Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Spirit Of Fear

Ok.....Now that you all know that I'm not so great at playing the Waiting Game, I have another confession to make. I am a big scaredy-cat. Yes I am. Though, Not scared of ghosts and goblins and such.

Let me put it this way: Not knowing what the future holds is not only irritating me from the "waiting" standpoint, it is slightly freaking me out in a scary sort of way.

It's not that I don't trust God to take care of me and my family. It is just my human nature seems to be escaping from deep inside to rear it's ugly head out into the world. It's the bad kind of fear that I am experiencing.

Did you even know that there was anything BUT bad fear? Well, I'm here to set ya straight, my friends.

First, there is the kind of fear that scares us to death, That kind that makes one shake, tremble and get all googly-eyed. The kind that intimidates and places dread into your very core. That's the bad stuff I'm talking about. We need to avoid that kind of fear at all costs. (even though I'm not doing such a good job at it right now.) That fear is what sets in and grips us tight when we face uncertain things. Fear that maybe things won't work out like we want them too. You've felt it, haven't ya?

Then there's that kind of fear that we are supposed to feel. SUPPOSED TO FEEL??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? (I can hear your thoughts, people!) Yep.....SUPPOSED to feel. Let me explain:

The kind of fear that comes from God is a GOOD thing. It is a feeling of reverential awe, profound regard of God. That kind of fear does not grab you around the throat and choke the life out of you. That kind of fear brings you a peace that passes all understanding. That kind of fear should be DESIRED above all else. It BRINGS life!!!

Desiring fear sounds a little strange, I know. But, if you desire peace, then that good kind of fear is a fear that you need to experience. The fear of being so profoundly stunned by the awesomeness of your CREATOR that nothing else matters!!! The kind of fear that assures you that He has it all under control. He sees the certain future He has in store for you. He is seated well above any negative circumstance you can ever face in your life.

Do you fear Him enough to believe that??

One of my very favorite verses in God's word is found in 2 Timothy 1:7- " For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love and of a sound mind."

He did not give us that "SCARY" kind of fear. He gave us a sound mind to get the revelation that we are to admire Him to the point of being so respectful of Him, we fall down in fear in His presence.

That same scripture speaks of a sound mind as an alternative to fear. What do you think of when you think of a "sound mind"?

How about wisdom? Read this verse:
Psalm 111:10- " The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs all eternal praise."

WOW!!! How cool is that!!! Godly Fear = Wisdom. Wisdom = Good Understanding. Good Understanding = A Sound Mind. A Sound Mind = Peace. Peace is the OPPOSITE of Ungodly fear.

That's the only kind of fear I EVER want to experience!! The kind that leads me into such a state of mind that I can only ache to spend my entire eternity praising Him and experiencing His peace!!!!!

People, let's hunger for that kind of fear!!!

Read this in Proverbs 29:25:- "The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe."

I'm breaking outta this snare!! I am soaking myself in the Fear of the Lord!!! I am going forward head-first into the unknown knowing only that I will be kept safe!!!

Will you join me?

Have a wonderful day in HIM!!

Love and Blessings,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just Waiting

Waiting is not something I do very well. I am one of those people who wants it done yesterday. Not tomorrow. Not a week from now. And, heaven forbid, a year from now! When I get my mind made up, I want to get on the ball and accomplish the task at hand.

I realize that patience is a virtue, but I am still working to acquire that one. I want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I want to see it NOW!!!!!!
Forget the process of getting there. Show me the end result.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 tells me that "The end of the matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride". I am ashamed to say that I have way more pride that patience. Guess I need to work on that.

Lots of things are hanging in the balance right now for our family. We are currently waiting for our house to sell. We are still unsure that we are doing the right thing But, are trying desperately to follow God's leading. We don't have any idea where the house is that God has for us. No one is exactly knocking down the door to buy ours either. So, we continue to play the waiting game.

I really despise that feeling of "not knowing" what the future holds. But, when you think about it, we never really know anyway, do we? We just kind of think we do just because everything falls into a routine. It's when that comfortable routine gets all topsy-turvy that we get anxious.

One thing I have learned is to keep on keepin' on. Keep living life. Keep enjoying all the moments in-between when things are uncertain. Keep trusting in The One Who holds it all anyway. I am certainly glad that ONE is not me. I wouldn't even want that responsibility, would you? In that case, why do we so eagerly grasp things with our own weak hands and refuse to loosen that grip when God calls us to let things go and let Him work? I think it must be that pride thing creeping in again.

Oh well, No one ever said this life would be easy. In fact, God told us just the opposite.

John 16:33 NIV says: "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you WILL have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world."

What good news! These uncertain times will not last forever! I can honestly say that I have heard God in my siprit over and over again telling me to just wait and be patient, that He has things more wonderful in store for us than I can ever imagine. In that respect, I am excited. Even in the midst of my waiting, with no signs of the light at the end of the tunnel, no promise of when, where, or how.

Wait, maybe there is a promise. Jesus is the How. So, who cares about the when or the where!!

Habakkuk 1:3 NIV: "Look at the nations and watch- be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told."

