Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Where Did the Weekend Go?

So... we moved this past weekend. To be honest, it was the smoothest move we've ever had (4 times in 5 years). We actually had plenty of help, and we had everything boxed and ready before our help even arrived.

It only took about 2 hours total. (One hour for my Dad and Red Beard--two peas in a pod--to move our sofa, bed, washer, and dryer; the other hour involved the whole crew.)

Everyone ate out afterwards, and Red Beard and I went to bed that night feeling pleased as punch with the status of things.

And then we woke up to box land. Reality check: Your work isn't through, folks!
Our New Kitchen...

Our Laundry Area (Complete with Several Loads of Dirty Laundry)

Our New Living Room

You know those mornings after you move...We ate cereal out of styrofoam cups (because I couldn't find the bowls or the countertop). The cat, still upset that her world was turned upside down, spent most of the day under the bed.

Thankfully my parents helped us that next day or we wouldn't be as settled as we were by the end of the day. We even got the Kindle hooked up to the T.V. so we could watch a movie on Amazon Prime.

Much better, no? Yes, it's in color... I was much happier at that moment.

Anyhoo, I thought I'd give a quick update. Hope everyone is doing well. ~Mrs. D.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

MWP: Moving While Pregnant

It's finally moving week here at the Shore. We've got a nice collection of boxes and bags full of stuff. Red Beard will bring home more boxes from work today, too.
The living room collection.
And can I just say how grateful I am to have a thoughtful husband? Yesterday, even though he had mountains of homework to do, he took the time to help me pack. Basically, I pointed, he packed, and I labeled. And it took us less than an hour to do several boxes, matching the amount of boxes I have packed in the last couple of weeks.

=We have double the amount now. Amazing! :)
The cat is her usual helpful self.
Of course, in the process, Red Beard dropped my toothbrush, bristle side down, on the bathroom floor (yuck), and I accidentally knocked his deodorant into the toilet (whoops). At least we're even on that score.
Peace offering: He bought me a new toothbrush. :)
Moving always entails more than just packing things, too. You have things to get rid of--whether it's by throwing them away completely, donating them, or storing them for future use.

Yesterday, for example, we transported our "falling down" hutch to my folks' house for storage. (The "falling down" hutch derives it's nickname from the original time we moved it from my grandparents house to our apartment. 30 seconds into the ride, it fell out of the truck and into the street, decorating the pavement with glittering shards of broken glass from the shelves and doors. I always wanted a job as a decorator.)

A few months ago, Red Beard re-framed the doors and fitted them with chicken wire. I painted the molding on it a bright white. We spent a couple of afternoons fixing it up because we desperately needed more storage in our kitchen (and hey--we didn't want it to look dumpy).

But, even though we spent all that time fixing the hutch, we have no use for it in our new apartment. We will have plenty of storage in our new kitchen--heck, we might even have drawers big enough to hold silverware this time. So, unfortunately, the hutch had to go.

The same is true in our spiritual lives.

When God moves us to a different place--either a new church, a new ministry within the church, a new town, or sometimes just moves within our hearts--sometimes the things we used to do are no longer valid.

We need to be willing to put aside anything that God asks us to.

Let's say you used to be in charge of the children's Sunday school class at your old church. Maybe your new church already has somebody teaching in that capacity or God has simply impressed upon your heart to serve Him in a different way. You may have spent years creating lessons and you have plenty of experience, but God has something else in mind.

You need to be willing to set those former things aside, and follow where He leads you. God has to get us out of our comfort zones in order for us to grow. If we're comfortable, we're likely not relying on Him. We're trusting our own strength and our own knowledge.

Example: "If we have 5 points and a song, good posters for our youth events, and a really good praise band, we're sure to draw a bigger crowd."

Our goal isn't numbers; the church is NOT a business. If we can physically grow a church without God's involvement, what kind of church are we growing?

In a ministry setting, if you're living in a comfort zone, depending on programs or advertisements or videos or anything other than God's strength to grow your ministry, you need to move on. You need to cast aside those things which cause you to depend on your own strength and wisdom and not God's.

Scripture to Read...

1 Corinthians 1:17-21:
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
I pray that we would all remember to rely on God and not on ourselves.  ~Mrs. D.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A God-Honoring Pregnancy

When I first became pregnant, one of my greatest concerns was the effect my attitude would have on Red Beard and whoever else I might come into contact with. I've been around so many unpleasant pregnant women, and I was (and am still) determined not to become one of them.

In a certain sense, pregnancy is no different than any other situation in which your body is under stress. Why would I say that? Think about it...

  • If I'm having a terrible day, I'm not supposed to sin.  
  • If I'm not feeling good because I have the flu, I'm not supposed to sin.
  • If I'm pregnant, I'm not supposed to sin.

Worry, fear, pouting, pity parties, bad attitudes, temper tantrums, demands, selfishness, and the like are all sinful. They are not acceptable behaviors. Period.

Pregnancy is not a "sin without consequences" pass.
Saltines= this pregnant girl's best friend for warding off nausea. :)
When our hormones run high and our bodies are constantly changing (and making us sick), it's easy to let things like our attitudes and desires run their natural courses--without any sort of intervention on our part.

But we are called to a higher standard.

Ephesian 4:26 says, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sin go down upon your wrath." It doesn't say we can't have emotions or feel a certain way; however, the way we feel is not supposed to cause us to sin.

We should always keep ourselves in check.

That is something my parents always encouraged in my brothers and me when I was growing up: self-reflection. We need to take time (daily, sometimes moment-to-moment in delicate situations) to evaluate ourselves objectively--not just as we want to see ourselves. The way to do that is through prayer and through meditation of God's Word.

  1. Prayer: We need to ask God to point out our faults, especially our blind spots. Allow Him to bring to your heart and mind the ways in which you haven't measured up to His standard (="Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which in heaven is perfect." Mt. 5:48). If you've been born into God's family, if the Spirit lives inside your heart, you need to heed His voice--not your own.
  2. Meditation of God's Word: Another way to find your blind spots is through daily reading and applying God's Word to your life. When you read a Bible verse, try not to just skim through it without personal reflection or don't think "this verse is about something irrelevant to me." If you fail to see what a certain passage is saying, ask God to reveal it to you. We can always glean insight through a daily intake of God's Word.
Pregnant or not, we need to be careful to deal with sins (see 1 Jn. 1:9) as we commit them. We need to not let "any root of bitterness spring up . . . and thereby many be defiled" (Heb. 12:15). 

I know--boy, do I know--how difficult it is to let emotions run our actions. But consider Hebrews 4:15:
"For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

Christ knows our pain. He was taunted and mocked when He was dying for the sin of the entire world on the cross. Yet, He did not sin.

He is our example. And He is our help, as it says in the very next verse (v. 16):
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

Summary: If you don't now whether you've messed up, ask God (pray). If you've messed up, ask forgiveness (pray). If you want to not mess up anymore, ask (pray). 

I'm so grateful God doesn't demand perfection without giving us a way to access His power and strength. 

I pray that I would remember that I have access to it (and that you would remember you do, too).

--Mrs. D.