Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why I Write

Today I am writing and linking-up for the Blog Bash Party over at Women Living Well.  Courtney has asked for us bloggers to give her and her community a little information about us and what type of blogger we are, where we blog from, and what's the inspiration behind our blog. 

So here are my answers to her questions (plus it will give you a glimpse into my heart and life as well).

The reason why I blog:
Because God has called me to write on His behalf; to be His vessel.  My voice, or should I say, my typed words, is the instrument that He has called me to use (whether I like it or not!)   My Father has tugged on my heart asking me to share my story, my struggles, my pain, my heartache, my tears, my fears, and my failures to His daughters. (Can you say, vulnerable and awkward?)  "To obey is better than sacrifice."  1 Samuel 15:22

Plus, He has asked me to share the insights that He has given to me during my journey of following Him, in hopes that it will offer you guidance as you face your own trials and storms.  "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."  Proverbs 27:17

There is NO other reason for me to write, because after all, I know my story and it is not like I need to hear it again (and nor would I want to!)  I am not in search of fame, status or wealth,  I just write for my King. (period!) 

My Inspiration

My Savior, my King, and my God.  Apart from Him, I can do nothing.

I write to the female Believer:
·       Sometimes a broken one  (if we look deep into our hearts, we will soon realize that we are ALL broken!)
·     Sometimes to one who is discouraged and tired in her journey of following Christ
·       Sometimes to one who is married or to one who is single
·       And sometimes I write to one who needs to be equipped with the Word of God so she can apply it to her own life
But even if you don't know Christ and you are longing for the unconditional love, joy, peace and comfort that only a Savior can bring, you can find Him here as well!

In essence, my blog would fall under two categories.  The first category would be the  Devotional/Inspirational blog.

Perhaps there are times in your life that you have found yourself as the weary, Christian traveler.  The woman, who may consider her Christian walk to be more like a hike; an arduous climb over steep mountains and rocky terrain.  A daughter of the King that is seeking, desiring, and thirsting to find relief, comfort, guidance, and assurance as she learns to navigate her way through the hills and valleys of her journey.  Longing to find Christ.  Hoping to walk by faith and not by sight.  Yearning to dwell in His Presence.  Learning to live a victorious life in Christ in spite of all of our defeats.  (You can learn more my defeats and struggles here.)

I desire to encourage you and inspire you to live a life that is poured out to Christ regardless of your circumstances, because that is when His glory is revealed the most!  It certainly isn't an easy thing to do, in fact, sometimes  that 'die to self' thing just kills me!  

The second category would be Marriage and FamilyI ABSOLUTELY LOVE to talk (write) to other sisters about having a Godly marriage!  Our marriages can bring sooo much honor to the Lord especially when our focus is on Christ and not on our spouse.  When our marriage is strengthened and built on the Rock, our love will naturally overflow into the lives of our children drawing them closer to their parents, which will allow us to draw them closer to the Savior.

Where I write from:

My 'desk' is my laptop computer which now sits on boxes from our recent move.

When I write: (although this question was not asked, I am going to answer it)

I have been blogging for about 7 months now and when I began I didn't even know what a 'post' was!  (For those of you that don't know a thing about blogging, a 'post' is just an article that the author has written.)  I write when time permits, (usually once or twice a week) knowing full well that my first ministry is to my husband, then my boys-who I homeschool, and then the keeping of my home, (plus, I move a lot so that keeps me busy!)  Hopefully when the storms of my own life settle a bit, I can spend more time in this on-line, writing ministry.

One last thing.  I am sooo excited about this that I can hardly contain myself!  Very soon my blog will be getting a new look and a new home (hmmm, kinda like me, minus the new look, except if you count the extra 5 pounds that I have gained since my last move!)  For those sweet sisters that are signed up to follow The Alabaster Jar, (whether it be via Facebook, Google, email, or whatever else it is called), I am currently in the process of moving my blog from Blogger over to Wordpress.  Please bear with me as I attempt to learn all the ridiculous, technical stuff.  You may just need to re-subscribe when I move over to Wordpress cause I am just a moron when it comes to all of this!  (Sorry for the inconvenience!)

I am humbled and blessed that you have chosen to spend your precious time learning about me.  Perhaps the Lord may have plans for you and I to become on-line friends!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ever Question God?

