Need Some Perspective?

Had a lot of different things on my mind lately.  Annoyed by some things that, in my mind, were pretty big deals.

Then, this morning, in my prayer time I was telling God that I need His help with letting go of all of this negativity I have been carrying around.  Asking for a perspective shift and a peace of mind.  Wanting to be consumed with what consumes Him, not earthly, temporary concerns and annoyances.

This song sure did help me with perspective and what I’m choosing to see and think on today.

There is WONDER in today

There is wonder in the mundane.  I want all my mama friends to know that and live in that.  I know the days are long, but I don’t want us to miss the wonder of what it is that we are doing.  And I think I love when God helps me in this area because there are so many days that I do miss the wonder of it all and look around thinking surely there is something more I am supposed to be doing.

It reminds me a little bit of Eve in the Garden of Eden.  I wonder how long Eve was in the Garden of Eden before her eyes wandered and stayed on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?  The Bible doesn’t say how many days in a row they walked with God in the cool of the day before they hid in shame because of their disobedience.  I am baffled that Eve could have lost the wonder of what was The Garden of Eden…the perfect place to live, breath-takingly beautiful. She doubted God’s goodness and wanted in on something MORE, something she had yet to experience.  Or so she thought.

I remember like yesterday walking through the grocery aisle at Publix with a newborn, one year old and two year old; an older grandma-like lady stopped me and smiled and had the audacity to say, “These are some of the best days of your life, honey.”

Knowing that I couldn’t push an old lady down in the grocery store, I just smiled back at her and said, “Ok.”  I mean, what else was I supposed to say?  I was TIRED, exhausted really.  Not all the time, but most of the time.

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The kids are much older now—8,9 and 11.  I’m not nearly as tired, and we’ve been diaper-free around here for many years.  They rarely come into our room to wake us up in the middle of the night either.

Honestly, I love this stage of life.  I love watching them mature into these little people with ideas and unique personalities.

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Honestly, I would give anything to go back to re-live one of those days when they were babies.

Time is weird like that.

It’s fleeting and can’t be gained back.  No re-do’s in the sense of physically turning back the clock.  Which is why I think Satan uses his schemes to distract us and disillusion us into thinking that right here and right now is not good.

God is right here with us, the Master of Time.  He can open our eyes to see the wonder of where He has us.  Satan wants us to be discontent and distracted, wishing away our present for something MORE, something better.

Let’s not let him steal the present…right where we are.  Take a long look around at where you are in life.  Stare into the eyes of the people you call family.  Grab their little faces and tell them how you love them.  Squeeze them, hold them close and listen to their stories. Take it all in.

Frolic in the fields together, holding hands and listening to music playing softly in the background.

I’m kidding.  I am well aware that life does move quickly.  We can’t constantly sit in wonder at our sweet kids and handsome husband….first of all,the kids aren’t always sweet and Josh sometimes makes me mad.  Secondly, I am a realist.  I like to think that I just see how things how they are and can own up to whatever that is.  I joke with Josh about my funeral.  I tell him I want a closed casket because no one can do my hair right.  But also, I tell him that one day when I am in heaven, he will not be able to honestly stand in front of whoever comes and say that I was the most uplifting, positive, non-complaining wife in all the world.  He’d be lying through his teeth.  I’m not totally negative, but I am also not “Pollyanna Positive” either.

BUT, I am aware that if we don’t make ourselves look for the wonder in life, we will miss it.  We will get bogged down in the mundane and think that all of life is just a big list of things to do.  Laundry? Check!  Dinner? Check!  Sweeping? Mopping? Dusting? Check, check, check! Driving kids here and there? Check.

The mundane is what I am called to.  Those every day things that at first glance don’t seem exciting…but through God’s eyes, they are exactly what I am supposed to be doing!  I can be in wonder at my calling in life.  God can open my eyes to truly see the beauty in the everyday stuff.  He is with me.  Always.  That’s enough.  But He can also allow my routine to be precious again. He can clear up my perspective on what is truly important.  What success looks like to HIM.  He can magnify and put into focus the important and make blurry what isn’t.

I will still have subjects to teach to my kids, laundry to fold and put away, meals that need to be cooked, grocery store lists week after week, and more.  But I’m going to stop at least once a day, hopefully more, to take a picture in my mind of where I am, who I am with, and thank the Lord for using me in the ordinary, the mundane.

