What is Holy Spirit asking you to do during the every day?
During what we would think is mundane?
I assure you it doesn't have to be mundane anymore. :)
I am sharing with you a personal victory for me.
I share because I want you to know that the battle of flesh and spirit is just as real in me as it is in you...
I am not sharing this to 'toot my horn' but as a testament to the power and strength that Jesus put in me to do what He was asking me to do...
...because to be quite honest, I didn't want to do it:
This morning started like most. Coffee perking, breakfast smelling amazing as the canadian bacon popped..waiting to be nestled between the egg and bread...YUM. And then the not so fun...the battle to put down my phone to keep distractions from taking up all my Jesus time. Time to spend with Father and read His Word. I had just finished reading 1 Thessalonians and went on my run. Meditating on the end of the book where Paul gives instructions on how Christians should conduct themselves. Listening to Kim Walker's peppy song "Dance" to keep me paced at a rough 12 min mile.
And then I see him...
A man walking with a white cane in front of him. Slender rod swinging side to side.
I was just minding my own business when the intrusive thought came...
...the Holy Spirit thought...
...the thought that WAS NOT my own...
"You should pray for that man."
I get these thoughts more often than I would like to admit.
Admitting to these thoughts would also cause me to confess my response to said thoughts:
The thought to pray for the woman in front of me in line at the grocery store...she needs financial breakthrough. I wrestle the thought. She pays. I pay. As I walk behind her with my kitty litter, 25 lbs heavy, I use the excuse that I really need to get home and clean out the cat box.
The thought to minister to the woman with the brace on her arm at the craft store.
I ignore it as it interrupts my creative flow.
The thought to turn around and give the lady and her small child a ride to wherever they need to go.
But I'll be late...
So, I slow my pace with the pondering of the thought.
"You should pray for that man."
A blind man???? REALLY GOD?!?!!!
That's the stuff that Jesus did...oh wait. Jesus said that I could do greater...
But what if he doesn't get healed?
But what if he does?
But what if he thinks I am an impostor and hurts me trying to protect himself?
But what if I make a new friend and bring someone else into the Kingdom?
The 'what ifs' toss around my soul. My spirit is willing. My flesh is weak.
The saying NO to the spirit of the fear of man, the vulnerability, the complete humility that is going to have to take place...
Jesus help me. I know you want me to do this but you're GOING TO HAVE TO HELP ME.
The inner war between spirit and flesh is ripping and tearing for a violent three tenths of a mile and then it happened.
Jesus gave me a strength that I did not posses and replaced all the "What ifs" with a big FAT
I walk slowly, approaching him cautiously as I do not want to alarm him.
I say, "Excuse me, sir?"
He keeps walking. I raise my voice a bit louder.
"Sir? Excuse me, sir???"
The pendulum stick continues. Not a hesitation. Not a head turn.
Maybe he's ignoring me? Maybe he feels threatened and thinks I will go away if he doesn't respond?
I pray for him as I walk behind him. Ok! That's not so bad. Maybe I can get away with just this.
NO!!! I must obey COMPLETELY. He needs to know that he is being prayed for.
There is a bus stop ahead. I bet he's going there. I see another gentlemen at the stop and I carefully walk around the blind man and run to the stop quite a bit ahead. I ask the man at the bus stop if he waits with the blind man every day and he informs me that he doesn't. I say, "I don't know if he can hear me. I want to pray for him but I can't get his attention." Then bubbling up.. "Do you know Jesus?" He replied with a sincerity that he didn't and then the blind man approaches the stop.
He looks at me...but I don't know if he's really looking at me or if he just sees a figure. I wave really big to him with a big smile. He looks confused. I say, "Hi." And wave again. He waves back with a smile and no words. The nerves catch up and I'm shaking. I say, pointing to my ears, "Can you hear me?" He shook his head, "no." I make the sign for "sign language" and did some letters and he shakes his head, "no."
So basically, I have a legally blind man that can't hear or communicate with me. Awesome.
The spirit says, "The love of Christ is more than enough."
By this time there are 4 more people at the bus stop and my flesh is REALLY getting uncomfortable.
But I must obey completely.