I was angry at God the other day, (but I have since repented, lol). I was bent out of shape because I had to move again for the 4th time in the last 18 months.  Now, these moves have not been the kind of moves that are filled with happiness and excitement, but rather they are filled with snappy attitudes, weariness, broken dreams and disappointment.  (And by the way, I am not married to a man who is in the military and we are not missionaries.  We are just your ordinary family trying to get by in this fallen world.)

As I stood in the kitchen of our rental home unpacking pots and pans again, I soon became disheartened and my heart sank and my flesh gave way.  Trials.  Tribulations.  Long-suffering.  Heartache.  (Ughh!)

How much longer, Lord? 

How much more will You take my children, my husband and myself through?    

Will You uproot us from this place as well?  

All those questions ran through my mind and the little seeds of anger and self-entitlement started to sprout in my wicked heart that morning.   

Did you happen to notice how I was cleverly questioning what the Lord was doing in my life?

Interestingly enough, just two days earlier I sat for a few moments to write a new post on marriage, (well that didn't happen) because the Lord felt it fit for me to learn a few more things about Him, Job and his sufferings, along with Satan and what God would allow him to do.  As I studied the scriptures, I had a hard time swallowing what the Lord had to say to Satan in regards to Job’s life, (and mine as well).

Picture this scene in your mind’s eye for just a moment.

God is seated on His throne in heaven and angels come to present themselves before the Lord, along with Satan. (Job 1:6)  The Almighty God asks Satan where he is coming from and Satan replies, “From to and fro on the earth and from walking back and forth on it.

Can you see that scene, dear sister?  Satan is roaming the earth, seeking whom he may devour.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  1 Peter 5:8

Now here’s come the part of the story that was painful to read because it is just a matter of time before that same statement will apply to either you or me!

As Satan tells the Lord that he has been walking back and forth on the earth, the Lord says to him, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”  Job 1:8

Think about that statement for just a moment and let it sink into your brain.  Now, take a look at your trials and apply the above verse to you.   

“Have you considered my servant (insert your name).”   

Whatever is going on in your life, God is ALLOWING it to take place!

The Lord sifts our trials through His hands before we receive them.
The conversation between the Lord and Satan continues on in Chapter 1 of Job.  Satan basically tells the Lord that the reason why Job is a man who fears God is because the Lord has blessed the work of Job’s hands by providing him with many riches.  Satan further says that the Lord has protected Job by putting up a hedge around him and all his household.  In other words, Satan basically said,  Of course Job is righteous and fears You God, because you have abundantly blessed him!  Snicker, snicker, with a hint of sarcasm. 

Satan continues to say to the Lord, “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

Here’s the Lord’s response.  “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”  Job 1:12 (later in the story, God allowed Satan to bring devastation to Job's body as well.) 
Let me show you something in this verse:  God knew the heart of Job and He knew that Job could go through his trials and thus, God allowed Satan to harm Job.  The Lord knew Job better than Satan did.

The Lord knows our hearts and minds as well and He knows us better than the enemy.  He knows that you and I can go through the trials that He has already sifted through His hands.

Here's 5 Things to Know About the Enemy (in case you were wondering!)
1.  Satan is accountable to God.  (Job 1:6)
2.  Satan is a created being, he is finite.  He is not all-powerful and he can only be in one place at a time. (Job 1:7)  Although he does have his demonic minions running around trying to trip us up.
3.  Satan can tempt us, but he cannot know what we are thinking nor can he foretell our future.  (Job 1:9-11)
5.  God actively restrains Satan.  (Job 1:12; 2:6) 
We can be confident that with God’s power we can overcome Satan.

Satan does not have free reign to do whatever evil he wishes.  God is still, and will always be, sovereign.

Yes, God ALLOWED Satan to test Job for a time. But God also delivered Job from suffering, he restored him and blessed him even more.

As Job endured much, he asked the Lord the 'why' question?  Yet, God never gave Job the answer, instead God asked Job many questions. 

