My Spiritual Journey

Oops.  This is a day late.  I think I needed a day to recover from my slave driver husband who was on a mission this past holiday weekend.  We spent hours in the yard and then rearranging and deep cleaning the house.  I wish I could say I was a willing participant to the mass cleaning, but by 9pm on Monday night, I was trying every method I could think of to get him to stop so I could stop.  But he was focused, and there was no stopping him.  I am thoroughly enjoying our clean house and perfect yard though and was pretty thankful he didn’t listen to any of my attempts to distract him from all the projects over the weekend.

As I sit here enjoying my deeply cleaned house, I am reminded of how much I did not want to work this weekend.  Every muscle ached, I was tired, and all I wanted to do was stop and say “its good enough”.  I wish I could say I pushed through without complaining and with a joyful spirit, but honestly, if Brent hadn’t been so focused, I would have easily quit only to sit here this morning wishing I had pushed through.

Most of life seems to be this way.  All the good things I desire, take work to achieve.  I want to be in shape so I must keep running, even when my feet hurt, my body aches, and it is so humid that I can’t see because of the sweat dripping into my eyes.  If I want to achieve my end goal, I must push through the pain and the overwhelming desire to quit.

Our relationship with God follows the same path.  Most of life I wallowed in the thought “I wish I was just disciplined enough to get up in the morning” or “I’m just so tired”  or ” life is so busy” or any other number of excuses.  But yet I still desired to be intimate with Christ.

I sit and look at my clean house and yard and am reminded to keep pushing forward.  I must work at pursuing Christ while at the same time submitting to Christ so that He can do what He wants in me. I must get up when I don’t want to, sit down and be still when the work around seems to be calling my name, read when I desire to veg in front of the TV, pray when I desire to play, and listen when I desire to talk.  Intimacy with Christ, just like my clean house, is not achieved by being lazy.  Intimacy with Christ is achieved when we force our desires under the submission of Christ and push ourselves to pursue him rather than the world around us.

Father, keep me submitted to you and listening to you rather than my flesh which hourly cries out for me to be lazy in my relationship with You.  Let your Kingdom reign over my emotions and desires today.

Goals: (completely forgot to post them last week!  oops!)

  • Still reading Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur.  Its taking me longer than I thought to work through this book.  It is an incredible book but lots of food for thought in it.  I’m finding I have to read a few pages and then think about it and then read a bit more.  I’m only through the 3rd chapter so far but learning so much about the disciples.  This might be one of my new favorites.
  • Also reading Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas again.  I needed to change my perspective on parenting again.  Every time one of my kids hits a new “phase” I need to refocus myself and my parenting and this book always helps.  Its so good to get a perspective change which always leads to an attitude change.
  • Also reading Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman.  Yes, I’ve read this one in the past as well.  Its good, and as I said, one of my kids is currently going through an interesting phase =)
  • Wasn’t able to run outside last week.  Brent was out of town so I couldn’t work out in the morning.  I’ve come to depend on those early morning workouts!  Going to try for 5 miles again tomorrow morning.  Last time we ran 5 miles in 42 min.  and I would love to keep that pace for now.
  • Still getting up early and sitting down at lunch with God.  This really isn’t a goal anymore as much as just part of life.  I pray it continues to be part of life and a part of me and doesn’t go back to being something I force myself to do.  I know how easily I can fall though so definitely praying the Lord’s grace over my desire and time with Him.

Happy Wednesday everyone.  Hope your day is amazing and full of the joy of the Lord.  Fight for that joy today.  I know I am! =)

Family Fun Day

Season passes to the waterpark may be the best thing we’ve done in a while.Bunk beds are ideal for fort making.  This fort began as a “girls only” fort, but after some cries from baby brother it quickly became “the Minter family fort”.  Good thing too.  Daddy is way more fun in the forts than mommy. Its now officially HOT outside so Popsicles are a must. Especially after the hard work of replanting bean plants the girls have tried desperately to grow.  The plants have seen better days, but we’re hopeful.Then off to bed for the kids and the grown ups made some home made chocolate chip cookies.   YUMMY way to end the day.

