Saturday, January 30, 2016

Closing this Blog for a New Beginning

After much consideration and prayer, I have decided to close this blog. Trust me, I did not make this decision lightly. I started this blog over 8 years ago, but I believe the Lord has a new plan for me. One that includes starting a brand new blog and I sincerely hope you will follow me there. My prayer is that I will be encouraging women to embrace their real and learning to love themselves and families just as they are.

I am so thankful for each one of you that has visited this blog and I hope you will come visit me in my new home. I will be leaving this blog up, because there are so many pins attached to it and still some great info here. I won't be moving everything over, I don't feel that is what God would have me to do. So, everything will still be here, but I will be closing comments soon as my focus and time will be going to setting up my new blog.

I am super excited about what God has planned for me and my blog and my readers! I hope to see you there!

Come say hi over at Breathing Authenticity!

Blessings to you my sweet friends!
Rashel

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lessons From the Trampoline

I heard it over and over....and over.....and over...

"Will you come jump with me?"

-- it's too cold

"Now will you come jump with me, it isn't cold?"

--no, I'm busy

"Mom, will you come jump with me?"

-- I just don't want to jump.

Finally, it slapped me upside the head that my attitude was HORRIBLE! All she wanted was for me to come play with her. Even if I jumped for 5 jumps and then just sat there, she would be happy.  Finally,

"Mom, will you come jump with me?"

--I really am in the middle of this, I will, but let me finish.  A little later, right after I emptied my bladder - that is important. REALLY IMPORTANT. I said okay, come on, let's go jump. She dropped what she was doing and came running, hollaring at her brother to come too. "Come on, she won't jump long!"  So true, she knows me. I just really don't like jumping for very long. Did I mention the bladder thing?

We jumped and jumped. They did flips, I said no way. She fell flat on her back and bounced back up to her feet and said "now you do it". I said I can't! This kept going. They would do something I thought was crazy and then want me to do it, I would say, "I can't." I'M 42!!

Then I got slapped upside the head again (not literally) why do I keep saying I can't. I haven't even tried. Is that what I want them to learn? What difference does my age matter? It's not like I'm 92!!

So I tried. I tried to land flat on my back, but seriously it was hard. I could not let myself just fall back without bracing myself, which made it hurt worse. I did keep trying and she kept laughing!

Then something happened and they thought it would be hilarious to play "don't crack the egg" with me as the egg.

This is where one person lays in the middle of the trampoline in a fetal position, holding their legs and the others bounce you. The "egg" tries not to let go of their legs, which would mean they got cracked. They bounced me and I screamed. Seriously, I screamed. I closed my eyes because if I kept them open, I screamed more - it was too scary. They thought it was hilarious. I would scream and they would laugh.

Then it was time to play follow the leader and I was leader because seriously, I cannot do half what they can do. I did corny things, but they played along. Then, I let them each have one time as a leader and I TRIED to do what they did. They laughed again.

Finally, it was time for me to get off. We've already discussed the why's of this. By the way, I may not be able to walk tomorrow, because that really is a workout!

My lessons for the day-
1.  I had fun jumping on the trampoline, I should do it more often instead of automatically saying no. Plus it counts for exercise.
2. Stop saying "I can't" and just try! Who knows, maybe you can!
3. My children love when I play with them - okay, I already knew this one!
4. It does crazy things to my hair.




Blessings my friends,
Rashel

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How God Taught Me to Trust Him in All Things Part 2

I promised you the rest of the story about my son and the lessons God taught me ~ here it is:

(if you want to read the first part of this story, go here)

Allow me to set the stage for a moment, we had recently changed churches and were about to join this new church. Now, in this particular church you had to be baptized in this church or in a church of the same denomination and bring a letter of referral. We had neither as we came from a nondenominational church. Although three of the six of us had been saved and baptized previously, it was not in this church. After much discussion, we decided we would be baptized into the church. In the meantime, my daughter accepted Christ and was ready to be baptized for the first time. My middle and youngest sons both decided they were also ready to be saved and baptized; all six of us were baptized into the church at the same time. Now, I’m just going to leave that like it is, because I have no desire to start a debate about different denominations right now, or about whether this practice is right or wrong. I will say that if we had the chance to do it over – it wouldn’t happen.

The only reason I told you all of that was so that you would understand the rest of this story. You see my son went through the motions then, but fast forward several years and I start getting nudges from the Holy Spirit that I’m just really not sure my son is truly saved. It wasn’t because he was a bad kid, he’s not. It wasn’t because he was doing horrible things, he wasn’t. I just started noticing things like he wasn’t reading scripture verses I was sending him daily, he was very defensive about certain things and he didn’t seem to be convicted by scripture in areas of his life.

