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Posts tagged ‘love’

As I was driving to church last Friday to practice for the Sabbath music service, I was listening to this CD by the the Stewart Family from the album “Satisfied,” and singing along. Then it came to this song:

It Is Finished

Long ago I saw my Saviour
Bearing shame upon a tree
Then my heart was touched with sorrow
For I saw He bled for me.

“It is finished,” loud He cried
Oh what love, for me He died
In my stead He bled on Calvary
Once for all Christ rescued me

Lo the sky was veiled in darkness
Sudden trembling shook the ground
As the angry crowd was cheering
Mocking Jesus all around

Then my Saviour called to Heaven
As I saw His love anew
Oh my Father, please forgive them
For they know not what they do

“It is finished,” loud He cried
Oh what love, for me He died
In my stead He bled on Calvary
Once for all Christ rescued me

Free salvation now He offers
Take His gift, oh hear His plea
On the bloody cross behold Him
Join His shout of victory

“It is finished,” loud He cried
Oh what love for me He died
In my stead He bled on Calvary
Once for all Christ rescued me.

As I reached “Then my Saviour called to Heaven,” suddenly it was as though I had a vision. As the song set the scene, suddenly I felt like I could really see it. In my mind’s eye, I saw Jesus laying on the cross, the crown of thorns on His head, His torn back pressed against the rough wood. The crowd around mocked and jeered. And then the Roman soldier grabbed a hammer and nail and began to nail Him to the cross. In an instant, everything I had ever read about the gut-wrenching pain caused by the nails came flooding into my mind. And at that moment, the song reached the part where Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” My heart was touched, and I had to hold back the tears as I drove along in the dark. My heart just overflowed with love for the One who gave all for me!

How could Jesus say that, while enduring such excruciating agony? What kind of love can prompt such amazing words in the midst of such horrendous circumstances? Only the love of the one who is love at the very essence of His being.

As I continued on to the church, I meditated on Jesus’ love and sacrifice, hoping I could get there with enough time to write them down before everyone showed up to practice and I lost the impression. Amazingly, I was the first car there. As I typed away on my iPod, someone came and opened the door, so I went in. Three guys showed up–to operate the PowerPoint, the lights, and the sound. But no one showed up to practice. One of the guys made some phone calls and found out that the leader for the week was singing at a vespers somewhere else that night, and that practice would be at 8:00 am the next morning.

Now, you need to understand something. We have been going over budget every month for gas. My husband works an hour away, and gas prices are going up. I don’t mind Friday night practice–indeed, I have seen the stress of trying to do it Sabbath morning–but if there isn’t going to be a practice, someone should notify me. At least, that is the theory.

The whole situation was frustrating, especially since it was the second time this had happened to me–showing up for a practice that wasn’t. So I left the church rather upset. I didn’t want to drive all the way home with such sour feelings, however, so I stopped at the pastor’s house, since it was near the church and not really out of my way. I wanted to pray with someone and didn’t have a cell phone anymore. The pastor came out and prayed with me, and that prayer helped to calm my feelings and change my thoughts into better channels. Thank you, Pastor Jim!

As I drove home it dawned on me. If I had stayed home, I wouldn’t have heard the song on the CD in the car. And even in the unlikely event that I turned on my iPod and heard it that evening, the chances of life being quiet enough to meditate on the thoughts in the song would have been nonexistent. So in spite of the fact that I wasted gas on going to a practice that didn’t happen, I had a precious experience with God, and that made the whole trip worth while.

If you are interested in buying the song or the album, you can purchase them here (Disclaimer: these are affiliate links).

Buy the Album: Buy the Song:

Note: My Adventist friends will want to know that the last song, track 12, has a little error on the length of hell, but the rest of the songs are lovely.

Introspection

In the last few days, I have been doing a lot of introspection. I won’t go into all the details (I don’t have time to do that, and you probably don’t have time to read it!), but let me see if I can summarize a little.

I’ve been taking the All Power Seminar. If you haven’t heard of it, you should go check it out. If you let it, it will change your life. It is probably the major reason for all my introspection lately.