Turning a Corner

I took all 3 kids to the waterpark BY MYSELF this week. Three  kids who can’t swim and me.  I figured it would be a learning adventure for us all =) 
Luckily, friends were there as well and we were able to help each other with all the kids.   For example, I snapped the above picture of all 3 of my NONSWIMMING kids coming down a slide by themselves, and my friend so graciously picked up the 3 kids from the bottom of the pool at the end of the slide.  Great teamwork right?!

So we have turned a corner.  Last summer, Justus was too little to be out in the heat for long and so we made do with indoor activities and the baby pool in the back yard.  This summer, we have turned the corner and are sensing some freedom as we slowly creep out of the baby phase.

Turning corners is so good.

My Spiritual Journey

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:9-10

Thankful

That is the word that describes my heart this week.

I’ve been reading through the book Twelve Ordinary Men as well as studying the Gospels. As I’ve been reading and studying about the disciples, the idea of really how ordinary these 12 men were has made quite an impression on me.

See the Pharisees and leaders of Jesus’ time were good people. They followed all the laws. They knew all the right people. They did what their parents told them. Growing up, they were probably the teacher’s pets because, externally, they were perfect. Culturally, they did everything right. Their “perfectness” is what kept them from “seeing” the Messiah.

The disciples were different. Before Jesus called them, they weren’t anything special. They had little faith, were low-class, rural, and uneducated people. Basically, they were unworthy and unqualified.

So now let’s get to the whole Thankful part of this post

In high school, I spent 3 years of my life in rebellion. I spent most of my life before that battling huge character flaws that anyone who knew me as a child still like to remind me of frequently. The kind of flaw you can never run away from. It was too significant to erase from people’s memory =). So in my journey with Christ, my spiritual warfare often occurs in the battle with feeling like I’m one step away from returning to the rebellious flawed teenager I once was.

This week, Jesus has clearly shown me that feeling like I’m one step away is what makes me useful to him.

The Pharisees didn’t need Jesus. Their life was and always had been neatly controlled. Jesus caused chaos for their “perfect” life so they ran from  him.

Now the disciples needed Jesus. They had no power and no authority in and of themselves. In fact, they were also one step away from falling back into their old lifestyle which is why they became so influential. They walked under the power of Christ because they knew they could not rely on themselves. Their “past” kept them dependent on Jesus. That dependence allowed them to become apostles and take the message of the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth.

So I’m thankful. I’m thankful I’m more like the disciples than like the Pharisees. I have more that reminds me daily of my need for a Savior. My life is not perfect and so whatever is done through me is clearly done by the power of the Holy Spirit. This week, I have found pure joy in my weaknesses understanding in a whole new way II Corinthians 12.

Thank goodness I was a messed up kid who still battles sin daily. Keep me weak Father so that you can be glorified in me. Amen.

This Date will Be Hard to Top

Elliana got asked out on a date with daddy today.  Brent out did himself with this one.  Not only did she get to roller-skate, she got to do it during nap time INSTEAD of taking a nap.  Daddy knows how to speak her love language.
We have found Elliana’s new favorite activity!

Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day was a laid back day. The girls declared this morning a PJ day, and I whole-heartedly agreed!  This afternoon we got a couple fun things done, but the highlight of the day was….

Justus got his first haircut!!!

The Minter children usually don’t get a first haircut until way after their 2nd birthday.  I think this may be the first of many things that I must do differently with boys.

And now I want another baby…NOT REALLY,  but I do tear up thinking this is the last 1st haircut I’ll ever take a kid to.   I’ve been in the baby stage for almost 5 years and now I feel like I’m coming out of it a bit.  It feels weird!

Today I said Good-bye

For the last 3 years, I taught high school English one day a week to an incredible group of kids.   Today was my final day as their teacher.  These kids have blessed me beyond belief and have taught me what a godly teenager can look like.  I will miss them, but will treasure the lessons I have learned from them over the last three years.

