Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hoarding. More Than A Show on TLC.

Chad and Chloe spent the day at a black belt seminar. Emma and I spent the morning in the pool and then came home for our favorite lunch: Tuna melts and homegrown tomatoes.

After lunch, Emma settled into my bed for a nap and I found myself alone with a basket of laundry. Somehow I found myself watching TLC's show that documents people who hoard. I have never seen this show and quite frankly, it made me itch.

I could hardly breath seeing how these people live. I kept expecting rats to run across the screen. As quick as I was to judge, the Holy Spirit was just as quick to convict.

Watching these people walk through the emotional ordeal of admitting their need for help was hard. I'm not sure I would want a camera crew walking around filming my "issues".

Over the hour I spent becoming attached to these people, God slapped me across the face with something. You don't have to be surrounded by trash, unopened mail, old takeout cartons, flea market finds, grandma's furniture or dirty laundry to have a hoarding problem. Nope.

Sometimes we hoard things like unforgiveness, untended wounds, bitterness, resentment, and jealousy. At least I have. These things leave you empty, lonely and looking.

Looking for something or someone to love us, to cherish us, to tell us we are amazing. To make us feel accepted and complete. When those things or that person we have placed all our hope in fails, and they will, we are left empty and often with a wound.

As I watched these hoarders so emotionally part with all the "stuff" that consumed their life, their homes and had isolated them from their family, it was like watching them break down the wall around their hearts. For one lady, the process moved from being painful and became healing. She threw a party to celebrate her freedom.

I wonder if she knows what those of us who have experienced the power of Jesus in our life know. It was for FREEDOM that He set us free.

Galatians 5:1 says:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

One thing God continues to be putting in front of me and then placing people in my face to share it with is that to experience true freedom in Christ, you have to spend time with Him. DWELL with Him, linger in His presence, rest and not resist where He has you right now. Sometimes to really dwell in His presence, we must walk away from some things.

Things like bitterness, anger, unforgiveness. We must allow Him to tend to those wounds we are hoarding. We must release our grip and allow Jesus Christ, the one and only to heal our hearts and then,

Then we LIVE. Really live.

Philippians 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers [and sisters], I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I don't know where you are in your walk with Jesus, but I do know that we are all in process. Some parts of the process are easier than others, but I'm learning that anything I thought was worth hanging onto or hoarding, is NOT worth it. If Jesus asks me to walk away from something, as hard as it may be, it is worth it.

He is worth it.

I'm off to check my heart's closet and see if there is anything else I need toss out.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Maybe you need this reminder too!

So for about three weeks a certain theme and passage of scripture keeps popping up. Accident? No way. I needed this theme in my face for myself, but God has had me share it with several other women. Seems to be an issue for several of us.

God had been impressing the passage in Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

He also had me in Matthew 6 where He says do not worry about your food or clothing because He has clothed the sparrows and cares so much for us. He tells us to seek Him first and commands us "DO NOT BE ANXIOUS!"

As I finished up our summer Bible study homework last week, I was not surprised that these passages were referenced. Here are some of the powerful words of Jennifer Rothschild:

"If we settle into the position His grace has placed us, we'll see His strength made perfect there. And we'll experience the joy of our journey following Him."

She challenged us to rest, NOT resist the place God has placed us. To surrender to the position and even more challenging surrender our BEHAVIOR in that position.

Ouch. Rest, not resist. That one is tough sometimes. Especially when you feel like you are being put in a place that you don't deserve. But really, if we were given what we deserve.....thank you Jesus for your grace.

She quoted some of Matthew 11 "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." and then said this..

"If you feel that the weight of your circumstances is too heavy to bear, maybe it's because the burden is yours, not His."

Last week God convicted me that I had a death grip on a couple of things. Understand these things are important and have eternal value, BUT. I was clutching them, attempting to control them and change them on my own. Was I praying? Yes. Was I listening to God? Yes. BUT, I was also keeping my feeble human hands in the middle of it and quite frankly, it was exhausting.

The burden was mine. I had not taken my hands off it. Until last week.

I accepted that anything "I" did would fail in comparison to what God could do. The death grip that I was exhausting myself with was exchanged for God's hand. I have let go and refuse to be anxious, or worry about it anymore.

There is some freedom in that that I can not begin to describe. I "know" this, I've experienced this before! Goodness, sometimes God has to send me to summer school to remind me. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Radiant winner!

I'm so sorry I didn't post the winner yesterday! We are in Bible Camp this week and it has been an incredible, fun and crazy week. :) My sister and nephew are here so the little guy can come with us. We are spending the mornings at church and the afternoons by the pool.

Okay....the winner of Kate Carlson's Radiant project is

Angela at Refresh My Soul!!!!

Thanks Kate for providing this CD to give away!!! I know Angela will be blessed!

