My Three Totoros

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These are my three gifts from God.

These are the three that Jesus are using to break off my hard edges.

These are the three that bring so much joy and pain to my life.

I spend a lot of my time crying. (Great start to a post…don’t worry it gets better) I wonder half the time what in heaven’s name God was thinking to give me three kids so close together. I overheard someone at church tell a mom that one of my friends was smart for spacing her children. I thought well I don’t really feel like I had a choice in the matter. Seriously, both my second and third child were not planned and are a result of one night not being careful. We were not going after having more babies. Not that we don’t want more children but I could really use a break. When Micah was born we had three under 3.

My kids are crazy! For real! I think I spend half my day just trying to keep them from hurting themselves. I have three reasons we celebrate birthdays :

  1. They outlived themselves another year
  2. They outlived us another year
  3. We outlived them another year.

One example of their creative intelligence that we went “oh dear Lord help”: I had gone to the OB for a checkup and Lily figured out that if she brought a chair from the kitchen to the living room she could stand on it and open the door. My husband had to run outside and save Anastasia who was playing in the middle of the driveway. (Thank God she didn’t go any further!) He was like “I wasn’t mad, just scared.” I’m like “I have those moments almost all the time during the day. If they don’t follow me to the bathroom or another room when I leave to put something away or use the restroom. I will pray that I find my kids alive when I get back in there.”

I continuously ask moms at our church what they did with their kids at this age and I found that one thing is common: no one can remember! We have done a lot more tv than I would like to admit. I’m trying to get on a schedule and figure out things we can do. The problem with this age is every activity lasts about 5 mins before they want to dash to the next thing. I feel like I do not have the brain power to do it. They color on the walls, pee on the floor, try to “help”, and other things that I start freaking out about and get angry and yell. Knowing I have to find time to clean up another mess and not knowing when I will get to it. Jesus, keeps reminding me I can not do it on my own.  One truth I am coming to know so well :

Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “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. (2 Corinthians 12:6-10)

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I fight with the fact my house is not clean. Matter of fact, I just remembered I have food on the table I have to clean off at 1am. I have come to the point that if I can get just one thing done a day I’m doing well. Sometimes I have the ability to get an entire room cleaned up and others I’m lucky to get my one thing done.

The reason I write this is because I want other moms who are in the same boat to know:

  1. You are not alone.
  2. It’s ok to cry.
  3. Call out to Jesus. It’s ok for the kids to see it. They need to know you are human too.
  4. You will screw up and that’s ok. Be humble and admit your mistakes to your kids.
  5. Remember you are being molded in the tantrums of your children.
  6. One day they won’t be on your lap and you will no longer have them this small.
  7. This is only a season.

Read if you can find 5 or 10 minutes. Two books I love and the second one I will mention I am still reading but so far in love with it are. Mom Enough edited Tony & Karalee Reinke and the second is Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick. These two books are helping me figure out this mom thing. As two kids are screaming, my phone is ringing and my oldest just spilled her potty all over the living room, there can still be calm.

I’ve found that if I can start letting the mess go and focus on my children, I do so much better. It’s not enough to be in the same room with them. It’s taking the time to sit with them and play, read, dance or whatever. Find other mom’s who will encourage you. The women in my church have been so supportive in giving me ideas, praying with me, and just loving on my babies. It really does take a village to raise your children. Just make sure you are in the right village.

Introvert To Extrovert

I don’t know why this has been on my heart but I need to obey and open up. I’ve been thinking about how I have changed in the last thirty years. Ever since I can remember, I was always hiding from people and being extremely shy. I mean we are talking painfully shy. When I started college back in 2001, I made a pledge to start stepping out of my comfort zone. I made a bunch of friends and thus started my journey to fake extroversion. What do I mean by that?

From urbanDictionary.com

Introvert
Opposite of extrovert. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to “recharge” afterwards. The word “Introvert” has negative connotations that need to be destroyed. Introverts are simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts.

From dictionary.com

Extrovert
1. an outgoing, gregarious person.
2. Psychology . a person characterized by extroversion; a person concerned primarily with the physical and social environment (opposed to introvert ).

