Triggered

Until very recently, I have only used or heard the word triggered used a handful of times in my life. My middle daughter has a knack for finding a word she likes and using it FOR everything.  Triggered is one such word. This word comes out of her mouth numerous times a day in all kinds of different situations.

In my walk with Jesus I have found that the Lord often uses crazy things like a simple word to teach me something.  Does this happen to anyone else?

So this word; triggered.  In this context, I’m referring to anything that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction.  By that definition, I was triggered this week.

I have been studying the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit.  My heart’s desire is to function more in the Spirit than in the flesh so I was soaking it all up. I took copious notes so I could spend more time pondering the fact that the flesh is my default mode of operation but I can daily choose to allow the Holy Spirit to change that default setting and empower me to live in victory.  I get excited thinking about the fact that I was created by God to operate under the power of the Holy Spirit. But I’m also painfully aware that my fallen flesh is always present.

Galatians 5 gives a solemn look at what operating in the flesh looks like and I want NOTHING to do with it.

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,  envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.”  Galatians 5:19-21 

Doesn’t the world and particularly our society have enough of this? Aren’t we called as followers of Jesus to be a light in this very dark world?  How can I be a light if I choose to function in the same way?

Praise Jesus, then God!  While that may be my default mode of operation it doesn’t have to be WHO I am.  When I make that daily choice allow the Holy Spirit to be my helper, He “produces this kind of fruit in (my life): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

I know I often get overly excited…but, I LOVE THIS!  Not only is that exactly who I want to be, but the amazing thing about walking with Jesus is the heavy lifting falls on him, not me.

In Romans, Paul talks about not understanding why he does the things he does.  He has a desire to do one thing (Spirit things) but he ends up doing what he hates (flesh things.) He’s triggered. Man, I can relate to this!  I do not have the power to make my flesh get in line, but I know who does: Jesus. It’s not a matter of willpower but His power in me.  Thank you Jesus!

I love what Jimmy Evans says here in the 21 day Inner Healing Journey,

“To be emotionally healed and healthy we must understand the nature of our flesh and it’s negative potential in our lives everyday. Every morning when we wake up we must reject the default settings of living by our fallen nature and decide to walk by the Spirit. This occurs as we acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives, acknowledge our sin nature and ask for help both generally and specifically for each challenge we face.”

Are you wondering what all this has to do with being triggered?  Well, almost as soon as I was done studying this flesh vs. Spirit thing I was challenged to put it into practice.  Sadly, I failed because I was triggered. I desperately want to be a person who can respond in the Spirit all the time but my wounds got in the way and  in that moment they fueled my flesh in the wrong way. It’s happens to the best of us.

Thankfully, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to and I’m much more quick to recognize my failures.  I have learned to acknowledge it, ask for help and move on.  Seems simple enough, right?  This time, yes! But that hasn’t always been the case. For me, it’s been a lengthy process of allowing the Lord to deal with my wounds so I don’t live in a constant state of being triggered.  I believe it is a process that will continue until I get to heaven. The beauty here is that each time I fail, own it, ask for help and move on I inch a little closer to being like Jesus.  And that is my ultimate goal!

Can you relate to Paul and myself?  Do you find yourself doing the things you don’t want to do? Do you find yourself asking over and over for God to fix same things in you?  Are you able to recognize your triggers?  If so, you’re not alone!

I found this verse to be encouraging today.  My prayer is that you will as well. The answer is the Power of Jesus in us!

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”                             2 Chronicles 20:17

 

 

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Working through Setbacks

I’d like to say “Thank you” to Dr. King.  I believe Jesus was about equality for all people and in that way you did Kingdom work.  Thank you for all you contributed to our country as well as the extra day to take a break from school.

I love homeschooling so much and one of the things I love the most is being able to let my kids dictate, somewhat, when to take a day off.  My youngest decided today would be a good day since everyone else is off too.  So that means mom get a day off too.  Woohoo!

Truthfully, I have a limited understanding of the life of MLK.  I know the basics and those facts confirm that he had many setbacks in life.  He wouldn’t have made the kind of impact he did if he’d let those setbacks cause him to give up.  I believe there is something here that we can apply to our spiritual lives.

The message I hear the Lord speaking to me today is: Don’t give up!

I have had a setback.  They happen.  Even when we seek Jesus with everything we have. Even when feel like we’re cruising along just peachy.  They can come out of nowhere and knock us down.  But no matter how surprised we are by the setback, Jesus is NEVER surprised.  He’s always present with us and He has a Sovereign understanding of the every situation.

Saturday night I went to church with my parents.  The message was on the rebuilding of the wall in Nehemiah 4.  In the points I took from the message, I hear Jesus whispering, “I’m here, I’m working even in the setback.  Don’t give up just because your perception is clouding the progress you are making.  Don’t devalue what I’m doing just because you haven’t reached the place I am taking you. Sit in this moment with me. I can use this for your benefit.  Don’t quit.”

