Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood

I'm so glad you are back.  All through the week, I so look forward to this day, to catching up with you and seeing your sweet faces on my blog!  If you are new to Soli Deo Gloria, please click "here" to read about the heart behind this meme and to get the guidelines.   Don't forget to grab the button so that people who visit your blog will know where to find us in case they would like to share their hearts, too.

It seems like the past few days, God has been doing a little house-cleaning in my heart.  I've been convicted daily about various things, but the sweet part about it is that I recognized it for what it is -- God just trying to shore up my heart -- and didn't spend days lamenting my erroneous ways and diving into the pool of guilt.

The first thing that God and I worked on last week was my drinking habits.  I'm not a lush by any means, but I realized I had gotten to a point where at the end of the day I would readily look forward to a glass (or two) of wine.  Two weeks ago, I started thinking about a fast and if God was calling me to do one (and if so, for what purpose).  Then, last week, I read one of the devotionals in Heart of My Heart by Kristin Armstrong.  She writes, "A fast from anything removes its ownership over you and places it in the context of being owned by God.  It is a way to gain mastery over the things we struggle with."  The point is that I caught myself in this line of thinking that I needed a glass of wine to get through the rest of the night -- the fixing dinner, the bathing of children, the reading of books, getting them to stay in bed, etc.  What I needed, though, instead was to rely on God to help me to engage myself more fully in the process instead of hiding out from it.  What I needed was His strength, His energy, His love and not a worldly indulgence that can numb my senses and take the edge off.  The fast served the purpose of making sure that the wine was still subject to me and that I was not subject to it.  Being that alcoholism runs in both sides of my family, well, it's just a good test to take sometimes.

The second thing that has just wrung my heart was brought to my attention by Armstrong's devotional entry for yesterday.  The Bible verse is Proverbs 12:18, which says "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."  In her words, she states, "Even when we are frustrated, we must be mindful to choose words that are life-giving and that build a child's identity, not strip it down."  Immediately, the image of my oldest daughter's face popped into my mind -- the look upon it when I know that I have hurt her with my short temper, my exasperated voice.  It crushed my heart, that image.  I am so guilty of getting caught up in my moment, of living in my world where I must get things done, I must finish this, I must, I must, I must.  I become a whirlwind and when someone gets in my path, I leave disaster in my wake.  Even when I am frustrated -- even when I have heard the word "Mommy" fifteen times in fifteen seconds.  Even when I have gotten this, made that. Even when I have shuttled this person here and that person thereEven when this is the fourth time I've tried to sit down to work.  Even when...I must choose words that are life-giving.  I must use the opportunity to love.  After praying through this for much of the day, I realized that it doesn't mean that I need to meet their demands with a sugary-sweet Well, of course, my darlings!  It doesn't even mean that I must meet their demands at all if that is not warranted.  I think it just means having enough self-control so that I don't completely lose it and risk tearing them down.  Soooo glad there is grace and forgiveness in these relationships or I'd be in trouble!  Perhaps I should put aside the college-tuition account and instead focus on the therapy account.

Can't wait to read about what's going on with you!


  1. Oh My. That quote about fasting is powerful. I am going to add that to my wisdom quote file. I have learned so much about quietness this year with fasting from social media and such. I hated and and now find it so comforting. So I do believe that quote is quite true :)

    I think I am a lot like your girl. Words are my downfall. More than anything they can strike my heart and wound it tremendously. Praying for you and her. Also...just the fact that you want to work on this is powerful. So many times I don't think people understand the significance words have.

    You. Bless. Me.

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  3. Love this comment:I need to rely on God to help me to engage myself more fully in the process instead of hiding out from it.He's been helping me with a "BIGGIE" too. I've always been a rescuer, and boy have I got myself in too deep many times over! At last, at 60, this is what he has just taught me : He opened my eyes. My role is not to relieve other people's pain.

