Tag Archives: faith

Thoughtful Thursday: This Far on the Path

Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?
-1 Chronicles 17:16

This is a question I ask myself time and again.  It helps to not only keep my life in perspective when compared to others on this earth, but it also helps keep my vision and praise trained on God.

Who Am I?

Truly, I am a wife and mother of two.  That description alone makes me one of the most blessed people on earth.  That my husband is The BHE and my children are healthy and bright just sweetens the deal.

I am a home-owner, gainfully employed, intelligent and educated, and driven to excel.  What gifts those are!

My friends are many and easily contacted.  My family is spread wide with experiences to share.  My neighbors aren’t the friendliest but I do live in a relatively peaceful, non-violent town.  Thinking about all the places I could have been born, all the places I could have ended up, and all the scary things in the world my friends and family have seen, I am exceedingly blessed to live where I choose and in an area safe to raise my family.

I am organized and thrifty, I am physically and mentally strong and healthy, I am clean and friendly.  Who I am is in itself a phenomenal gift.

O Lord God

It is to Him that I give thanks and praise.  God provided all of this, from my first breath to every one after that, from the roof over my head to the thoughts in it, from the food in my belly and the clothes on my back.  This is God’s work.  How truly AWE-some is that!

The Almighty has created so much that it cannot even be fathomed, and even more unfathomable to me is that He chose to bless me with so much, both here on earth and the gifts He promises in the afterlife.

The Lord is my shepherd and I do not want, and for that I must never forget to thank Him.  Even during the difficult times, I have always had shelter and sustenance, people to rely on, and my own mind to depend on to think my way through.  These are all things which God granted me, without my even asking, without expecting praise in return.

Too often, the simple things in life are taken for granted and that leads to even the more complex things being taken for granted.  How often has it chafed you in your life to be taken for granted by someone?  Now imagine if you were brought out of poverty and destitution, starvation and uncleanliness, from a place of no potable water and surrounded by violence and fear…and you were brought into my life, where my family has more vehicles than drivers, more houses than we know what to do with, potable water at the lift of a lever, lights and fans and the Internet at the flip of a switch, constantly accessible food in the refrigerator and pantry.

O Lord God, I should drop to my knees now to thank You profusely.

And What Is My Family

To me, my husband and children are very special people, my everything.  We love one another and care for each other.  But what is my family to our town, our society, the world?  And what are we to God the Almighty?

My family is my everything.  Even broadening the description to cover all relatives, in-laws, friends, and co-workers, my connections to those around me mean more to me than any possession.  If my house were to burn down tonight, I would wake the BHE to help grab our children and cat plus the photos of me with my grandparents and him with his dad before running out the door.  If I managed to have my phone on me, I would call my dad, our friends, someone we know to come help us and provide shelter for the night.  I know how blessed I am to have such a vast network of people to call my family.

What are we to God, though?  We are all His children, His flock, even those who don’t know or have chosen not to follow the footsteps of His Son.  It is singularly amazing that of all the creatures on the planet, God chose us to be special and rule the beasts and tame the waters and receive more of His blessings each day.

This Far

On this, I go back to the first point of who I am.  I am not just intelligent but have an education and the means to further my knowledge, like access to libraries and the financial steadiness to have regular Internet access in my home.  I am not just healthy but have the opportunities to visit doctors and grocery stores where I can purchase the best foods for my body and mind.  I am not just sheltered in my home but actually have three freaking houses on nice properties that are full of comfortable, clean, and sturdy furnishings and can have the temperatures regulated at the press of a button.

THIS IS HOW FAR I have climbed with my two hands and the grace of God.  THIS IS HOW FAR the Lord has brought me.  THIS IS HOW FAR my family has come from humble beginnings and days of fear and uncertainty.  THIS IS HOW FAR God has brought us with promises of much more to come.

For that, I will give thanks and praise.  For that, I will focus on this verse when I become enmeshed in the anxieties that come with weakness and an unclear view of the future.  For that, I will try to keep in perspective that I am so unbelievably blessed.