God may never give you or I the answer to our 'why' as well, but here is something for you to think about:

The scriptures say that as Believers we are to be set apart for God’s holy purpose.  Did it ever occur to you that the purpose God had in mind for your life was to go through trials faithfully and obediently the way Job did?  “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.  You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”  James 5:11 

In the end,  Job responded to the Lord, "Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth."  Job 40:4  (You can add vile to the list next to my wicked heart as well.)
Although our lives may be filled with pain, there is a purpose for it and we never need to question God, because He is sovereign. 

Were you encouraged by what you read?  Become a 'friend' or subscribe to The Alabaster Jar where future posts will be emailed directly to you.
I am linked up with:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who Is On the Throne in Your Marriage?

Today I am guest posting over at the Time-Warp Wife.  I'll be writing on, "Who Is On the Throne in Your Marriage?"  I hope you stop by and join me!


Top 15 Things a Woman Can Do to Strengthen Her Marriage

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, 
but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. 
Proverbs 12:4

1. Respect your husband
…and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33

2. Believe in him

3. Encourage him

4. Follow him

5. Make him Number #1 in your family life (little lord, after your Lord and Savior)
…being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 1 Peter 3:5,6

6. Help him and serve him
Desire your husband
And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

7. Accept him

8. Desire him

9. Forgive him- let things go (bitterness)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

10. Don’t treat him like a child; you are not his mother, you are his wife.

11. Be content with how much money he makes

12. Be content with his parenting skills

13. Be content with his walk with the Lord (aka, his ability to be the spiritual leader of the home)
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

14. Be a godly wife; your conduct will help your husband rise to the challenge/occasion of being a more godly husband.
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives. 1 Peter 3:1

15. Leave and cleave; make sure you share your heart with your husband more than with anyone else, including your mother, sister, friends, etc.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Written by Jolene Engle
Copyright 2010

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Discontentment in Your Marriage

Have you ever been disappointed by your husband?  Hurt by his actions?  Felt angry or unloved by him?  If you’ve been married for longer than a day then I am sure the feeling of discontentment has occurred in your marriage!

Look at your husband through lenses that are tinted with graciousness.

Marriages are far from perfect.  Combine a man and wife- two sinners.  Mix in a cup of misunderstandings, raising kids, dealing with in-laws and facing trials.  Stir in a heaping of heartache.  Then add the Enemy.  What do you get?  A tough marriage frosted with discontentment. 

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage.  Look at Adam and Eve before sin even entered into the world.  As I stated in my last post titled, Dealing with Discontentment, Eve was discontent when she ate the forbidden fruit.  Imagine what their life was like after they got kicked out of the garden?  They were going to have some serious marital issues!  

Then there's Job's wife who had everything a woman could ever want.  A righteous man.  A family.  Wealth.  Health.  Reputation.   

But then Mr. and Mrs. Job lost it all it.  

So, how did the sweet and loving wife respond to her husband as he was clinging to the Lord in the midst of all the sorrow upon sorrow?

Did she pray with him or for him?  No!
Did she encourage him?  No!
Did she comfort him?  No!
Did she do her best to build him up?  No!
Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!"  Job 2:9

Job’s wife was certainly discontent with the way her life was turning out and unfortunately, she took it out on her husband. 

As wives, we can easily become discontent with so many things about our husbands.  Here’s a short list and I am sure you could add to it!

·       How much time he spends at work (or doesn’t work).
·       How much money he makes.
·       How much time he spends with his family.
·       How he spends time fostering his relationship with the Lord (or doesn't spend).
·       How he spiritually leads (or doesn’t lead) the family.
·       How he parents the children.
·       How he spends his free time.
·       How he spends or saves money.
·       How he handles outside relationships (with in-laws or friends.)
·       How he treats you.

When your marriage is not all that you hoped it to be, it is easy for discontentment to seep into your thoughts, actions and attitudes as you go through life.  Be careful here because these thoughts can grow so fast and so deep that suddenly the roots can take hold and destroy your marriage.

Don’t look to your husband to be Superman, that’s Jesus’ role.

Our men are human beings; imperfect sinners who fall down and disappoint others.  (Just like us!)

God created our husbands to have a helper (that would be you for your husband!) and our husbands need us to be their biggest cheerleaders, ESPECIALLY when they have fallen.  They need to know that we will be by their side cheering them on and letting them know we believe in them.  They need to know that we respect them and they need to know that we forgive them when they do fall. 