I recharge my “batteries” better by myself than I do with lots of people. My husband still doesn’t believe that I’m an introvert. In reality, I just made up my mind to be a people person so that I could reach others for the cause of Christ. I wanted (and still want) to be relational. I want to love others to Jesus. We were called to make disciples. The best way I know to do that is by doing what Jesus did. He loved people right where they were at. Afterwards, He would go off by Himself to recharge with God alone. In all honesty, I tend to recharge by goofing off instead of spending time in God’s Word. I often excuse myself and say, “I’m brain dead and after being up for most of the night, I just don’t have the capacity to understand.” (note: I currently have two kids under two. Let the reader understand.)

When I goof off instead of reading God’s word, I tend to become even more introverted. I get very afraid of people and all the stupid things that may come flying out of my mouth. When I decide to give my day to Jesus, to start off with Him in my devotions and prayer time, I am much better at looking like an extrovert and creating friendships. This is because I (1) learn to be a better friend when I learn what real friendship is, and (2) have the love and compassion that only comes from having an intimate relationship with the Lord.

I remember being seventeen and watching my best friend’s mom start talking to a random stranger at a K-Mart. I thought, “How did she do that? I can’t do that. Just talk to a stranger?” Talking with strangers has gotten easier thanks to age and the four years I spent working at Family Christian Stores. At Family Christian Stores, I read all the time. I realized that people need others in the church to pray for one another out loud, right then, and not just say they’ll do it later at home. I started praying for people, out loud, which is something that has always terrified me. I found new strength and power in Christ. I started to make more friends. I even met my (future) husband at Family Christian Stores. At the time, he was just some guy who would come in and shop and I would push myself to be extroverted and talk to him.

Later God moved me away from Family Christian Stores and I worked for a theatre for a year. I learned to talk to crowds of people. (Talk about wanting to pee your pants! Oh my goodness, I wanted to die!) I began hating it with a passion but I got better giving curtain speeches. I love having material given to you to act out, but having to come up with your own lines and to be yourself is rather frightening. I’ve also done a few announcements with our Associate Pastor’s wife off the cuff at church. Looking back, there was a time I never saw myself doing that.

My heart wants to burst with all the people I see who are suffering without Christ. I still have a lot to learn because I tend to be quiet around strangers because I don’t want to offend someone. Slowly this shell of introversion is being broken open and I’m learning to walk forth in my calling as a wife, mother, friend, daughter, and leader. It didn’t happen overnight. It took me thirty years to be where I am. Though it’s a lifelong process, I believe (now more than ever) that we introverts must step up and let Jesus control our lives and help others know the saving grace of Jesus. He is the one who bought us for a price. He died so we may live. Who am I to hide that fact from another person; the opportunity to follow Christ and have such joy fill their soul; to have hope they had never experienced before?

We introverts must realize that we can be selfish creatures. It’s time to let the Spirit of God control us and help us make disciples in this world. We are running out of time.

My Challenge To Replacement Theologians

In my last post, “Reconciling Scripture”, I talked about how people are living lives and believing things based on half-truths. This causes a  problem because it causes  mass deception and strikes a blow against the kingdom of God. It also sets the person up to be sifted (or taken out) by the enemy.

I talked about how God wants us to reconcile scripture: to simply believe all what the Bible has to say about a certain issue. He desires us to wrestle with the issue until all that the Bible says about it the issue is joined in one cohesive belief. There wouldn’t be arguments regarding the Word of God if we let the Bible state our theology instead of making the Bible conform to what we want (or was raised up) to believe.

In saying that, here is my challenge.

I am asking all people who believe in replacement theology (the belief that the church has totally and permanently replaced Israel in ALL aspects) and all those who believe that Israel has nothing to do with God’s plans anymore to simply reconcile some scripture. I have heard most of your verses and I can reconcile those (for those writers who don’t delete my comments after “moderation”). Yet I haven’t had anyone try to reconcile mine. So here they are:

In response to “God has broken His covenant with Israel”:

And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. (Genesis 17:7) [There are many other references. Just know that God didn’t say this once.]