Friday, June 11, 2010


SO excited to share with one of you Kate Carlson's Radiant project!
I knew from the moment I saw the cover that this was going to be a CD that encouraged worship.

The verse on the cover is one of my favorites. Psalm 34:5

Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.

My daughters (11 and 9) have fallen in love with this CD and act like they know Kate. Today on the way to meet some friends, Emma said "Mom, is this Kate because I REALLY need to hear that song I like?" I'm thrilled. This is the type of artist I want them to look up to. One that follows hard after Jesus with their entire being.

Okay our favorite Kate Carlson songs are:

Emma - "How Marvelous" (in my opinion the best arrangement of this hymn I have ever heard)

Chloe - "Desert Song"

Me - "Saving One"

Thanks Kate Carlson for providing this copy for me to review. My daughters and I have worshipped Jesus with you this week.

To get to know Kate and her heart for our Savior, go here.

On to the GIVEAWAY!!!!!

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your favorite worship song right now. If you don't have one, it's okay! Just tell me your favorite song on your playlist. :)

I will draw for a winner on Wednesday, June 16.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday. Randomness and a Kitchen Update!

I really like Thursdays. Normally we do not have much planned and I love the slow morning. I have one child this morning and we are up, dressed and enjoying some quiet time before sister's return. She has educated me in the art of trading silly bands. :) I had no idea how serious it was to her!

I've been posting more on our AdvoCare blog. I heard Dr. Oz say earlier this week that Vitamin C helps you burn fat while you workout. That just gave me one more reason to keep taking C-Grams! You can read about that here. I can not express in a blog post how passionate I am about this product. Seriously, it is good stuff.

I have some GREAT NEWS!!! Friday, I will have a giveaway post up. I'm excited and can't wait to talk about it with you!!!! For now, just soak on the photo below and know that it will be worth it to enter the contest on Friday!

Part one of our kitchen make over is done! We painted a small arched "passageway" under our stairs a wine color. Under the bar, we used a sand color. Both of these areas have a textured paint. It reminds me of sandpaper. I LOVE it and can't wait for the rest of the kitchen to be painted. (That will happen in July.)
My camera is missing or I would post a picture!

I'm still watching, waiting and PRAYING Ballard Design puts my curtains on sale! I KNOW exactly what I want, but I'm forcing myself to save and wait.

The Lord has me concentrating on Psalm 119:105 this week. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." I'm finding myself asking Him to illuminate my next step. Even in the everyday things I'm asking Him to interrupt my schedule if it doesn't line up with what He has planned for today. He's done it several times this week and oh the blessing.

Have you ever had weeks like that? I would love to hear your stories of living a life that is ready to be interrupted by God. :)

Well, there is laundry that needs to be done, and e-mails that need to be sent so I'm off to get those done...unless God interrupts my day. (I'm praying He will!)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Going on a Treasure Hunt

Our Bible study group is starting our summer study this Tuesday. We are doing Jennifer Rothschild's "Walking By Faith - Lessons Learned in the Dark". This is the second time for me. The first time, was 2003 or 2004. I can't remember and can not find my first book which really bugs me because I would love to see some of my comments from the first time. :)

When I started day one, this week I remembered the first time. I remember thinking that while I had a mental understanding of what walking by faith meant, I had not actively lived it. At least not to the degree I knew God was calling me to.

At the end of day one, we were asked to tell whose faith walk is most remarkable to us. We were parked in Hebrews 11 and asked to choose from Noah, Abraham, Sarah and Moses.

I picked Noah. In a time when man had become consumed with self, evil and so far from what God intended, Noah chose to walk with the Lord. (Genesis 6:9) He was described as blameless in his generation. Not perfect, but aware of his need for God. I love that the last part of Genesis 6:9 says "Noah walked with God."

He walked with God. In that wicked time, He walked, talked and most importantly listened to God. God used Noah to "start over" if you will.

As I finished day one and began to ask God to show me how to apply what I had been reading I was reminded that much like Noah, we live in a wicked time. At times we Christians have sacrificed our personal holiness often in an attempt to be relevant to those around us. Boy oh boy did God convict me on this one.

He reminded me that despite the world I live in I can choose to walk closely with God. When my life ends I do not want people to say "Stephanie was a Christian" or "Stephanie went to church and did what good Christians are supposed to do." I want the type of relationship that says "Stephanie walked with God."

I want to as Noah did, (Gen. 6:8) find favor with God. My heart desire is to be the type of woman God could "start over" with.

I can tell that the next few weeks are going to be full of hard work and I know that I'm going to face some issues with my faith walk that I have been avoiding. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth the hard work and tears? Yes.

We are going to learn to exercise our faith like never before and that my friend, is exciting to me. Faith living has eternal consequences. I love what Jennifer says on day one:

"When we step out in faith, we find the treasures God has reserved for those who lean completely on Him."

I'm going on a treasure hunt and the prize is something more precious than I can imagine.