What they do not need to hear from us is, ‘curse God and die’.  Now, we may not say those exact words like Job’s wife, but our actions and words most certainly can communicate that to our husbands.

Here are some things you can put into practice to protect your marriage from discontentment.
·       Change your focus from what you are not getting out of your marriage and put your eyes on the Lord.
·       Ask your husband to forgive you for your discontentment towards him, because I am sure he knows how you feel!
·       Confess your sins of selfishness and self-entitlement.
·       Guard your tongue from complaining. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”  Proverbs 31:26
·       Find some ways to encourage and minister to your husband today.
Let him know you are praying for him and that you support him. 
Make him one of his favorite meals.
Ask him how you can help him.
For some wives, you may just need to keep your mouth shut! A gentle and quiet spirit is very precious in the sight of God! 1 Peter 3:4 (my paraphrase)

The more you do these things, the better and stronger your marriage will become.  Your repeated actions will turn to habit, which in turn will start to develop your Godly character, which will ultimately make a great impact on your marriage.  “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”  2 Peter 1:5-7

Our words to our men can either build them up or tear them down. The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.  Proverbs 14:1

Dwelling on what one does not have, will not create contentment.  Instead, dwell on the good that you do have in your man.

Here's one last thing that you can do to ward off discontentment in your marriage:  
Look at your husband through eye wear glasses that have lenses that are tinted with graciousness.  Here's what the 'gracious' lenses look like:
Life is not perfect.  My husband is not perfect.  I am not perfect.  But CHRIST is!  

You will find contentment in your marriage when you look to Christ and not at your husband's shortcomings.


You can find more posts on marriage at the Time-Warp Wife for the 31 Days of Love, Marriage Challenge.  You can find me guest posting over there this coming Saturday, October 8th.  Look for my post titled, "Who Is On the Throne In Your Marriage?"

Were you encouraged by what you read?  Become a 'friend' or subscribe to The Alabaster Jar where future posts will be emailed directly to you. 

I am linked up with:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Marriage Challenge

Need some encouragement or guidance in your marriage?  Join the Time-Warp Wife for her, "31 Days of Love" Marriage Challenge.  It starts today and runs until the end of October!

Bringing a Gift of Love is the first post of this series, written by the Time-Warp Wife, herself!

Look for my post, Who's On the Throne in Your Marriage? during this series.  It will be featured next Saturday, October 8th.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dealing with Discontentment

Today I was in the process of grabbing food from my refrigerator so I could make lunch for my family.  Sounds like an ordinary afternoon, right?  However, my refrigerator is not in my house but in my friends' garage.  I quickly became distracted by all the stuff that was surrounding me and unfortunately, I immediately became discontent with my situation.

For those of you that are new to The Alabaster Jar, my family and I don’t have a place to call our own yet. We are currently living with close family friends. All of our belongings (earthly possessions) are piled up in our friends’ garage, and yes, that does include my underwear!  You can read more of my story here at: How to Lose Your Dream Home Not Just Once, But Twice

My dresser filled with my clothes.
There are many things in my life today that can cause me to be discontent, especially if I look in the mirror and see my thinning head, my extra, unwanted pounds and the wrinkles on my face.  Oh, and I can't forget those natural highlights called 'gray hair'.  But the discontentment that I faced today included my living situation.

It is very easy in this world to live a discontented life if we allow our minds to go there.

Here are some things that can trigger discontentment:

• Dealing with difficult or broken relationships
• Feeling lonely
• Longing to be married or strains on your marriage
• Financial hardships 
• Chronic illnesses
The list could go on and on.

With the world surrounding us, it tells us we should have:
• a bigger house
• a nicer car
• the latest fashions
• our children need to be in the best schools, (or use the best curriculum if we homeschool)
• we should look younger and be thinner

There is nothing inherently wrong with these things, unless of course we are looking for them to fulfill us; which is the root of the problem.

I think discontentment runs in our blood.  Generally speaking, I personally think that women are more prone to being discontent more than men are. 

For example, take a look at Adam and Eve. Adam was content to eat from all the other trees in the garden, except from the one that was forbidden by God. It was Eve who was discontent with all that was given to her. She just had to have MORE than what the Creator of the Universe provided for her!

