Heart of Esther

"And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this?" –Esther 4:14

Crying Out April 25, 2012

I know my posts have been a bit few and far between these days…

It has been difficult for me to put so much into a few words.  And there has been much that is so deep and so personal and raw, that I cannot share it, but for a couple of souls.

I was so grateful to hear from a reader-you know who you are!  🙂 You encouraged me so much and reading your post was like a glance into my own soul.

Yes, life has been a battleground lately.   I’m at that place of true forgiveness…and yet, the evil one still brings those feelings up now and again.  There are days I feel like I’m back at square one.  There are days that I feel like more than a conqueror.   Days when I am resting in His perfect peace and nothing will ripple the calm of my soul…  

Lately, there have been many days of brokenness.  Simply crying out to Him.  There have been health issues, surgeries, and obstacles that keep getting in the way of my body healing from both losses.  It feels like the storm hasn’t ended.  I have felt like the disciples on the boat, in the middle of this terrific storm…wondering why Jesus is sleeping???   My anguish echoes David in Psalms “Attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.” 

And then I realize He wants me in that place.  To understand, for His Glory, that I am desperate and helpless without Him.  There are so many walls, so many layers.  He is renewing me.  It is a time of amazing growth.  Just as I have come up for air and feel like I’ve learned and been renewed (new wine cannot be poured into old wine skins), He seems to find it perfect to teach me more-and back under I go.  A time for peeling away the old-like an onion whose outer layers need pulled away.  I have been growing and learning and deepening my relationship with Him.  

It’s been a heart-wrenching time and yet, this time has held such sweetness in it as well… 

I know why I am at this place.  I am to be in a place where I know it is only God who delivers.  I know the Lord hears my cry “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

Throughout the Word, I see time after time that there was a period when individuals or nations cried out in desperation.  Psalms is full of David’s pleas-asking the Lord if He will not turn His back on him, if He will hear his cry.  

And I feel peace because I see that time and again, the Lord did respond.  He did deliver.  He did heal.  He answered.  He restored.   

“In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”  (Psalm 18:6)
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 34:15
“I cried to the Lord with my voice and He heard me from His holy hill…O Lord my God, I cried out to You and You healed me.” Psalms 3:4, 30:2
So here I will remain-crying out to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or think.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.”

Psalm 40:1

 

DESERT SONG November 3, 2011

DESERT SONG by Hillsong United

This song has seen me through so many season in my life.  It has become a theme song for my life.  

LYRICS

Verse 1:
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

Verse 2:
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

Chorus:
And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:
And this is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on it’s way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I’ll stand

Bridge:
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve recieved I will sow

 

HE MEETS ME WHERE I AM November 2, 2011

To my harsh heart, He is soft and gentle.  He is my “enough” in my inadequacy.  His forgiveness pours into my bitterness and disappointment.  My deformities and ugliness are traded for loveliness and beauty.  He brings instant calm to the storm of anger that rages inside me.  When fear, doubt and worry swell within me, the soft wind of His Peace rushes over my soul and I know I can rest in trust.  When the enemy has stolen my joy, His laughter and joy bubble over.    He is the anchor to my double mindedness and restlessness.  It is ME who gets in the way of His nature, of the sweet flow of His Love. 

But He never punishes me for being the opposite of Him.  Instead, He constantly showers me in His grace by meeting me where I am.  He gently takes my head and turns it.  He blows His sweet Spirit on me and causes me to breathe in His goodness; His love washes over me and cleanses me from every worry, every habit, and every part of my old, dead nature and restores me.  He somehow shows me in that instant that my struggle to make myself “better” is no longer an issue when His Spirit is rising up within me. 

Often I care more about myself than those around me.  I have let bitterness and unforgiveness stifle the outpouring of His grace and mercy.  I have allowed anger to steal the soft words.  Pride has come between me and many relationships.  I stumble and fall and my pride drags me to the ground, but He will always meet me where I am.  His Love continues within ME-every moment that I allow-to pick me up where I am and bring me under His wing.

And then He makes me soar.

 

RID ME OF MYSELF

My daily journey, my struggle, is to learn not to despise when things do not work out for me-when I am hurt, or when I am in a desert place.  When life is easy, good, or moving at a busy pace; it’s harder for me to see God in the details.  I love how God is in the details. He loves details!  He shows Himself strong in the small. It’s the little things in my life where I want the big changes. I want to respond His way instead of my own.  For me, each time I’m in the process of an even deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord, He begins to reorder my life. It seems He is shifting and re-adjusting me and replacing even more of me with Him. He is also so clearly laying before me two choices in my response to happenings in my life: respond His way, or my own. I am learning not to despise the awkward or hard things because I am learning to see God in them, allowing Him to grow me.

