Monday, March 25, 2013

A True Friend

Lately, I have been thinking quite a bit about friendships and what a true friend really looks like.  We often have many people in our lives that we consider friends, but I often feel like many people lack that true friend.  And I find myself wondering, at times, if I'm that true friend to others.

After much thought, I have put together a list of important characteristics of friendship.

1. A friend is always willing to listen ~ Not just to the happy parts of our lives, but to the things we're struggling with and the hurts.

2. A friend lifts you up ~ We all need encouragement, but the encouragement of a true friend is beyond compare!  Having just one true friend supporting you and cheering you on can make all the difference.

3. A friend is loyal ~ She sticks by you and stands up for you, even when you aren't around.

4. A friend is honest ~ A true friend is that friend who will tell you the things you need to hear and not just what you want to hear.  They'll tell you those things with love and compassion.

5. A friend loves unconditionally ~ We each have our own strengths and weaknesses. A true friend will know your faults and love you anyway.

6. A friend is faithful ~ She will stick by you through the ups and downs and she doesn't lose sight of who you really are, even when you have.

7.  A friend is forgiving ~ There will always come a time that you'll do or say something you regret, whether on purpose or on accident, and a true friend will always be ready to forgive.

8.  A friend is willing to go the extra mile ~ A friendship isn't 50/50.  A true friend will meet you where you are.  If you can only give 30%, she'll give 70%!

9.  A friend is gracious ~ She is aware of your feelings and always takes them into consideration.

10. A friend is always ready to laugh ~ Sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves or laugh so we don't cry.  Laughter is the best medicine, after all!

11. A friend is patient ~ A friend is going to always wait for you. Sometimes it may be as simple as you can't decide what outfit to wear, and  other times you might not be quite ready for the things life hands you.  A true friend will patiently wait for you knowing that you're going as quickly as you can.

While friendships are never perfect, having a true friend who is willing to learn and grow with you is one of the greatest blessings ever!

What Does The Bible Say About Friendship?

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Winter is often the worst for my depression and this winter has been no exception.  Throw in the changes at home with Dan working overnights and beginning to homeschool the boys, and it's been a whirlwind.  While I try to accept that this is an illness that I live with, I often get caught up in the side effects of my depression and begin to beat myself up.  

My home looks like a tornado (or 2 or 3) have gone through it and the dishes and laundry are piling up.  When the doorbell rings I panic and my first thought is to pretend I'm not home.  It's not that I don't want to see people, because I do, but I don't want people to see my home like this.  To see me like this.  

Every day, there is a battle inside me and I yell and scream at myself to do the things that I know need to be done, but my body doesn't respond.  And those times that I do find some energy and motivation, I have to decide what needs my attention the most.  But most of the time, trying to make that decision is so overwhelming that I'm stuck unable to do anything.

Is this the life that I want for me and my family?  Not at all!  I grew up with a mom with depression and it's the last thing that I want for my boys.  But I have realized lately that despite my own mom's depression, I lacked nothing.  I have tried to think back if our house was messy or clean growing up and I don't remember.  Did my mom cook meals?  I remember my few favorite meals, but beyond that...I don't remember.  What I do remember is the cuddles, the talks, the encouragement and support.  Was she a perfect mom?  No.  Did she make mistakes and hurt me?  Yes.  But I knew then and I know now how much she loved me.  And I know that my boys will not lack anything either, despite having a mom with depression.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Two Choices

Over and over as I child I was told, "Just two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self."  And now as a mom, that is something I am always striving to teach my boys.  They know there are books, tv shows, music, etc that doesn't make God happy.  When we love someone, we desire to do those things that make them happy ~ are the things you're doing making God happy?  Or are they building a wall between you and the Lord?  Are you making the Lord a priority in your life?  Or is Satan excited over the room you have given him in your home?

Each time I hear this song and the lyrics "idols raised, tear them down", I can't help but think about what idols we have in our home.  No we don't have a golden calf that we worship, but do we have things that we put before the Lord?  Anything that we put before the Lord is an idol!  How much time do we spend on our computers? Exercising? Reading? Watching TV?  What about work? Money?  None of those things are outright bad things, but when you spend more time with those things than you do with the Lord, they have become idols in our lives! 

My greatest desire is for my family to serve the Lord.  Never will we be perfect and there will always be things for us to work on, but the most important thing we can ask ourselves is if we are pleasing God with the choices we are making for ourselves and our family.  If we could physically see the Lord sitting next to us, would we watch the same tv shows?  Read the same books?  Listen to the same music?