Then there’s Sarah. Oh Sarah… what a discontented woman she was! She wasn’t happy about the fact that she still had not bore any children with Abraham. So what does she do? She takes matters into her own hands thinking of course that by doing so, she will become content. Wrong! Because of this, she makes an even bigger mess out of her life.

She had her maidservant, Hagar, sleep with her husband so she can bear children for Sarah. Soon Hagar becomes pregnant, just like Sarah had wanted, but then Sarah becomes discontent (again!) because Hagar was carrying Abraham’s child. Ridiculous! There was no pleasing this woman. She wanted to eat her cake and have it too!

We can become constant drippings... like a dripping faucet. Drip. Drip. Drip. The thought of that sound alone grates on my nerves.

Imagine how we sound when we act and say things over, and over, and over like a constant dripping faucet? Annoying! Who would want to be around a woman like that?

Repeatedly in the Holy Scriptures we see the admonition to the women about our attitudes.   Ladies, if you are not married, don’t discard this admonition because you can still apply it to your lives.

“The contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.” Proverbs 19:23

“A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” Proverbs 27:15

Definition of contentment: satisfaction with what one has

1) a perfect condition of life in which no aid or support is needed
2) sufficiency of the necessities of life
3) a mind contented with its lot, contentment

Contentment will come to us when we focus on the things of the Lord and not on the things of this world.  

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

It is only when we live for Jesus Christ, pursuing Him, knowing Him, and serving Him that will we become content. The pursuit of things that are not lasting, things that will pass away, will eventually lead to our discontentment.

Tips to fill you with contentment:
  • • Pray. Ask for the Lord’s strength to protect you from the trappings and deception of the Enemy. (Remember Eve?)
  • • Hide God’s Word in your heart and meditate on the Scriptures.
  • • Join a Bible study
  • • Listen to praise and worship music throughout the day. (if possible)
  • • Spend time in fellowship with other strong women of faith…not just girlfriends, but women who desire to know more of Jesus and who want to spend their time talking about Him! If you don’t have friends like this, PRAY, and in time, the Lord will bring you some!
  • • Change your perspective from having the things of this ‘world’ to having your eyes on eternity. This alone will make a HUGE impact on your day.
  • • Serve the Lord rather than yourself.
  • • Ask yourself what is it that you pursue? What are your priorities? Will those things draw you closer to Jesus? Or will you be drawn further away from Him and His presence?
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. Proverbs 25:28 (I’m gonna try and not have cake tonight!)

The key to contentment in one’s life is the relationship you have with Christ. Knowing who He is as you continually seek Him and realizing who you are in Him is where content will be found! “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

For those that are married, you can read my post here called, Discontentment in Your Marriage.


 Were you encouraged by what you read?  Become a 'friend' or subscribe to The Alabaster Jar where future posts will be emailed directly to you. 

I am linked up with:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Dog's Passionate Pursuit

I was slightly immersed in one of my favorite books, My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, as I looked on at the kids splashing in the pool today.  I wasn't sure at first what they were playing.  Kids on either side of the dividing line (pool sweep hose) while throwing objects at one another (gently, of course).  I soon figured out that they were playing a game of water dodge ball; which included my dog as a participant.  I watched on.  

I noticed (as usual) that my dog was quickly fixated on her toy.  The one she chases.  The one that squeaks.  The one she loves.  In fact, we refer to her as a rabid dog because she is so consumed with it.  She chases it so much that it causes her paws and nails to bleed as a result of her pursuit.

I often refer to her as being an addict for her toy.

As all the objects would fly throughout the air and land in the water, it wouldn't take long for Scruffy the dog to leap into the pool to get her heart's desire.  

Although her toy became one of the balls, she could clearly distinguish between the real one (hers) and the imposters.  As more balls were hurled through the air, in no way was she distracted by what came her way.  Her eyes were on the prize; her toy.

The various 'balls' that were used to play- Scruffy's toy included.

With a dogged-determination (pun intended), she didn't lose sight of what mattered so much to her.

She got her prize.

She is a dog.  No conscience.  No soul.  An animal.  Yet, she could clearly go after something with all of her 'dog-being'.  A passionate and relentless pursuit.  A persistence that would leave her choking up water, exhausted and sometimes bleeding.  But she wouldn't give up.  

The children stopped playing.  The game is over.  Disappointment sets in.  She waits for one of the kids to throw her toy so she can continue in her pursuit again.