This week has been a real challenge for me, but He is showing me He is teaching me through hard things. I don’t feel adequate. I feel helpless. I feel I am not good enough for my children, cannot meet my own expectations of myself, I’m not reaching out to others enough, not spending enough time in His Word…

In these moments, I find this is where I often grow the most.  Instead of feeling sorry or bad for myself because I lack so much, I am surrendering to Him who can do immeasurably more than I ask or think. I am totally committed to doing things HIS way. My prayer is that my heart would remain teachable through these struggles. That He would use them to show me how utterly inadequate and hopeless I am without Him!  If His Word says He uses the low things, them make me low.  If he uses the despised things, make me despised.  If he uses foolish things, then I shamelessly humble myself before Him!  I desire to live my life in full surrender of what He wants to do in it and with it.

May Romans 12: 9-21 remain on my heart:  clinging to what is good, honoring others above myself. Never lacking in zeal. Being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Blessing those who persecute me. As much as it depends on me, living at peace with everyone. Not taking revenge, but leaving judgment and revenge to the Lord who takes care of me. He is my Defender! I will not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good!

I don’t rejoice because of the struggle or because of my failures, but I rejoice that I can grow in the struggle.  That somehow in my failure, He is able to show his strength!  I want the hard things to remind me that I must never lose my zeal, or my dependence on Him. When I am in full surrender, I realize this: if I’m being challenged, it’s because I need to be!!  May my heart and will remain always bendable before Him.  May I allow Him to do His work in me.

LEAD ME TO THE CROSS

 

TRAINING CHILDREN EARLY October 31, 2011

These early years (about 1-3 years old) are essential in training our children.  You know the verse in Proverbs:  “Train a child when he is young…”  This is when they learn many boundaries. Let me reassure you from the beginning, training little ones can be exhausting!  Little ones have to be dealt with immediately because they do no remember later that they are being disciplined for what they did hours, even minutes ago. It’s always when you are in the middle of doing something else that they need correcting!  Often, I have even had to put down a nursing baby to correct a toddler!
If you’re exasperated, wait!  While training IS hard work, it is also not as hard as you think. Young children love to please. You see it on their beaming face when everyone claps for them! Praise is an important part of training. Correction, without praise when they get it right, only frustrates a child. And the Bible warns parents to not frustrate your child to anger. “Yea!! You did it!” with a smile and clapping hands and they will love to attempt a reaction such as that again! I have found that with just a couple of days of consistency and you will see results!
Teaching no, of course, comes quite easily as it seems toddlers are never too tired to explore the world around them-even it means exploring one cupboard or drawer at a time by emptying its entire contents out and somehow managing to spread it all over the house in a matter of minutes…always while you’re cleaning up…and especially if you’re expecting company! 🙂

Teaching young children to not throw tantrums or scream and cry for what they want by teaching them instead to ask for it (even if they are too young for words, it’s an opportunity to teach words and also teach them to respond in other ways, such as pointing). They are never too young to learn to respond right! One of my slow talkers could never respond to “Yes, Mommy” she could nod her head.

This age is also the perfect time for teaching little ones to help! My toddlers have always “helped” me put laundry in the machine, or fold it, even put it into their own drawers. When I dust, I often hand one of them a clean cloth and they joyfully polish the furniture alongside me. Teaching them to pick up their own toys along with you and this stage is more time-consuming (especially when you know you can do it yourself in a minutes time!), but all my children could easily manage to put their own toys in a basket (and usually they were cleaning their own rooms) by themselves before they were 3 years old. When they work alongside you, it’s an opportunity to teach them not only to do a job cheerfully and all the way, but also to spend some quality time with mom! Little ones love to help-use this to your advantage! It’s a great way of teaching the teamwork that comes from being in a family. We often say in our family “everyone in a family helps out” and “teamwork” or “many hands make light work”!  I always talk about how much we love to live in a clean house or how it makes so much less work when everyone learns to pick up after themselves.  My older ones still talk about how nice it is to live in a clean house (since they’ve heard it since they were young)!
Teach them to obey in public, as well as at home. I remember several times giving little ones “time outs” in the middle of the grocery store aisle (regardless of the stares or sometimes comments from others). Shopping with children is no small task and I felt they could easily learn to control themselves in a store as well as they knew how to at home. Stores are the hardest for parents because we feel (and are) being watched. Don’t give in just to get them to stop! Yes, its embarrassing but honestly, you’ll have many more embarrassing moments if you don’t train them now to stop!  Trust me!  It’s hard at the moment but its much more pleasant when you know you can take your children anywhere and trust their behavior when you’re there. Church is also an excellent place for them to learn self-control and how to sit quietly when needed, at least for short periods of time. Practice at home first! You can have them practice sitting next to you on the sofa or in your lap. Begin with small time periods, 5 minutes or so, then increase the time little by little.

Training your children to respond to commands such as “no” and “come here.” And please, ladies, no counting! Children should learn to respond to your request, not your threats, “1…2…I mean it!…2 ½…”
I have seen first hand how training early on makes the latter years much easier and more pleasant. When my children were trained and knew what was expected of them, instead of being irritated or tired of constant correction, I found I was able to enjoy them and the unique personalities God gave them so much more!