Let’s all ask God to help us SEE and HEAR and TOUCH as if He were walking with us each step of the way….because He is.  And we will never get this day back again…no matter what it brings our way.

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Here’s a song and it’s lyrics that I think you will enjoy.  Great words. Important message. Click on the link and listen if you would like God to help you see your day to day life as PRECIOUS again.

Sunrise, sunset with no eyes to see it
Garnets and rubies ground up in the sand
Words from my children with no ears to hear it
Where is the wonder?

New tender mercies and infinite graces
Woven like threads in the cloth of my days
Deep wells of glory behind common faces
Where is the wonder? Where is the wonder?

Oh oh, I need a song that’s never old
Oh oh, I need a story never told
Promise that just when love grows cold
You’ll make it precious again

Friendship and goodwill, a sweet invitation
Kindred in spirit and eager to share
Love in familiar and long conversations
There is the wonder, there is the wonder

Oh oh, sing me the song that’s never old
Oh oh, tell me the story never told
Promise that just when love grows cold
You’ll make it precious

Press mud with holy fingers, light the ineffable
Fused in the ordinary, so much to wonder
Oh, what a wonder, wonder, wonder

Oh oh, sing me the song that’s never old
Oh oh, tell me the story never told
Promise that just when love grows cold
You’ll make it precious, oh, make it precious
You make it precious again

Kids Tell the Truth Sometimes

Kids have a way of saying what is on their minds.  It’s sometimes loving and kind…other times I may not want to hear it.  Like when Mack would squish my upper arm and tell me he likes how my arm is so soft. Or when Molly tells me one tooth of mine looks a little darker than all the rest.  Gee.  Thanks, Molly.

This afternoon I took the girls to a practice they had at church; Mack and I were hanging out together.  I walked in the parking lot of the church while he rode on his scooter and talked to me.  I was enjoying just being together.

We took a water break, and he started rummaging through my purse.  He was looking specifically for two coupons to Sonic he earned from VBS.  All the while he was digging through my stuff, he is saying, “Oh, Mom…come on, let’s go spend some time together.  I just want to do something with you.”  He holds up the precious coupons and grins that sweet little grin.  And I cave.  Off we go to Sonic since Mack just wanted to “spend some time together.”  I was enjoying our little walk and talk, but he was out for more.

On the way back to church he was thanking me for going to Sonic for him.  He is such a sweet kid.  We parked to wait for the girls, and I pulled up the live Senate floor vote on Defunding Planned Parenthood.

The man was calling the Senators names and then saying “aye” or “no.”  I explained to Mack what they were voting on and what “aye” or “no” meant.  I didn’t go into grotesque details of abortion, but I am pretty frank with my kids.  It’s killing babies while they are in their mother’s womb.  He asked a few questions–“Who all says it is ok to kill babies in their mommy?”  “Why would they vote “no?” “Should we stop paying taxes if the money goes to killing babies?”

I answered him as best as I could.  We kept hearing the caller say names of Senators and “no” or “aye” in the background.

He was playing with a toy from his Sonic kids meal, and I could see his little brain working.

And he looked right at me with his piercing blue eyes and those sweet freckles spread out all across his cheeks and nose and said, “Well, I’m glad you didn’t do abortions….because…well, I wouldn’t even be here if you did.”

Kids tell the truth sometimes.  And this was definitely one of those times.

After a few more minutes he said, “Hey, let’s pray for them to only say “aye” for the rest of the time.”

And he prayed, “Dear God, I pray that they would do all “aye”s for the rest of the time.  And I pray that one day abortions would not be ok anywhere in the whole world. Amen.”

Amen.

Here are each of my kids in my womb.  I have these framed with Psalm 139 typed out under their sonogram picture.  A reminder that God formed them and knew them intimately in the womb.  He has a plan for each of them, and He is so glad they are here.  And so is this mama!  Thank you, Lord, for my children.

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Ruby

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Mack

“Squirrel!”

I think we’re familiar with the UP movie and the easily distracted dog.  A sighting of a squirrel and his focus is gone.

I can relate.