Then in His word he says this; “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:4

My heart so desires to bear lots fruit.  I have a solid understanding that apart from Him I really can do nothing.  But it’s just so hard sometimes and I’m often inpatient.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8  Thank you Father that all of your instruction comes with your loving eye on me.

Much like Pastor Gary mentioned yesterday, the Spirit is always working on our behalf.  I can see Him at work here.  In the midst of my setback, He is lovingly reassuring me He is present, guiding me in the way He wants me to go.

It’s pretty black and white. I don’t have a choice.  I can’t give up. Instead I have to find Him in the waiting. I have to trust that He IS working through the setbacks.

 

 

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Making Way For Ministry

Lately, the Lord has been speaking to me about ministry…a lot. This last week I had the privilege to do “ministry” in several different settings.  One day it was catching up with my team and then going to someone in need and ministering the presence of Jesus. It was powerful and it left me so overflowing with the awesomeness of Jesus that the people I worked with that night could tell something was up.

The next day I had my first women’s group at my house.  Such a seriously difficult and awkward thing for me. But because of Jesus I have only excitement about it.  All the expectation is on him.  I just said yes.  The group didn’t really go the way I saw it going in my head but I am completely confident that God will work through everything I see as a failure.  I know it because I’ve seen it over and over. The outcome was again a spiritual high that translated into some much needed downtime.

And then there was Sunday.  Pastor Gary brought it.  His message was on healing.  What the what?  There is no denying that this is a God thing.  He’s doing something…something in the way of healing.  For me, it was effortless to hear God’s voice and respond.  Again, IT WAS POWERFUL!  I was so filled with the presence of Jesus that when a flaming arrow was launched at me, my shield of faith was easily able to extinguish it.  Ephesians 6:16

I want more days like this.  I want to be about my father’s business. ALL THE TIME!  The Lord is showing me that my hearts desire is to be in full-time ministry.  Silly me, I had my own idea of what that would look like and when it would start.  I was thinking it could be my only paid job and I could see it happening 10 years or so down the road.

As I examine the last few days, I hear the Lord whispering that this is what He thinks it look like.  Making space in my life to minister to those around me, whether it’s at home, at work, in the grocery store, at school and so on and so on. It’s being in community with people and taking the time to know who people are and where they are at. It’s responding when Jesus says, “there’s someone who needs to experience Me.” Lots of people in my life experience Jesus simply by a big smile and a hot cup of coffee.  Others, an occasional lunch and a few hours to commiserate or a walk and encouraging conversation. Then there are those that God has said, these are the people I’ve put in your life to really invest in.  That is anyone who walks through the doors of my home (and now I know why Jesus told me to have the group in my home.) That is full time ministry and I am committing to making way for more of it in 2017.

 

 

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His Plans

Proverbs 16:9  NLT   We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

If you know me, you know I am a recovering control freak.  Control has been my drug of choice for a very long time.  Thankfully, I can say I’m recovering because as much as I have a need to control things, Jesus has set my free!  I much prefer walking in freedom so I do everything I can to stay focused on Him so I don’t fall back into my old controlling ways.

Today, control has been rearing it’s ugly head from the moment I woke up.  But praise Jesus!  Because today, I am not letting control win. Today, I had plans but I stayed open the steps God laid out for me. I am however asking the Lord to cause the ministry time I had this morning to have the same effect on my physical body as the yoga class I missed.  He is, however, able to do ALL things. 🙂

Here’s what I mean: instead of doing yoga today, as I had originally planned, I had the privilege of doing ministry with a dear friend of mine.  She is struggling; because here’s a stupid truth – just because we follow Jesus doesn’t mean we don’t have struggles.  Sometimes those struggle threaten to take us out.  I’v had a lot of struggles that have almost taken me out. Currently, I am walking with several friends who are experiencing the same.  It’s stupid. Seriously.  But God wastes nothing and what I have learned through my struggles is priceless simply because it has produced a depth of relationship with Jesus that is radically changing me.

I am so very thankful for the women God has put in my life to make this faith walk with me.  Some of them are friends I will have for a lifetime, some of them are only for a season but each of them has held my hand and walked with me through really hard stuff.  They helped me find the Joy of the Lord and a Peace that surpasses my understanding simply by pointing me to Jesus.  My life is not without struggles.  Life is hard people!! But Jesus is freaking A-MAZING!

Will you join me in being willing to let Jesus interrupt our well devised plans?  I promise the result will be 100% worth it.  What do you need Jesus to do for you today?  My heart is to always be someone who is willing to go where ever Jesus says to go and I’d love it if you came along. It will be an adventure for sure.

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Saying “yes”

Ecc 3:11   He has made everything beautiful in his time.

Psalm 62:8 Trust him at all times, pour out your heart to him for God is our refuge.

