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Blog

Filtering by Category: James

Words

Meg

It’s a rainy day today. Cancelled plans mean little girl and I are chilling at home, working on laundry, fulfilling tiny tasks around the house, and generally being lazy. I generally have trouble relaxing, so today is a bit of a blessing. My springtime allergies are still acting up, so that’s one more reason it’s nice to just be home today. It amazes me how independent E is becoming. She’s actually starting to play independently, enjoying time in the sunshine, reading books to herself, and/or changing her baby doll’s clothes. Even with these bursts of independence, she still depends on me quite a bit. Her world still largely revolves around our daily routines, and on mama finding things to entertain her with. This can be draining. I often find that I don’t use those moments of “independence” for much more than web searching. Which could be a blog post of its own. While I could be using the time wisely, I don’t. I’m so used to her not giving me any time to myself, ha!

It’s easy for me to become impatient with her. Easy for me to get fed up with entertaining, keeping busy, playing 2-year-old games. Easy for me to get fed up with teaching her right from wrong. Some days are seemingly filled with “learning moments.” Learning moments for her and for me. I don’t often like having to teach her these things. She’s such a sweet girl that it’s hard to teach her right from wrong. But it has to be wrong. Outbursts, speaking disrespectfully, deliberately disobeying, left unattended with only lead to worst things later in life.

My words are powerful. How I chose to use them, especially with my child, will have lasting consequences. Words. they come out of my mouth so easily, and stay there for so long. Already her eyes and heart capture it all. It’s such a hard balance, to make her understand that something is wrong, but at the same time, still speak the words in love. If I’m too “soft” she won’t even listening. If I’m too harsh, it hurts my heart a little bit.

Because I want her to love me. I want her to view me as someone she can turn to for wisdom and advice.

But I can’t to it on my own.

On my own, my tongue only breeds disaster.

On my own, I don’t stand a chance of taming it, or its effects (James 3:8).

That’s why I’m so thankful for Jesus. I’m so thankful for His influence on my life. I’m so thankful that He departs wisdom and understanding into my life on a daily basis. His wisdom is gentle and full of mercy. His parenting style is the one I long to follow. I pray that my words are seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6). That they daily teach my daughter right from wrong, but speak love into her life as well. To do this, I definitely need the wisdom of God.

 

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace" (James 3:17-18, HCSB).

 

I want our little world to be one of happiness and peace. One in which my daughter feels safe to explore and grow, knowing that that she’s safe and well loved. I want my words to guide her toward what is right and true. My ultimate prayer is that she will one day realize how much she needs Jesus as her personal Savior. That point is still several years down the road. Until then, speaking the truth into her life, with grace and love, is what I desire. Putting that into action is sometimes harder than others. I often find myself getting more impatient with her than i would with anyone else. Why does that always happen with the people closest to us? Why is it that my tongue is often the loosest at home, away from the public eye? I really don’t know, but it’s definitely something I want to watch. I don’t like those moments when the ugly side comes out. Yes, I have pregnancy hormones hard at work as well, but I still don’t like it when my words come out too fast, especially near the end of the day when I’m tired and busy. Little girl doesn’t deserve that, and neither do the other important people in my life. And so, my prayer, today and everyday, is that my words would be thoughtful and loving. That even when I must speak truth, I will have the wisdom of God on my side.


What do your words speak to those around you? Are they seasoned with grace? How do you find the balance between loving someone, but also speaking truth into their lives?

Dreaming

Meg

Spring has truly come to Alabama, and with it, allergies :(  just the same, I love sleeping with the windows open, waking to the sound of birds, and enjoying the many varied colors outside my window. Spring holds so many blessings, a stuffy head is a small price to pay. While we lived in Colorado, I learned to appreciate a different type of beauty. Rolling hills and bluffs, in various shades of brown and gold. Glorious mountains majesty, further away than the seem, with green evergreen trees covering their sides and breathtaking sunsets greeting your eyes every evening. Now, while other parts of the country are still fighting the grasp of late Spring frost, the South is experiencing Spring. Our fridge is already filled with homemade lemonade & tea. Weekends find us grilling, and staying outside as long as possible. My little girl is already enjoying the many wonders of Spring: bubbles and water tables, bird watching and morning walks.

It's a little hard, because I want to do so much outside, gardening and exploring, adventuring and interacting. It's hard for me to step back and experience things at a slower pace. To relish lazy afternoons, knowing that early summer will bring a newborn into our lives. My birthday will fall a mere 3 weeks before this little one's due date. I have grand dreams of weekend getaways and family adventures, but the reality will probably find find us closer to home, nesting and dreaming and wondering just when this little one will chose to arrive.

