Monday, April 19, 2010

It's Book Review Time!

Ok, so I figured I'd do a book review from time to time here, to share what I'm reading and how it's impacted my life.  Today's book is Fasting by Jentezen Franklin.

I have to say I read this book a little more than a year ago, and it made a big impact on me.  I hadn't really understood the impact of fasting on my life, or on my relationship with God, or really why I should fast.  In the Church today, fasting is something we often talk about but few of us actually do, mostly because we don't understand the power in it.  This book changes that, and it really helped me to figure out not only how to go about fasting, but why it's important. 

The book is written in a very readable style, and the information included is very easy to understand.  It's a pretty quick read, also, but you'll want to take your time to really absorb all the information included.  And I have to say, it motivated me to take on a 3 day fast, which is something I hadn't even considered before this.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I'd have to give it a 4. 

And Off We Go

So, it's Monday, which means kids are off to school again!  After being trapped in the house all weekend with the kids (it wasn't nice enough to play outside) I can't tell you the relief I feel in sending the two big boys off to school.  Monday morning is always my time to recuperate from the weekend, and I tend to not amount to much.  I generally goof off for the morning, checking my email, playing around on Facebook, and just generally ignoring the messy house, the dishes piled in the sink, and anything I really should be doing.  Then, generally Monday afternoon is the time that I recover my house.  Or, otherwise known as the PIT.  If the kids are outside all weekend the house generally isn't too bad - but trap them in the house for a couple of days with nothing much to do and it looks like a tornado hit it.

So, that's my plan for the day - doesn't sound too exciting, does it?  And it's not, really.  I'd like to be doing something more meaningful in my day, but I'm still in the process of figuring out what that would be right now, without any of my circumstances changing.  What can I do right now that will make a difference in the world?  Here are the things I can think of that I can do right now, today, to feel like I'm doing something of worth.

  • Pray - spending time in prayer, talking to God about both the little things and the big things.  Prayer is powerful, life changing, and helps our connection and relationship with God.  And it's something that can be done while doing other things - I can clean the house and still have a conversation with God.
  • Read my Bible - this is something that I'm not very good at.  I'm great at looking up scripture when I'm in need of something (topical searching), but not so good at having a regular habit of reading every day.  I can't say I've ever even been able to read through the whole New Testament once, although probably over the last 18 years of being saved I've read most of it.  It's something I want to do, but I seem to get sidetracked easily.  Maybe it's something I need to focus on.
  • Talk to Christian friends - this may not seem like something of importance, but for me, connecting with other people, especially those who can speak into my life, is really vital.  Relationship is something that is really important to me, and something that I tend to lose quite easily.  I tend to isolate myself when I feel like I'm slipping away from God, rather than running to my friends for help.  I need to be better about staying connected.
  • Read, watch, listen to things that will build my faith - I've got tons of books on my bookshelf waiting to be read.  I've got things to listen to or watch that will help build me up.  And yet I goof off on Facebook instead of goofing off doing something that will actually be helpful to me in the long run.  Not sure why this is.
So, there are a few things I can do to make my day feel meaningful, and it doesn't require a saved husband or healed kids.  (Not that I wouldn't love to have those things, and not that I don't believe those things are coming, but I can't live my life just waiting for those circumstances.)  Now I just need to take my own advice and DO them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's My Own Fault I'm Stuck

Ok, so our pastor taught on giving today. I suppose his real drive behind the teaching was to get people to tithe, which I already do, but I certainly got something out of it that wasn't perhaps the main focus of the teaching. See, one thing he covered was fear of stepping out in faith, fear that God won't provide for whatever He's calling you to do. Maybe the slant was stepping out in giving for fear that if you give you won't have enough, but it really touched on something for me unrelated, or at least not completely related to money.

I have been in fear of stepping out in faith, because I've not been able to see how or when God will provide for the situation. I've got a call on my life, see - a call to ministry that is strong and that I know is from God. But, I've also got 4 kids, two who are currently effected by autism, and an unsaved, unbelieving, agnostic husband. And while I know that if this is His call on my life that God will make a way for me if I will trust Him, I'm afraid. Because of that fear, I've been stagnating. Not standing still, exactly, because we never stand still with God - if we're not going forward with Him, we're falling away. But sinking, really, and knowing I'm sinking, and yet feeling like there was no way to pull myself out. Getting stuck deeper and deeper in the mire, feeling more and more trapped, all because of fear of the unknown.

Stupid, really, isn't it? But we all do it - fear can hold us back from so many things, things that would have so many rewards, and yet we'd rather stick with what we know that venture into the unknown. To personalize it, I'd rather stick with an unsatisfying life, one that I'm just going from one useless thing to anther to kill time, than step out into what God has for me, one where I could actually make a difference in this world! But, truthfully, I don't just want a trivial, useless life. I'd just like the step toward God's wonderful plan to be easier!

So, anyway, today's pastoral message hit home for me. I do need to trust God to be there, to provide for me when I do what He's leading me to do. And I need to realize that I'm only holding myself back from relationship with Him because I'm being stubborn about doing what He's asking me to do. I need to trust that He's got it all under control, seek Him and His will with all my heart, and do those things which might seem impossible now. Because with God, nothing is impossible.

What this is...

So, here we go again. See, I've started a few blogs, that have fallen by the wayside. Each time I started I had an idea of what I was going to cover in those blogs, see? It was going to be solely Christian ministry, or solely parenting, or funny, or whatever. But each time I've given it up, mostly after a couple of posts, because it really wasn't about ME, it really wasn't about my life. It was about who I wanted to portray myself to be, rather than who I was. It was about trying to be the best me in my blog that I could be, rather than being real, being honest. And I couldn't make it work - I couldn't censor out those things that weren't pretty, or funny, or holy.

So, I'm trying again, except this time I'm just going to be me. I'll talk about my Christian walk, to be sure, but this isn't really a Christian blog. I'll talk about being a mommy, but it's not really a mommy blog. I'll talk about parenting two autistic sons, but it's not really a blog about autism. I'm going to just try to be real - try to talk about my life, my relationships, my spirituality, and my struggles to balance all those things and more. And when I fall down, when I miss it, when I am certainly "of the world" rather than just in it, then I'll be honest here. I'm going to try to be who I am, and show here my struggles and my triumphs, my highs and my lows, and maybe, just maybe, it will touch someone's life in a meaningful way. Maybe another mom of autistic kids won't feel alone. Maybe another Christian who struggles just like me to stay connected to God's will for their life will be comforted to know they aren't alone. Maybe just being honest in who I am will help someone else feel ok to be honest about themselves, as well. And maybe through this I can also learn to be ok with who I am. Who knows?