Disappointed but still focused, she looks on.

As I watched all of this play out, I couldn't help but think about my own pursuits.  

Am I as intentional and as focused after my Prize?   I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:14  Or will I be mislead by many of the world's imposters?

Can I distinguish in this world what is worth pursuing?

Or when the distractions that are being thrown my way leave me unfocused, lost, thrown off balance, or defeated, will I be tenacious enough to continue in my pursuit?    

When life becomes a disappointment, will I still look to my Prize, the One I love?

I, being a human being, filled with the power of the Living God, will I chase after my Prize with such determination?  Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

Imposters, distractions, and disappointments all showed up in the pool today for my dog, but they showed up for me as well.   

Distractions that made it difficult for me to not only seek Christ, but to hear from Him and to be in His Holy presence today.

Disappointments with extended family that brought me to tears (again).

Imposters masked as joy and peace.  Would I succumb to  busyness, food (chocolate), or entertainment to numb what I was feeling inside?  

Would I seek the Imperishable Crown?  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  1 Corinthians 9:25

As my dog bleeds for her prize, would I be willing to bleed for my Prize?  Pushing everything aside to seek Him, find Him, know Him and be obedient to Him.
In the pursuit of Christ we need to: 
  • ·       stay focused on Him
  • ·       be undeterred by distractions and disappointments
  • ·       be discerning of imposters 
  • · and sometimes we need to bleed for Him; by overcoming our fears, injustices, insecurities, and self- so we can know Him more and make Him known to others

As we passionately and relentlessly pour out our life for Christ, remember that He bled for us because we are His prize!

Were you encouraged by what you read?  Become a 'follower' or subscribe to The Alabaster Jar where future posts will be emailed directly to you. 

I am linked up with:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to Lose Your Dream Home Not Just Once, But Twice (Part 2)

Out of the ashes of my life came God’s beauty.  Grab my hand as I take you to the Cross to show you the great and mighty things that the Lord has done.  “Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you know not.”  Jeremiah 33:3

If you haven’t read Part 1 of How to Lose Your Dream Home Not Just Once, But Twice, you can read it here

Although for many months our situation looked bleak, let me remind you of something:  the Hand of God is never bleak! 

God did many miracles during that time of our lives.  (You can read my post here called, Uncertainty in Difficult Times when my Beloved was rushed to the Emergency Room last October)

In this post I want to tell you about a full week in the month of December that I like to refer to as “The 5 days of Christmas”.  Each day as I opened my door, it was one unexpected miracle after another.
  • ·       On the first day of Christmas this is what Jesus did for us:  Two sisters in the Lord came by our house unannounced.  They came bearing gifts and singing a Christmas carol. They left us with some candy treats and $100.00.  God’s faithfulness: money for groceries.
  • ·       On the second day of Christmas this is what Jesus did for us:  Dear, old friends came by to drop off several boxes of their old household items for us.  They thought we could sell the items on Ebay or Craigslist and receive the profits.  In addition to the smaller items that they gave us, they informed my Beloved that if he was willing to spruce up and fix some broken items on their old van and then sell it, they would give him 50% of the profits.  We were grateful for their hearts. God’s faithfulness:  The next day we sold some items and my boys got new shoes!
  • ·       On the third day of Christmas this is what Jesus did for us:   Some new friends asked if they could stop by and see us.  “Of course, I said, we would love to spend some time in fellowship with you!”  God’s faithfulness:  They showed up with wrapped presents for the boys and a card for my Beloved and I.  Guess what was wrapped in those boxes?  Yep, Legos!  Is God cool or what!  My Beloved opened the card and inside was cash totally almost $1,000!  My eyes filled with tears.  I couldn’t believe how gracious and generous this family was towards us…they hardly knew us!  Later my boys told me they saw the money and their eyes welled with tears too!  Jesus was providing for us and my young boys were starting to see the Body of Christ at work.
  • ·       On the fourth day of Christmas this is what Jesus did for us:  Our dear, old friends came by again and told us to keep all of the proceeds from the van when it sells.  God’s faithfulness: They also handed us an envelope filled with $400 and said that it was from one of their friends that we had never met.  Our sweet friends told their friends our story and God put it on their hearts to bless us.
  • ·       On the fifth day of Christmas this is what Jesus did for us:   Some dear friends gave us a gift card worth $500 to shop for much needed necessities for our family.  God’s faithfulness:  shoes and clothing.

