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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What Faith Is

Faith is finding your child after she runs and hides, carrying her to the car as she kicks and screams. Buckling her in as she starts to sob in a panic, begging to not go. Arriving and having to figure out how to unlock her door that she's keeping locked, then literally carrying her as she fights you. Down a block. Through some doors. Into a new building. Up a long flight of stairs. Into an office so she can visit with a person she doesn't want to see.

It's not faith to walk (or force) your child through something difficult because you know the outcome is beneficial for them. Getting a cavity filled. Receiving a medication. Getting them to school. Those things are just being a good parent. Being a good parent doesn't always feel good, but you know the outcome and it's worth the discomfort to get to that outcome.

Faith is when you can't see the outcome and when it feels like you're betraying your child. When you have to walk them (or physically force them) to do what's been ordered. When you feel guilty because you don't stop what is happening, and you don't know what's going to happen. Faith is trusting that by going against your instinct and by doing what you have been ordered to do, that that is the right thing.

Faith is making a pact with your own soul that no matter the outcome, you will praise God. That even if He won't move the mountains, that even if He won't part the sea, that you will still call His name blessed. It is allowing your child to see that you will follow the authority placed above you with a good attitude, and that you will do everything you can to help them, but that all of your help will be within the boundaries of the rules you are given.

Faith is trusting that all of this is enough. That even though you have no idea of anything, no vision of what the future may be or where the goal line is, or even if there is a goal, that somewhere out there, lies God's heart to give your child hope and a future. That promises will be fulfilled. That visions will come to fruition. That your prayers are not being stored up for a future time, but that they are being and already have been fulfilled.

Faith isn't about seeing. It's not even about believing. It's about knowing that you can trust the Father through the times when you don't know why or if or how or when. Faith is the conviction of things not seen.

(image from http://saltformation.spreadshirt.com/faith-the-conviction-of-things-not-seen-A14157849)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Best Cyber Monday Deals for Moms!

The top three BEST Cyber Monday Deals...just for moms!

#1 Cyber Monday Shopping Tip: start your shopping by logging into Ebates. You'll get an additional percentage off of almost every shopping website, and it comes back to you as cash! There is also a $10 sign up bonus today, and you can earn up to $100 by referring three friends. 

Discount examples: Amazon.com - up to 10% back; Groupon - 10% back; Khols - 10% back.

The Post Institute: awesome organization to help you parent children with difficult behaviors. They have free training videos, online, CD, and DVD versions of their courses. They are highly recommended and I discovered them from a professional after she learned about the PTSD and associated behaviors my daughter has. Today, most everything is 50% off. This makes their Holiday course only a few dollars! Programs include:

  • Strategies for Severe Behaviors in Adoptive and Foster Children Including RAD, OD, ADHD, Aspergers, Autism and Others
  • Parenting Difficult Tweensand Teens
  • Parenting the Attachment Challenged Child 3
  • Healing Attachment Challenged Adults (addictive and angry behaviors)
  • Trauma, Brain & Helping Children Heal
  • Great Behavior Breakdown 13 CD Series
  • Stress Love & Your Baby
  • Parenting Home Study Course
  • From Fear to Love Book

View the details and order the program your family needs here: http://www.postinstitute.com/g/store/blessedmamaservices/

It Works!: today ONLY, they are doing a buy-one-get-one-free promo on their new WOW (Wipe Out Wrinkles) product and also when you buy an Exfoliating Peel + Lip & Eye cream. This works out to be $23 per WOW or $32.50 per Exfoliating Peel + Lip & Eye...and that's not even including the wholesale membership fee waved, the free shipping after your third order, or the perks points of the Loyal Customer (wholesale) program which gives you an even better deal! NOTE: IW sold out of their essential oil holiday package quickly, so get this offer before it sells out, too. Order at www.bodymoresimply.myitworks.com

Inspired By Finn: we have used their Baltic amber and hazel wood jewelry for years and love it! It's the real deal, they have tons of choices (including other therapeutic jewelry and pieces for adults), and your entire order is discounted 33% when you use the code "CyberMon33" during checkout. Order here: http://hyenacart.com/stores/inspiredbyfinn/

(contains some affiliate links)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bringing the Sacrifice of Praise

Something I have learned over the last few years is the importance and power of praising God amidst very difficult circumstances. It is easy to praise in spirit and song when you have no life or death matters that invade your thoughts as you try to focus on the Father. It is easy to praise when you are on stage leading worship. It is easy to praise when you consider what God has done for you and the promises that you see being fulfilled in your life.

It is much more difficult to praise when you are fighting fear. It is much more difficult to praise when your thoughts go to begging God to save you and your family. It is much more difficult to praise when you don't know why God has not yet responded to your acts of obedience, has not answered your prayers, and when others have suggested that this apparent wilderness in your life is because you haven't prayed hard enough, fasted long enough, or that there must be something spiritually that is wrong in your life for God to not respond to your dire situation.

When your spirit is crushed, when you don't know how to go on, when you are confused and angry...that is when it is difficult to praise. And that is when praise becomes your sacrifice.

Unlike many other forms of spiritual warfare and different acts of worship, praise brings us full circle to where we began and why we were created. God didn't create us so that He could save us. He didn't create us so that we could need Him. He didn't create us so that we could go forth and bring more people to Him. His purpose of creating us was so that we could commune with, honor and love Him. 

For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,' declares the LORD, 'to be my people for my renown and praise and honor.' (Jeremiah 13:11)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
When we bring a sacrifice of praise, we are praising Him for who He is. Not for anything He has done for us. Not for anything we are happy about. When brought as a sacrifice, praise moves from being an emotional response to an act of obedience. Biblically speaking, obedience is time and again upheld as our first responsibility to God, and the first thing we will do if we truly love Him. By bringing the sacrifice of praise, we are obeying Him with nothing for our own gain attached. It becomes simply about Him because of who He is.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
When you normally praise, it is a sacrifice in the sense of bringing a gift to God. But when you bring the sacrifice of praise, it is out of your complete brokenness and is because you are choosing to bring it, not because you have an abundance of good feelings to shave the top of. It's when you have nothing. The beautiful thing about it is that it's beautiful to God.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:16-17)
It seems that in the beginning of a wilderness period, we cling to the promises and look forward with vigor and hope. As time goes on, though, and weeks turn into months, months into a year, and one year into multiple years, we grow weary. We grow unsure. We grow scared.
 “Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts?  And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’ ” (Malachai 3:13-15)

When it becomes the most unnatural to praise, let it be what you do. Let it be the sacrifice you bring. Esteem His name, for His response in Malachai is great.

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.  “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. (Malachai 3:16-17)

Choose to have your broken spirit be a vessel of praise, so that even when you are facing extreme circumstances, even when you have nothing left, even when you are confused or angry...even when your heart is far from God...you can offer the sacrifice of praise before your King. Praise Him through the battle.
And the Lord said:“Because these people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me,and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder." (Isaiah 29:13-14)
There is power in the sacrifice of praise.

(image credit to Cecil Porter)