out of steam someday, at some point. Honestly I prayed I wouldn’t, that I would be able to handle whatever came my way with relative ease. The past 6 months have quite heavily drained me. I knew it was a good thing to reach the end of myself-one can only rely on their strength to a point. But I still fought it. Clung desperately to my strengths even when it meant running over my family-I’m a great organizer, “steam roller”, get’er done kind of girl, with the administrative abilities to back it up. I’m thankful for those abilities-but in my own strength they turned into almost a curse, robbing all of us of joy and peace. They were not enough to carry me, to carry my family through this time of change and challenge. Last night I was empty. Just plain and simple empty. I realized there was no way for me to do it. I’ve tried all the tricks in my book. I’m done.

Jesus is taking over from here.

And he met me. My sweet sweet Jesus loved on me, picked me up, and took my burden. He is real, He is true, and HE is the One making life happen. Not this girl. And I’m so very grateful and full of peace. For the first time in around 6 months I went to sleep in perfect and complete peace. No list formulating in my dreams, no tossing and turning wondering about how to solve this problem or teach this skill. Just peace. And boy it felt good! Woke up with the same peace. Refreshed. Alive! And ready for some new walking, some renewing of my mind. The name of this blog is SurrenderedMama for good reason, perhaps even prophetically. It is my heart’s cry to be utterly and wholly surrendered to my Jesus. The white flag flies quite cheerily here. Thank You Abba.

5 Minute Musings- Music

Ah, music. It draws me in, refreshes my mood, and can influence me with it’s message. I seriously enjoy music. It could be playing in the background pretty constantly and I would be more than happy. As a teenager when I had trouble sleeping I would put on either Fernando Ortega’s piano worship music, Twila Paris’s Perennial CD, or a random cassette I had from Dollar Tree that had some sort of piano music with ocean waves in the background. The music would be on repeat all night, except the cassette tape. I listened to those three albums so often for that purpose that even today that music seems etched in my heart. They bring a feeling of peace and rest to me years later. What we listen to does change us. It is important to pick music with purpose. Today my husband and I listen to a lot of music from Bethel Church and Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. They have a rich desire to glorify and praise God through the music they play. We also like to play instruments and sing, even if we are pretty rough around the edges at times. In another post I’ll talk about how it came about for me to even learn how to play piano and organ. God provided a way. He is good. He will receive praise!! In what way do you enjoy praising the Lord?

My Hearts Pull.

So in another post I promised I would write more on the desire God has been putting in my heart over the last several years. When Joshua and I were first married, there was a presentation given at our church about Women At Risk, International. This ministry reaches out to at-risk women around the globe, giving them safe and healthy jobs, teaching them how to care for themselves and their families… to give them a hand up when they are stuck in a situation they don’t like-but it looks hopeless. One thing they do is teach women how to make jewelry, pay them well for their work, and then sell the jewelry. At that presentation my husband bought me a strand of amethyst and pearls in honor of the 6 month-iversary of our wedding day. As time went on I learned more about how difficult life can be for young women trapped in bad lifestyles or workplaces, and my heart ached for them.

Who would tell them about the hope that they could have? Who would get close enough to help? My heart’s desire is to be that person. They need men to come around them and shield them from the evil men who are taking advantage of them, to show them what a real man looks like. My husband’s heart is to be that man.

A dear friend of mine who was also newly married started having terrible difficulties. Her husband was an addict, and when he ended up incarcerated AGAIN, it was clear it was not safe for her to stay in this relationship. She felt so torn, but did get a divorce. She wanted to have a wonderful marriage, a home, to care for her children and husband… like me. My situation was just beautiful. The stark difference was almost too much to take. My heart ached for her, now a single mom, determined to provide well for her child. Time went on. She now has two children, is still single, is still determined to take excellent care of her children, and is such an amazing woman. I am privileged to know her.

Single moms like her need someone to lend a hand. To offer babysitting, a break, an ear, a hug!

My heart’s desire is to be that person. Their children often need a good daddy figure, a male role model to play with them and love them. My husband’s heart is to be that man.

This is not something that just popped into our heads. Over, and over, and over again God has given us thoughts, dreams, people giving words of knowledge who have no idea who we are- let alone our heart’s desire, and provisions that He is leading us down this path. We bought a 4 bedroom home earlier this year. In our area most homes we could afford without debt were tiny 3 bedroom homes not conducive to open door ministry. Our new home is far from ready for serious ministry, but God has told us one room is to be for “hospitality”. For the one who needs a safe and peaceful place. We do not know what this will look like yet in practice, but we are so excited to see how God weaves together His plan in our lives.

How about you? What has been laid on your heart? How are you responding?