He Will Take Great Delight in You.

God delights in us. He loves us as His children. Just as we take delight in our children’s first steps, happy faces, school accomplishments, happiness, and talents, so does God with us. No matter how old you are, whether you are on spiritual milk or solid food, God loves you as His sons and daughters. We make  God happy. He likes to watch over us. Our happiness is His happiness, our triumphs His triumphs. Our pain is His pain, our hurt His hurt. He is deeply connected to us. He wants to watch us lead good lives, live out our holy purpose, follow Him, and follow our dreams.

Just my happy thought for the day!

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Eternal Life

So many things leave us unsatisfied, disappointed, wanting more. Sometimes that is just the result of greed and avarice. But sometimes it is because things or people really have been disappointing. Sometimes friends disappoint us. Everyone has that ex-friend who is out of their lives for a very good reason. Sometimes even our own families disappoint us. Sometimes our relationships with them leave us wanting more, leave us coping with hurt or disappointment or even rage. Some of them mean to fail us. Some don’t.

God never fails. God never disappoints. His love is unfailing. God is reliable. His Word slakes a thirst that water (or an ice cold Coke!) never could. God does no wrong – to anyone. His ways are righteous. He does things for our good, not to harm us.  When you can’t count on your family or friends or coworkers or whoever to do right by you, you can count on your just God.

Friendships change. People betray us, the drift away from us, they let us down. Family cannot always be counted on.  Sometimes other people, even those we are close to, are bitter, vindictive, controlling, petty, selfish, dishonest,manipulative, and mean spirited. But the one constant in life, in my life, is God. He gives me things I can’t get anywhere else – unconditional love, grace, peace.

A Beautiful Woman

I try to be a nice person. Really, I do. But periodically I bite. Proverbs tells us to add sweetness to our speech and to speak softly. Sometimes I don’t speak very softly. I am loud.

My husband and I almost never fight. But on the occasion we do, I am usually loud and sharp. I need to add more kindness to my words. My speech is not sweet. It is acidic. It eats away at everything, burning it. I ought to have a gentler and quieter spirit, which is beautiful to God. God does not look at a woman and find her beautiful for her clothes and her figure and her makeup. He finds women beautiful who have gentle and quiet spirits. (Not that it isn’t okay to wear nice clothes and makeup.)

He expects us to cultivate what is on the inside, not the outside. He values the gentle, the grateful, the obedient, the modest, the submissive. He wants sweet speech and soft words. How can I practice these things? How can I be a woman after God’s own heart? Here is a list I have come up with. Many of these things I already do – I just don’t do them enough. If you think of anymore, comment or email me.

  1. Never raise my voice. You can not have a gentle and quiet spirit if you are yelling.
  2. Pray regularly to tell God what I am thankful for.
  3. Listen for the Holy Spirit as I write, pray, and think. Follow the voice of the Holy Spirit. Be obedient.
  4.  Try to cover up any low cut dresses with my infinity veils when I go out.  Showing some cleavage is okay when I’m at home, and practically unavoidable at formal events, but for the day to day I should be well covered. It is hard not to buy things that show a lot of cleavage when your breasts are as big as mine, but by wearing the right kind of veil I can buy all kinds of dresses and still be modest.
  5. Obey my husband. When a woman obeys her husband, she obeys God, who has place her husband in authority over her. This doesn’t mean I can’t lobby and petition for what I want and need. I can and I do, rather vigorously at times! But I am my husband’s helpmeet and God has ordered me to submit. So ultimately, my husband has final say.
  6. Be less prideful. God hates a haughty heart. I need to search myself for pride and tear it out. Am I too prideful when I get a pretty dress? When I have a day that I feel I look extra good?  When I add to my book collection? When I learn new things as I study? There is a fine line between appreciating things and feeling good about yourself, versus being prideful. Maybe one way to combat this is to give thanks to God for whatever I am proud of, whether it is a publication credit, a day of good complexion or hair, or my awesome library. And not to focus on it. Take a picture of me or my clothes or my library, and then move on. Be humble and remember that anything good that I have or achieve is through the Grace of my sovereign God. Enjoy the beauty in my life, but remember from whom it comes.
  7. Dive into the Word. A gentler, more peaceful spirit is a natural byproduct of being immersed in the Word.

I have a lot I need to work on. The Christian walk is a never ending journey, a constant refining of gold from dross.

Faith

I have faith that Christ is my savior, that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him.

In so many other things though, I do not have enough faith, or even any faith at all. I get so worried, for instance, that for whatever the reason when Craig is up for his next set of orders there will be literally nothing in Norfolk. This is mostly ridiculous. Norfolk is the biggest Naval base in the country. There is bound to be something there for him. And if it is God’s will that we go back to Norfolk, He will make a way. And I really must hope and  believe that He will make a way, because I long to live near my parents again. I miss them. I need their support. My daughter needs to grow up with grandparents actively involved in her life. God hears the longing of my heart and knows my needs, and I must believe that He will provide. And if His answer to this prayer is no, I must have enough faith to follow His path and remember that He orders all things to our good. If God’s answer is no, I must go where He sends me. But my God is a loving God and knows what I need.