A recent gem from my Devotional app.


When I lose sight of the path, I will seek His Word to remind me how far we have come.  Gratitude and perspective, folks.

What helps you see the beauty of how far you’ve come on your path?

Thoughtful Thursday: The Truth about Liars

Being untruthful hurts the speaker more than we realize, especially when we are lying about another person.  Where we think we are harming the person the lie is about, the truth is that we are placing ourselves in a position we will not be able to get out of.
We corner ourselves with our untruths, both in this life and on Judgment Day.

But we know that.  What we don’t recognize is the truth about liars that makes their lies so hurtful.

Their Co-conspirators

It isn’t the person being lied about who suffers the most.  It isn’t the liar who suffers the most.  It is the people who either believed those lies and helped spread them or knew what was untrue and did nothing to stop it.

The co-conspirators suffer the most damage.

The individual who chooses to accept gossip or a rumor to be a truth, or who chooses not to quash the lie swiftly, is worse than the liar.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
-Matthew 12:35-37

From the Bible

We have received guidance for how we are to react to lies and deceit.  We have been told that there are ramifications for our willingness to listen and repeat lies without taking the time to discover if they are true just as we have been shown what will become of those who stand aside and do nothing in the face of dishonesty and destructive words.

For instance:

  • Your heard that lie, you knew it to be a lie, and you did nothing. You let those words tear down a person you know, a person who called you a friend.  You listened to the liar but turned a deaf ear to those who welcomed you into their home.  You said nothing to the liar when he bombastically proclaimed ridiculous things to the crowd.  You chose to give no reaction as he waved his “proof” in the air.  You listened to him, and even if you didn’t repeat him, you supported him in your non-action.
  • You who repeated it, though…. You who chose to believe something so unbelievable and accepted your role as a co-conspirator to spread the lies.  You helped her repeat it again and again until it became a truth in your mind, until you could live with what you had done and not done.  She said such hurtful, ugly, and downright unbelievable things, but you were so mad you embraced the lies.  It was a conscious choice to believe the worst of things.

By Your Words You Will Be Acquitted

Choose truth. Choose justice. Choose the righteous path and you will be acquitted. Standing with the liars, or not standing against them, is how you will find yourself condemned. 

Find those you’ve hurt and apologize. Respond to those speaking untruths with the truth. Whatever your reason for being a co-conspirator, end it now.

I, too, need to end the cycle. I don’t want to carry the anger any more than I want to be subjected to the pain.  I do want to forgive and release the ill will.  I get so tired of the destructive nature of lies worming its way through daily life.

I will read this verse time and again to remind myself that my words do matter; whether I keep them as bottled up thoughts or share my angst, God is listening and I am being affected by my words as well as the lies told by others.

A Good Man Brings Good Things

It is never “just talk”; if it can hurt someone, do not say it.  If it doesn’t help anyone, if it doesn’t teach anyone, if it doesn’t solve anything, do not say it.

Is-it-True--800x671

Words can be weapons or they can be tools used to build.

If you say it, make sure it is building something beautiful.

Momentum Monday: Last Week of SAHMing

This week, I plan to complete the typing and inputting of our steps and goals into the spreadsheets I’ve created to keep us on target.  The path is laid out in front of us, complete with deadlines, and I need to start putting together the dollar figures to find a doable budget.

This week, I plan to take a day to shop online and around town for capsule wardrobe* pieces to bring my wear-to-work options up to par.  There’s no way I can continue wearing my yoga-pants-and-cardigan uniform, complete with messy bun of unwashed hair, as I reenter the work force.  Speaking of the hair, I could really use some guidance on what cut and style will work best for my hair type (uber thick and ridiculously frizzy with lots of short hairs from the new growth associated with childbearing), face shape (I honestly don’t know, and that’s after taking beauty magazine quizzes), and lifestyle (fast and easy—don’t take it out of context).  Help!

