Friday, September 12, 2014

On my back porch.....

Sometimes life moves so fast that we miss the little things. The things that we think will always be there.

Tonight, Lem and I had a rare few hours on the back porch together. Presley is away at a friend's house, and Joseph was inside reading a good book.

The days in our house are crazy and busy, and we are constantly running from one place to another. I hardly ever get to see my husband. And when I do, we are both tired, exasperated, and ready to go unwind. He unwinds by the television, I unwind by going to sleep. :)

Another day goes by, another moment in time passed.

We awake the next day to another dizzying life.

Here's the thing....

I know all of this is fleeting. It goes by so fast.

At times my heart gets so jolted by this realization that it can make me crumble. I have always been so utterly aware of these moments. These little moments in life that we sometimes miss because of the busy.

I hate busy.

Yet, tonight, in the quiet, in the dark, on the back porch....

I longed for busy.

I longed to hear Presley's voice asking me to help her with something.

I longed to hear all about Joseph's cool new book, or a story from his day at school.

I longed to hear little Danny's excited voice running through the house as he chases Presley and Joseph.

The quiet was too quiet. 

Lem was with me, so it wasn't that quiet, but it was deafening compared to our usual life.

I sat there, talking to Lem, with a huge lump in my throat.

I love our life. I love our family.

There is nothing that I want more than to be present in each moment with them. Every single moment.

The little things suddenly become the big things.

The only things, really.

I used to have such big dreams for my life. When my children get older I will ___________.

I don't remember those dreams anymore, nor do I want to.

I just want to live where I am....forever. Or until God calls me home.

Seasons change, things change. I know this.

However, I want to look back on each season with a smile that I lived it fully. Fully present.

As God would have it, my friend sent me a sweet note in the mail today.

She wrote this: "choosing to do the small things with GREAT love is what changes people's lives. Never stop, never quit....the little things are ALWAYS the BIG things."

How did God know I needed those words today?

He always does, doesn't He?

As the dark grew deeper out on that back porch tonight, Lem took my hand and asked me to dance with him.

I obliged.

With a lump in my throat, we started to dance.

It was one of those little moments, that will be remembered as a big moment.


Thank you, Father, for this life. Thank you for making my childhood dreams come true. Being a wife, being a mother.....these are the BIG things. 







Sunday, August 31, 2014

Avoiding Extremes....

When bad things happen around me, I tend to go in lock down mode.

Let me explain.

When I hear the horrible news of children getting cancer, or young mothers and fathers coming down with deadly diseases, I panic.

I tend to think that surely there is something I can do to protect my loved ones. Surely if we consume more organic fruits, veggies, and vitamins, we will be spared.

God recently pointed me to some of the most powerful words in scripture that He has ever shown me. He may as well have knocked me over the head with a brick. It was that profound.

It was a normal day. I had visited our local "health" food store and spent more money than was in my budget that week. Of course, I rationalized it as "doing something good for my family."

I came home, and went to one of my favorite health/natural living blogs. I was making sure I got all of the vitamins and concoctions that she had told me that I needed to keep my family "safe".

Check. I had everything. We were "safe".

Later that day, I was having my quiet time with the Lord. Just sitting there doing my thing, flipping through the Bible and asking Him to speak to me.

He did. Big time.

Here is the first verse He showed me:

“Do not call conspiracy
    everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
    and do not dread it.
 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
    he is the one you are to fear,
    he is the one you are to dread.
Isaiah 8:12-14


I was fearing what people fear. I was putting my faith and trust in worldly things instead of in Christ Jesus. It was crystal clear what He was telling me.

The next verse He showed me brought such a relief to my soul. I will write this verse down and tape it up in my kitchen. Maybe even tattoo it to my wrist, although it is long, so maybe my thigh. :)

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.  They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.  For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." I Timothy 4:1-8

God is telling me that I should not fear what goes into my body, or what does not go into my body. He is bigger than vitamins, organic chicken, and phosphate-free soap. Pray before eating. Give thanks to Him before eating. Put my trust in Him, not the cleanness of my food.

He is the One that keeps me safe. If I reverse the order and make "safety" an idol, I move Him out of first place in my life.

If I look to the world to "preserve" my temporal body in a way that is out of balance with my trust and faith in His protection,  then I live in a self-made, self-protected illusion.

My goal here on Earth is to work on the eternal treasures, not on the temporal. My body is temporal. It will not be with me, at least in the sense of how it is now. My spirit will go on, the gifts of the Spirit will live in eternity.

The Lord freed me that day. He was telling me to pray before I partake in any food. Give thanks for that food. And enjoy.

I am set free from the self-condemning thought of not always being able to feed my kids organic, grain-fed, grass-fed, or whatever else kind of "fed" I am told I should be feeding them. I cannot keep up. I never will. The list is too long.

