Saturday, March 19, 2011

This is the stuff

There is a song by Francesca Barristelli that has become one of my favorite songs. It's called "This is the Stuff" and talks about how God uses the little frustrations in our life to help grow us spiritually and emotionally. I usually have a song on my lips, but this one I sing when I am starting

I can never remember all the words so I repeat the parts I know over, and over, and over again. I am sure it annoys those around me, but it is hard to let those negative feelings in when you are singing "This is the stuff that drives me crazy, This is the stuff that's getting to me lately, in the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed...."

Friday I was feeling pretty negative about the circumstances going on around me. I should have been able to sleep in, but a bill collector for someone else called me. Then as I worked out with the Kinect, it didn't want to register me doing the exercises. Then I got in the shower, the water was cold.

As I stood in the shower singing these words over and over again, until I meant what I was signing, with the cold water pouring down on me I realized how all these little things that were getting to me were just little blessings in disguise.

When the bill collector called, it really woke me up, so my day got started a little earlier. On the plus side, the lady calling had a job that would meet her needs, and maybe that of her family. If the other person wasn't behind, the bill collector might not have a job. It also means that someone counted me a reliable enough to list as a reference.

In addition, I still slept in more than most days. I am blessed to not be able to sleep in because it means that I have children I have to get off to school and a job to go to, when so many people pray for kids and need a job.

The Kinect not registering reminded me that we are blessed to have one. And I am healthy enough to be able to exercise. Plus I got extra workout which I know I need! God was just helping me move a little closer to a healthy lifestyle.

And then, my cold shower blessing. First off, as I felt my frustration growing I started turning my attention to God which is never a bad thing! I thanked him that I have children who were home from school and that obviously one of them was concerned about hygiene whether it was for taking a shower, cleaning their clothes, or doing dishes. They were at home instead of running around the streets. Then I started thanking him for the lady with job who woke me up, to bless the person with outstanding debt. I thanked him for my job and meeting my needs. I thanked him for the extras like the Kinect and for my health.

I got out of the cold shower feeling refreshed and blessed. It was really good to know I was not going to go start gripping about all the things going wrong in my day - not to say I didn't give my daughter a hard time since she was eating breakfast when I told her I was getting in the shower. It was just more of a tease than my normal griping.

Now I can't promise that later today, or tomorrow, or next week I won't be singing this song again to remind me that there is a blessing in every problem - whether its the lesson that God is trying to teach me through the frustration, if He is trying to grow me spiritually, or just that there really is something good about the thing that is getting too me. But it sure beats getting cranky and taking it out on those around me. Thank you God for the stuff that drives me crazy!

If you have never heard the song, or are just feeling frustrated - click on the hyperlink above and it will take you to Francesca Barristelli's website and her song!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Be who you are

1 Samuel 17:38-40 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.

“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.

As I read this scripture I thought how many times we try to be someone or something we are not. Maybe we try to "dress to impress," when really that is not who we are. Or we try to read up on something so we can be an "expert" when really we are just regurgitating the ideas and words of another.

I think whether we are doing this at the request of someone else - trying to fit into the mold they have made like Saul tried to have David do, or because of some fleshly desire of our own, it will never work.

We are uniquely designed to be the person God created us to be. When we try to put on something we are not, the burden becomes to heavy for us to bear because we weren't made for that. To often we try to make it a good fit, even though one size rarely fits all.

However, when we be who we are, we can succeed at what God designed us for no matter how impossible it seems. Just like David killing the giant with a small smooth stone.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thoughts on marriage

I have been feeling led to start working on a group about marriage. I mean I teach relationship classes and relationship skills to couples, but it is material that I have been taught, and some that I have learned, but none that I feel completely passionate about. God has been leading me more to take time with the things I teach others and really apply His word to it, instead of the secular training I have.

So here are some initial thoughts about marriage that I quickly used to respond to a dear sister of mine about marriage.

You have to stop and make your marriage a priority. He should also, but one person can make the difference. Think about all the things you do in a day - do your actions show that you value 1) God, 2) Your Spouse 3) Your Children? So many times we put all the unimportant things first and neglect the things that should have our attention. We allow cooking, cleaning, work, the computer, the television, the ____ fill in the blank to take priority in our life.

As Christians, as wives, as mothers, we have to turn to God as the supreme source on relationships. That is what he created us for. As a wife you are called to respect your husband and submit to him. As a husband he is called to love as Christ loved the church. Unfortunately, our society has failed to recognize what God pointed out a long time ago - and that is relationships work in cycles. One person does their part, and the other eventually responds as they should. Our society has taught us that we are supposed to get love, to give love. But the Bible says it is more blessed
to give than to receive.

I Corinthians 13 says Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Start practicing, even when it is hard, loving your husband. Love him - God's way. Pray for him. Pray that God will give you a heart for your husband again. Start showing him patience. Start speaking kindness to him. Do not be envious when he does not immediately respond. Do not say "I am trying, He is not" - that is boastful and proud. Treat him with respect - it may have to start in the common courtesies we allow strangers, but seem to hold against those who are closest to us.

As far as no money and mixed schedules. Make time. Your marriage has to be a priority. Stay up 30 minutes to an hour later. It is free to offer a helping hand. Compliment him on the little things you have been taking for granted. Talk. Play a game. Take a walk together. I know we keep things G rated, but sex is free and it is in marriage God rated. Put the moves on your man. You know what your spouse would appreciate the most, the small things that make a difference to him. Set aside time together - as a must. Even if it means you take the kids to the park and sit and talk while they play - whatever it takes to keep your marriage alive. You were called to be a helpmate, not a roommate.