When I think of Christmas now, I can’t help but be reminded of God’s faithfulness to us. No amount of money in our bank account can teach us, nor our children, of how great and faithful our God is.  "There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.”  Deut. 33:26,27

Every present under the tree came from someone else.  My boys said it was the best Christmas ever!

Now here's the part of my story where God emerged as the main character of my life.  

Page after page, month after month, His story for my life was unfolding, yet during this time, I could not read most of the language that Jesus was writing in.  The language that I understood was called:
  • ·       Heartache
  • ·       Disappointment
  • ·       Self-Pity
  • ·       Uncertainty
  • ·       Fear
  • ·       Doubt
  • ·      Throne-horder (that’s my new word!)  Here’s what I mean by that.  Jesus is the one who is seated on the throne, being that He is the King of Kings and all.  He is in control of every situation, including your life and mine; the good, the bad and the ugly.  But unfortunately there are times when I want to scoot Jesus off of His throne, and that is when I become a ‘throne-horder’. There may be days that I nudge Him ever so gently with my rear or days when I even ask Him very kindly if He could move over just a bit so I can have a seat.  I am most certain that I stepped on the train of His robe a time or two, as well.  Now, the Lord is a gentleman, He won’t make a fuss. 

That’s just what happened.  I sat on my throne and ruled my kingdom.  Now, I ruled it a little bit differently than most kings because I wasn’t harsh nor mean towards others. Instead, while I sat on my throne I was filled with all the things listed above, even while I believed in the Christ, the Son of the Most High God.  My perspective was wrong and I wasn’t listening to the Lord’s language as He wrote my story.

It wasn’t until a year later that the Lord taught me a new language, and I would have to say, IT IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL and well worth the heartache and pain in order to hear it!  

This language is known as:
  • ·       His Presence
  • ·       His Faithfulness
  • ·       His Sovereignty
  • ·       His Miraculous Hand (Watch me daughter and I will show you many great things)
  • ·       His sufficiency (and not my own)
  • ·       His grace and mercy
  • ·       His plan for my marriage to be stronger than ever
  • ·       His spiritual gifts that He has chosen to give me
  • ·       His desire to want to use me
  • ·       His shaping of my children’s character
  • ·       His perfect plan for my life
While I was reading this story, even though I had a hard time understanding most of the language that God used, there was one thing I did understand, and that was who the main character was.  It was me!

After I finished reading this story, however, I realized that God was and is the main character.  He is the leading man and star of the show.  Oh how I wished I could have read that language when I first started reading the pages of this book. I think my life would’ve been easier if I just had a different perspective.

For now, my book/story is not over.  Hopefully as more pages unfold of my life, I will get out of the way and let God take center stage; so He can be lifted up for all to see. "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."  John 12:32

My encouragement to you dear sister:  When you face trials and tribulations, move off the throne and let God take center stage of your life as well.  You won’t regret it!

Were you encouraged by what you read?  Become a 'follower' or subscribe to The Alabaster Jar where future posts will be emailed directly to you. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Whoever Said Ministry is Easy

“I feel like I am about to perform on the stage of America’s Got Talent, yet, I have no talent.”  Those were the words that I said to my husband this morning as we drove to church.

Let me explain what happened. 

Yesterday I sent an email to a fellow blogger, stating, “If the Lord leads you to use me as a contributing blogger for your series, so be it.”  I fully thought that this blogger would graciously tell me, “thanks, but no thanks”.  However that was not the case.

She replied the same day and said that was awesome and she thanked me for being a guest blogger!  She put me down on her schedule to have my post on her blog for October 8th and asked if I could have my article in about a week, along with my bio and picture. (gulp)

Yes, I answered God’s call but I did not expect this outcome!

My concerns:  How am I going to be able to do all of this?  And can I do it all before my deadline? 

I live in a home with not just 1 family, but 2!  There are 5 homeschooled kids who run through the house day in and day out, there are two women in the kitchen fixing meals, doing dishes, sharing the washer and dryer and two schedules to plan around, not to mention the 3 animals that live with us.  There’s no peace and quiet around here because it is like a 3-ring circus!  How am I going to hear myself think, let alone hear the Lord speak to me as I write this article?

