Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Journey of Heart Change II

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

In Part I of my 'Journey of Heart Change', I talked about how I had finally came to realize that God's will for my life right now, was to be a wife and mother, and to do those duties to the best of my ability.

Well, he did take approximately 8 years to show me that.  Or, rather, it took me 8 years to realize what he was teaching me.

You see, I had swallowed the American thought-process that being a wife and mom was not really a 'worthy' calling.  That I had to make more of myself, prove myself.  And staying home and wiping noses and training hearts was just something I had to do 'on the side'.

Now, being a wife and mother is NOT the only way to obey and glorify God for a woman.  The first lesson the Holy Spirit taught me was that obedience to Him was the most important thing in this life to strive for.  Anything else is just extra (even being a wife and mother or missionary for that matter).  That was the toughest lesson to learn for me.  I especially started realizing that when I started doing some Precepts Ministries Inductive Bible Studies at my church.  Myia was 6 months old and my life was not going how I expected it to go, and I was pretty depressed about it all.  God used some tough stuff in my life, over the next few years, to take me out of my comfort zone and to start prying my fingers off of the control panel of my life, one finger at a time.  But, eventually, when I was at my wit's end, I came to realize that God really is the most important person in my life, and that this life is not all there is to be had.

And, slowly, through daily Scripture readings, prayer, talking with good friends and lots of tears and thoughts, I came to realize that even if I was stripped of everything in life, I would still have to remain obedient to the Lord.  My relationship with him became the most important thing in my life.  I began to realize that under no circumstances could I give up that relationship.  It was all I had that was 'safe' in life. 

It was so amazing to see that transformation take place in my life.  When I found that 'connection' with the Lord, it was so amazing!  It took me away from this hard, toilsome life, and helped me to see how reality really is-a short skip until we spend eternity with or without our Maker.  This life is a 'blip' on the screen in comparison.

This was done through reading a lot of godly authors (and some not so godly, you have to stay challenged) and esp by being faithful in my daily reading of Scriptures.  I came to see who God really is.  Not the comfortable 'safe' santa-type God that most Americans think he is, but the true, real, holy, pure, jealous, righteous God of the Bible.

I had NO idea how much that was going to shape the rest of my life.  I had, after all, been reading the Bible, and Bible studies, for most of my life.

But that will have to be shared in Part III, as this is already quite long.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Journey of Heart Change I

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

I talked here about how I realized God had done a work in my heart, in regards to my role as a wife and mother, and I was/am so excited that I can boast in His work in my life.  It truly was not me doing it, but God himself. 

Really, if you think about that-God, Creator, Sustainer, I AM, Holy, Perfect, Yahwah-He chose to look down on little old me, and offer up His healing hand, his Scalpel, and draw me to Him. Goodness, that is pretty impressive!  I am nothing, and yet Royalty came down and met me where I was, to bring me closer to him.  Wow!

One thing that I am in awe of still, is how he went about changing me.  Looking back, it's so much fun to see the things he used.  I don't see the picture fully of course, but I can see certain 'highlights' and even the general outline of how he got me to where I am.

I must first confess that I never really cared if I became a wife and mom.  I would really have preferred a more dramatic role in life, and touched many, many lives, rather then just a few.  It's more my style.  That whole 'orphanage in Africa' thing appealed to me far more then changing the diapers of my own flesh and blood.  Weird, I know.   But really, it just shows you how much work God really did in my heart.

I did end up getting married, obviously.  I did end up having kids, obviously.  Two of them to be exact.  And both are very cute and sweet and a joy.

But, ever since seeing that 'double line' on the pregnancy test, I've found myself waiting to get that 'maternal feeling' toward my kiddos.  I waited and waited and waited, until, oh, about this week.  Geesh, 8 years, that's a long wait! 

I read about people going through infertility treatments, and I confess, I've just never understood. Of course, I just thought about getting pregnant and did, so who knows, maybe if we had tried and not been able to have kids, I would have been devastated.  Only  God knows, and it doesn't really matter anymore.

But, I remember rocking my babies to sleep, wondering if I'd ever feel that 'connection' to my own children.  I read about, I wanted it.  It sure would have made the parenting thing a lot easier!  My mom had it.  She was amazing with her little kids.  Why didn't I have it?  I assumed it came along with the umbilical cord.

Parenting wasn't all awful.  There have certainly been some great moments, and God has given me grace and strength along the way.  My life is so much deeper because of it.  My husband and I agree that we never would have matured and lost our intense selfishness (notice, we are still selfish, but it's not as intense), without having parenthood forced upon us.

But, still, there was something missing.  And I knew it.  I had come to realize that many, many moms don't have that 'connection' with their children, at birth, and sometimes never.  And I knew that God still had determined that marriage and parenting was the way he wanted the world to continue on. Parenting is certainly a blessing if you read the Bible! 