My body is slowing down, limbs and joints are becoming sorer, and people, pretty much everywhere I go, ask when this baby is due. I answer graciously, but I find myself impatient. Impatient to move on. Impatient to get to that next stage in life. But at the same time, trying to enjoy these days. These days that will never come again. Days when I was the mother of one, almost two. Days that God has made glorious and complete, just like any other.

Do you ever have trouble enjoying where you are? Enjoying a certain moment in time? I can think back at specific moments in time and remember always looking ahead, always wishing for something more. But oh, looking back, the memories are so sweet. Even during our deployment days. Yes, we missed our Airman oh so much, but there were so many memories being made. Love letters being sent back and forth in the mail, long phone conversations and emails. Cuddles with my little one-year-old girl. She was 12 months when he left, and 19 months old when he returned. I had the privilege of watching her grow and change each day. Of investing in friendships and trying my best to enjoy each moment. And I'm trying to do the same even now. I'm trying my best to not live in the future, but in the present, in today's blessings. The future is full of glorious dreams, but the present, the present is full of glorious realities.

So enjoy today my friends, whether it finds you slightly frazzeled and stuffy headed (like me), or content, at peace with yourself, your God and your world. Life will always have it's uncertain futures, and it's daily blessings as well. Which do you chose to dwell on today?

A verse to ponder: ""Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers.  Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning" (James 1:16-17, HCSB).

Words

Meg

"Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9, HCSB).

I love reading verses in context. There are often things I miss otherwise. Jewels of encouragement and direction, things I wouldn't always notice, if I hadn't happened upon the verses surrounding the famous one. Joshua 1:9 is a verse I've long had memorized. It's so encouraging to know that God goes with us wherever we go. It's a truth that resonates with me as a military spouse. As I read back through these verses this morning, it was verse 8 that struck me, though. In this verse, we're told to recite God's word day in night, keeping it ever by our side. "This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth," says the Lord. The words should forever be on our lips.

And that got me to thinking. Are God's words forever on my lips? I do my best, but there are moments when I'm completely carnel. Moments when I mutter under my breath, criticizing this person or that, gossiping with friends, for the sake of talking, bickering with those around me. In these moments, God's word really aren't on my lips. No, my words are. Who knows what type of day that person I'm criticizing is having. It doesn't justifying the words spoken. No, words are a dangerous thing, as the book of James tells us. Words can spark fires (see James 3).

Oh how I long for my words to be God's words. To speak only love, grace, and forgiveness. To be so intertwined with my Savior that good, not evil, comes from my lips. I guess it's a daily process. A daily releasing of my own ways, and focusing on His instead. A daily focus on the word of God, so that good things are coming into my brain and out of my mouth. I truly think it makes a difference when we focus on good things, don't you?

What verses do you focus on, to start your day off on the right foot? How do you mointor what's coming out of your mouth?

Future Fear

Meg


"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind" (James 1:5-6, NIV).

 

While my husband was gone, fear centered around his protection. It centered around the war zone he was fight in, and also on our safety back here at home. It sometimes included a lonely, dark house, that I would have to enter after a long day, without anyone's protection at hand.

Now, my fears are about the future.

I look at this coming year with so many fears. Fears about our next move. Fears about future children. It may sound silly, but I obsess about these things. They plague my thoughts. I was cleaning our bathrooms this morning, when my brain started worrying about if I'd be able to get this house clean enough for house inspections. Seriously? We don't even know when we're moving yet. I think worrying about things like that is a little far fetched. Just the same, the notion entered my head.

Satan seems to find leap holes in my reasoning and latch on. He knows that worrying is a weakness of mine, so he finds something and continually prods, until I'm obsessing about it constantly.

The future is a scarey thing. I'd like nothing more than to stay in the present and never have to plan ahead.

But time moves on, and my Savior asks me if I truly trust Him.

Do I trust Him to provide?

Do I trust Him with future children?

Do I trust Him with future moves, future deployments, with this military life as a whole?

Do I trust in His purpose and plan, because He can see my life in a grand sweep of time, He knows all that has and all that will happen. Do I truly trust Him to be in control of it all?

If I truly do, then why do I worry?

There's really no reason too.

He is more than able to handle it all.

 

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 5:25-34, NIV).

Gossip Girl

Meg

I try my best not to gossip. When I’m in a circle of friends, I try to re-direct the conversation, so that gossip isn’t the outcome. But  I fall up short sometimes. I’m talking to someone, sharing my hurts, when, before I know it, I’m gossiping. I’m so focused on myself that I don’t even realize the words that our coming out of my mouth. I’m venting. I’m looking for encouraging. But, in the process, my words are less than edifying. I’m someone, without even meaning to do so.

Sigh.

It’s a quick downhill battle, one that we’re so talented at as women. I really think women are bigger gossipers because we share our hearts. We talk a lot, analyze out loud, and, in the process, make judgments of those around us.