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” 
   ~ Mark 8:34

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I woke up to the sound of rain this morning, and as I looked out the window at the downpour all I could think was, "Lord, that's just how I feel!"

We all have those times where we become overwhelmed with the situations that surround us, and lately that has been how I have felt.  I'm standing in the middle of a downpour without an umbrella or raincoat to protect me and the weight of the water soaking my clothes is weighing me down.  And then a cool breeze comes along and chills you to the bone from being wet.

Continuing to watch the rain come down, I started to become encouraged.  Right behind those clouds that are pouring down on me, is the sun just waiting to come out.  It's warmth ready to dry my soaked clothes and lift the weight from my shoulders.

When you face tough times, do you get lost in the downpour?  Or do you look up, knowing that the sun will come out again? 

I realized that I had been lost in the downpour, feeling insecure, and anxious when I could be jumping in the puddles and dancing in the rain knowing that the Lord will supply our needs.  I just have to wait and the sun will start peeking through the clouds and I'll see the beauty of the Lord's promises!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Sound of His Voice

Last night as I was sleeping, I heard my son cry out to me from his room, "Mommy, I need you!" Not wanting to get out of bed, I called back to see what was wrong. He cried to me saying, "I'm scared!" Knowing he was okay and there was nothing for him to be afraid of, I called back to reassure him and encourage him to go back to sleep.

Then as I lay there in silence waiting for him to call back to me again, I began to wonder if I was a terrible mother for not going to him to comfort him. And then I began to ponder how our Heavenly Father responds when we cry out to Him. Do we find comfort and strength in simply hearing the sound of His reassuring voice? Or do we need the situation we are in to change and become more comfortable before we feel His presence?

The Lord promises that He will never leave us and He will never give us more than we can bear! So as you cry out to the Lord, listen for the sound of His voice!! And when you hear it, find peace and comfort and rest!!

And in case you are wondering, my son slept peacefully for the rest of the night.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Our Comforter

Recently, my 3 year old, Noah, woke up in the middle of the night and wandered out to me. When I asked him what was wrong his response was, "I want ya." He hadn't had a bad dream. He wasn't sick. He just wanted the comfort and security of knowing his Mommy was there.

It was later the next day that I began to think about how often we go the Lord, our Comforter, just to say, "I want ya." Where do we turn when we're having a rough day, or we're anxious about something? Who do we talk to if we've woken up and had a bad dream? What about the days that are going perfectly? Where did we find our comfort and security?

Pretend my day is going perfect. I sent the kids off to school, got all my housework done and ran all my errands. I spent the afternoon playing games with the boys and reading with them. (I even managed to get dinner ready on time.) Then I sent the boys to bed with more reading and singing, before I sat down to relax in my perfectly tidy house. Where did I find my security?

Or perhaps my depression has hit a low. Nothing feels right, I don't have the energy to even get out of bed. My kids need me and my house needs to be cleaned. I also have errands I need to run, but I just can't do it. All I can do is pray for strength to get done what absolutely must be done.

It's easy to look to the Lord when we have nowhere else to look. But the Lord should be our comfort and security all the time!! Who do we run to when something exciting happens? Where do we turn when we're anxious or scared about something? What do we turn to when we're just ready to give up?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Amazing Grace

For quite a while now the Lord has been teaching me about Grace. Grace offered to me, and the Grace I should offer to others. As I continued to move forward with my life, my past mistakes still had a huge hold on me. While I knew the Lord had forgiven me, I couldn't manage to forgive myself. About a year ago, I had the opportunity to pray with an amazing woman of God, Julie Barnhill. That prayer opened my eyes and changed my life! The Truth, that the Lord allowed her to share with me, was that when God forgave me He chose to completely forget my sins! They weren't just erased on a chalk board ,with smudges still there reminding Him, but were completely gone!

Now as I have been studying Jonah, how the Lord used the whale to preserve Jonah so that he could still fulfill God's will for his life, I have realized how God has preserved me. The Lord offered me Grace through my son, Cayden! I had wandered far from the Lord, but He knew the plans He had for me. He never left me. He never gave up on me;. He used my son to preserve me so that I could carry out His plans for my life!

While I don't know what great plans the Lord has for me, I know, without a doubt, if He
offered me such amazing grace , His plan must be equally amazing!

His Grace Is Sufficient For Me!