Saturday, January 30, 2016

Honestly Honest

The following are snippets from my journal:

January 3: Your right hand sustains me... Psalm 18:35

January 4: Remember to keep my eyes on Jesus.

January 5: "I go before you daily to prepare your way..." Francis J. Roberts 
Also, the LORD takes care of the godly.

January 6: Lord, You know what's happening.

January 7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

January 9: Be desperate for God's word and know it.

January 11: "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

January 12: "...your financial need-they are all known to Him. He sympathizes as no one else can and watches to see if through it all, you will dare to trust Him completely." Streams in the                   Desert

January 13: "For in the midst of difficulties, I will be your support." Francis J. Roberts Pray for proper perspective.

January 16: "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ." Philippians 1:27a 
"Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth, avoid careless banter, white lies, and                                 gossip." Proverbs 4:24 MSG

January 18: Melissa, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love, and with Him
is full redemption. (Psalm 130:7)

January 19: Pray and never give up.

January 20: Help me LORD to be a doer of the Word; to know who I am in You, and to not define myself by what others perceive of me.

January 21: Help me LORD to do what it takes.

January 25: Show me Your Glory, LORD. I trust you with the outcomes.

January 27: "I will remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13

You are probably wondering why I would take the time to share all of that. Looking back, I see how God has been preparing me for some interesting news.

Thursday January 28: I found out from a coworker that my job is changing and it's unclear to me if I still have a job. 

I failed.

My first response wasn't to trust God with the outcomes. It was to freak out, cry and question everything.

Thankfully, my husband had the day off from work and was able to offer such sweet encouragement. He assured me that we would be OK and not to worry.

I then told him that it was my turn to prepare an encouraging word for the other homeschool moms at my co-op.

"How can I do this when I'm not sure I can even continue?"

I asked God to help me and before I said or did something stupid, I took a nap like a good girl.

Two hours later I woke up and God in His goodness and mercy reminded me of Proverbs 31. I'm probably the last person to be sharing from Proverbs 31 but in case you haven't noticed, God has a sense of humor.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." v. 25 NLT

I don't know about you, but I've never been able to do that. It's likely the last thing I do but only because I want to avoid crying.

I do the exact opposite of what Albert Barnes says, "She looks forward to the future, not with anxious care but with confident gladness."  Man, that is something I need to work on for sure.

The strength mentioned above refers to strength of mind, not of body. My friend Merriam Webster defines strength as, "The quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way." 

So this means to me that I'm not to fear what may happen and I'm to know whom I place my trust in.

Side note to self: I should probably re-read the days leading up to Thursday and encourage myself in the LORD my God.

"They do not fear bad news; the confidently trust in the LORD to care for them." Psalm 112:7

With God's help and my surrender, I want to be able to recognize God's guidance so that I can calmly trust Him for what's next.

I'm not the calmest person when I hear bad news. I may not freak out loudly or throw things, but I'm almost dying inside. Honestly, I sometimes use those situations to be mean. I take my opportunity to say whatever I feel like saying because I'm mad after all.

Then I continued reading in Proverbs and verse 26 slapped me right across my big mouth:

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."


This verse says WHEN she speaks which implies that maybe I shouldn't always be talking and at the very least that I should think before I speak.

Her words are wise: this means that I am not to speak empty and aimless words. This is important in everyday life and especially as a homeschool mom.

"She guides her family with words of wisdom and when she speaks it is not gossip, or slander, or idle talk that she utters, but sentences of prudence and sound sense to minister grace to the hearers. In her language to those around her she is animated and regulated  by love. She teaches with gracious kindness and ready sympathy." Pulpit Commentary

Have I mentioned yet that I'm thankful for grace, God's goodness and second chances? Well, I am.

She gives instruction with kindness? Oh my word! Lord, help.  I say things like, "Just do what it says!"  And, "For the love, how many times do I have to tell you?" And other unkind things that I pray my boys won't remember.

I'm not certain I even know what kindness is or even how to be kind right now.

In the Hebrew language, kindness is translated hesed which means unfailing, loyal love, loving kindness, good and merciful kindness.

Meditating on that, I realize that kindness is to be a practice which means it's probably not something I'm good at naturally. I'm selfish and when my boat gets rocked, it's easier to speak my native tongue: harsh and unkind words.

But thanks be to God! Because, in my weakness He is strong! The Scriptures are full of ways to help me watch my tongue, to think before I speak and to instruct me on how to encourage others. We are commanded to speak words of life, to talk to each other in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges sums up why speaking kindly to others (especially our children at home) matters: "The teaching of wise instruction and counsel she gives is so combined with kindness as to win rather than compel obedience." 

Speaking kindly makes a huge impact in my daily life as does trusting in God completely.

"A gentle answers turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

People are listening.

"Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Ephesians 4:29


I just want to share something awesome about how relational God is. I woke up at 4:30 AM on 1/29/16 to write this for my friends at co-op. I second guessed myself as I always do so I opened up Streams in the Desert to find something to read instead*. This is what God revealed:

God is in the midst of her; she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. 
Psalm 46:5

"Will not be moved"-what an inspiring declaration! Is it possible for us who are so easily moved by earthly things to come to a point where nothing can upset or disturb our peace? The answer is yes, and the apostle Paul knew it. When he was on his way to Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit warned him that "prison and hardships" awaited him. Yet he could triumphantly say, "But none of these things move me." Everything in Paul;s life and experience that could be disturbed had already been shaken, and he no longer considered his life or any of his possessions as having any earthly value. And if we will only let God have His way with us, we can come to the same point. Then, like Paul, neither the stress and strain of the little things nor the great and heavy trials of life will have enough power to move us from "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding". God declares this to be the inheritance of those who have learned to rest only in Him." -Streams in the Desert

*I shared both my blog post AND the above passage in obedience to my God.