So, I finally confessed that my heart wasn't in my parenting, and just decided to plug on, doing the right thing, drawing closer to the Lord, and leave the rest to God.  He would certainly bless my desire, even if my heart wasn't in it.

Well, it's funny.  Being where I am now, where I've wanted to be for 8 years, is so different then I expected.  I don't have a 'lovey dovey' emotional feeling about parenting still.  But, what I do have is far greater.  It's a blessing from the Lord of Hosts.  It's a peace that passes all understanding.  It's a guarantee, for the first time in my 33 years, that I AM in the will of God.  I am exactly where he wants me.  I am doing the job he has chosen for me to do.  And, as long as I can have that kind of peace, what more do I need?

I was reading my diary from when I was in high school.  I was about to graduate and wanted so desperately to 'do God's will', but after studying the Scriptures and praying and asking and pleading, I just couldn't figure out what his will was.  WHAT COLLEGE WAS I SUPPOSED TO ATTEND?  That was my burning question. I was SURE the rest of my spiritual growth depend on me making the right decision in that area of my life.  I remember feeling so discouraged that I ended up at a local community college.  I was sure God wasn't in it.  It wasn't a Christian college, so naturally he wasn't in it.

And you know, I realized, while reading that diary, that I was still grappling with that question 15 years later.  I still didn't know what 'God's will for my life' was, and I was just sort of hanging around, waiting to hear it.  How sad! 

Well, God has spent the last 7 years or so, showing me what 'his will' is for my life, and I just didn't realize it.  Really, he has spent my whole life doing that, but he has esp concentrated on showing me how his will for my life right now, is to be a helpmeet to my husband, and a nurturer, training and discipliner of my children.  That's it.  That is his will for my life right now.  And he hammered that in during all of my studies of education, nutrition, marriage and the Bible.  I just didn't realize it at the time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The 'Original' Protein Drink

Everywhere I look, I see protein powders advertised.  Even Dr. Mercola has a 'whey protein powder' derived from all natural products.  But, from what I understand, dairy products do not dehydrate very well, and must be done at low temperatures, which is expensive for the manufacturer.  And since dairy is 'the source' of most protein powders, I am uneasy about their use, esp in large quantities.

But, the convenience can certainly not be underrated.  Easy to make, portable, easy to flavor complete meals.  All in a mug.  It combines the McDonald's McMuffin and the Starbucks coffee mug, all in one.  And for most Americans, who are on the go, all the time, it's a great convenience. 

Luckily, there is an alternative to the dehydrated protein powders on the market, that is simple, tasty and super nourishing.  We call them 'smoothies'.  And they are easy to assemble and great for on-the-go meals.

The general Recipe is:

Egg Yolk

That's the framework, and you can change it up within that framework.

Some ideas for LIQUID: water, milk, kefir, yogurt, coconut milk, coconut kefir, rice milk, almond milk, fruit juice, etc.

Sweetener: Honey, maple syrup, stevia, rapadura, molasses, dates, raisins

Flavor: Fruit, fresh, frozen or dehydrated.  Cocoa powder/carob powder. Veggies. Vanilla extract. Any extracts out there. You can also add any nuts or seeds you like, as well as herbs and spices, such as cinnamon and ginger.  A lot of people throw in some green leaves for extra nutrients, but without tasting them.  Some people also add in coconut chips or coconut oil. 

Egg Yolk:   This makes it a powerhouse of nutrition, as the vitamins and minerals are ingested immediately in the gut and available for use right away.  Just be sure they are from healthy, roaming chickens, not the ones from the grocery store. 

Put them all in your blender, pour into your mug, and take with you on the bus or train to work.  Or to drop the kids off at school, or on the way to church on Sunday morning...  Or, as we like to do, put them in a container and throw it in a cooler along with some cups.  It's a great, simple meal for the zoo or the beach, or the local playground.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Boasting in my Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

I haven't written on my blog in so long.  But God has really been working on my heart during the last few months. And since pride was something he has had to work esp hard on in me, I figured blogging wasn't exactly helping to humble me. :)

I have realized, in the last few weeks, that God has been working mightily in my heart and changing it in so many ways.  It's been a slow, long journey.  And I tended to get in the way more then be of service.  But He was faithful to not give up, and seeing the fruit is just so exciting!  I have a lot more growing up to do of course.  That process will not end until I am in Heaven sans my not-so-lovely-sin-nature.  But I am slowly coming to appreciate spiritual growth here on earth, sanctification it's called in 'doctrinal-speak'. 

