Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Than Just a Journal

More times than I can count over the years, my journal has been my lifeline.  It's been my safe place to go when I need to vent, when life just seems to be more than I can handle, or when I face battles that I feel like I can never win.  For most of that time, I looked at my journal as just a journal.  Latley, God has shown me that it is so much more.

I love the book of Joshua, and one of my favorite things about it is the focus on remembering what God has done and teaching our children.  In Joshua 4, Joshua commands the men of Israel to build a memorial.  Verses 6-7 say,
6) "Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?' 7) then you shall say to them, 'Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.' So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever." I don't have a memorial made of stones, but I do have one made of paper.  My journal holds the records of my struggles and my victories.  One day, my children and grandchildren can look back and see how God worked in my life, and in their lives when they were young.  They can see that God is faithful, that He keeps His promises, and that He is with us in every moment.

My journal is like the book of remembrance in Malachi 3...
16) Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. Keeping a journal may seem like just one more thing on your to-do list, but for me, it's added so much depth to my quiet times.  It can be a notebook (like mine), a scrapbook, a blog, an art journal, or anything else you want it to be.  Get creative, start writing, and watch God use that time to grow your faith as you remember all that He has done.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When I Need Grace

I really messed up the other day.  I was tired.  I was trying to focus on college work.  The boys were hyped up from a church event.  I was trying to get them to bed, but they would have no part of it - they were running, yelling, and laughing.  To top it all off, our almost 13 year old Yorkie walked into the living room and decided to take a potty break on our area rug.

I lost it.  It was ugly.  I  was ugly.  I yelled at the dog.  I got mad.  I yelled at the kids, who were defending the dog.  ("Mom, she's old - she can't help it.")  The kids were crying.  The dog was hiding.  I was on my knees at 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night with Resolve and a rag, scrubbing pee stains out of our rug.

I never knew that scrubbing a rug could bring so much clarity.  It didn't take me long to realize that I had really messed up.  I needed grace, and I needed it bad.  I told God I was sorry.  I told the kids I was sorry and asked for their forgiveness, which they were quick to give.  I cuddled the dog and told her "sins forgiven."  (Yes, that's what we have to tell her when she's no longer in can tell she's a preacher's dog.)

I'm thankful that God's grace comes so quickly.  I'm glad He doesn't give me what I deserve.  I'm amazed that He sees through my faults and loves me in spite of them...and trust me, there are a lot of them.  I'll never understand it, but I'm so grateful for it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Major Stress = Epic Fail

It's been a stressful few days, and I have the empty box of Little Debbie cakes in the pantry to prove it.  Its time for this fitness trainer (who knows better) to come clean - yes, I'm a stress eater, and I know my Lean Cuisine meals and Diet Dr. Pepper's aren't doing doing any good if I have a Swiss roll for desert.  I didn't work out this past week either - between my busy schedule and my hubby and kids all being sick, it just didn't happen.
That's not my only failure of the past two weeks.  The first round of major tests and assignments came around last week st school - the same week we opened our gym in its new location and had tons of new members coming in.  It was an extremely successful week, but it left me exhausted and cranky.  Last night found me yelling at the dog after she had an accident on the rug, and at the kids, who defended her.  (Mitsy is about to turn 13 and is almost totally deaf, so she probably didn't even hear me.)
Let's tack on one last thing...I only read my Bible one day last week.  I'm now desperately playing catch-up on my one year Bible reading plan. 
So, in many ways, last week was great, but in many ways, it was an epic fail.  I need grace.  I need it desperately.  I need to make major changes this week.  Here are my goals:
1. Keep a food journal and stick to 1,600 calories a day.
2. Read my Bible daily.  If I don't have time to read much, I'll grab my copy of "Jesus Calling."
3. Have more patience at home.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another Wild Week

It's been another wild week, including lot of adventure like the lightning strike at our church this weekend, which knocked out our internet - and my blogging for a few days.  I missed "Multitudes on Mondays" this week, so you'll get a double dose of what I'm grateful this Monday. 

I've got so many ideas and plans for Grace in Our Moments.  I can't wait to share them all with you!  In case you haven't noticed on Twitter, I'm also changing my the end of this month, I'll make the permanent move from @amandablogs to @graceourmoments.  I'd love for you to make the switch and follow me at my new Twitter home.

I'm finishing out the week with another test (woo hoo for an 87 on my pathology test earlier this week!) and work on some major projects, but look for more from me this weekend.

Friday, February 3, 2012

When God Wraps You in His Arms

Its been a really, really bad of those where you breathe a sigh of relief and send up a prayer of thanks that its over.  One thing after another has happened - exhausting days, being forced to give one of patients (who I have to find myself) to another student, issues at work (not me personally but dealing with issues others are having), a disagreement with a teacher (who also happens to be my advisor), arguments with people close to me, and even making a member from another gym location mad at me with a simple request.  Yeah, its been that kind of week.  One day I cried all the way home from class.

God amazed me this week, though.  He wrapped His arms around me and never let go.  He showered me with simple graces that let me know He's with me.  On Wednesday (the worst day of the week) I got this devotional in my email: - I cried when I read it, because it was as if God sent it just for me.  My favorite songs would come on the radio just when I needed them, like the morning I felt so down on myself and Franchesca Battestelli's song "Beautiful, Beautiful" came on.  If you've never heard it, it starts with, "I don't know how it is you looked at me, and saw the person that I could be..."

God's love amazes me.  I am so insignificant, yet the God who created the universe loves me enough to reach out and comfort me during a bad week.  He loves me enough to send me a devotional filled with Scriptures telling me that He's with me, like Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."  (That entire list of verses is now printed and placed on the front of my college binder.)  He's always with me, but He wrapped His arms extra-tight around me this week, and I'm so glad He did.