Phil 4:7  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

I love what the Lord is speaking to me through His word today. This morning I got a text from my friend that her son is back in the hospital and they’re waiting to find out if the cancer has spread.  My heart is weary today. I could easily focus on my fear  but God lovingly reminds me of His truth in Ecc.  I know this truth.  I’ve seen it in my life.  When I look at my life I see so much tragedy made beautiful because of Jesus. Most recently, I’ve been examining my marriage and the years of hurt I’ve accumulated. Much like my childhood, all I see right now is the hurt and pain, the stolen moments and disappointments.  As I trust Jesus and pour out my heart to him, He meets me in that hurt and I find refuge in Him. My heart understands the peace that Paul talks about in Philippians.

As I prepare to say “yes” to Jesus again and lead this group in my home, I know that it’s not always going to be easy. But, the process will take me deeper with my Savior and the end result will be something beautiful.  My prayer is that Jesus would be in control and lead us where ever he desires each of us to go.  It will be a personal journey but we will make it together. So join us as we seek to say “yes” to what Jesus is doing.

 

 

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Gingerbread Houses

Making gingerbread houses is one of my favorite holiday traditions. We’ve been making them for several years now and I think I have as much fun with is as my kids. This year we are doing another “semi”-annual gingerbread making party with around 30 or more of our closest friends. I say “semi” because even though our family makes them every year we only throw a party every other year.

Since I’ve been making the gingerbread from scratch for so many years I have it down to a T. However, it occurred to me that many of our friends cannot say the same. So for any of your interested in  step-by-step directions and a few tips & tricks I’ve learned along the way, read on.

This recipe works great because you don’t need to refrigerate it and it actually works better when it is a little bit warm.

Start here:

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1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 cup light/dark corn syrup or molasses.

I like to use a combination of the corn syrup and molasses for a nice dark color. Corn syrup is cheaper than molasses which is why I like to combine them. If you plan on eating your houses (which we NEVER do) you would want to use just molasses for the best taste.

Combine above ingredients in pan and melt over LOW heat.

You want to melt it altogether but not let it get too hot and start cooking the sugar. It will take a while but works much better if it doesn’t get too hot.

Once it’s all melted together, remove from heat and stir in:

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

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Now to stir in the flour.  The easiest way to do it is transfer everything to a stand mixer. You need to add 4-4 1/2 cups of flour, one cup at a time.  By the time you get to the 4th cup the dough can be very stiff so a stand mixer is so helpful.

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Making sure you have enough flour is key.  The dough should be very stiff and not stick to your hand at all.

Now you are ready to roll out the dough.  I’ve found the easiest way to do this is tape parchment paper to your counter top. When rolling the dough out it will stick to everything.  I like to start with a floured surface, roll it out to about a 1/2 inch, then roll the dough up on my rolling pin and add some more flour, and then continue rolling it out.  The dough can be rolled fairly thin since it will bulk up a bit when it bakes.  Once you’ve got it rolled out you can take your pattern pieces (printed on cardstock) and, using a sharp knife, begin to cut out the pieces.  If your dough becomes too dry you may need to heat it up again.  You can put it in the microwave for 10 seconds or so. Although, I have never done that.  Since I do not have a microwave I like to wrap the part I’m not using in foil and place it on the stove top of my warm oven.  That works well for keeping the dough soft and pliable.

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Move pieces to a baking sheet, either lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 6-12 minutes.

Cool pieces for several minutes on baking sheet after removing from oven so the pieces have time to harden and don’t become to misshapen.

Each recipe typically makes 4 houses for me depending on how thin I roll it out.

 

Good luck.  Hopefully, you have fun making the pieces and are able to join us to assemble them and decorate them.  Looking forward to it.

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Way too long

It has been forever since I posted anything.  Blogging makes my list of things to do around # 249 or so and since I only get to about 6 or 7 things a day, it never gets done.  However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think about blogging.  I have several things I have done recently that would make great posts but with my lack of time and battling my kids for the computer it just doesn’t get done.  This afternoon something I consider to be extraordinary happened and I have to share.

I made a comment to Lexi that my head hurt.  Without even a thought she said, “Can I pray for you?”  My heart skipped a beat and as she prayed for me I nearly lost it.  My heart was overwhelmed with emotions. I was thankful God has given me the opportunity and privilege of being home with my kids and raising/teaching them in the way God desires. I felt so much joy that her response to the situation was to give it to God. 

Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way (s)he should go and when (s)he is old (s)he will not turn from it. This was the verse God laid on my heart. What God has called me to as a mother & a teacher is so very hard sometimes.  But like everything else it has up and downs. Today was a new high for me.  Through my little Lexi, God revealed that my obedience is producing true Godly character in my children.  And for that it is all worth it.

I tried to share this precious moment on facebook but I was told the content was considered abusive. WHAT? How can that be?  But at least I am able to share it here. 

I will try harder to be at least a little more consistant in posting.  Until next time……

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