For now, in this difficult season of being so far from my parents and support system, I must learn to lean on God. I still need my meds. I still need friends. And no matter how far away I am, I need my parents and call them and text them as much as I can, and visit them as often as I can. But I need to rely on God too, as my strength and refuge. How can I build my faith? My Bible studies and devotionals and other books on various aspects of the Christian life certainly help. I think the fact we are beginning to go to church again will help too. But I think I need to spend more time simply abiding in God.  Simply feeling His presence, acknowledging His hand in every area of my life.

Sometimes I worry about how well we will do when Craig gets out of the Navy. Will there be a job for him? How much will it pay? Where will it be? I try to remember that God provides (and of course, we will have that pension, which many people don’t have), but it is hard. I know the economy isn’t good and a lot of smart, educated, skilled, and experienced people are out of work or making very little. But God will provide us with what we need, and if we do go through hard times God will watch over us.

I am currently on meds that are working absolutely fantastic. I haven’t had a mood swing in weeks and I’ve been getting up early. But I am so worried that they will burn out, as every drug I’ve ever taken has. If they do burn out though, I will have to lean on God until I find something else that does work. But for now, I shouldn’t be worried about when these drugs will quit. I should be enjoying this very pleasant ride. Only God knows what the future holds, but right now I have it pretty good.

I have so little faith in so many areas. I have little faith that my daughter will find a good Christian to marry, that the world will be a safe enough place for her to make her way in. And so many other things. I need more faith. Faith can move mountains. Why is it I believe in God so fervently, but do not rely on Him?

Dead Faith

Faith without works is dead. The Bible says so. But yet so many people in the Christian community say that all you have to do to be saved is accept Jesus as your savior. And while there is truth to this, it is not entirely true. The Bible does say that to be saved you must accept Jesus as the son of God and believe in him. But it also says that faith without works is dead, that some people who call Jesus Lord will be turned away at Judgement Day and Jesus will say he never knew them, and that we must follow Jesus. We must become disciples. So clearly it is not as simple as believe in Jesus and you are saved.

The simple truth is that while believing in Jesus is the fundamental component of being saved, if indeed you really believe in Jesus and you are saved you will have good works to back that up. People who say Jesus Jesus Jesus but do not have good works are not following Jesus and the Bible tells us that they are likely not saved. Because it is impossible to know the love of God and not give some of that love back. It is impossible to be a disciple of Jesus and not do good for those around you.

No one is perfect and no one is without sin. But if you can’t remember the last time you reached out to try to make friends with somebody you might be doing something wrong. If you can’t remember the last time you gave to charity or tithed with your church, you might be doing something wrong. If you can’t remember the last time you helped someone, you are probably doing something wrong.

I feel like I’m doing something wrong. I have definitely helped people out in the past and tried to do good things, but I haven’t done anything in a while. Part of it is that I don’t feel fully connected to the community here yet. But I’m working on that. At least as much as a bipolar introvert can. We tithed to a church last week. But it has been a while since I’ve been able to do something good. I’m sure someone out there needs help, but I’m not sure who. We recently donated some stuff we don’t need anymore to a charity that supports a monastery of nuns. So that was nice. But it’s been a while since I have helped somebody in need with a car payment or phone bill or anything like that. And I can’t remember the last time I volunteered.

But I don’t even know where I would volunteer and what I would do. I have no special skills. I’ve considered the SPCA because I like bunnies, but I don’t really wish to work with cats or dogs. And I really wouldn’t be good at that anyway. I’m trying to donate some stuff to a church Children’s Program, but I don’t really know where to get involved. They have a craft group that I’d like to join if we continue going to this church, but that doesn’t count as volunteerism. Maybe I should volunteer with the children’s church. I’m just not sure that I should. On one hand they usually need volunteers to help with special programs or work the children’s church during the service to take care of the kids. And I really appreciate the people who do that. At the same time though most of them really love children and have a heart for children’s ministries. I nannied and babysat so much that I have kind of burned out on kids. I enjoy being with my own child, but not with everyone else’s. Helping out a friend with their kids would be okay on occasion,  but it’s not something I want to be committed to every Sunday. And besides so many kids nowadays are behaving so badly and I do not have the patience to tolerate that crap. Even if it is church.

I have thought about fostering a child but so many foster children come with problems that I am not equipped to handle while I am in the midst of taking care of my own child. And then if I got attached to a child I couldn’t bear to give him or her back. So I don’t really think that fostering is for me.

I used to tutor middle school kids and I really enjoyed that but I would have to find another organization that is looking for tutors and I’m not sure if there is one around here. I also used to have a job in college tutoring a Korean family in ESL and I absolutely loved that. Partly because I really loved the family and partly because the work was enjoyable. Maybe there’s an immigrant community around here looking for ESL tutors. That would be something I could do. But I’m not a professional ESL teacher and many such organizations want professional ESL teachers.

But God expects results, not excuses. There is undoubtedly someone out here who needs help and I should be helping them. There may be an organization that needs volunteers. I should be volunteering. There has to be something that I would be good at and could go do whenever I happen to have the babysitter – something I could be committed to but that has flexible enough hours to work around family life and the babysitter’s schedule. There must be something I could contribute.

I thought I saw something on this Church’s program about bringing communion to people who are shut-in. That is a ministry my heart would really be with. Who knows. If we commit to and join this church may be opportunities to give it to be involved will come my way. If not I will have to do something to find them. To whom much is given much is expected. Much has been given to me. I need to give back.