    I've seen myself as a sponge- soaking up other people's pain so they won't have to bear it. I thought that when the scripture says: bear one another's burdens, that I should do just that! Something had to give.
    I read the story of the man who God gave 3 stones to carry in a barrow up a mountain.He never got there because he kept stopping to take other people's stones too- and then got mad at God for making the barrow too heavy. I was really convicted when I read that God told this man that everyone must carry their own load.So what did it mean to bear one another's burdens?? Well, I came to se that whenever I am listening to someone, Jesus is right thee, listening along with me and that HE IS THE BURDEN BEARER, not ME~! Breakthrough! My role is to be the listener, to make approproate comments in empathizing, then to gather up the conversation and hand it ALL over to God, ans He is the only one with shoulders big enough to take on these loads.
    I read on a lovely blog Teacups and Tidbits:
    There is only one true Burden Bearer. Surely we bear each other's burdens, but not in our own strength, nor all alone.
    I forget that in my weakness, He is strong. I forget that He's already taking care of them. So I'm free to be me. Free to relax. I can let the presence of Christ express Himself through my personality type and work through my own human-ness. We have this present help in times of trouble, remember?

    To actively listen and let others release pent-up emotions is healing.

    When people sense they're loved and accepted, their burdens become lighter because Jesus is there.

    "We love because He first loved us." ~ 1 John 4:19

    Thanks to Teacups and Tidbits for being mightily used by God in my life and the lives of many I have shared this new knowledge with in the last fortnight!
    Look forward to reading what God is doing in other lives too- I'm sure we will all learn from each other.
    Many many blessings!

  4. I love this! I have been feeling convicted about my words lately as well...and how they are not always life giving to my girls! And I love the quote about fasting!

  5. Note to marygems -- I had to delete your links because it linked to a Yahoo news site and not a blog. Thank you so much for posting your sweet revelations in the comments. I, too, have learned so much from the wagon up the mountain story -- God has taught me such valuable lessons about what I put in my cart, which is why I am in the process of unloading now! So glad you are here with us!

  6. Jen,

    Loved this post. There are many things controlling me, so the devotion you shared helped convict me, too. I've thought of getting her other book before, she sounds like a neat lady.

    I will also say, I am the same rushed mother, and usually the words hit my oldest, like you described. And I have those same "what am I doing" type of thoughts as well. I consider us so blessed as followers of Jesus because the Holy Spirit is with us to guide and convict us. Without Him, would we even feel bad about this?

    Thanks for the running info last week. I have had the same shoes for quite awhile, but they haven't always been for running. So that's probably my first issue. Training? Um...no. I just started and tried to get to 2 miles. So I think you're suggesting I build up to it? :)

    Jen, I've been finding some challenges in sitting down to write, so I won't be joining you today. But I will be back next week.


  7. i love your honesty here, because i can so so so relate! it's funny that my entry has some echoes of the same stuff... seems God is tweaking some things in all of us lately :) you have such a beautiful heart and desire for grace. it's inspiring and encouraging. thank you!

  8. I too have seen the look on my daughter's face when I've said something in frustration. I've been praying for God to help me to think about what I say before I say and that I try to encourage , rather than discourage. It's a struggle and one I think we are all in as Moms.

  9. Oh, Jen, I'm so proud of your sensitive heart to the wooing of the Holy Spirit. I know several folks whose innocent glass of wine have led them down a path of destruction. Not at all to say that is the direction you were headed, but for you to realize that His overflowing presence in your life could accomplish the same purpose is awesome.

    And words, oh, me, I think that is a battle we all fight to some extent. I so often wish that I could take them back, but once said, the damage is done. Thanks for such a convicting post, as always, you are a blessing and I can only imagine all the great and mighty things the Lord has in store for you.

  10. thanks jen for your sweet words to me about "the way of mothers" and thank you for being so vulnerable and real here...i relate to the fasting and if i'm not willing, it is a good indication that I am subject to it...and the words...oh the words...being refined and yes, life-giving, Lord, help them to be life-giving...

    so glad to have found a place here...and I do intend to come back!

  11. I so appreciate your honesty here, Jen. I, too, use life-draining words towards my loved ones, particularly my kids when I am frustrated or weary. You've given me a lot of think about with this one line alone:

    I must choose words that are life-giving.


  12. ok, Jen, the fasting thing...it does bring the focus right where it should be, there is nothing like that bringing it right to a point of where you are and where you need to be. It is one of the hardest things to do but is so worth it!
    On the other hand, the whole 'focused and don't get in my way' towards your kiddoes? My post this morning was just about that pretty much. Sometimes I wonder if you are in my head~ha!


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