On day 25, my assignment was to list my ultimate end values, then put them in order of importance the way they are in my life right now (not how they should be). That is hard! Think about it. When you think of values, you might think about things like God, husband, children, a nice home, money, etc. But most of those are not ultimate values. For instance, I married my husband for love, security, and pleasure, among other things. I don’t find pleasure in cleaning the home, but I do it because it makes my husband happy, and his happiness translates into pleasure and love for me. Listing ultimate end values is a lot harder than listing the things we do every day and then putting them on a priority. This has to do with who we are as a person.

I just did it this morning. And I’m not liking who I am.

Thankfully, I don’t have to stay the way I am! Praise God!

But it has made me stop and take a look at why I do what I do. Why do I blog? Why do I spend as little time in the kitchen as I can? Why do I find myself telling my daughter, “Just a minute” 5 times when all she wants is for me to read a story? Not just looking at the behavior but at the underlying motive is, well, it’s painful, but it helps me understand who I really am, and what I need to change.

So speaking of blogging… I haven’t figured it out totally. What I do know is that until I figure out exactly what my goal is, I may not do a lot of blogging for a while. At least, not as much as I have been doing the last couple of weeks. I want this blog to glorify God, and it can’t if I put it ahead of the more important things in life, such as my relationship with God, my children, and my health.

Recently I posted a survey about my blog, then made it “sticky” so that it would be at the top of the page. I only had one entry, and the answers really made me think, because I wasn’t posting much of what that reader wanted to see most here. I wish I had had more (it’s still open, by the way), but it did give me food for thought.

So what about you? What are your ultimate goals and values in life? What drives you? Think about it, and feel free to share if you wish.

Last week I made this decision:

I am choosing not to be frustrated by my children. Instead, I will model love, understanding, and patience.

That is quite a decision. I can’t say that I always modeled it perfectly. However, I did have many instances where this decision impacted the way I related to my children. I found myself pausing to remember that my children are precious but not perfect, and that many times I was the cause of the behavior¬† that I found so frustrating.

Choosing to model love, understanding, and patience instead of becoming frustrated was very freeing also. I was freed from the guilt that my frustration would inevitably bring in its train. This freedom brought peace to our home. My children became more cheerful and contented.

Like I said, I wasn’t perfect. I failed a few times. But I remembered my decision in the midst of failure, and chose to repent and ask forgiveness even of my children, then move on to correct the wrong done.

This is definitely something I want to continue to practice until it becomes a habit!

Here is my decision for next week:

I resolve to make a plan for checking email and being online and to claim victory over wasting time online.

This is a big one for me lately, especially since I have an iPod. I will share with you the plan I formulated and how it worked next Monday.

Now it’s your turn. What decision are you making this week? If you made one last week, share how it affected you and those around you? You can link to a post about it, or just share in the comments below. Here is more information on how the link-up works.

Most people hate shots. I have never minded them, though I can’t say I exactly enjoy them. But my son loves them. At least, he gets excited when I tell him it’s time for a shot, or if he sees me bringing the needle up the stairs. For example:

Maybe it has to something to do with how we finish the shot. I poke, squeeze, and pull out faster than you can read it. Then I recap the needle, break the end off, and hand him the cap with the sharp point safely inside. Then we ceremoniously walk over to the sharps container and he drops it in.

I was thinking that maybe we would switch to a sublingual B12 supplement, but this is working so well, maybe we’ll just keep doing it!

Have you ever made a decision that affected your entire life? Of course you have. Probably lots of them.

For me, the decision not to go to college has shaped who I am as a person in a very powerful way now. I don’t have a school debt to pay off. I don’t feel like I wasted my time in college learning stuff I’m not using. That was a big decision for mew and one I’m happy I made.

But there have been other smaller decisions that I have made that also affected the course of my life. Little decisions about actions or thoughts that I made, almost without thinking, have molded who I am as a person in much more subtle ways. Like whether I picked up something I saw laying around; whether I made my bed every morning or not; whether I got upset when things didn’t go my way, or sent up a prayer for grace and smiled instead.

I’ve been watching a seminar lately that has been teaching me a lot about the power of the decisions that I make in my life. And it is having an impact on my daily life. I wish I could summarize it for you, but there is so much that I think you really should just go and experience it for yourself.