We go to church as often as we can, we attend a weekly family bible study group and we go to a week long bible camp every year. He participates in and seems to enjoy all of these things. We pray at every meal, we discuss God often; we thank Him and pray to Him – all the time. He is a very huge part of our lives. 

So, when God started speaking to me and telling me to ask my son about it, I didn’t want to. I was afraid he would be offended that I would dare think such a thing. But God didn’t let up, so I obeyed.

I went into his room while he was working on school work and sat down on his bed. I said, “I want to ask you something and I need you to tell me the truth.” Of course he said, “That depends on the question.” Yeah, he’s 16.  I said, “Have you ever given your life to Christ?” He paused, quiet for a moment, thinking and said, “I don’t know.”   Silence.

Ugh, my fear was true. 

I wanted to cry, but I tried hard not to. 

I asked him more questions, and we talked about what it all meant. I asked if he wanted to give his life to Christ. His reply, “I don’t know.”   WHAT?!!

Why? Why wouldn’t you want to?

 I did not understand and he couldn’t tell me. We kept talking. I kept asking him if he believed in God, in Jesus, in the Bible and he answered yes to everything. He knew it was all true, but he still didn’t know if he wanted to.

I.DON’T.UNDERSTAND.

I told him that. I said, “I just don’t understand how you can believe it all, how you can know heaven and hell are real and not know if you want to give your life to Christ.” I told him, “The scripture says if you are not for him then you are against him. There is no middle ground.” We talked about it all, about how much God loved him and Jesus dying for him. He couldn’t tell me why and I couldn’t understand.

I left his room, went to mine, fell on my bed and bawled. I wondered if I had done something to turn him away from God. So many things went through my mind; I can’t even begin to list them all. Mostly I was sad and just didn’t understand. I prayed and prayed and then I remembered. God reminded me to trust Him – to trust Him in ALL things and I knew why He had been drilling it into my head the last week.

Here is what I wrote in my journal: “I cannot dwell on this. I have to give it to God and trust Him. He loves my son and wants this more than I do… It is hard not to worry about this, but that will do no good – I must give it to God –He’s got this.”

I kept praying. I prayed off and on all day. We had our second night of revival at church that night and you better believe I was praying hard that he would accept Christ that night. He didn’t. I kept trusting God. I was reminded that God said, “I’ve got this.”

The next morning I was having my quiet time and praying about it again, because believe me it never left my mind. God reminded me of Mark 9:29: And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting”. I needed to pray AND fast! Then, I needed to lay hands on my son and pray over him. So, that morning I fasted and prayed. I had determined to fast until dinner time, only having liquids, but right before lunch time God said it was time to go pray. I had been talking to God all day, checking in with Him to see what He would have me do. (I need to add a side note here- I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and believe in speaking in tongues and the powers of the Holy Spirit).  At one point He reminded me to pray in tongues over my son and I promised I would, even though I still am not comfortable exercising that gift in front of others. (He is working on me in that area).

My other children were all outside and my son was in his room, so I went in there and knelt down by his bed. I said I am not going to ask you more questions, but I want to pray for you. He stopped what he was working on and let me pray for him. I put both my hands on him and prayed aloud, I rebuked Satan and then I spoke in tongues over him. I finished, got up, went to my room and thanked God. I chose to believe that He would answer my prayers and I gave it to Him. I trusted Him.



That night was the third and last night of revival. My son was sitting at the end of the row with my two other sons between us. Every time the teacher said something I thought might spark in my son, I prayed for him but I was no longer worried. At the end of service, the teacher had us bow our heads and asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Christ – I thought I saw the shadow on the floor of my son’s hand going up. I smiled and praised God, believing He had answered my prayer. There was much more praying before the service was actually over and I was able to talk to my son. I wanted to ask him and know for sure. I walked over to him and he said “No hugs.” That is just like him, a 16 year old boy that does not want his mother hugging him, especially in front of everyone. But, he said, “You can cry now.” He knows me so well! I did. One of our friends was sitting right by us and hugged me since my son wouldn’t and I just bawled. I’m a crier. I admit it.

Later some of us were in the front of the church, praying and talking and I noticed the teacher, our pastor, my husband and my son were all standing there. They were praying for him and he was smiling. They called me over to make sure I knew what had happened, I said yes and then I hugged him. I told him I didn’t care, I was hugging him anyway! He just gave me that half smile and let me. Thank you Jesus for answered prayers and hearts given to you!

I was literally shaking with excitement for awhile after the service. The power of the Holy Spirit is a mighty thing.