I’ve prayed and chosen curriculum, and then I hear about another math someone is trying…”squirrel!”

We have budgeted and made goals for our money and then we see pictures from someone’s beach vacation and start to doubt that we have made the right decision…”squirrel!”

I am so easily distracted.  As a wife and mom we hold a lot of things in our heads…there’s the husband and then each kid and each of these people have needs and words they want to share with you, they each require of me in very specific ways, they each have their special interests and places to go with them or places to take them, they each lose things that only wife/mom can help find, and you never know when one of them will decide they really need to talk to you about something right now….lots of stuff to juggle in the wife/mom brain!

So where was I?  Oh yes, how to ignore the squirrels in our life.  The distractions…not that the way my family needs me are distractions, mind you…I’m just saying that we have a lot going on in our lives, and we want to be sure we keep FOCUS on what is most important.  Keep the background blurry and put into FOCUS what God has set out for me.  It is quite likely that what I think is the main thing to FOCUS on might not be the main thing at all.  His ways are often times so very different than our ways.  His thoughts are most definitely higher than our thoughts.

Just this morning I was reading from MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST by Oswald Chambers and read Luke 18.  Verse 31 says that Jesus said to the twelve, “We are going up to Jerusalem.”  He had a FOCUS on pleasing the Father.  Nothing would distract Jesus from that purpose.  Chambers says, “The great thing to remember is that we go up to Jerusalem to fulfill God’s purpose, not our own.”

Ever since I read the chapter in FERVENT by Priscilla Shirer on “Focus,” I have been praying a prayer every day and have seen the enemy try his best in these little discreet ways with careless words or tiny little moments here and there to knock me off of my feet and lose my FOCUS.  My insecurities are where he shoots for most days.  The enemy thinks that if he can get me focused on what I don’t do right or how I don’t measure up, then I am certainly going to live life OUT OF FOCUS.  And he is right.  But I am an overcomer and a child of God, the Creator and Ruler of Heaven and Earth.  I need not walk around with blurry vision or a foggy brain.

So my word for the start of the school year is FOCUS.  Focus on God and seek Him daily, pursue HIS purpose for me, and pray against distractions.

Here’s a little part of my prayer.  Maybe you will write one down of your own to pray!

“…..I am asking, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for help to focus and to pray at all times in the Spirit, to pray specifically, strategically, and personally.  Help me to know Your love fully and to know that nothing can separate me from Your love.  In my home, I pray that You will arise and scatter enemies.  Let all those who hate You to flee at Your presence.  Thank You that my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.  Revive me and save me against the wrath of my enemies.  I pray that I would focus on YOU and clearly see Your purposes for my life.  Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.  Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  YES, You are able to give me laser-like focus and ability to pray specifically against the schemes of the devil. …”

Forever Home

I’ve mentioned on the blog many times before about our “dream house” we built in 2009.  I told about how I grew up moving quite often since my dad was a home-builder.  If someone wanted the house we were in, we sold it and moved.  If there was another house of his ready and waiting for someone to live in, we moved in it.  If not, we moved into a rental property.  We stayed in the same county, just many different locations.  It was not ideal, but I get why we did it.  Somewhere along the way I decided that the thing to do was to one day have a home you loved and live in it forever and ever and ever, amen.  My grown kids would come visit their precious parents and their hearts would be flooded with memories from their growing up years.  If I had my way, I would live in this house all my live-long days, period.  I never actually articulated this dream during my younger years, but you can bet it was all there in my heart and mind.

Through our personal journey with our “dream house” and then letting go of the house and moving right back into what we thought was just our first house, the Lord did and continues to do a work in our hearts.  Eternal perspective becomes clearer and clearer.  We have learned so much……

and yet we have so much to learn.  So much.

I started reading “Money, Possessions, and Eternity” by Randy Alcorn  a couple of weeks ago.  Goodness gracious.  Good, good stuff.  I highly recommend it to anyone.  Josh and I do believe, based on God’s Word, that there are rewards in heaven.  However, this book is opening my eyes even more to this truth and how it should affect my short time here on earth.  Alcorn uses so much scripture all throughout his book.

He shares an example of a couple who was saving to build a dream home of their own.  They told him, “We’ve always had this dream for a beautiful home in the country, and we can’t seem to shake it.  Is that wrong?”