The best part is, it’s free! That’s right. You can watch the seminar online for free. And the second-best part is that it is short. That is, each day’s session is short, 15 minutes or so, plus 5 minutes in a workbook afterward. Even the busiest person can find 15-20 minutes a day for self-improvement–and if they can’t, something’s wrong!

He’s not exaggerating. So here is my suggestion. Click on this banner and go sign up for the seminar:

When I got to day 12, I was inspired to try something new on my blog. I have been learning about making decisions, and I wrote down 5 decisions that I want to make in my life. Then I thought, What if I could have a link-up here, so that others could share their decisions, and we could support each other and learn from each other? So that’s what I’m going to do.

Every Monday I am going to share with you how the decision I made the week before affected my life, and then share my new decision for the following week. Then I’m going to have a link-up here so that you can post a link to your blog if you blogged about your decision. If you don’t have a blog, you can just post it in a comment. But please don’t start until you get to day 12–even if you take 4 or 5 hours and do each session one after the other–or you won’t understand what is going on.

My decision for this week that I am sharing is a decision regarding my emotional state. You know, we choose our emotional state; no one can force us to be angry or frustrated or anything. So here is my decision for this week:

I am choosing not to be frustrated by my children. Instead, I will model love, understanding, and patience.

Next Monday I will share how this decision affected my week.

Now it’s your turn. What decision are you making this week?

By Michael Cory on Flickr

Yesterday I shared how I found myself resisting God’s love, and how my heart had become hardened as a result. But then I made the choice to read a book that revealed His love in a way that had a very powerful drawing effect on my heart, and finally I chose to surrender. But my fear of failure was still there. How could I be sure that I would not turn back as I had countless times before?

As I looked at my life, I realized that I had somehow kept myself back from close friendships with other women. I had moved a lot, and with two small children to care for, I had not taken time to find a close friend–not even one. There was no one to ask me, “So, how are you really doing”–no one I was that close to. I thought of things I had heard on a woman’s radio program about having an accountability partner, and I realized that if I had had one, I would have had someone to call and get encouragement from. I had thought of doing it many times in the past, but I shrank from being vulnerable, from letting anyone see inside my heart.

You see, sin thrives in darkness. Concealed sin is very powerful and really impossible to break away from. But bring it out into the light, and it loses much of its power. I knew this, but for years I had hesitated to take this step.

But somehow this time it was different. Oh, I still shrank, but somehow my fear of failure became greater than my loathing to be vulnerable. So I wrote one of my friends from a few moves back, and asked her if she would be my prayer/accountability partner. It turned out that she was looking for one too, and so it was settled. I gave her permission to ask me searching questions as she felt impressed. There is nothing like knowing that such a question could come at any time to motivate one to do what is right! And it also gave me someone to call when I needed encouragement, or just to text, “I’m having a hard time now. Please pray for me” when I needed it. And of course it works both ways. I can be there for her when she needs it, too. We can hold up each other in prayer. This gives me a ministry and a way to reach out right at the outset.

The other thing I have committed to doing is to take time every day for devotions. Now, this may sound basic and obvious, but it is an area that I have struggled with lately. I know part of the problem is that I have been going to bed late, making it hard to get up early and be alert enough to focus. It is hard, because my husband is gone almost all day, so evenings are our only real time together. He is gone 12-13 hours every day–sometimes more. So I have to get his breakfast, lunch, and supper together before he leaves between 7:00 and 7:30. Once that is done, the kids are up and my day is in full swing. Stopping for an hour of Bible study and prayer is out of the question. And it doesn’t help that everyone tells me it’s the season of life I’m in, that it will be easier as my kids get older (especially because I’m not sure I’m done having kids!). If I don’t get up at before 5:30, I won’t have time to sit down and have any kind of devotional time at all before I have to start breakfast by 6:00 (especially because I often take a shower to wake up so I can focus!).

I will be honest. I haven’t figured this out yet. I’m working on it. Just not sure how it’s going to work out. But I have found that 10 minutes with my Bible and prayer is better than nothing at all, so I am focusing on taking whatever time I possibly can, regardless of when I got up. I have also found that deliberately getting up early even when I was tired often resulted in special blessings that gave me extra strength during the day–as incredible as that may sound.