I would be so completely hurt if I overheard someone gossiping about me. Yet, I find myself falling into the same exact trap. I gossip about others, often as a well-intentioned friend.

But where to draw the line? Perhaps, if I asked myself these questions, I would hesitate before gossiping:

Who am I talking to?

Why do they need to know this information?

 Can they empathize with me, without knowing the full story (in order to protect other people?

What am I getting out of this exchange?

If the person I’m talking about was standing here, would I still say this?

What’s at the heart of the matter?

What does Jesus think about this?

Asking these questions, and saying a quick prayer, might make all of the difference in the choices I make. What about you? Is there anything else you would add to this list?

 

I’ll leave you with some verses on the power of the tongue. They’re definitely something I needed to read today:

“And my tongue will proclaim Your righteousness,
Your praise all day long” (Psalm 35:28, HCSB).

“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom;
his tongue speaks what is just” (Psalm 37:30, HCSB).

“A wicked person listens to malicious talk;
a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue” (Proverbs 17:4, HCSB)

“The one who guards his mouth and tongue
keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23, HCSB).

“If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself” (James 1:26, HCSB).

So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6, HCSB).

Prayer for our Children

Meg

Lent: a time of fasting, prayer, and repentance as we look toward the Cross.

This military life isn't an easy one. It was hard enough saying goodbye to my parents, and moving half-way across the country. now that a child is involved, the vast amount of land separating me and my child-hood home is even worse. Military kids have it rough. But my husband and I decided, long ago, that we would make this a good life! That our daughter, and other future children, would grow up with a love for traveling, for adventure, and for family connections, even at a distance. A deployed parents makes things even tougher on a little one. They're not always at an age where they can understand the separation. It's confusing, thinking that their parent would leave them for months on end. It's up to us, the spouses at home, to teach our children about the honor, duty, and sacrifice involved in this special calling. It's up to us to teach them about God, and how He's the parent that will never leave our side. That He is the reason we can make it through times of deployment.

It's a tough life. But it's a good one. My prayer, today, is for all of the military children out there, my daughter being one of them. May you seek God's face at an early age. May you understand the true love of your Father up above, but also be able to comprehend deployments. May you see the great love your parents have for each other, and for you, even during times of separation. May you grow up loving life, adventure, and the great things the military has brought into your life. May others never view you as an "Air force Brat" or "Army Brat," but instead, look at you and go, wow, were they blessed!

 

 “Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, HCSB)

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b, NIV).

The “perfect” girl learns to live in an imperfect world.

Meg

 

I don’t know where it started, this desire to be perfect. I know I can’t really blame it on Barbie dolls… nor can all the blame be pushed on the 1950s image of the perfect house wife. What I do know is that, somewhere along the way, I formed this notion of perfection.  I created this image of the ideal woman, and set out to obtain that image for myself.

Perfect body.

Perfect smile.

Perfect house.

Perfect life.

When my life fails to meet up to these expectations, I beat myself up. I criticize, I demean, I shake my head in disgust. I hate my lack of perfection.

The image looking back at me in the mirror is 30 pounds overweight, and her hair isn’t perfectly curled, but instead hastily pulled back in a ponytail.

My daughter didn’t smile for most of her Christmas pictures.

 There are often dirty dishes in the sink, piles of papers by the computer waiting for weeks to be sorted through, and laundry piled up, ready to be put away, when I finally get around to it.

Sometimes I break down in tears, so overwhelmed by my messy house, less than perfect figure, and the daunting responsibilities set before me.

I’m anything but perfect.

My house is anything but perfect.

My life is anything but perfect.

I never seem to measure up.

It seems like I’ve given these feelings over to my Savior a million times. Yet, time and again, I find myself caught up in the dangerous web of perfectionism. I find myself comparing my life to others, and seeing how much it falls short.

How do I not compare? How do I begin to be comfortable in my own skin? How do I let go of the perfect image I’ve created in my brain, and grab onto the reality of this messy, beautiful life?

It’s a hard one. I’m honestly sharing something with you today that I haven’t truly figured out. It’s a daily struggle with me. What I do know is that my Jesus is faithful. He is able to take all of my struggles and make something beautiful from them.

And so, I’m going to take the advice of a good friend of mine today. I’m going to replace all of the lies in my life with Biblical truth.

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1: 5-6, HCSB).

For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know [this] very well” (Psalm 139: 13-14 HCSB).

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10, HCSB).

 

 

Do you think our society has given us false ideals? How do you deal with feelings of insufficiency? Are there any verses you turn to?