I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. (Ezekiel 37:26)

For behold, in those days and at that time, [the end] when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it. (Joel 3:1-3)

For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:39)

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! (Romans 11:1)

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. (Romans 11:11)

I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins. (Romans 11:25-27)

There are some of my scriptures. I ask you to leave all questions, replies and scriptures you have for me as comments in this post. Please check back later because I will reply as soon as possible. If you are going to post some of your scriptures that back what you believe, I ask that you reconcile it to the ones I already posted. This is not a mud pie fight. Let’s not just throw scriptures at each other but together reconcile what God’s heart is for Israel.

My Defense For Israel, My Response To Cathy (giannina)

i told you it was coming. lol  i stumbled onto this post while “tag surfing” and i chose to write my response to the blog here as well as a comment on the post. you can read the blog here. i also had to do it this way because obviously my previous comments were taken off after being “moderated”. i encourage anyone to say anything when it comes to commenting on my blog, cause if i disagree, either i’ll post a reply comment or i’ll write another post about it (if it is necessary). but deleting comments because they differ from your beliefs is wrong (that’s what i believe 🙂 )  so here we go:

in response to the article “who is abraham’s seed?”:

how can you talk about the promise by only quoting two old testament verses? but if you want to go new testament then…

romans 11 says much about this (in fact romans 8-11 says a lot about this).

“I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew…” (romans 11:1-2a)

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor,eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear,down to this very day.” (romans 11:6-8)

“So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.” (romans 11:11)

“Then you will say, Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.” (romans 11:19-20)

“For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers:a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (romans 11:24-25)

and then the clincher:

And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion,he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins. As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. ” (romans 11:26-29)

so let’s recap. paul asks if God has rejected His people. he replies no. then paul asks if israel has stumbled to the point of falling (meaning never to recover). paul answers that as no. paul then states that BECAUSE God hardened israel’s heart, salvation was able to come to us (cause God wanted us too…not just israel) and we should live to make israel jealous. paul encourages the gentile church in rome not to be haughty in all of this because we can be cut off too. but then paul says how glorious will it be when God reconnects them to the vine, for “God has the power to graft them in again.”

paul goes on to say that one day “ALL OF ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED.” and why? because GOD’S GIFTS AND CALLINGS (also meaning covenants) ARE IRREVOCABLE. the things God promised abraham are still in play because He made an everlasting covenant with them (“And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. ” – gen 17:7). if God were to break His covenant with israel, that would make God a liar and cause Him to contradict His character (which God cannot do according to 2 timothy 2:13 – “if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.“)

also God has made one other everlasting covenant…

“When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (genesis 9:16)

that’s the covenant He made with noah saying that He would never flood the earth again. so next time you think that God can break a covenant (like israel’s), just remember the flood. if God could break a covenant, He would of flooded the earth already again (cause we as unbelieving nations are far more worthy of judgment). and if you desire God to break an everlasting covenant, doesn’t that mean your wishing death upon the world? cause if He breaks covenant with israel, he breaks all His covenants…including the flood.

i challenge you to research how important the word “covenant” is in scripture.

i hope this didn’t sound too harsh, but i did want to make it firm. 🙂

Just A Late Night Update

i just wanted to throw this note out to everyone. it is 12:10am right now and i’ve been working for over 15 hours now straight. i plan on going home soon but i am waiting for my computer to finish a couple tasks…which gave me the time to throw up this quick update.

so the last few days, my israel post has become extremely popular. but more importantly, i am burning with a fire i can’t explain…it’s a fire to defend israel and the promises of God concerning the people and the land. i have been reading other blogs and am shocked to see how many people are so anti-israel (especially christians!), and my heart goes out to israel to try to defend them.

now i am very unskilled in this arena of “debate” (though i don’t take it that way) when it comes to my knowledge of what God says about israel…but this fire in me is making me search out the scriptures to see what they say about israel and the endtimes. so i just wanted to say that in the coming weeks, expect more “israel” focused posts and comments. it’s time for the church to understand “why israel?”

to clear up any future rumors…i have not gone out looking for a fight or debate. i have been stumbling onto good sites with a wrong view of israel, and instead of holding my peace…i have decided to stand up and speak out for the “little guy”….my “younger brother”.

what does everyone think of this? what are your views or issues with israel? please feel free to share your thoughts.