Tomorrow I will share how the Lord took me deeper in my surrender. So stay tuned!

In the last two days I have painted a picture of how I felt during the time that I was, essentially, trying to hide from God. I knew I was lost; I doubted that I could ever make it; I feared that any attempt at surrender was doomed to failure sooner or later. Of course this was denying the power of God, and I knew it. But I had no evidence that this time would be any different. I wasn’t able or even willing to walk by faith.

During this time of struggle, I opened up to one lady from my church, and she encouraged me to read the book Seeing With New Eyes, and loaned me her copy. This book takes a look at Jesus and His love in a way that grips the heart. It presents Christ’s love in a most attractive way. Most of the information was not exactly new to me, but it was still it began to soften my heart.

You see, I had become almost desensitized to the sacrifice of Christ. I had heard the story so many times that it didn’t move me like it had at first. This worried me greatly. I would read things like the following, and I would almost become depressed:

They [referring to the self-centered] forget the Man of Sorrows, who was acquainted with grief. The sufferings of Jesus in Gethsemane, His sweating as it were great drops of blood in the garden, the platted crown of thorns that pierces His holy brow, do not move them. They have become benumbed. Their sensibilities are blunted, and they have lost all sense of the great sacrifice made for them. They can sit and listen to the story of the cross, hear how the cruel nails were driven through the hands and feet of the Son of God, and it does not stir the depths of the soul.” 1T 155.

That statement could not have described me better if it had been written by someone who could read my heart. I knew it, and it terrified me.

But gradually I realized what was the problem. This passage gives a clue:

The sinner may resist this love, may refuse to be drawn to Christ; but if he does not resist he will be drawn to Jesus; a knowledge of the plan of salvation will lead him to the foot of the cross in repentance for his sins, which have caused the sufferings of God’s dear Son. SC 27.

Looking back, I can see that I was resisting. I thought I had a good excuse: I was afraid of failing again. But praise God, Jesus’ love was stronger than my fear. As I read that book Seeing With New Eyes, I began to see something of the beauty of God’s character, the awesomeness of His love, the depth of His sacrifice; and as I made the choice to behold, my heart began to soften.

As I felt my heart softening, I began more and more to feel the drawing of God upon my heart. And little by little I began to yield. One morning I woke up with the sense that God was calling me to come spend time with Him. It was almost an audible voice, speaking to my heart, saying, “Lisa, please come spend some time with Me. I long to spend time with you. Won’t you please get out of bed, get your Bible, and find the blessings I have prepared specially for you?” I was tired, but I couldn’t resist such tender pleadings. So I got up. And I found myself surrendering to the Lord.

I was still afraid of failure, but I simply couldn’t resist any longer. So I took the first step and said that I would let God be in charge of my life.

Tomorrow I will share two of the things that I did to fortify against the failure I so much feared–besides continuing to behold Jesus, of course! I want to continue doing that for the rest of my life!

The other day I was spending a few quiet moments (a rarity lately!) reading one of my favorite devotional books, and this paragraph jumped out at me:

The loveliness of the character of Christ will be seen in His followers. It was His delight to do the will of God. Love to God, zeal for His glory, was the controlling power in our Saviour’s life. Love beautified and ennobled all His actions. Love is of God. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. It is found only in the heart where Jesus reigns. “We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19, R.V. In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the principle of action. It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, subdues enmity, and ennobles the affections. This love, cherished in the soul, sweetens the life and sheds a refining influence on all around.

Steps to Christ, 59

The thought is beautiful all by itself, but as I contemplated it, something struck me. Love is the ultimate motivator. I mean, who would willingly wipe someone else’s bottom for free if they didn’t love them? Sure, some would do it for pay, but all mothers do it for free. Why? Because we love our little helpless babies!

But then something else struck me. When our children love us, they are motivated to obey us. When we have their heart, we don’t have to twist their arm to get them to do something. Have we shown them love like Christ has shown for us?

When our children are motivated by love, look what can happen: “It [love] modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, subdues enmity, and ennobles the affections.”

In the goal of the development of character in our children, let’s make sure that we put in a lot of love!