I look to him with kindness and with simple gestures, I point to myself, put my hands together bowing my head and then point to him. He doesn't understand. I do it a couple more times and then I added a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
He gives me a thumbs up but still looks somewhat confused and so I put my hand gently on his shoulder and start praying for him. I KNOW the Holy Spirit was there and it was a quick prayer...the city bus was approaching...but I feel like he felt the love of Christ. I held my arms out like I wanted to give him a hug and he, with uncertainty, let me hug him. I waved "bye" and ran off.
Now here'e the crazy part...not even a millisecond after I feel the warmth of Father's heart in obeying what He wanted me to do...IMMEDIATELY. And I mean IMMEDIATELY the enemy tried to come into my thoughts and tell me that I did it all wrong and that God didn't show up because there was not a manifestation.
Immediately he tried to tell me that I didn't do enough...that I should have shared the gospel with the other man too.
Isn't it interesting that the devil is agreeable with such things when it benefits him in bringing shame, guilt and condemnation on me and you...huh.
But! Thank you Jesus for your spirit in helping me not entertain those thoughts and telling him to shut up.
I obeyed and Jesus was with me giving me strength through it all.
And you know what? I feel GREAT! I feel such a freedom and victory from this morning! But it's not over. I believe that I am supposed to write to the man in BIG letters and give him the letter tomorrow. I think he may be able to read and write and so that is how we may be able to communicate.
I don't know if his ears and eyes opened up on the way to his destination.
I don't know if the man I asked about Jesus would be pondering that question all day.
I don't know. And I don't have to know. All I am required to do is obey.
I hope this encourages you to not brush off those intrusive thoughts.
Those thoughts that are going to war against what feels comfortable.
Because those thoughts are really the voice of Jesus saying, "...this is the way, walk in it."
"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."
I sip my coffee. Reflect on passages in Acts. Birds eager to begin the day greet morning light in song.
What if we humans did this?
What if before our day even began, we sang out melodies of thanks...even if it was just thanks of the gift of a new start?
I know why I haven't. I haven't because of thoughts that I LET myself focus too much on:
~what I have to get done~
~how much I have to get done~
~what little time I have to get it all done in~
Like clanging cymbals over a serene string quartet, the thoughts I LET overwhelm me, drowned out any song I had in my heart.
As I am learning, moment by moment, to stop listening to the chaos loud drums called 'overwhelming thoughts,' my ear is being tuned to hear the sweet harmonies...
There IS a song in my heart and HE GAVE it to me.
He gave you a song too. Be still and listen. There is a beautiful and good Composer behind those runs and trills.
The key to knowing this good Composer is being still enough, quiet enough, to hear His song played over you.
When you hear it, sing it back to Him...because it was His to begin with.
This is where joy rests...
The Song of Moses:
Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth. “Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, As the droplets on the fresh grass And as the showers on the herb. “For I proclaim the name of the Lord; Ascribe greatness to our God! “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He...
And all of these roots have borne the fruit of anger in my life over a long period of time.
It started about the time I stopped...
Stopped taking the time to pause and share what new treasures I had found at a thrift store. Stopped taking the time to share funny moments like making a birthday cake with a concussion. Stopped taking the time to be thankful for the little things.
Interestingly, it started about the time I stopped sharing here...in this matrix of numbers and letters I call my blog.
And then something so sweet happened. Holy Spirit woke me up. He extended His hand to me as a wallowed and flailed in my own muck. He led me to a book someone gave me a couple of years ago. A book that I had picked up and lost interest in quickly...probably because it wasn't the right time for me to read it. He led me to this book and I am DRINKING up every word droplet. My carelessness in keeping the art of thanks has left me parched and wanting.
I am thankful to my sweet friend Terri for obeying the voice of the Lord in giving me this book.
That time when I have to rip out my heart from my chest, lay it aside and ignore the attachments I have to every single piece of paper my children have touched.
It's portfolio time.
Yep, as a homeschool mommy, I have lots and LOTS of papers. Completed schoolwork, handwriting practice, drawings, paintings the kids did on their own accord. If I didn't make myself have a heart of stone and throw some of it out, I would drown in paper.
So, once a year I get a 1 1/2 inch binder, sheet protectors and go through the years work. I pick out the good days we had...and the not so good. We like to keep it real around here. When I get to the artwork, that's when I grab the tissues and my camera. I justify being able to throw away anything that doesn't make it into the binder by taking a picture of it. I know. It's pathetic.
After it's all nice and neat I find a picture I LOVE of my boys from that year, print it out and slap it in the front of the binder and there ya go! Portfolio (aka PROOF) that we completed another year of homeschool!!! :)
Here's the photos I used for their 1st and 2nd grade binders:
Aren't they just the cutest?!?!?!