Randy Alcorn says he told them that he believed their dream of a perfect home was from God.  Then, he said, “It’s just that your dream can’t be fulfilled here in this world.”

He goes on to write, “Our dream house is coming; we don’t have to build it ourselves.  In fact, we can’t.  Any dream house on earth will eventually be ravaged by time, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, carpenter ants, or freeway bypasses.  Who would want to divert kingdom funds to build a dream house on earth if they understood that either it will leave them or they will leave it? Instead, why not use our resources to send building materials ahead to the Carpenter, our Bridegroom, who this very moment is building our dream house in heaven?”

Luke 12:15 says, “Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

There is a temptation to fill our lives with stuff we want and somehow think it will bring us life, make our life better or give us satisfaction in life.  That is such a lie.  Back during our house building time there was a preacher at church that was speaking about greed and how it was the root of the countries economic implosion during those days.  He had much to say about greed.  I left highly offended.  I could not believe he would say such things; I did not like what he was implying….since I was one that wanted more and was in the process of getting more.  Who did he think he was to say such offensive things that I did not agree with???

Ends up he was exactly right.  I was exactly wrong.  Greed is an offense against God, and I shouldn’t have been so concerned about being offended by this preacher, rather I should have been concerned about offending God.  Greed is idolatry, putting money or things in place of God.

Our riches and anything they can buy or allow us to experience will not last forever.  We are foolish and short-sighted to think otherwise.

Psalm 49:10-12 says, “For he sees that even wise men die; The stupid and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others.  Their inner thought is that their houses are forever and their dwelling places to all generations; They have called their lands after their own names.  But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish.”

Well then.  Like Alcorn says, “Materialism isn’t just wrong, it’s stupid'” and then goes on later to add, “in fact, materialism is insane.”

Ouch.

Also he says, “Through generous giving we can escape the gravity of things on earth by establishing a new orbit around treasures we store up in heaven.”

And one more quote from this book that I highly recommend, “Seeking fulfillment in money, land, houses, cars, clothes, boats, campers, hot tubs, world travel, and cruises has left us bound and gagged by materialism–and like drug addicts, we pathetically think that our only hope lies in getting more of the same.  Meanwhile, the voice of God–unheard amid the clamor of our possessions–is telling us that even if materialism did bring happiness in this life, which it clearly does not, it would leave us woefully unprepared for the next life.”

PSALM 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.”

Admittedly, I have much to learn on this subject and this way of living and giving that God invites me in to. Thankfully, He hasn’t given up on me and is teaching me, and I can see growth in my life.  If I’m still here on earth, then I still have opportunities to obey! I’m praying God keeps my eyes open to Him, my ears attentive to His Words, and my heart humble before Him all of my days.

Psalm 11

I was reading in Psalm 11 this morning; it’s subtitle is The Lord a Refuge and Defense. I need these truths…who doesn’t?

From the times we live in to a very personal situation in my own life, this Psalm is applicable.

It speaks of a child of God telling Him about his enemies that are out for him, but not without first saying that his refuge is in the Lord.

“In the Lord I take refuge;

How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain; For behold, the wicked bend the bow, They make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in the darkness at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Well, the writer is sounding quite desperate at this point, but G. Campbell Morgan points out this question: But can the foundations be destroyed??? NO! And how do we know that?  Let’s read on…..

“The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.  And the one who loves violence His soul hates.  Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. 

For The Lord is righteous,

He loves righteousness;

The upright will behold His face.”

Indeed, the Lord is a refuge and is my only Defense.  The circumstances tempt me to take things into my own hands or wring my hands over what the outcome might be or even doubt the goodness of God, wondering if He is really aware of what exactly is going on here. If I choose to only see the circumstances with human eyes, I miss the unseen…the foundation I say my life is built upon!

Here’s what G.C. Morgan says about all of that, “To reckon with circumstances and to leave God out of count, is to omit the principal factor in any and every situation.  What unutterable folly to confuse scaffolding with foundation.”

So whatever your circumstances or whatever your thoughts on the direction our world is heading morally, don’t leave God out of your reckoning! Remember your foundation and Who He is. Set up against all the doubts and frustrations the Truth and rest in Him as your refuge and defense.