What did I just get myself into?  I thought.

I share the news with my husband and he is thrilled for this ministry opportunity.  I tell him the topic is Marriage, and then as I started to share my fears, I begin to break down and cry.

“I can’t do this, I say.”

He thought I was being ridiculous.  “What do you mean you can’t do this?” 

One of my favorite topics to share and teach on is Marriage, yet I was filled with fear.

He said to me, “If there was any subject for you to write on that you know best, it is the topic of a Godly marriage.  You’ve written on it before and you’ve even spoken on it at workshops!  You’ve led Bible studies and you’re always encouraging women to be respectful and submissive to their husbands.”  “You love to teach on Marriage!”  (We even have plans in the future to write a book on marriage.)

“I know, I know, I tell him.”  But my issue is not that I don’t understand God’s Word regarding a Godly marriage; it’s just that when I write, it is God who leads me.  I don’t write with deadlines or specific topics, or a certain amount of words, etc.

I’m not in constraints when I write, because my writing ministry is Spirit-led. It felt like I was being forced to wear a size 3 pair of pants, when in reality, I’m a size 12.

Plus, I tell him, “I am writing with other bloggers; women who are writers and who have been doing this blogging thing for a long time!  I have only been doing this for 6 months!  I feel like now I’m playing in the ‘big leagues’ yet I am still trying to figure out how to hold a bat!

“Not to mention, I’ll be in the spotlight more and I’m not a spotlight kinda gal.  Did you know I need a bio and a picture of me?  This is all really uncomfortable for me," I tell him.

I think I started to hyperventilate.  I couldn’t breathe.  Why did I sign up for this?

Can God meet my deadline, I thought?

Sure, I could write some Scriptures and thoughts on marriage, but I want to have the Lord move before me because I want His thoughts, not my own. 

He knows what women will be reading the post that day. 

He knows whose lives need to be touched. 

He knows what marriages are suffering. 

He knows….

You might be wondering why this is such a big deal to me. 

Because I am about my Father’s business and I want to please the Lord.  I want to see His daughters strengthened, equipped, and encouraged so they too will want to pour out their lives like the perfume in an Alabaster Jar.

Well of course the Lord spoke to my anxious heart.  

Daughter, turn to your online friends.   Ask them for prayer because I will move.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.  James 5:16 Get their thoughts, insights and desires of what they would like to read about on the topic of marriage.

Okay Lord.

So, I will be guest posting at the Time-Warp Wife’s blog for her challenge called, “31 Days of Love”. Her challenge is for women to live beyond themselves, put aside their preconceived ideas of what romance should look like, and seek out true love that is sacrificial and intentional. 

For those that are willing to graciously pray for me, here are some specifics:
  • ·       For the Lord to breathe all over me with not only the topic He wants me to write about but also the message that He wants me to convey to His daughters so their marriages would bring Him glory.
  • ·       For me to be still so I can hear from the Lord (and for me not eat too much chocolate due to my anxiety (smile).  You know I just had to throw that in there!)
  • ·       For the article to be short in length and the message to be clear.
  • ·       For me to meet the deadline
  • ·       For the readers to be drawn closer to the Lord.

There are various sub-topics to write about within the topic of Marriage.  My post has to be short so I can’t address all of these ideas.  So, if you’d give me your time, I’d like to get your perspective.

Here are some thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind:

  • ·       Building Up Your Husband
  • ·       What Does Marital Oneness Look Like?
  • ·       Seeking and Obtaining Marital Oneness
  • ·       Leaving and Cleaving
  • ·       When You No Longer Respect Your Husband
  • ·       Disillusioned, Disappointed and Discontented with Your Husband
  • ·       Anger and Bitterness in Your Marriage
  • ·       Fixing What is Broken
  • ·       When Your Husband is Not Being the Spiritual Leader of the Home
  • ·       Any other ideas

I would so appreciate it if you can leave me a comment.  Reply as ‘anonymous’ if you’d like or you can email me directly at:  respectyourhusband{at}joleneengle{dot}org.

So, I am casting my bread in hopes that the Lord's ministry will reach many.  Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1