Not only does this serve a way to organize, but it's so sweet to watch the boys go through their binders and see the progression of what they have learned. They truly enjoy looking through the binders from years past. They ask me to get them down at least twice a year.
So to conclude this post, I wanted to share the pictures of the portfolios I did for the boys' kindergarten and 1st grade. I actually took these photos many moons ago - October of 2011 to be exact. I was INTENDING to write a post about how I do these binders back then but got caught up in life. So here they are now. I hope this helps some of y'all organize the paper waves we homeschool mamma's get every year.
I have been waiting for the perfect time to be able to collect my thoughts, organize and write them down...
...well, it seems there will never be the "perfect time" to sit down, reflect and write out my thoughts here. Truth is...time must be made. That is what I hope to do more here in the future. I think it actually might be therapeutic.
To catch up, here is what my life has consisted of the past year... almost 2 years...in bullet form for ease:
* transitioned and finally planted in a wonderful church family
*homeschool...goin' sometimes not steady, but strong
*accepted the honor of becoming Kingdom Life Fellowship's
Director of Worship Culture
*Dave accepted the honor of being KLF's youth pastor
*closed my photography business for a season
*opened photography business on a MUCH smaller scale
*recently lost 25 lbs
*started running again (training for my first 5K)
*started kettlebell workouts
*trying to do fun improvements to the house
*completed Dave Ramsey's FPU
*ate fried pickles for the first time...and LIKED it
Lots of life has been happening at the Brown home...some overwhelming...some fun...all of it welcomed. We are growing more than ever where we are now and are so thankful for this season God has us in. I don't know if anyone actually reads this thing, but I am sorry for being absent for so long. I hope to keep going...I think it will be good.
As I type, I hear the laughter of my boys playing with the water hose in the back yard. I am trying to start letting go of my compulsive tendencies to keep everything "perfect" and let them be boys. Let go of the reigns and start letting them make choices...make mistakes...and learn from them. Little stuff now, nothing crazy...but Lord help me...
...I'm sure a mud pit will develop shortly...
Love to you all, and believing that you are finding rest in HIM...
I'm inserting the "homeschool kick-off" photos and journaling in my scrapbook...I thought I would share my journaling here :)
Of course...with pictures.
September 19, 2011
It was time for me to get back into a routine for the kid’s homeschooling. We had enjoyed our summer and literally were cramming all the previous years curriculum in so we wouldn’t start too late for their 1st and 2nd grades. I decided to make it fun by having a “back to school kickoff” - going to Chick-fil-A for breakfast and then to Starbucks so I could indulge on a Pumpkin Spice Latte while the kiddos journaled and I looked over what was ahead in our Konos curriculum.
The kids brought their freshly filled pencil boxes and new journals along. I guess one can tell that Mamma had alot of influence on the design of their journals. They truly did have fun painting the cover and picking out their little paper pieces they wanted. Ashton and Parker had been patiently waiting to get to use their new supplies. I said that they had to finish all of last years work before enjoying the new stuff so they were definitely excited to start the new year! This year, I splurged and let the boys get these nifty twist up crayons. They were a few dollars more, but honestly I think it’s worth not having crayon wax all over my floors this year :) Plus, how much fun do these crayons look! I love how you can kind of see through the barrels to each color! I’m always a sucker for office supplies though...
After the boys sipped up their last bit of chocolate milk in their kid sized Starbucks cups, they started on their journaling...I love allowing my kids to be able to express themselves however they want to in their journals everyday. It’s such a great start to the day, plus I usually get a good laugh to start out most mornings. Today, they journaled Target, since that’s where we were. It was so sweet to watch their faces as they tried out their new crayons!
We also saw this little bird with one leg. It was such a sad sight but gave a great opportunity for me to talk to the kids about determination. Although this bird only had one leg, he was just as active as all the other birds. Of course, our pity couldn’t keep us from sharing our crumbs of biscuit. I believe the bird was happy to oblige :)
It was a fabulous morning to start off a fabulous new year of school! Parker is so excited to be in 1st grade and Ashton always welcomes new challenges. I am thankful that I can do this for my kids...it’s not always easy, but it’s times like these that I can look back to when it gets rough. I never thought I possessed the patience to do this...but for now...I’m doing just fine.