I will instead pray for guidance from Him, and not the world. I will pray for Him to lead me in this daunting task of motherhood and protecting my kids. I cannot do it without Him. I cannot do it with the world's wisdom.

However, I can do it with His help. With prayer, and thanksgiving, I can do this. I can live a guilt-free, fear-free life of freedom in Christ.


"So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law." Galatians 5:1

My prayer is that God will take away any desire of my flesh that wants to "preserve" it. I am asking Him to preserve the "eternal" in my life. To not just preserve the eternal but to grow it and give me craving and burning desire for those things.

The fruits of the Spirit that will live on in eternity....


 love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.

I want to grow these fruits. I want to focus on these things and not self-preservation.

Please hear me when I say that I am not saying we should neglect our bodies and abuse them with things that we know to be hazardous. Or, that we should not have a desire to be healthy.

I am saying that our desire to be healthy should be kept in check and in balance. Our desire to be physically healthy should not overrule our desire for our spiritual health.

We should read labels, we should be aware of what goes into our bodies. However, we should be the most concerned with the eternal fruit that comes forth from our spirits.

"For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17


"It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes. Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city." Ecclesiastes 7:18-19

I can breathe a sigh of relief that I am not in charge. I never was. God is sovereign, and He always has been. I will trust Him, I will listen for His voice, and I will enjoy life instead of fearing it.


breathing a sigh of relief,


jill



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thirteen....

Dear Joseph,

You know the story of  the day you were born. I have told you all of the details.

You were crying on the table next to me as they washed you off, combed your hair, took your measurements, and all those things doctors and nurses do.

I looked over at you as the doctors were still fixing me up, and you looked right at me. More like right through me.

You immediately stopped crying.

That moment, I knew that my heart would never be mine again.

You are now thirteen. You still have my heart, and you always will.

I love your smile.
I love your laugh.
I love your compassion for others.
I love your gentleness.
I love your kindness.
I love when you write stories, because you are such a gifted writer.
I love to watch you play basketball.
I love our talks.
I love blow drying your hair in the morning.
I love watching you live life.
I love to be with you.

Pulling off a surprise birthday party for you was HARD. But, it was so worth it seeing your face as you realized what was happening.

You said several times, "I feel like I am in a dream!".

I love you, darling.

"I love you, you love me. That's the way it will always be."  [our line]

Happy Birthday!!

waiting for you to pull in the drive way!


Your face says it all!
Surprise!!



Hugging Aunt Kim

Ashley, Chase, Danny, and Graham tell you hello!

Royce and Joseph

lots of food!

Maw Maw and Joseph


Cookie cake!!

Uncle Lee and Aunt Angie

Singing to you!

Love that face!

Make a wish!



Christian, Dylan, and Lee

Cali, Presley, Ann-Joy

Dylan, Kim, Griffin 

Amberlee loves the Jaynes!

Dylan and Amberlee

lem must be telling a really funny story!

Papa, Joseph, and Nana

Big hugs for Kim!



Cousin love!

Momma and Joseph 

presents!


Some good stuff!





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Lesson to Remember....


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
   he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.
Psalm 23

My daughter struggles with fear from time to time. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree in this family.

Night time is the hardest for her. She gets fearful many nights.

This one particular night, she had gotten into bed and I told her I would be there shortly to tuck her in.

I took a little longer than expected, and when I finally turned the corner to go to her room, I stopped dead in my tracks.

My daughter was whispering Psalm 23 through tears. She stumbled through the words, but she kept reciting the Psalm over and over.

My heart melted right there in that hallway outside of her bedroom.

The Lord revealed something to me in that moment that I will never forget.

I will not always be able to be with my children, but He will.

There are so many times when I want to be the one to soothe them, to nurse their fears and scary moments away. I want them to know I will always be there to dry their tears, take away their pain.

But, when I am not there, what will they do? How will they cope?

God showed me right there in that hallway that my children need to be taught to depend on Him in these moments.

As they grow older, and further away from the safety of my arms, they need to know where their true security lies...with Him. Not me.

Soon after my daughter prayed and recited Psalm 23, she fell asleep peacefully. You have no idea how much I wanted to wake her up and tell her that I was right there outside of her room. I wanted to tell her that I was just about to go tuck her in and soothe her fears.

However, I didn't.

I knew the Lord was teaching me, as well as her. My job is to train her up in the way she should go, not to train her up to depend on her momma.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6


My daughter is learning where her strength and peace lie. Her momma is learning the same lesson.


training in progress,


jill

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hill-Ramsey Celebration....

 
This weekend we celebrated the marriage of Mama Jane and Mr. Rick.
 
We had the best time!
 
Fun, family, friends, and LOVE!
 
What is better than that?
 
Enjoy the Hill-Ramsey Wedding pictures!
 
We love you, Jane & Rick!
 
5-17-2014