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Credit Cards and Self-Reliance

credit-cards-front-lead5(excerpt) In Psalm 20, the people are lifting up prayers of victory for King David before he enters a battle. Verse 7 highlights that David was not relying on himself for victory, but on the Lord God Almighty! As I meditated on this verse I realized that I had been putting my trust in my own might. Self-reliance was the missing piece of our financial puzzle as I questioned God for His lack of visibility!  I had not seen His hand in our finances because I hadn’t allowed Him room to bless me. I was too busy trusting in what I could see and feel right in front of me, which was an immensely dangerous safety net- my credit card. It was then that I repented of my wrongdoing and asked God to help me place my trust in Him to get us through that rough spot!

Click link below for full article 

http://blogs.bible.org/engage/christen_jacobs/credit_cards_and_self-reliance_

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Lessons Learned from my Back Surgery

black wonder womanThere is nothing like 2 months spent flat on your back to give you a new perspective on life. My world quickly went from vertical to horizontal in a matter of days when I discovered I had a collapsed disc in my lowest lumber. I found myself deeply impaired, lacking the ability to walk, drive, pick up my kids, cook or do much of anything else. I was stunned. My initial response to this news was to just keep pushing through. I treated my acute back pain like anything else in life: If I just give it the old college try I will eventually conquer it, right?

So that’s what I did!  I just kept trudging along waiting for deliverance from my pain but changing nothing about how I operated. I would rally my entire might to lift myself out of my car. Once I found myself upright, I would stand there with my head lifted to the sky for a moment, as if to beg God for one more ounce of strength.  For any normal woman, this would be a sign that somethings gotta give but not for me! Besides Wonder Woman had just come out and I was ready to defy the odds with sheer willpower.

Have you ever tried and tried and will power just wasn’t enough? I finally came to a point that putting one foot in front of the other was not sufficient and it was there that I broke. I was scheduled to make a presentation that morning and my only focus was to get there and make it happen. But the fatigue of chronic pain and the emotional toll of being totally helpless, finally had it’s way with me on the side of a road in South Dallas. I sat there in my car crying big ugly tears. There was a man parked in a black truck and I could tell he was looking but I didn’t care. My tears came from the depth of my soul where I usually store them away so no one can see. But this time they erupted from my hiding place and I couldn’t quite figure out how to turn off the faucet.

It was in that state that I cried out to God pleading for him to answer. It’s not that I hadn’t prayed for God to alleviate my pain before, I said my prayers and asked for relief every day, maybe even every hour. Even still, it was a passing prayer, maybe one in which I just spoke the name of Jesus as my prayer. This time I came to God exasperated from not hearing his response. I couldn’t take it any longer and the veneer of self-sufficiency that had masked my prior prayers fell off as I sat and wept that day.

Discerning the voice of God can be a tricky thing sometimes as He speaks to us in many ways and primarily through his written word. But it was this moment in that still small voice, I could hear the Lord say- “Go to the doctor RIGHT NOW, emphasis on RIGHT Now.” that was all the permission I needed to let go of the helm I was so desperately trying to steer. I crumbled like a toddler held in her father’s arms. I needed God’s approval to stop trying to fix my pain and get help. It took several days and 2 failed attempts to return to work for me to accept my superior’s approval to let go too, but I eventually got it there. From then on it was a whirlwind of diagnostic tests and appointments. Soon enough I found relief through surgery and I couldn’t be happier that I stopped when God told me to stop.

Maybe you are going through something, where you feel the weight of the world crashing down on your shoulders. Sometimes our trials feel like a boulder that we fight to push uphill; with every passing second and each slip of the foot its possible, that boulder could overpower you with its great force. We often wear our hands to the bone while making little progress. When someone steps in and says “let me help,” we cling to the success we’ve had; we point out how far we have come with the bolder and with the end in sight we feel that a victory may be cheapened by accepting a helping hand.

What I learned from my back surgery was this… accept that hand. Help does not make you weak, help signifies that you are strong enough to realize your own limitations.

 

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Depression and Spiritual Emptiness 

Recently I’ve been walking through life, through marriage,through parenting. Floating by, watching. Just a little bit empty.

I can’t place my finger on when it happened, but I feel like a slowly leaking water balloon.

I will usually just turn on Netflix to distract me from this emptiness, but even that isn’t working.

My house is dirty. I keep trying my best but it just stays that way. I’m tired so much, that I’m snapping at my husband. I am ashamed to admit it, but my tiny toddlers have become tiny terrorists to me. I don’t know what to do with them so I do what I can until it’s time to put them to bed then I don’t know what to do again.