 

The Power of Prayer

Meg

Hello friends,

I'll keep today short since I've  acquired whatever bug little E had earlier this week. Oh, the joys of motherhood! I have to admit I was extra alarmed when my little one first came down with her bug. I was feeling so alone, with my hubby overseas and her little chest sounding so wheezy. Over and over I had to give my worries and cares back to Jesus. I also asked a few friends to pray for us, and you know what? It totally made a difference! My biggest concern was that, feeling unwell myself, that I wouldn't be up to waking up all through the night with my little one. But God looked out for both of us and we both slept a deep sleep of healing all night long! I was once again amazed at the provisions of our glorious Savior. He truly does care about every little part of our lives. I was filled with thankfulness when I woke up this morning! While we're both not completely over this bug, today is definitely a good day!

God truly does provide for us when our husbands are far away, doesn't He?

What do you need prayer for today?

"Therefore... pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful" (James 5:16, HCSB).

I’m Sorry

Meg

Words are so sharp. They cut so deep. I can often make excuses for what I'm saying:

I’m stressed right now.



He’s deploying soon.

He deserved hearing that.

And thankfully, I’m married to a man who gives me much more grace than I deserve.

He understands when I’m stressed.

He often allows  the words fly right off of him, without letting them sink in.

But I'm  still in the wrong.

I still say things to Him that He doesn't deserve.

I still use my words to hurt.

And so, I admit my shortcomings. I say the hard words, I’m sorry, even when I don’t want to.

I make the first move toward reconciliation.

Because I don’t want any walls to be built.

I don’t want cutting words to create separation between us.

I listen for the conviction of the Holy Spirit and obey.

Yes, it’s painful for a perfectionist to admit she’s in the wrong.

But yes, it has gotten easier with time.

And, yes, I truly believe I’m the better for it.

Do you ever feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit at work in your life? Is it easy or hard to listen to this conviction?

“Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our [bodies]; it pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell. For every creature—animal or bird, reptile or fish—is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in God's likeness” (James 3: 5b-9 HCSB).

Why?

Meg

Dear Jesus, today can I just ask why?

Why is there pain?

Why is the heartache?

Why is it that, the people who are already beaten down, continue to get hit with so much more?

This is especially hard for me when it’s a little child.

It’s hard for me to understand this sinful, imperfect world we live in.

Sometimes I honestly become a bit angry.

I feel as if the prayers I utter are coming back un-answered.
Which I know isn’t true.

I know how powerful prayer can be (James 5:16).

I know that you see the tears of your creation.

I know that you, to, look forward to that day when there will be no more tears (Revelation 21:3-5).

And so I wait.

Sometimes confused.

Sometimes in doubt.

But all the time looking to you to provide.

To provide for me, but more so, to provide for my dear friends who are hurting.

At times I feel so helpless.

I feel as if there’s nothing that I can do for them.

I feel as if saying that “I’ll pray” isn’t enough.

Lord, please help me be enough.

Help me to be the friend and prayer warrior that you created me to be.

And help me to trust that unanswered prayers will be answered, in your time.

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God's dwelling is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. Then the One seated on the throne said, "Look! I am making everything new" (Revelation 21:3-5a, HCSB).

Flexibility: susceptible of modification or adaptation

Meg

I am a planner. I love my lists, love having my life in order, and love knowing exactly when my husband will come home each night. If I could, I would have dinner hot and ready, waiting on the table when he walks in the door.
I tried that once. The meal was cold by the time my husband got home. I’m sure he wishes he could be home at the exact same time every night, but life in the military can be very unpredictable at times.
A month ago my husband answered his phone, and found out that he had been nominated to fill an empty spot overseas. He was deploying out of the blue, just like that. A few weeks later he went into work, only to find that his position over seas had been deleted. They no longer needed him. Just like that, he was no longer going. Who knows what he’ll find out today or tomorrow.
I’m starting to find that it’s not my place to be upset by these sudden changes. Yes, they may not line up with what I have planned, but I have to adapt just the same.
As I was thinking about adapting, I started to wonder what the Bible has to say on this subject.
Here are a few verses I found interesting:
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15 NIV).
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1 NIV).
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NIV).
I could go crazy thinking about what would happen if my husband deployed today, but instead I’ll just look forward to the nice evening we’ll have tonight, eating dinner, playing games, and just enjoying each other’s company. Tomorrow will come soon enough.
Only God knows what will happen tomorrow. We really have little control over what will transpire. So we shouldn’t spend each day worrying and stewing over what might happen, instead we should just praise God for the moments we have today.
In an unpredictable world, there’s only so much we can plan. Things happen everyday that our out of our control. It’s so wonderful to know that in this inconsistent world, we have a constant God:
“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end” (Psalm 102:25-27 NIV).
God remains solid when the rest of the world tilts around us. So for today, I’ll hold onto the truth that he will be there, every day to help me through life’s twists and turns.