My Heart Melts

“Avery, if you could do anything in the world, what would you do?”

“Cuddle with daddy.”

Authority

Sunday morning I woke up with Matthew 8 on my mind.

But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. [9] For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” [10] When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

A few months ago, God began to teach me about His authority over all things.  Sunday morning, He began reminding me of lessons taught.  I read through Matthew 8 five or six times and then sat in prayer as I surrendered my body again to His authority.

Slowly I opened my Celtic Daily Prayer book and read,

“Going into the desert we are never quite sure what to expect…But coming out of the desert we find that we are leaning on Him in a new way…It is a typical experience for the person undergoing (a desert) to feel nothing is happening at all, but as they emerge they find others waiting, pressing them to share what God has given them in the desert….And they will not be disappointed.”

For 6 months, I’ve walked this path of pursuing God’s authority in my life, over my emotions, desires, feelings, and my physical body.  I’ve struggled, read, and prayed, and Sunday morning, God allowed me to see the progress He has made in my life.

Just like I could physically see the progress my body had made in training for the half marathon that day, God revealed a little bit of the progress He had been making in my life spiritually.

Sunday’s race was run with a mindset of God’s authority over all things.  I could run because of God and only because of God.  I am changing because of God and only because of God.  Today my children and I are carrying around a piece of paper in our pockets to remind us that God is always with us.   The past week has reminded me and shown me what a marvelous God we have the priviledge of serving as He not only is with us but is constantly changing us to make us more like Him.

Psalm 139:5

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.

Song of Songs 8:5

Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning on her beloved?

Today I pray we all lean on our beloved a little more knowing He is always with us.

Goal Accomplished!

About 6 or 7 months ago, I decided to start running. I had never run farther than 5 miles in my entire life, and to be honest, that 5 miles was when I was training with my husband and he wouldn’t ever let me stop and walk AND it was way before having any children. Since having kids, I think my farthest run was 2 miles?

Anyway, I decided in order to really stick with running, I needed to make a seemingly impossible goal.     13.1 miles definitely seemed impossible!

I’ve been getting up early and running, I’ve given up Saturday mornings to run, I’ve run in freezing temps in Iowa while on vacation, I’ve run when I didn’t want to, and all that sacrifice was what made Sunday, December 5th extra special for me as I ran the half marathon in the Dallas White Rock race.

It was also extra special because I got to run the race with my dad. Ever since I can remember, my dad has been a runner and to get to run with him and fulfill this goal with him was such a great moment.

Between the two of us, we had to stop 3 different times during the race to use the bathroom! But even with the 3 bathroom stops, we finished in about 2 hrs. and 9 minutes. I was aiming for 2 hours, and I think we would have made it if we hadn’t needed to stop for the bathroom so I’m really pleased with our time.

It was a great race, a great memory, and a great accomplishment for me. Since the race was on a Sunday, Brent wasn’t able to be there so there are no actual race day pictures, but we made sure and got one when I walked in the door!

Avery’s response when she saw the medal was “so did you win the race or did they just give one of those to everyone who finished because they’re nice?”

So my kids aren’t too impressed with my medal or the finishers shirt I got, but I told Brent that he may see me wear both items every day for the next month!  Accomplishing hard goals is such a satisfying feeling.

Merry Christmas From the Minters

The Preparation Begins

In the busyness of preparing Advent activities to help point the kids’ hearts toward Christ, I realized I had forgotten to point my own heart toward our Savior. I focused on their smiles and their understanding rather than the smile of my Father as I draw near to Him in anticipation of the celebration of His coming.

So I now sit and read through Genesis and the story of Creation and am amazed at our Savior; amazed by His plan that began with creation.

I begin to get the grass seeds ready to plant tomorrow with every act of kindness and love shown knowing that in 24 days, there will be enough grass to bed a manger for Jesus, my King and my Savior.

I cut out the ornaments and get them organized so they may go on the tree one by one each morning over breakfast and devotions. I pray the verses enter our hearts and change us.

But most of all, I begin to quiet my heart and reflect about Christmas. My oldest replied, “without Christ, we wouldn’t have Christmas, and that would be very sad.”  I want that confidence that Christ alone makes Christmas.

Not presents, not family, not memories, but Christ.

And so tomorrow Advent begins.   I pray we are all changed mightily as we patiently await the celebration of the coming of our Savior.


The Great State of….

As a kid, I couldn’t wait to get out of Iowa.  It represented missed opportunities, no chance to explore the world, a boring life, and a REALLY cold and miserable existence.  Somehow, the years have changed my perspective. And my idea of what is important.We now cross the border into Iowa and find ourselves excited to be there.  This state is where my family is and where we will be surrounded by love and memories for the few days we are there.  Plus, I get uninterrupted time with this crew.  The holidays can’t get much better than this.

Here are our pics from Thanksgiving in Iowa.  Just warning you, I went camera happy!