 

HONOR October 30, 2011

Honor one another above yourselves.”  -Romans 12:10

The other day, my husband and I overheard an advertisement for a popular “family” show on TV.  My husband commented to me, “On TV, they always have to make the Dad the idiot.”  I asked what he meant but quickly saw as in the 30 second clip of the show, the wife and the children all treated the father as if he had no clue, turning their backs on him and rolling their eyes.  Even the children were openly making fun of him.  That sparked a discussion between us and we reminisced about the older shows on TV-“Leave It To Beaver“, “My Three Sons“, “The Andy Griffith Show“.  In all of those shows, the father figure was respected and the one who gave sound advice and helped the children figure it all out in the end of the half hour.  Even the title of an older show “Father Knows Best” says it all.  Since when did our culture take a turn from viewing the husband/father with such disrespect and even disdain?

As we talked, we realized that from the time those shows were aired until now, two significant things had happened.  The first, the 10 commandments was taken out of school; reflecting the culture’s change and turn away from God and His Holy Word.  Second, the feminist movement.  The movement that said women are not only just as good as men, women are better!  The fact is, the Bible is very clear on both the male and female roles.  It is the Christian view, in fact, that always reveres women and respects men.  The Bible says that “man is not good alone”.  In the New Testament, women are to honor their husbands, but men are to treat their wives with love and even as they would themselves!  Only in cultures where the Bible is not followed are women treated as property…and worse.
I think, the demise of society and all the problems we see now (homosexuality, broken families, fatherless children, men who seek admiration outside the marriage and lead to infidelity, pornography, even the drug and prison problems) largely stem from society as a whole telling men they are not good enough, not admired, not respected, and ultimately less than women.  We have told them they must be like women to be worthy.  They must behave like women, think like women, get in touch with their emotions like women, act like women…

We wonder why they aren’t standing up and fighting for their integrity and that of their families.  We wonder why they aren’t taking spiritual leadership in their homes.  Women are taught not to respect their husbands, then wonder why men don’t respect themselves and why their children aren’t honoring them.
Raising boys, God has placed a deep purpose in my heart to show them how men really should be treated, contrary to the message culture is bombarding them with.  God made men to be the head.  To lead.  Deep in their hearts, they are warriors, wanting to fight a battle.  What battle?  Ultimately, the battle of the ages-between bad and good.  (P.S. If you’ve never read “Wild At Heart” by John Eldrigde-check it out!)  Men are made to do spiritual warfare and God made them to want to win because He wants us to conquer evil.  They are to protect and provide for their families.  They are to compete in the business or trade world.  They are to fight for the hearts of their wives and children.  They are made to do things that must be done that women cannot “emotionally” handle.
The feminist movement has changed women’s roles from being revered and treated as different because we were DIFFERENT then men, and has instead, set us up as men’s competitor-trying to battle for the head of the marriage, the children, the home, the church, the office, etc.
Our children are watching how we are treating our husbands.  Ultimately, our sons will learn how to treat their wives and our daughters will learn how to treat their husbands by our examples.  Are we respecting our husbands?  Do we watch what we say to our children about their father?  Are we building him up in front of them?  Or tearing him down and belittling him?  Do we complain and argue with his wishes or do we do it cheerfully because he asked of us?  How do we treat him when he comes home?  Do we respect him when we feel like it-or no matter what because that’s what the Word says?
The other day, I caught myself saying out loud in front of my children, “I wish your dad would remember to do ____ chore!”  No sooner was it out of my mouth, that I felt convicted.  I tried to correct it and said, “You know, Mommy shouldn’t have said that.  Your dad always works hard and takes good care of us.  Isn’t it helpful that he takes out the trash every morning so Mommy doesn’t have to?  That shows how much he loves Mommy.  What can we do for Daddy when he comes home to make him feel special?”

Are we respecting our sons?  Are we training them to lead well?  What about letting them take turns leading the family in Bible reading or prayer?  Are we equipping them to make sound decisions later?  Are we training them to guard their eyes and hearts, to be good with money, to work hard, to lean on the wisdom of the Word?  What about the way they treat their mother or sisters or sisters in the Lord?  It’s good practice at a young age to teach them to look out for their families.  Do they protect their sisters and help their mothers?  Are they using manners and considering others around them?

Men can learn to lead in ways that aren’t dominant and destructive.  The Bible never intended that.  That’s why it was clear that men are to love their wives as their own bodies and to treat them as a weaker vessel.  The Hebrew translation for that means “a beautiful vase”.  I don’t feel belittled when I’m treated as a beautiful, fragile vase.  I feel honored and special and very feminine.  Just as our hearts yearn to be treated that way, men’s hearts yearn to be respected, needed, and admired.  How can we purpose today to honor and show respect to the men in our life?

Check out this article:
http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/?p=984&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Ladiesagainstfeminismcom+%28LadiesAgainstFeminism.com%29

 

 
%d bloggers like this: