Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How do I walk?

For the past few days, God has been speaking to me through Galatians 5.  I’ve read over it and just let it simmer in my spirit.  It’s a passage full of deep truths about walking by the Spirit instead of the flesh.  I’m not going to attempt to break down each verse.  Rather, I’ll discuss what the passage has spoken to me, in light of my daily application of the scriptures. 

So a little overview … In Galatians 5, Paul is speaking to believers (those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior and Lord).  He explains that we have received freedom in Christ.  The yoke of slavery to sin has been broken through Christ’s shed blood on the cross.  Christ washed our sins away through the sacrifice of himself and has given us the Holy Spirit who lives in us.  The Spirit empowers us to live holy lives, set apart for Him. But we still live in this world in a fleshly body.  Here’s the chunk of scripture that has really been speaking to me:

16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Gal. 5:16-25, NASB)

That Word preaches! God is so good.  He has given His expectations for us, but He has also given us exactly what we need to accomplish them! His Spirit guides us.  Oh, how I desire to walk in His Spirit! I pray that my life displays the fruit of the Spirit!

As a wife and mom at home with my babies most of the time, I am given ample opportunity to act and make choices from my flesh.  I assume you can relate.  Some days are better than others as far as the kids’ behavior.  But daily surrendering my day to Him is essential.  If I get up and going and into my daily routine without getting into the Word and praying early on, I pay for it later! And sometimes not so later!

I’m the lifeline for my five month old.  Let’s just say, I’m her “dairy queen.” She lets me know when she needs me, and I can never be too far away.  And it never fails, I just get settled nursing her when another one of my children needs something or starts being mischievous.  I’ll give you an example.  I sit down to nurse baby girl when my three year old says he has to go use the bathroom.  He usually does just fine by himself until he’s done.  Then I hear, “Momma, I’m done! Come wipe me!”  And if the other two boys are home, that can very well be accompanied by wrestling and loud rough housing going on, and I have to referee and make them stop! I’m just one person being pulled in many different directions!  And I’m the only one there at the time to do the job! Some days, just the thought of all I’ve got ahead of me is enough to bring a stress knot on my back.  But this is when I’m acting with my own strength. Or lack of! When I do things in my flesh, I always fall short.  I’m much more prone to be negative, to yell at my kids, to turn into a stressed, crying, emotional mess, to be short or snap at my husband … you know how it goes.  When you feel you’re at the end of your rope, it’s much easier to break.  To me, flesh equals fail. 

But walking in the Spirit equals victory.  God has already won.  And He gives us everything we need to overcome “the deeds of the flesh” and exude “the fruit of the Spirit [which] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  That sure does sound better to me!

So I know that if I “walk by the Spirit, [I} will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” But how do I walk by the Spirit?  Galatians tells me “if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”  If Christ has set me free (which He has), then I have His Spirit living in me! I just have to choose to walk in Him, rather than live according to my fleshly desires or in some cases, tendencies (like the tendency to raise my voice when I’m up to here *hand above my head* in stress).  And I’ve found some practical ways that help me walk in Him daily. 

The first is prayer! We underestimate the power of prayer far too often!  I was just talking the other day with my friend, Katie (who is also one who encouraged me to start this blog -- she also has a great blog), about how prayer really makes a difference.  She shared how He has been answering her prayers, big and small, and making her prayer life stronger.  Friends, He wants for us to cry out to Him, thanking Him for His love and goodness.  He wants us to relinquish our control and recognize that without His power in our life, we will fail.  He wants us to express our needs and longings to Him.  We tell our best friends and spouses what we’re going through.  And y’all, he’s the best friend we’re ever going to have!! Think about that.  If that doesn’t get you fired up, I don’t know what will!

Just this week, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time praying for my children throughout the day as I think of them.  Just this one act of obedience has helped me.  It doesn’t necessarily mean the kids act better (although it can, just not in my case yet).  But it does mean that I no longer get impatient and stressed when dealing with them! The prayer changes me.  It aligns my heart and perspective with the Father’s! Prayer makes all the difference in the world! It is walking in the Spirit.  For me, prayer helps me to see things outside of the box, like I’m looking in on the situation.  It’s like I can see myself in the moment on the verge of a choice to do it His way or my way.  And when I’ve prayed, my heart is softened to His way. 

