Saving Grace

Mom Talk – Tired & “Dehydrated”

I desperately needed this timely reminder in my inbox today…

Mom Talk

As I sat on the couch and put on my make-up, I thought to myself, “I’m just so tired.” Granted, it was only 5:30 in the morning and there was a chill in the air. I had every reason to want to crawl back into bed and cover up. But I knew it was more than that. In the silence of the morning – by the light of one little lamp – I could be honest with God and just say, “I’m tired.”

I began thinking about Samuel. Scripture says that Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life (1 Samuel 7:15.) This was the job that God had given to Samuel and he did it his whole life. That is such an important thing to realize. When you are a follower of Christ, you are committing to follow Him all the days of your life. It is a life-long commitment. When you are on such a journey, it’s no surprise that you’re going to get tired.

God knew that we would get tired. That the journey would be long. That the path would not always be easy. He promises to be our rest, but we must come to Him.

So, back to my morning. I finished my make-up, got dressed and began breakfast for the girls.

I suddenly remembered a conversation I had with my husband quite some time ago. He had mentioned that He would often get tired in the early afternoon and that he read somewhere that this could be caused by dehydration. So, I was just contemplating dehydration, my weariness and a possible need for more water in my life when I was reminded of this passage in Jeremiah.

For My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water. – Jeremiah 2:13 HCSB

Our physical bodies were created with a need for water. Without water, we can become lethargic and fatigued. Without it for too long and we would die. For our spiritual lives to thrive, we need the living water. But, in order to receive the living water, we must come to Him. When we attempt to go about our lives without Him, we become tired and weary.

I love the imagery of God as a fountain and us as cracked cisterns. When we immerse ourselves in God and His Word, the water is constantly flowing over us. It refreshes us and gives us energy. The problem comes when we think that we are okay. We are feeling good in the moment and think we can step away and handle things on our own for a while. You see, we are just broken cisterns. So, the moment we walk away from God or abandon our time in the Word, the water begins to leak out through the cracks and, in no time at all, we’re dry. We become dehydrated and dehydration brings weariness.

O God, you are my God,

earnestly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you,

my body longs for you,

in a dry and weary land

where there is no water. – Psalm 63:1 NIV

This world is dry and there is no water apart from God.

Are you feeling weary? Maybe you’re just a little dehydrated.

Meet the author:

Stacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is married to Michael Edwards, the Evangelism and Recreation Pastor at Living Hope. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Do you know a mom who needs encouragement? Why don’t you pass this on to her?

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Saving Grace

Save Me From Myself

During turbulent times, our first response is determined by where we place our focus. When my focus is inward (on self) or outward (on my circumstances) my natural response is fear and despair. In pity I often ask, “Why, me?” But when I look toward heaven, it brings about a supernatural response that reflects confidence in God. By focusing on God, my “Why” becomes “What?” “What are you teaching me in this storm, Lord, and how can I use what I learn to help others.” – Proverbs 31 Ministries

Yesterday, it wasn’t fear and despair that I experienced when looking outward; it was irritation, anger and frustration. No matter how old we get, it seems we never grow up. People do petty things and the workplace is simply a grown up version of high school. The thing is, I know I’m not above it all. I screw up, I put my foot in my mouth, I do the wrong things, say the wrong things. I fail, I miss the mark. I SIN.

Yep.

Hello, World. It’s me – a Sinner.

THANK YOU, JESUS, for continually saving me from myself. And thank You for reminding me, in the midst of the morass that I can forgive precisely because I am forgiven.

Psalm 121:1-2 I raise my eyes toward the mountains.Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,the maker of heaven and earth.

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Our Adoption Journey, Saving Grace

Another Step Forward To Adoption

Last week was a flurry of paperwork, filling out applications. Today we are putting our contract with Faithful Adoption Consultants in the mail, and maybe by next week we’ll begin working on our profile book for “birth mothers” to look at.

When we began this journey, we originally weren’t expecting to adopt an infant. We were planning to adopt Internationally. God has a way of changing things, though, and a series of events led us to where we are now.

We can plan and plan all day long, but when you allow God to order your footsteps you never know where you’ll end up.

I’m reminded of so many horses I’ve ridden whose stride was adjustable, and others who would lock up and not want to move at all. There’s no way to direct the steps if the feet are unwilling to move.

Start moving, even if the direction is unclear, maintain a willing, tractable, adjustable spirit, always seeking to serve our Lord Jesus, and He WILL guide your steps.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NKJV)

There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord ’s counsel—that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21 NKJV)

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Saving Grace

She loved good men, and she rode good horses

Snickers tackling the Extreme Cowboy Challenge obstacle course in East TX 2008

Snickers tackling the Extreme Cowboy Challenge obstacle course in East TX 2008

Old memories, mingling with recent conversations, came to the forefront of my mind, as I read through South Forty Rocks this morning. I’ve been blessed over the years with good horses and a good husband reared by a family-full of good men (and women, too!). I’ve had my fair share of difficult horses, but they have been just as important in my life and education. They have taught me patience and the value of working hard, working smart. Many of those difficult horses became good horses because I refused to allow them to stay stuck in their old ways.  I wanted them to have a good home when their days with me had come to a close. I wanted to add value to their character. I wanted them to have a good future.