In addition to some extremely sweet cards and gifts, they also gave me these.

Now my kids think this bunch of teenagers is amazing as well!

Thanks to all my students.  You have made me into a better person.  I will miss you, but I will be praying for you as you continue on the journey God has for you!

Sisters

The conversation was revolving around Avery going to preschool next year.

I made the comment to Elliana: “When Avery goes to kindergarten, that’s when you’ll go to preschool.”Elliana started crying and said.  “But if Avery’s not at preschool with me, who’s going to take care of me?”

Even after explaining, she wasn’t convinced the teachers could care for her quite as well as her big sis could.

My Spiritual Journey

And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart  Mark 3:5

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?  Mark 4:13

As I’ve been reflecting on what it means to truly follow Christ, these two verses got stuck in my head.   It seems one factor that may keep me from following Christ is a hard heart.

Hard heart seems so harsh doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why I usually skim over these verses.  But it also seems there are 2 kinds of hard hearts.

  1. The type the Pharisees had which at times I can also possess.  That of seeing life in light of the rules and regulations instead of in light of our Savior
  2. The type the disciples had which at times I can also possess.  That of trying to understand Jesus in light of their own experience and understanding.

And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  Mark 4:18-19

See, sometimes following Jesus is impeded by our hardness of heart.  By us trying to understand Jesus in light of our own experience or our own man-made rules.  And sometimes the cares of the world and our own desires for other things choke out that desire for Christ and the result is definitely unfruitful. Unfruitful would not be the definition of a fisher of men.   Fisher of men seems to be a good indication that one is truly following Christ.

All that to say, my prayers are spent in confession and repentance as well as asking the Holy Spirit to give me his eyes so that I can live my life for his glory instead of in my own self-made bubble that FEELS as if I’m living for his glory.  Does the difference between the two make sense?

I guess every week I come back saying the same thing.  God continues to make clear to me how to better submit myself to Him.  This week He’s asking me to submit my heart.  The part I didn’t even know was hard.

Goals:

  • Spending some additional time throughout the day with Jesus.  It seems its really easy to make myself the head of my day instead of leaving Christ as the head of my day.   Set times throughout the day seem to help me stay submitted.  Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so hard headed and didn’t need so much structure to keep me submitted to the one who truly is in control.
  • Still reading Twelve Ordinary Men. Didn’t get as much read this week.  Going to try to get most of the way through it this weekend.
  • Morning workouts and personal worship time are still going well.  I’ve been lazy the past 2 Fridays because its Brent’s day off.   I’m not going to be lazy this Friday though =)  And I made it 5 miles this morning!!  YAY for a good running partner who tells me funny stories so I can forget that I’m running.

A Morning at the Zoo

It was late in the morning and the sun was hot.  As we walked into the zoo, Elliana reminded me “I’m 3 now mom.  Don’t I get my own card?”  For a moment I was tempted to say, “next time honey” and just walk through the gate.  After all, we have season passes.  Will it really make that much of a difference if I pay today or next time?  Besides, we had limited amount of time before we needed to get back home for naps.  We were in a hurry. 

Luckily, the Holy Spirit didn’t buy my excuses, so I turned the wagon around and went into guest services.   Sometimes keeping your integrity is hard.

The zoo was a blast, as it always is.  When we walked through the gate, suddenly we weren’t in a hurry anymore.  Lazy summer days are upon us.

I gave the kiddos a choice of either a train ride or an ice cream cone.  Guess what they chose?  Momma was happy; ice cream was cheaper.  So we sat and enjoyed the ice cream while 3 cows danced behind us.  The perfect morning snack. We were on our way out when the Komodo Dragon called our name.  Elliana is my lizard and snake lover.   Avery just kept asking when it was going to breathe fire at her.  We saw “How to Train a Dragon” this weekend.  Sometimes the things they say are just so cute, I forget to correct them.  Maybe next time I’ll teach her all about the big lizard.