"In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God." Psalm 10:4
This past week, God has really been poking around in my heart and showing me some ugly things. These convictions became too much to ignore on Sunday. Years and years of pride have built up, like plaque in an artery. Plaque build up narrows the pathway for blood to get to and from the heart. Without the oxygen rich blood, the body part will stop working leading to life threatening conditions such as cardiac arrest and stroke. Pride build up narrows the pathway to your heart that God uses to give you His life giving Word. I have struggled with anxiety, stress, anger, discouragement and fear so much in the past years, but yesterday God whispered a little secret in my ear. Pride is the cause of these things! We have been studying about Humility in Sunday School. Humility, being the opposite of pride, is to accept that you are helpless on your own. In your own strength, you can do nothing and be nothing. When I thought of pride, I always thought of it as snobbishness, thinking you are better than another person, haughtiness, boastfulness and the inability to accept criticism. I defined pride the way the world defines pride, not the way I believe God defines pride. I believe God speaks of pride as a person believing they can do anything without Him. Even if your hands built something, He designed the hands and how they work, He saw fit to let you be born with hands free from infirmity, he gave you the physical strength to use your hands and the intellect to understand so you could learn to build in the first place. Deuteronomy 8:10-18 may have been written by Moses a very long time ago, but the story rings just as true today. "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealthy for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today." I work hard! But I am guilty of taking pride in my work and not giving that glory to God. I believe God wants us to work hard! I believe he wants us to use the abilities He has provided us with in the most effective and efficient ways possible. I think Luke 12:47-48 describes this pretty well "The servant who knows the master's will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." I believe if God gives you more intelligence or more physical stamina or more charisma - He expects you to use that in the best way you can find to use it-but in the end-you are using it and giving Him the glory. The success or wealth you obtain is less a result of YOUR WORK and more a result of HIS PROVISION. Jesus tells a parable to illustrate this in The Parable of the Talents: "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.” His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”The man with the two talents also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” - Matthew 25:14-30 The servant's earnings did not belong to him, but to his master. As a result of his hard work, his master rewarded him. My earnings don't belong to me. My sense of entitlement has washed away. My idea that I "deserve" has changed so drastically. I feel at peace now.
"A simple definition of stress: the gap between what you expect in each area of your life and what you are actually getting in each of those areas…If reality does not meet your expectations, worry and concern set in and cause unhealthy changes in body chemistry." – Dr. Gary Smalley Dr. Smalley created the bible study we are using in Sunday School. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I heard him say this on Sunday. As I reflected on this quote and as we discussed the section I realized a few things: #1-How did I form my expectations? - as in, what is the basis of these expectations? What gave me the idea of how things "should be"? I realized that I bought into the worldly view of "how things should be" - am i doing better or worse than my neighbor? Galatians 6:3-5 says, "If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct." #2-My expectations should be set by my trust in His provision. I wrote a blog prior to this one about David and my desire to expect that God will provide for me and if I don't have it, I must not be what is right for me. This desire cannot be fulfilled as long as my trust lies in myself. As long as I hold onto my pride in believing that the things I have were provided by my own hand, I will always feel that my life falls short. There will always be something better that I should be working toward. #3 I can live in contentment when I realize that all I have isn't really even mine, It belongs to the Lord and He provides it for my use while I'm temporarily here on Earth. What good does it do me to worry because my house isn't as big as my friends or my car isn't as nice - I can't take it with me when I'm gone anyway. Matthew 6:19-20 says, "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal."
I am a work in progress. I pray God will always work in me to show me where I am wrong in my understanding and where I am doing wrong. I think releasing my pride will be a daily commitment. I don't think I can decide not to be prideful in one day and never have another moment of pride in my life. I think that learning this lesson demands that I commit to thinking more about my actions and the motives behind my actions. God is so good!
Friday, July 15, 2011
So I headed out to Barnes and Noble the other day at lunch to get a book on Sleeping. I've talked to a ton of other Moms and pretty much the consensus was...you have to let them cry it out...it's just a matter of at what age do you do it. I found the fabulous book below and two nights ago we started her new sleeping schedule. I truly thought that we were doing well by putting Ashlyn to bed at around 8pm - boy was I wrong! He specifically discussed Ashlyn's behaviors, such as crying when we were trying to put her to sleep and night waking - I realized she isn't getting enough sleep! No wonder she has been getting crankier and crankier over the last weeks. She really should be taking two naps a day, but she is getting about 2.5 hours of sleep during her one nap, so I'm not messing with her nap schedule yet. She fell asleep on her own the first day at 5:30p and started stirring about 9:30p, so we gave her a bottle since she had fallen asleep before she even ate dinner. She whined a little at her usual 1:30a, but we let her whine herself back to sleep. She woke up around 6:15a in a FABULOUS mood! I had a little meeting with her preschool teachers because I am trying to start her on an estimated schedule for her eating also. If she is sleeping so much more at night, I don't want her to miss out on having enough to nourish her! I had a chiropractor appointment so I was going to be late coming home and we had decided that for a little while Ashlyn will have a 6:30p bedtime. David was a rockstar! He kept her on the schedule we had agreed on! She had her dinner at 5:30, her bath at 6 and I got home just in time to kiss her goodnight and put her to bed at 6:30. :o) She slept like a baby, literally! She didn't even stir until 1:30a (which is the reason we HAD to do something about her sleeping issue) - we let her cry it out. I'll admit it was hard...but I know it's what's best for her! She needs a whole night's rest more than we do - there is so much learning for her to do! We'll see how it goes for the next couple days with this schedule and make adjustments as necessary.
Last week, I ordered this cd called "Hidden in My Heart - A lullaby journey through scripture". Someone in our Sunday School class suggested it. I LOVE IT! We listen to it a lot in the car and it just creates such a relaxing environment. You can download a free lullaby from their website here!
I thought these pictures were too cute! We were playing around at family dinner. She looks like a little German Grandma!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
We had such a great weekend that I didn't even have time to take pictures! Saturday, our church hosted a fun, free children's event at Kentuck Park called Summer Splash. David, Lindsey and I volunteered to help and I had such a great time! I love high energy events with kids! I love to run around and play! There was music and water and inflatable slides and lots of sun! I think the heat index was like 106 or something...CRAZY! We took Lindsey back home on Saturday night and spent some time with PaPaw and MiMi. Sunday was church, then lunch, then we got back out in the heat (I know we're crazy!) to tackle some projects around the house. The most important of which is my bright idea to put a gate in front of the door that Bryant keeps trying to destroy. I just wish I had thought of this 6 years and a replaced door ago! I'll have to take a picture because David and I are brilliant! :) We mowed the grass, spray painted the old patio table (not completely finished with this one yet), and I started fixing some spots on the wall that needed to be patched (still have to paint). We finished with dinner that someone else cooked (Thanks GrandMary, it was super yummy!) and watching Ashlyn play in her little blow up pool. Needless to say, Monday night we were in bed early! I am all rested up and ready to finish all the projects we started and get our house back into shape so maybe someone will want to come buy it! I started a weight loss program last week and I weighed in today...I lost 5 lbs! I think that is a respectable start. Hope I can keep up the momentum.
Friday, July 8, 2011
First off, I would like to say "Thank You" to our service men and women...currently serving and veterans...and their families. I know I mention that alot, but I don't think we could ever give enough Thank you's to the people who are willing to put their lives on the line to ensure that we can enjoy the freedoms that we are so blessed to have available to us. I am also so grateful to God to have been born in The United States of America. We definitely have our problems, but we DEFINITELY have our blessings! Just the fact that we can know and debate the issues...our freedom of speech is so unique...and we just take it for granted. I know I do so often. For at least this one day, I want to consciously be grateful for the freedoms afforded me because I was born in this country that men and women gave all fighting for and now defending. I didn't really know the kind of sacrifices that military families make until I lived in Mary Esther, FL and became friends with people who were serving or had immediate family members serving. I watched spouses be separated for extended periods of time, not even knowing specifically where their spouse was. I witnessed children missing their Mommy or Daddy. I saw friends part ways because it was time to move to a new base, possibly not even in this country. I had friends in school that had been trying to get the same degree for years on end because they would take a few classes, then get deployed. They didn't give up though. They did this all willingly and ungrudgingly because they love this amazing place we call home. So the absolute least I can do is say a mere "Thank you.".
Now onto the more lighthearted stuff...
Ashlyn's first experience with crayons. She was a hoot!
I think she looks so much like me as a baby in this picture!
Her favorite toys are definitely those of the "should actually be in the trash can" variety. She loves empty plastic bottles, empty baby food canisters, any little, tiny, minuscule drop of whatever is laying on the floor that got missed by the vacuum or broom. In a 300 square foot room, she can find the one string that is laying on the floor and guess where it goes...yep...right in her mouth! This red, white and blue paci and diaper was her 4th of July outfit for most of the day. She LOVES being 'nekkid' (as we say it in the South)!
This was her real 4th of July outfit. She was so full of energy, I couldn't get her to sit still to get a decent "My First 4th of July picture".
Friday, July 1, 2011
Full disclosure today...after getting MAD at my child for not sitting still to take her 10 month pictures...David and I decided it was DEFINITELY my bedtime! So at 8:30 pm last night, I went to bed...exhausted! David stayed up and took care of Ashlyn and even got up in the middle of the night to feed her. I felt bad since David is still recovering from surgery, but Ashlyn gets up every 3-4 hours and has for the last couple weeks. I just can't function when I can't get more than 3-4 hours of sleep at a time. Ashlyn usually goes to bed at around 8:30. You can't get anything done while she's awake, so I spend about two hours finishing cleaning and getting ready for the next day. Ashlyn usually wakes up at around 12:30 for a bottle, then she used to sleep until around 5:30 or 6:30, but for the last couple weeks, she has been waking up at 3am. I would just give her another bottle and she would go back to sleep, but the last few days, she has decided that she doesn't want to go back to sleep at 3am. I spent two days sleeping from 3-6 in the recliner with her. I am tired. One full night's rest has done me a world of good...but something's got to give! I hope this stage passes VERY SOON!