Another huge way I’m able to walk in the Spirit is reading the bible at least a few minutes each morning.  The encouragement and LIFE that I gain from reading His words to me are irreplaceable.  You’d be surprised at how just being obedient in reading His word, He will pinpoint your situation or struggles that you’re going through at that moment and offer His way, His encouragement.  It’s supernatural and amazing the way He works!! 

Friends, I pray that as you read through Galatians 5 and all of the living Word of God, that He speaks to you in a fresh way.  Be encouraged and challenged to walk in His Spirit every day!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My first-ever blog entry

Hi y’all.  My husband encouraged me to write a blog (as I feel inspired) to keep people informed about things going on in my life.  It’s not all about the music! Of course you hear a lot from me about my love for music and worship ministry.  Christ has given me a passion for Him that I express through worship in song.  But He is involved in my daily life and speaking to me in lots of ways, not just music.  This blog is a way to express and share in addition to the music. 

This first entry is an introduction of sorts.  You’ll quickly see that besides Christ, my family means the world to me! It seems fitting to introduce you to them and let you in on their stories, since you’ll hear me talk about them often.  So let’s meet my husband and my four children (three boys and one girl).

My husband’s name is James, and he and I have been together for 15 years and married for 9 of those years.  I married my best friend and love of my life.  It’s crazy how fast the time flies! He's truly a treasure.  He is a godly man who loves the Lord first and most and then loves me with all of his heart.  I know he would do anything for me.  We have a very neat and special story of how we met and fell in love that I may get around to sharing at some point. 

About my kids:
I have a five-month-old baby girl, who is the crown jewel of our little family of six! I have a whole story behind finding out she was a girl! I won’t give all those details now, but you can imagine that after three boys, we were delighted to hear that she was in fact a ‘she!’ She’s a perfect little princess, full of glowing smiles and expressions.  I can already tell she’s going to be one of my best friends because she loves my attention.  It’s not good enough to be holding her.  She wants to be turned toward me, looking at my face and being talked to.  She already puts her little hands around my neck and pulls me in to her so she can give me big kisses and squeals in excitement when she’s near me.  Oh, I’m in love!! Knowing this is my last baby, I’m trying to really soak in every moment of every precious stage with her. 

And my three year old!! He is a bundle of wild energy.  He has a sweet, tender heart and a certain zeal for life.  He’s strong, fearless, and oh so curious!  More on the fearless part … we call him our little monkey because he’s always climbing and jumping off of whatever he can find.  The thrill of adventure is apparent! He’s the one who we have to constantly say, “don’t run! Walk, buddy.”  He also asks lots of questions all day long and touches everything in sight!  He has fun and enjoys every minute.  But his curiosity and energy definitely get him into trouble at times!

My seven year old is very bright, smart, witty, bold and a definite leader.  He and my three year old share a lot of the same characteristics.  He was also a very curious toddler, full of energy and life! He’s very outgoing and social, never meeting a stranger.  He enjoys reciting scripture for people.  At four years old, he was already on stage in front of the church saying his favorite bible passages from memory.  He says he wants to be a messenger of God when he grows up.  We tell him he already is!

And my five year old … he is a character.  He was a more calm and laid back baby, but in keeping up with his older brother, he has definitely come out of his shell and amped up the energy level! He adores all of his siblings, especially his big brother and wants to be like him. He loves to sing.  He says he wants to be a messenger of God that sings.  This makes my heart smile.  He loves animals and nature, especially bugs! He has a compassionate heart, full of love and care for those special to him.  He’s always asking about people’s knowledge of God.  He’ll say, “Momma, does that lady know about God? Does she know Jesus?” And he gets a little agitated if a song isn’t about or for God!

I’m also very close to my other family members.  You’ll hear (or read) about them too along the way.  They’re so woven into my life and heartstrings. 

Relationships are far more valuable than any thing I’ll ever possess.  I cherish all of those God has put in my life.  We can’t take our ‘things’ with us when we leave this earth, but those spiritual connections will live on through eternity! I’m a richly blessed girl, and I give all the glory to the Lord.