I think what He has for us would be too wonderful for description. That is why we have to wait for it. I also believe that we will see it here in this lifetime, sooner than later. Why? Because He wants only the best for His children.

You know, when something is lost, something better is gained. That's how God's economic plan works!!

I would like to share a poem with you today. I got it from my former pastor, Rick Auten, many years ago. It is written, to the best of my knowledge, by Nancy Lee Demoss. The words say it all. I hope it touches you as it does me.
by Nancy Lee Demoss

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate...
and the Master so gently said, " Wait."

"Wait? You say wait", my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate,
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes' a 'go-ahead' sign.
Or even a 'no' to which I'll resign.

You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
we need to but ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
as my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumpled in my chair, defeated and taut,
and grumbled to God, "So I'm waiting... for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
and He tenderly said "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause the mountains to run.

I could give you all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me,
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love,
When the peace of my spirit decends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of my heart.

The glow of My comort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond just getting what you ask,
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
'WAIT' means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But oh, what a loss, if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see,
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me...
and though oft My answers seem terribly late,
my most precious answer of all is still 'WAIT'."

Are you waiting with me? Leave a comment so I'll know I'm not in the waiting game alone! God is with us, dear friend. And, we're in it together!!

Love and Blessings,


Thursday, October 23, 2008

This and That

Well, I certainly have been missing ya!! I hope the feeling is mutual. Life has been full lately; In a great way!.

By the way, I haven't forgotten about my series on "The Simple Life". Ironically, I have been so entertained with living it, that I haven't been posting my thoughts on it!! But, I WILL. I Promise!!

Funny story I want to share. It really has no meaning, but it is humorous.

We have an on-going joke in our family that I am my mom's favorite and my sister, Melanie, is my dad's favorite. (At least I am assuming it is a joke! LOL!)

Anyway, My mom sent out an email survey the other day asking what one thing did we think she would take with her if she were stranded on a deserted island.

My sister answered by saying, "Well, if you were stranded with me, you would bring Starr. If you were stranded with Starr, you wouldn't need anything else!"

We all got a big kick out of that!

Actually, my mom said she would bring my dad because he would probably be able to figure out how to build a boat out of "island junk" and they would be able to get back home in no time!

I am betting when they returned fromn that lonely island, she would head straight for my house! You know, since I'm her favorite and all.

My dad would call my sister first thing for sure!

Enough of that!

Speaking of children...............

I am really enjoying homeschooling Austin, my six-year old. We are doing all kinds of fun learning activities and he is taking a science class and a little class at the library. We are just having a blast! I am so thankful that God has allowed me the opportunity to do this with my children. I feel so blessed. I wouldn't trade it for anything!!

Love on your kids all you can. Too soon they will be grown and gone. My 18 year old, Chase, has shown me that. It's weird when you look at your first born and see a man.

Seeing a godly man is a definite confirmation that devoting your life to them as they are growing certainly pays high dividends.

I thank God for the wonderful family I grew up in and can see that all their love and hard work raising Melanie and I gave us both very fruitful lives. We are now reaping the same benefits with our own children. A blessing come full circle.

One more thing, On my calendar today it says this:

Behind the face of every person we can see the face of Jesus, and hear Him say, "I died for this person."

What a thought to carry with you! Think on that today as you look into the eyes of those around you; Favorites or not. (ha ha!)

Keep it Simple!
Love and Blessings,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Revelation Of The Simple Life (Part 2)

Urgent!!!! Does that word ever appear in the subject line of your emails? It does many times in mine. Guess what? Most of those emails are spam or trash from complete strangers! Ironic, isn’t it?

“Urgent” doesn’t always mean “urgent”. Very few things in life really require our immediate attention. For example: Is it really urgent to get the clothes into the dryer at this very moment, or is it acceptable to continue reading your child the book he is interested in? See what I mean? I am ashamed at the number of times I have opted to stop interacting with my child to finish another “urgent” task.

So many have-to’s!! Or are there, really? I don’t think so! As I said in yesterday’s post, we weigh our own selves down with our to-do lists. Read the following typical scenario from the LaPradd household:

I am skipping down the stairs with an armload of dirty laundry, headed to the washer, when I see a dirty glass and cereal bowl sitting on the end table. I drop the laundry to put them in the dishwasher before the cat knocks them over. Suddenly, my son wants a sandwich for lunch, so I stay in the kitchen to make him one. I then notice the cat hasn’t been fed yet, so I pour out some food for him. The phone rings and it is a friend needing some advice, so I talk a few minutes and then hang up. Austin now needs help getting his math paper finished, so we work on that for a while. I notice the dirty clothes pile that never made it to the laundry room. On my way to pick it back up, my husband calls and wants me to look up a phone number for him so he can cancel one of his appointments. I run to find the number he needs, give it to him and hang up. Then my teenage son walks in the door after his morning college classes. I stop to talk to him about his day. He tells me his car isn’t running right, so I call my husband back to see what he wants me to do about that. I run outside to get the mail and see a late notice for the power bill. Oh my! I must have forgotten to mail that in!! I run to find the original bill and start to write out a check. Then, I remember I am out of stamps. I grab my purse, decide to just pay the bill in person, and have to stop and get gas on the way. When I get back home, I want to sit down for a minute and catch my breath, but then I see the pile of dirty laundry that STILL isn’t in the laundry room, so I FINALLY pick it up and carry it down.