I am a do-er.  I do what needs to be done. I love it. I love figuring out what the right actions/reactions are, and then doing it. It's worked wonders with our physical lives in the way we nourish ourselves, and in the kids' academic lives, as I have learned to work 'with' them, rather then against how God made them to grow. Although, even in those, God does still get the glory for guiding me.  Who knows where I would have ended up otherwise.  Probably on a raw diet and doing 'unschooling'.  *shivers*  Ok, so it could be worse.  I have certainly implemented some of the 'raw way of life' and appreciate that aspect of food.  And I believe that formal education should be held off for some time with children, in order to work on their character development when they are most mold-able in that area, and to preserve the joy of learning in them. So once again, I have taken a lot from the 'unschooling' way of thinking and greatly appreciate it. 

But, one area that I knew I was seriously lacking in, but could not change, no matter what I read, was in my overall attitude toward my husband and kids.  I walked around sulking because my husband was a difficult man (or so I thought), and my kids were esp hard to raise.  'Oh, woe is me'.  The pity parties I had for myself, it's embarrassing to think about. But when I was corresponding with a friend, I realized that I was miserable long before I had kids, and definitely before I was married as well. 

In high school I was known as the 'glass is always half full' girl.  Seriously, my outlook on life was always positive.  Maybe fakey, I honestly don't remember.  But somewhere in between high school and marriage, that changed.  It was probably a slow change, but I truly don't know.  I just remember being so utterly miserable.  But have no idea why. 

Well, we had Myia 'accidentally' and were not even nearly ready for being parents, emotionally, mentally, spiritually or financially (and esp not physically I have learned since reading up on nutrition).  And let me tell you, I let that be fodder for years of pity parties!  She was one tough baby, and Drew struggled so much with her.  Now I think he was struggling more with my reaction then anything else.

I remember looking around at the moms who seemed to really love parenting. I always thought that would be me.  I love kids, always have.  But having my own, I found to be incredibly more difficult then taking care of someone else's!  You couldn't blame all of their short-comings on someone else.  It was entirely your own fault. I was a terrible mom, with a terrible attitude.

Now mind you, not for lack of effort. I read ALL the parenting books I could get my hands on. I talked to everyone, I prayed and cried.  I wanted to love my kids.  I didn't want to look at my kids and think they were a nuisance.  But alas, I did.  I knew it was wrong, and I hoped that if I pretended, that it would eventually come.

At some point, maybe last year, or the year before, I gave up on pretending.  I started to get an inkling of the fact that what I really needed was a serious heart change.  And the only heart surgeon that is skilled enough for that is the Holy Spirit, through the scalpel of the Holy Scriptures.  And I realized that lying to others and myself wasn't really protecting my children from the painful truth that their mother didn't love them. It was protecting my pride, and keeping my heart from being properly prepped for surgery.

So, I started talking about it with people, even my kids some.  Thankfully, they were young and didn't really have a clue.  :)

And you know, that was about the last I remember consciously thinking about it. Specific issues have arisen in the meantime, and Drew and I have dealt with them as they come. But I hadn't given much thought to my overall mommy attitude.  Until this last week.  Being sick gives you lots of time to think! :)

I realized, joy of joys, that not only has the Lord given me a true respect for my husband (poor man, that was far too long in coming!), but he has given me a mommy's heart as well. Oh, it's so wonderful, I wanted to shout for joy (except I couldn't because my throat was killing me and I could do little more then croak).  And I realized that it was something I COULD boast in.  Because the Lord is glorified when we boast in him.  When it was me doing all the necessary changes in my life, not only was I really miserable inside, but I was also prideful. 'Oh, look at all I've done, look at all the books I've read. Pat me on the back, I'm just such a good person'. Yuck, wreaks like a skunk.  And, to boot, I was miserable.  Now there is something to attain for!  *rolls eyes*  Good thing I stopped sharing my faith for a time, I would have only pushed people away.

Finally, something I am allowed to, no, I am called to, boast in. The Holy Spirit did a work in me, that I see so many other moms also longing for, just like I was myself.  But I didn't do it. Heck, I had given up altogether on it and figured I'd just better live with the truth then a lie.  And then, low and behold, I turn around in my journey of life and realize that the Lord did an amazing work in my life.  And to Him be ALL the glory.  All of it. 

Now, just to be clear, life is still hard at times.  And, my kids are now 6 and almost 8, truly fun ages, as opposed to the younger, harder years.  And, our diet has truly changed our personalities and attitudes and we are much easier people to be with.  But even all of those were coordinated by the Lord, to bring him glory.  He orchestrated every detail of our life to this point, to help us get where we are.

What I am talking about here, is a deep, rooted JOY that passes all human understanding.  Not a 'happy go lucky' perfect world.  We still have our problems, but I truly do take joy in my job as a mom. 

Praise be to God!!!!!!!!