This week, I plan to finish everything to do with my father-in-law’s estate.  Well, everything possible, like filing his income taxes and setting aside money for his property taxes.

This week, I plan to wrap up everything to do with my volunteer position as treasurer for the non-profit that will be holding its annual meeting this weekend.  I also need to prep my house for out-of-town guests.  These two things alone will take up a bulk of my time.

This week, I will start setting my alarm AND ACTUALLY GETTING UP to prepare my mind and body for the return to work.  I also hope to guide the BHE through routines with the kids, to show him how I do it, to explain the kids’ needs and wants in more detail, to remind him I have faith in the job he’ll do with them, and to promise him I will try my best to reign in my control freak.  I have already drawn up a list of what aspects of our household running I plan on keeping, sharing, and giving over to him; I figure we need to communicate these things or we’ll end up resentful and living in a filthy house with no food.

This week, I plan to secure care for my children for two days a week to enable my husband to be more than a SAHD but also our very own contractor, the guy who will fix things and plan things and buy things and get things done.  There’s just so much and he can’t do everything in the time we need it done if he’s busy with our children.

This week, I plan to stay calm, trust in the Lord, be thankful for every blessing and road block, and accept with grace and gratitude all that comes to us and at us.

*Capsule Wardrobe sources:  Efficient Momma, Unfancy, Be More With Less

Thoughtful Thursday: Christian Environmentalist

The evidence is irrefutable.

If you are a Christian, you are an environmentalist.  You must be concerned with the state of the earth and our environment.  Scripture states that we are stewards of the planet.

The quotes below from the Bible are ones I return to time and again when so-called good Christians argue with me that Jesus does not want us to worry so much about the earth as we are to care for the people of the earth.  This argument gets under my skin, so I have my selection of God’s words to remind others where we truly stand on the planet.

If you find yourself unconcerned or unwilling to make changes for the betterment of our planet, you are not a thoughtful Christian.  If you think the destruction around you is part of God’s plan and that you need play no part in protecting or bettering the state of the oceans, landfills, ozone layer, etc, you are not paying attention to the Scripture you reference.

Do not say to me my focus shouldn’t be on the condition of the earth while invoking the Lord’s name in your reasoning.  That’s asinine.  We are to care for the earth, for all of its inhabitants, for the Lord’s creation.  I care for the earth as much as for the people upon it, and that’s what makes me a Christian.

“Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
Genesis 1:26

We humans, above all of God’s creations, were chosen to be stewards of the earth and all He put upon it. God wants us to take care of what He created and yet there are people who claim to be followers of the Bible who say we can do as we want because we were given “dominion” over it.  Owning something and caring for it are two different things; we were not given such an honor and a gift to exploit it or destroy it.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
Psalms 24:1

If we are harming the earth, then we are saying we are more powerful than God.  If we pollute, overuse, waste, or drive a species to extinction, we are showing we can destroy that which He created, implying we can use this earth for our own ends rather than for His glory.

“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth.”
Psalm 96:11-13

And what does He find when He comes to judge?  Not only are we harming God’s creation with pollution, we are harming ourselves.  When He comes to judge the living and the dead, and we have polluted our bodies and wrecked the planet He gifted us, I fear God will not rejoice in what He finds but rather see us in our sinful, destructive pride.

“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”
Revelation 11:18

Well, if that isn’t pretty cut-and-dry, I don’t know what is.  Seriously, folks, take care of the planet.  All Christians ought to be environmentalists; all of us need to be aware of the daily harm we are doing to the planet.  We were given this great, big, beautiful, bountiful gift, and look at what we collectively have done to it.  Is God really happy with the earth, with how His greatest creation is treating all His other creations?  Or will we eventually, all of us, be cowed in fear as God destroys us for destroying the earth?

“The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth, and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant.”
Isaiah 24:4-6

The Bible clearly states that God created and blessed the earth then made a covenant with Man that we would protect and care for it and all the creatures upon it.  Scripture says that if we do not treat the earth right, He can take what He has given.