Friday, January 1, 2016

A Heart to Know

Oh, 2015. The year of the heart. It was a fun word to have, cute even. Hearts are my love language. Heart socks. Heart stickers. Heart notepads. Hearts, everywhere.

I didn't want 2015 to end because of those hearts but God began dropping hints in September when I memorized the verse above. I found it easy to remember because, 24/7. A heart to know...It was like a ping pong match in my head.

A heart to know....what do I know...a heart to know....what do I know...

What does 'know' even mean? And when I tell people my word will they think 'no' or do I have to explain it: know like know, not no. I am so confused.

Thank the Lord for the dictionary!

  1. a (1) :  to perceive directly :  have direct cognition of (2) :  to have understanding of know
 (3) :  to recognize the nature of :  discernb (1) :  to recognize as being the same as something previously known (2) :  to be acquainted or familiar with (3) :  to have experience of

  • 2a :  to be aware of the truth or factuality of :  be convinced or certain ofb :  to have a practical understanding of

  • I started the dialogue even then with the Lord about the importance of knowing what I say I believe. I could feel the Lord beginning to prepare for me what I didn't know. Does that make sense? I spent all of 2015 getting His Word into my heart and He was equipping me for war.

    And then I remembered reading a blog post from Ann Voskamp several years earlier when she shared about why we memorize Scripture:

    "All the heart really knows is what it knows by heart." She goes onto say, "What the heart knows by heart is all that can calm the heart." via

    That was October 2015 and my one word for 2016 was not on my radar.

    It wasn't even on my radar on November 8, 2015 when I was listening to part three of Judah Smith's sermon series called 'Friend of Jesus'. He had been reading out of 1 John 2 and since John the beloved only used a cool 300+ vocabulary words in his letter, there was gobs of repetition.

    "And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." (v. 3)

    I felt the Lord prompting me but before I shut the sermon off and told God 'no' (hashtag don't judge me) I remember him saying, "This is friendship knowledge, not if your faith is genuine. It's a test of genuine friendship." 

    Quickly I found myself talking to the Lord, telling Him that word wasn't cute and no one will even understand. He told me it was for me to know what I put into practice what I've been hiding in my heart all of 2015.

    As the scent of pizza filled my silver Camry, I could feel my heart starting to beat faster which for me, is always an indication of the Holy Spirit working within. "Lord, are you sure?" This is my prayer as I exit the car a hero with our favorite lunch.

    I don't recall even eating the pizza before I checked Instagram, but I'm sure I did. Because, pizza.

    While on Instagram I see this from my friends at The Pointed Life:

    "What helps keep my eyes on God's purpose and on eternity is reminding myself this: We are left here on earth after we are saved so that we can help others be saved also. We are carriers of His glory and tellers of His grace. We are God's plan for the world to know Him." 

    Have you ever noticed when you buy a car, whatever color/brand it may be, you all of the sudden notice that everybody and their mother has that same car? No? Just me? Well, that's what it was like when God confirmed my word know for 2016. It seemed like it was in every passage of Scripture I would read.

    I came up with this list of, and in the words of Sara Groves, "really what do I know"...

    I know...

    I shall not be put to shame. Is. 50:7
    I am fully known. 1 Cor. 13:12
    God knows. 2 Cor. 12:2
    He brought me out from under the burdens. Ex. 16:7
    There is no one like the Lord our God. Ex. 8:10
    I am known by name and have found favor in His sight. Ex. 33:17
    He keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him. Deut. 8:3
    He goes before me as a consuming fire. Deut. 9:3
    He is in my midst. Joshua 22:31
    Not one word has failed. Joshua 23:14
    I am a worthy woman. Ruth 3:11
    My eyes are on You. 2 Chronicles 20:12
    My Redeemer lives. Job 19:25
    What my lips know they speak sincerely and I declare what I know. Job 33:3,4
    He can do all things and no purpose of His can be thwarted. Job 42:2
    The Lord has set me apart for Himself and He hears when I call. Psalm 4:3
    He has not forsaken me. Psalm 9:10
    I have told the glad news of deliverance. Psalm 40:9
    My enemy will not shout in triumph over me. Psalm 41:11
    God is for me. Psalm 56:9
    I am blessed and walk in the light of His face. Psalm 89:15
    The Lord is great and above all gods. Psalm 135:5
    He will maintain the cause of the afflicted. Psalm 140:12
    My way is known by the Lord. Psalm 142:3
    He gives treasures in darkness and the hoards in secret places that I may know the Lord. Isaiah 45:3
    How to sustain with a word him who is weary. Isaiah 50:4
    He knows. Jeremiah 15:15
    He gives me a future and hope. Jeremiah 29:11
    He has rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. Ezekiel 36:36
    There is none else and I shall never again be put to shame. Joel 2:27
    He has authority to forgive sins. Matthew 9:6
    The Truth and the truth will set me free. John 8:32
    His voice. John 10:27
    The Spirit helps me in my weaknesses and He intercedes for me. Romans 8:26
    Because I love God all thing work together for good. Romans 8:28
    I am God's temple and His Spirit dwells in me. 1 Corinthians 3:16
    The hope to which I've been called. Ephesians 1:18
    I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed. 2 Timothy 1:12
    Love. He laid down His life for me. 1 John 3:16
    He has set before me an open door that no one is able to shut. Revelation 3:8

    And that's what I know!

    Happy New Year!