Last night after struggling all day to align myself with the leading of the Holy Spitit I came home from another function at church. My husband was playing his game which is typically my cue to wrap myself in the cocoon of Netflix and chill…without the chill…but I just didn’t feel like it. I don’t know what I felt like doing really. TV seemed like a source of disgust. The kids were sleeping. I am weak from pregnancy so cleaning or crafting only felt like an unattainable option.

So I sat.

I had a flicker of remembrance about the divine nature that is already implanted in me even when I don’t feel like it. I remembered the words of King David “When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2) so then where is my rock? Where is my stability? Where is the living water that I can drink and thirst no more?

Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Father…

I fanatically searched for my bible which I have misplaced. If I’m honest it’s displaced due to my personal disinterest. I couldn’t find it but I didn’t give up! I grabbed my husband’s bible. Distracted and disoriented I began to read.

John 1: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God  and the Word was God.

I fell in and out of concentration and it seemed as if maybe my heart was reading but my mind was not. I was distracted. I almost gave up. I thought “why even try to read when I’m not paying attention to the words?” But my heart, itself, had taken on the race to get to the rock that is higher than I.

My soul itself yearned for the love of my life Jesus Christ as my mind struggled to catch up. I decided to let the words wash over me even halfheartedly.

I just needed to be exposed to it and let the living water touch me.

I am not fully O.K., but I am better today.

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The Lord Keeps Blessing Me Right now Oh Right Now

I usually don’t do this, but when the Lord provides its a glimpse for others who are going through!

As many young families both working in the world of non-profit money is tight!

As I am now pregnant with my 3rd child one of my needs has been maternity clothes. Honestly I think I had given most of them away lol.

I could go on and on about how God has stretched our little tight budget to graciously cover 2 cars a house 2.5 children who eat like they are grown and lots of lovely undergrad debt. But today I just want to focus on what God has done today! As in foot in the door at work and he has provided!

While maternity clothes have been an issue for some time I don’t necessarily remember formally praying about this. I know my husband and I have sat down and looked at the budget to see where we can fit in a piece here and a piece there. But I can’t say that I even uttered a request to the Lord.

Even so I walked in to work today an a sweet co-worker had two maternity dress pants on my desk. I didn’t ask her for this but she was led to do it! (Praise Dance Number One Ensues)

After catching up on emails I stroll over to our Women’s Bible Study and a sweet friend of mine hands me a bag with yet another shirt I can wear! Again she had no clue (Now initiating praise dance number 2)

While speaking with this friend another friend tells me she caught a sale and picked up two maternity dresses for me.  (Let the count down begin for praise dance number 3)

So lets just circle back and observe what happened hear: God heard my unspoken prayer that I truly wasn’t even thinking about today. I came to work and received 2 pair of pants, 1 shirt, and 2 dresses all from people who I did not ask.

So ask me again if God’s hand is over me and that her perfects all things concerning me even down to the smallest detail.

I can say nothing but sing this little song “The Lord, is blessing me, right now, oh right now.” praise

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Practicing Prayer

My husband and I pray for each other daily before we leave the house. There was a time I was ashamed by how little I prayed and the fact that this quick prayer of blessing has been the only sustainable form of devotion Matt and I share together in our 3 years of marriage. (I am just being honest what has started and stopped so many devotional helps and reading plans I cannot even begin to name them all.)

I shared this with my mentor, holding up our little 15 seconds of prayer before the Lord did not seem like enough. It is great to have powerful people who know better than you to speak into your lives… “Don’t be ashamed of your small offering to God every morning.” she said, “Take it and build on it, make it routine use it as a banner to show that you are sealing your day with the Lord, demonstrate that behavior for your children and never take it for granted.”

Sometimes the weight of not doing enough can unfairly cast a shadow over the gravity of what you are doing.

I was reminded of this, this week. I was in the middle of brushing my teeth, my husband was late to work and rushing. He came in and laid his hand on my shoulder to ask God’s blessing on my day. I hear the soft pitter patter of feet rush to our side. It was my 2 year old son reaching up his hand to join the prayer. For that brief moment toothpaste, morning coffee and Curious George playing in the background was not important. My son dropped everything because he was familiar with our routine of morning prayer. Not only could he recognize it from affair but he was eager to join it.  The guilt of insignificance was swept away, as the thought settled it, We are creating an enduring legacy of prayer.

Now for the plug 🙂  “War Room” the latest movie from the Kendrick brothers (Fireproof & Courageous) comes out today. Its all about putting prayer into practice in your life. Very dear people I know are acting in this movie so you should God see it! Matt and I were able to attend the Dallas premier and all I can say is get ready it will challenge and change you.

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/Video-Embeds/2015/August/Moviegoer-Matt-Jacobs-Reacts-to-Red-Carpet-Premiere-of-War-Room/