“And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.”
Jeremiah 2:7

How dare we?  How can we keep on with denying the changes our consumption and selfishness have wrought?  Why are we not, on a global scale, calling Christians together to make a change to bring the earth back to a healthy, stable position?

“How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? The beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.”
Jeremiah 12:4

Changes have been occurring for centuries.  The histories tell us how, time and again, climates have shifted or rains have stopped or floods were numerous.  Each of those times is part of God’s plan, just like the issues facing our earth today are part of His plan.

That does not mean we continue blindly on with our destructive behaviors and our habits that clearly show poor stewardship of the earth.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
Psalm 24:1

God is the Great Creator.  We merely inhabit His planet.  Everything under Heaven belongs to God.  It is time all of us started behaving as such.

What changes will you make in your daily routine to lighten your destructive impact on the earth?  Where on your thoughtfully sought path will you make a difference for the planet’s health?

Thoughtful Thursday: Pray for Each Other

Deeply personal stuff here, folks. 

This is part of a letter I once wrote to the person who has done the most harm to me.  She destroyed my life… because I let her.  I let her sickness twist me.  I lashed out, and I was so far from being a good Christian that day.

Since then, I have seen more evil from that woman.  I clearly haven’t stopped letting her behaviors twist me.  Each time it starts to overwhelm my thoughts, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and her.  I ask that she be brought back to the light. Each time, I reflect on the verses in my letter to her.

To her, directly, I wrote these words:

As I lay here, sleepless though exhausted, I know I can write out a better apology than I could ever speak. Please read my words and feel my sincerity.

When I’m upset, my words come out wrong. I am sinful and allow anger and cursing to rule me. I lash out and do wrong. I am Ephesians 4:31, “Get rid of your bitterness, hot tempers, anger, loud quarreling, cursing, and hatred.”

I am sorry. I was wrong. I said hurtful, hateful things that I cannot take back but wish I could and pray I’ll never say or think again. Psalm 51:3, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.”

Please forgive me. Romans 14:19, “Therefore, let’s keep on pursuing those things that bring peace and that lead to building up one another.” I believe that both of us need this now more than ever as we feel so isolated and ignored.  So much damage has been done around us and because of us, so please recognize how we both must embrace Proverbs 14:9, “Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.”

Because, like was said at James 5:16, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

Please, let us seek peace between us for ourselves as well as our family.  Please, don’t shut me out.  Please, stop with the hurtful words, the ones you are spewing in the ears of our loved ones, who have joined you in your efforts to tear me down.  Remember those things which the Lord hates:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill innocents
a heart that plots evil,
feet that are quick to rush into hate,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the family.

Thoughtful Thursday: Worry and Anxiety

Time and again, I must return to this passage:

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
(NLT) -Matthew 6:27

I have anxiety attacks.  Not often, but enough that I know I walk around with this burden of my own making.  It is a feeling, when I start to worry, that rises up inside and is allowed to consume me, my thoughts, my words.

I think I can overcome it.  I think I am strong enough or smart enough or wise enough to deal with it myself.

However, I have been admonished more than once that “worry and stress reveal your doubt in God’s will.”  He’s got this.  Just like He has everything.  As much as I can repeat my mantra that I got this, that isn’t the case.  I cannot do it without Him.

No, my worries do not add anything to my life.  They take away from it, these fears of my own making.  I have trained my body to go into fight-or-flight mode each time my circuitous mind grasps a painful moment and works on it like a dog with a bone.  It is not productive; it is destructive.  I am not trusting in Him but rather harming me and being toxic to those around me.

I must remember, too:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(NIV) –Philippian 4:6-7

Embarking on a New Path

One beautiful aspect of this life is that there are no constants. 

Now, for a control freak like me, that concept is always first handled with trepidation.

But when I remember that life isn’t stagnant, that change is necessary for growth and to reach goals, I feel emboldened and blessed as I take the first tentative steps on the new path I see before me.