Now, I want you to understand that I didn’t tell you any of this so that you would think I have magical praying powers, God did the work. I give all glory to Him! I do, however, hope you understand how important it is for us to pray and then believe God will answer those prayers. We must trust Him and take Him at His word. We must cling to the scriptures and the truth in them. We need to listen for God’s voice and then obey Him. That is one of the lessons I learned through this.

Another thing God showed me was that I hadn’t truly had a heart for the lost until now. Until I had the fear of my son not going to heaven, I didn’t have the compassion for lost like I should. God opened my heart to them in a way he probably couldn’t have any other way.

I pray you have been blessed by this story and I pray you have been encouraged to listen for God’s voice and then obey him, in all things.

Blessings,

Rashel

How God Taught Me to Trust Him in All Things Part 1

Do you ever have those times that you just know God is trying to show you something, trying to teach you a lesson? Just recently this happened with me, again. It seemed like everywhere I turned, He was showing me what His word says about worrying versus trusting God. At first, I just felt Him nudging me that way, putting it on my heart - all the aspects of trusting God.

My heart had really been burdened about being real and open with others, just being myself and not worrying about what the world thought. You already know this if you've read some of my most recent posts. Well, in preparation for our church's upcoming IF gathering I decided to pick up a book by one of the speakers and read it as a way to get fired up and ready. The Lord directed me to Jen Hatmaker's book "For the Love" and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this book! I really need to do a review post about it soon. Anyway, I was talking to one of the other coordinators for our event and she said she was reading the same book! We had both picked it up and started reading it about the same time, not knowing the other one was doing the same thing. I love when God does little things like that!

Then, my daughter and I were asked to provide childcare at a local church during a Friday morning women's bible study. This was the first time childcare was to be provided, so we knew there was a chance we wouldn't have any children this time. We figured we would just go back home if no one showed up, but one of the lovely ladies leading the study gave us the book as a thank you for being there and asked us to sit in on the study if no one arrived. Sure enough, no one showed up and we stayed for the study. It is a 12 week study on calming your anxious heart, not worrying but instead, trusting God. A lot of it lined up with what I had been reading in "For the Love"!! Okay Lord, I think you are hinting at something.

The next evening we had our regular weekly home bible study group, we call it fellowship. It is just a group of us that get together each week at someone's home, eat dinner and one of us leads a bible study (occasionally we watch a movie or have game night). Guess what the bible study was about?! Yep, worry. I was thinking, okay Lord, I get it, you are definitely trying to get my attention on this. The funny thing is that I honestly didn't think I worried that much. I mean yeah, I do the normal mom worry about her children when they go somewhere, etc., but I thought I had really grown in the area of not worrying over the past few years. Obviously, God thought I needed a little refresher course!



In my little bitty scope of the world, I'm thinking God is trying to teach me not to worry about my family and what may or may not happen to them. Stop thinking I need to pray "please keep them safe Lord" every time one of my teenage sons drives off. Or "please return him home to us this evening Lord" when my husband leaves for work. Now, let me stop for a minute and say that within the last few months in our community that we have had two young women lose their husbands and suddenly become widows, as well as a young 15 year old girl being killed in a car accident. It really makes you stop and think just how suddenly loved ones can be taken from us - so I'm sure I had been praying those little prayers for safety much more frequently the last couple months. This was the lesson I thought I was supposed to be learning, "Stop worrying about them. Even if something were to happen, I am here for you.

"Do not be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6


I was wrong. God was preparing me for something else, something that completely changed my perspective.

But God knew. He knew I needed to be grounded in this lesson of trusting God before I discovered...


my 16 year old had not given his life to Christ like we thought, and what was worse was that he wasn't sure he wanted to.

Heartbreak. What? Why? I don't understand! At all!!

I cried. I prayed. I asked my son questions he couldn't answer.

My prayer went from "God, please keep him safe" to "God, please don't let him die before He accepts you as his Savior".

Desperate prayers. More desperate than I have ever felt. Ever.

Never in my life had I wanted something for someone so badly. Never had I felt so much urgency for the lost. Never had I understood more clearly how desperately God wants his children to accept him.

God didn't just want me to learn to trust Him in all things, He wanted me to learn compassion for the lost. To feel the urgency of sharing the gospel with others.

I will share the rest of this story in my next post, because I want to share the details of it and this post is already getting rather wordy.

However, I won't leave you hanging ~ praise God, my son did give his life to Christ!

I hope you will click over to the next post as I continue the story and share how it happened and what God taught me.

Blessings my friends,
Rashel

Part 2 is here