Is it just me, or is your life similar?

All that seems urgent is not urgent!!! I am running myself ragged for no reason and I am tired of it!! God is revealing so many things to me since I have started seeking Him on this issue. Here are some of the anecdotes He has shown me:

1)Choose to set some things aside for later. It’s ok, really. The world will not stop spinning if we just WAIT.

2)Put your “I really should……” list down for good. We can be responsible without becoming unbalanced. Remember, there are very few truly urgent things in life.

3)Don’t be afraid to give yourself some freedom. It is ok to say “no, not right now”. You may find that by delaying your task for a while, the very thing that seemed so “urgent” didn’t have to be done at all. At the least, it didn’t rock the world to postpone it for a bit.

4)Take an hour or so and just be calm and quiet. Do something YOU want to do for yourself. Your kids won’t waste away while you are relaxing. I promise. Your husband won’t die if dinner is a few minutes late getting on the table. The entire family won’t have to walk around naked because you let a load or two of laundry slide for a day. Believe me, I have started slowing down a bit and we have all survived.

5)Seek God first thing every morning and allow Him to guide you through your day. He will not place nearly the expectations on us that we place on ourselves. We cannot do it all. It is impossible. We certainly can’t do it all at the same time, as you saw from my poor attempt at getting the laundry to the basement. If we try, we only get sidetracked and end up accomplishing nothing but an exhausted spirit, mind and body.

I found this quote from one of my favorite authors, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She writes in Gift From The Sea, “If one sets aside time for a business appointment or a social engagement, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if anyone says,’ I cannot come, for it is my hour to be alone,’ one is considered rude, egotistical, or strange. What a sad commentary on our civilization.”

I suspect I would actually be enlightened to hear someone make that statement. I would begin to think maybe it is ok to spend some time alone and quiet. If we would all be honest and uninhibited enough to just say it, think of the release we could experience!! It’s really ok! We can set aside time for ourselves. We just need to accept that as fact and step out and do it.

Romans 12:3- “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you; do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

In other words, try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities. Delete that “urgent” mindset!

Next time, I will write about delegation. Join me as we continue to discover God’s secret for living in simplicity.

Love and Blessings,

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Revelation of the Simple Life (Part 1)

Are you feeling a little weary and burdened lately, or is it just me? I certainly wouldn’t wish those feelings on anyone, but I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing them. What are we to do when we find ourselves caught in that trap of busyness and exhaustion? The answer is in God’s Word.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

That sounds all nice and easy, but for we women, it's not. Why?

You know, I have found that most all women have two major flaws; Especially Christian women:
1) We worry about everybody.
2) We attempt to meet the needs of everyone around us.

Actually, those are not flaws. They are gifts. God created us to be nurturers. After all, we are wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. We are supposed to be caring and loving and eager to give of ourselves. Although those are wonderful characteristics to have, we often tend to go overboard in demonstrating them.

If you know me personally, or are a regular reader of my blog, you are aware that I was recently hospitalized due to my high levels of stress. My husband and I thought I might have been having a heart attack, so we headed to the emergency room. After spending the night in the hospital and going through a plethora of tests, my symptoms turned out to be a direct result of excessive stress.

That experience was a loud , spirit-jolting alarm to me. We are not wired to live our daily lives to the point of sheer exhaustion. God has revealed to me that He has never expected me to do all the things I have placed on my to-do list. He promises rest to those He loves. His burden is light! I have weighed myself down. It is not my job to be all things to all people. That is His role. I am stepping into His domain when I try to fill every need around me. True, we are His hands and His feet, but we can’t do it all.

Just because something is good and worthwhile does not mean we must do it. Sometimes we thrive on the validation we receive by trying to take care of everyone. We think we are somehow more respected by and considered more valuable to others when we can be their lifeline and support system. We do not have to protect everybody all the time. When we overload our schedule, we miss out on some of the most important things that God has called us to do.

God has said to us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1 NIV)

Why do we enslave ourselves with busyness? I am tired of being burdened. I am so ready to follow only where God leads me. No more following my own path of righteousness. Too many important times have slipped by me because of my trying to do it all. I have even unintentionally pushed my own family aside to accomplish other goals. I am so glad God has opened my eyes! I am finally on the path to simplicity and I am going to share my discoveries with you over the next few days, maybe even weeks! God is revealing new things to me every day on this topic and I am studying it intensively. It may take a while! I hope you will glean as much insight as I have.

“This is love for God; to obey His commands, and His commands are not burdensome. For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:3-5 NIV)

I have faith that God will show me exactly what He requires of me on a daily basis. I do know it will not weigh me down. I now realize I am out of His will if I feel overwhelmed.

Proverbs 12:25 tell us, “An anxious heart weighs a man down….”

An anxious heart is not a heart filled with the things of God. It is not a heart that I want to possess. I desire rest for my soul and time to sit at the feet of my Savior. How about you?

Love and Blessings,