This path requires work. Sweat. Sometimes blood.

It’s a poignant reminder of the work God did to secure our own good future. He was not content to leave us in our old ways. This work that He did required His sweat. His blood.

Our eternal salvation is secured through the work of Jesus. Through our faith in His work. Yet, we are still commanded in Philippians 2:12 to work it out – to repent, to turn from our sins, and walk in obedience. We are reminded in James 2 that, just as the body without the spirit, faith without works is dead.

In our society it can be so easy to lose sight of exactly what work is truly, eternally, important. We get wrapped up in our own little lives, in our jobs, our family. Even when what we are doing could be considered “good” by this world, the eternal implications are lacking in weight. So, what work does God say is important?

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the leastof them, you did it to Me.’ -Matthew 25:34-39

 
“…putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” -James 1: 21-27

 

Have faith. Do good. And get the work done.

 

Extreme Cowboy Challenge 2008

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All Things Horses, Our Adoption Journey, Saving Grace

Changing hearts, changing lives…

Bucolic Evening

A wise man once said, “The only constant is change.”

Changes that I could never have foreseen in my own life have been coming to fruition within the past year. Before we knew we were moving from Texas, we had 11 horses, a growing herd of cows, and we thoroughly enjoyed our life on the ranch. We had no intentions of ever leaving our homeland. Then one thing on top of another began to pile up in our lives and, like the drought sucking all the moisture from the pastures, slowly sapped all the desire we had in us to stay. With no real clue where we might end up, we began to prepare for the move we could feel God calling us to make. A year in advance we began culling our herd, culling the “stuff” from our home and lives. We even moved into a 5th wheel, to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.

When we finally got the call to transfer to Kentucky, it was a dream come true. We had visions of post and rail fencing around a small horse farm filled with rolling hills and rippling bluegrass (much like the above photo found on Flickr). We began to draw up barn plans and scout property. We found an Amish builder. We just knew that within a few months of making the move, we’d have our beautiful barn ready and we’d be on our way back to Texas to retrieve our remaining beloved horses.

Then something big happened.

God completely changed the desires of our hearts.

In ten years of blissful marriage, we had failed in one thing – to have children. We had discussed adoption before, but never followed through. Our house was always full of nieces, nephews, friends’ children. We wanted children, but it was always something we put off for the future. Then, suddenly, we make this move and are surrounded by a community and Church family that is always talking about adoption. Everywhere we go there is someone who is in the process of adoption, has already adopted, was adopted.

We could feel God tugging at our hearts, saying “Now. Now is the time.”

So, we scrapped all of our previous plans and immediately began looking for a house so that we could get the process started. Any other time and we’d have real estate agents blowing our phones up, but oddly enough, we could get no replies to all the voicemail and email messages we left concerning houses we were interested in looking at.

Wait.

I take that back.

We DID get two replies. One reply turned us down because our dogs are too large. The other reply turned us down because we have too many (3) dogs.

I was ready to pull my hair out. How can we ever get the adoption process started if we can’t even find a home for the kids? Then, just as He taught me to let go of my homeland, God showed me I had to let go of even this. He once again showed me that when my desires line up with His desires, He provides all that is needed. More than that. He shows up and shows out!

I had given up and put it all out of my mind. Sometime later, I was walking in to work and a co-worker who had made the move with me struck up a conversation. She knew someone who was retiring that had a house I would absolutely love and they would be putting it up for rent soon. She gave me their number. And you know what? They actually answered on the first ring! And they were okay with our dogs! AND we could see the house tomorrow!

Until we decided to follow through with adoption, I had had no desire to move out of our 5th Wheel – I was a gypsy, ready to go wherever the wind blows. I couldn’t imagine loving a house as much as I loved my camper.

Then tomorrow came.

I walked through the front door and knew I was home.

Every detail fit us to a tee – from the hardwood floors, to the stone fireplace, to the colors on the walls. The heritage of this home is our own – from the company posters and emblems left in the office (I’m a second-generation employee of the same company as our Landlord), to the Bible verses written inside the walls, to the very core of the original building as a Post Office (my husband’s mom, both grandmothers and grandfather are retired from the Post Office). This is home. Thank you, Jehovah-jireh!

Eight months later, we’re waiting for our homestudy to be completed and approved. We’re down to one last horse to sell – the one I never thought I’d ever be able to part with. We’re still trying to sell our fabulous horse trailer. So much change has happened. So much change is still to come. It can be so easy to allow it to overwhelm us, to allow our hearts to ache for what was. But when God has been so good, SO GOOD… I KNOW the plans He has for us, and it’s greater than anything we could ever imagine.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

And for this reason, I will lift up my eyes and keep them on my Savior, “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him,” (Ephesians 3:12) knowing that He is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)

God has good things in store for us. Our children our coming soon, and He has good things in store for them, too. What about you? Are your desires His desires?   James 4 tells us “you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Draw near to God. Draw near to Him and see what He won’t do for you!

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