Independence

The BHE and I are both very intelligent and fiercely independent people.  We both would love nothing more than to live off the grid and thrive on our own efforts and ingenuity.

However, living in this time and place, and having been raised the way we were, we both cling to a few ideas of the modern, connected world.  Like health insurance, adult conversation, and the Internet.  I for one would like to know I have a steady income that includes benefits from a company, at least until my children are a bit more mature.  And our farm is functioning independently.

With independence comes greater responsibility, especially for oneself.  When you are beholden to none, you are more so beholden to yourself and your God.  I care not for the judgement of my peers but rather His view on the quality of my stewardship of His earth and gifts.

So the BHE and I have been talking about our options and alternatives.  I am a SAHM who would love to be a WAHM so, by golly, I gotta be independent and forge a new way.

Please, Lord, show me the next path I must thoughtfully walk upon.

Financial Independence

The goal here is to provide for ourselves, our children, our families, and our friends without depending too much on other people.  Reciprocity is the name of the game, rather than being borrowers to lenders, as that never ends well.*

For now, though, we do have a mortgage(s) and car loan (please don’t get me started on my student loans) and two small children.  We must be smart about our steps towards our end goals.  Which is why the BHE returns to work each day.  Which is why I have begun searching out ways to both save and earn.

If I do not have a steady income as a stay-at-home mom, the least I can do is be a good steward of the money we have been blessed with and use the considerable brain power God gave me to come up with new ways to work towards financial independence.

Saving

I’m known for my budgeting and my coupon-clipping and my bill pay spreadsheets… and my penny-pinching.  I will be the first to raise my hand and admit that I am a tight wad.  For all the hosting I’ve done, I can tell you I have upset a few guests in the past with how tight I hold my fist.

I found some new ways to save, and I plan on writing up my reviews of the apps that are helping me do so.  In fact, a couple of the apps are more than Saving; they cross the line into Making.  It is pretty cool.

If you want to get started on your own, I am using:

Checkout 51
Flipp
Coupons
Ibotta
Every Dollar
MobiSave
Walmart’s Savings Catcher
Target’s Cartwheel
And Payless’s (Kroger) digital coupons

Making

I decided to take it one step further.  Part of my approach to minimalism has been selling as well as donating and trashing the things we don’t need or want.  Now, after the passing of my beloved father-in-law and the subsequent inheritance of all of his shit crap garbage hoarded stuff belongings, we have a major inventory with which to work.  Antiques and collectibles, unopened boxes of supplies and tools, decorative items that have no place in our home, clothing and accessories that fit no one we know… the list goes on.

Thank God for the Internet!**  I have opened both an eBay shop and an Etsy shop as well as have posted items on all Craigslist sites that cover areas within an hour drive of me.  Also, if you didn’t know this, go take a peek at what’s around you in terms of Facebook pages labeled “yard sale” or “ rummage” or “swap”.

Here are some items I have up for sale:

blade.jpgashtraycoke-case

 

Here is the link to my eBay store, DeichMileFeirme, and my Etsy shop, Thoughtfully Sought.

Branding

While you’re online, reading this post and checking out my shops and the various apps I mentioned above, go ahead and check me out in the other corners from which I shine.  See the fun, colorful, crazy, thoughtfully sought path we are treading on my Instagram account.my Instagram account.  Find out what inspires me and what my big project ideas are on my Pinterest account.  Go crazy and LIKE my Facebook page.

If you’re trying to make a little extra on the side (and I do mean a little), start stretching your touch to various parts on the Internet.  There’s so much out there, and what goes around comes around. ***

How have you earned a little extra lately? 

What was the big-ticket item you last saved a ton on? 

If you were going to brag about how little you spent at the grocery, how would you explain how you did it?

 

*Proverbs 22:7 – The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

**Seriously, I think I say that twenty times a day, if not more.

***Hebrews 13:15&16 – Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.