Thankful Tree

As we complete our annual Thankful Tree leading up to Thanksgiving, I have to smile over what the kids are thankful for this year.

Forks, apples, coffee cake, movies, getting to drive 15 hours in the car so we can watch lots of movies, the whole universe, chairs, tables, ice skates…you know, the big stuff in life.

So far, my absolute favorite thing that was put on the tree though came from my middle daughter who said, “I’m thankful that God always knows what to do and that he is in control”.   Yes, sweet girl, so am I.

The Battle

The alarm interrupts a deep sleep. I hit the off button while the darkness of the morning and the warmth of the covers call to me to roll over and go back to sleep. A voice in my head says, “Get up and go spend time with Jesus”, but my body protests. Its a battle to sit up and put my feet on the floor and walk to the couch while the rest of the house is sleeping. “Father please give me strength and focus me on You this morning.” And he does. And we talk. And I listen and I wonder why it was such a battle to get up.

Psalm 142:14 “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

The day is half over and all kids are quietly reading books or sleeping in their rooms and the down time almost becomes my downfall. My eyes roam to the laundry to be washed and folded, floors to be mopped, dishes to be unloaded and loaded, and dust that needs dusted. My heart cries out the need to sit with my Savior but my head attempts to convince me it wouldn’t be a good use of my time. I struggle. The Lord speaks Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul.” I must fight my thoughts and sit with Jesus. The battle is hard. “pull me into Your presence Father; refresh me and teach me.” And He does. And my focus changes. The 20 minutes sitting with God fills me with productivity and joy and I wonder why I had to battle to get there.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Night has fallen and quietness again surrounds the house. The desire to sit on the couch and do nothing is overwhelming, but my Father is calling my name. “I deserve to sit and veg” I tell myself, but my heart cries out there is more to my life than just relaxing on a couch. I must fight my desires so I sit and go through a Prayer of Examen. The Lord opens my eyes to how He viewed my day. I confess my failings and rejoice in lessons learned; my soul is refreshed. Again I wonder, why was this such a battle?

Ephesians 6:10-12  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

I go to sleep knowing the battle will begin again tomorrow, but rejoicing that my Father loves me enough to reign over my thoughts and desires.  The truth that He alone gives refreshment and joy comforts me as I drift off to sleep.  Chores will get done, rest will be had, children will be loved because I have sought the Lord and He answered me and allowed me to walk in His presence.

Its a Chocolate Kind of Day

Some days just need a little chocolate thrown into them to make all seem right with the world again.

Submitting My Desires

As the marsh-hen secretly builds  on the watery sod,

Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God’

I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies

In the freedom that fills all the space ‘twist the marsh and the skies;

By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod

I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God. – Sidney Lanier

Continuing on my quest to purposefully walk in the presence of God.  Last week was all about thoughts, and this week was all about feelings and emotions.  The two kind of go hand in hand I guess.

This week I read about feelings and desires and was asked the question, “do you make decisions based on feelings and desires frequently?  The answer would be “yes”.    I feel like going to the zoo, or feel like doing laundry, or feel like playing with the kids, or feel like sitting and talking with my husband, or feel like going to bed, or feel like getting up early in the morning, or feel like spending time with the Lord.”

As I realized how frequently in life I choose my path based on what I feel like doing instead of doing what I should do, even if I don’t want to or have the desire to do it, I was deeply convicted.

Living life based on feelings, leads to discontentment and pride. Willard defines pride as “defined by desire, not by love.  It is, above all, the presumption that my desires should be fulfilled and that it is an injustice, a crying shame, and an injury if they are not.”

That definition punched me in the stomach.  I especially thought about our upcoming travels to Iowa for Thanksgiving.   There will be 23 of us staying together and so everyone always has different feelings or desires they wish to be fulfilled.  I’m the middle child and so usually just try to keep the peace and go along for the ride, well usually.  But I always struggle with my feelings and my desires and even if I don’t make them known or try to not rock the boat, I still feel an injustice that just because others make their feelings known, they get their way.   That somehow them speaking up is just not quite fair to me.

As I read that paragraph about pride, God seemed to hit me over the head with the book and say “wake up to how your feelings are stealing all the joy that comes from being on vacation with your family!”

Its true. When we focus so much on our own feelings and desires instead of on God, discontentment will always win.  There is no way that life will always fulfill what we want.   Not to say, you need to deny feelings or not have any desires!  God created us to have emotions; however, as we draw nearer to Him, our emotions can be submitted to Him where He will replace them with love, joy, peace, and faith.

This week, I am praying throughout my day that I will do what I do not want to or desire to and submit my feelings to the Lord so that I will freely walk in His joy which will result in peace instead of discontentment and will lead me to truly love others.

This only comes through knowing God deeper. I pray we all “build our nest” and “fly” in the greatness of God today.