My Sweet Spot ~ a personal note

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allie38

In a recent sermon, Pastor Mike (www.gethope.net) said, “When you are in the sweet spot of God’s will you have a confidence, strength and courage like none other.” This sentiment was just what I had shared with a dear friend at dinner a week earlier.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9 NIV

Let me explain . . . . a year and a half ago the Lord began nudging me in a direction that I never thought possible ~ a direction I didn’t think I ever wanted to go . . . home schooling. I know! I have said all the same things people say to me these days. “Oh, I could never do that. I wish I could, but I would kill my children (not literally of course). They would never listen to me.”

For me, what it really boiled down to was my selfishness. My selfishness. Let me be VERY clear. God is not calling everyone into this. There are those who should never consider this. Those who wish they could, but can’t and those who do, but shouldn’t. I’m saying that for me the reason it took a year and a half to say yes and fall into obedience with God’s will for me and my children was selfishness. I was worried about my time, my ministry, my need for adult interaction, my fabulous freedom while they were in school . . . the list could go on and on.

You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:16-18 NIV

The Sweet Spot . . . we are into home schooling almost a month now and I can’t tell you the peace, confidence and courage I am filled with. I am putting a ministry that I’ve been building for years on hold, giving up yoga classes, tons of free time and the flexibility of dozens of coffee and lunch appointments every week . . . BUT . . . and this is the crazy thing . . .  so crazy that you know it’s God because you could never pull it off alone. . . I’m fine with it. I don’t mind that all that is coming to an end. I’m giving up a lot and gaining even more. I have no idea why or how, but I feel at peace. I’m in my sweet spot with God. He has given me confirmation after confirmation that I’m following His will. He is so kind and so gracious. Even when I doubt myself, my choices, my abilities and what is best for my children. I can trust Him.

Now, everyday I’m teaching my children, watching them learn, incorporating God’s design for creation into their science classes, teaching them what I’ve learned and sharing my mistakes. We are learning together. Exploring new equations, vocabulary and history together. It’s amazing. I know everyday wont’ be filled with laughter, fun, rainbows and smiley faces! There will be days that I want to lock myself in my closet and cry (and I just might do it), but that’s ok. God will be right there with me – crying in closet.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

Seven years ago, I could have NEVER imagine what God had in store as I typed about finding Him in my ordinary daily life. And yet, He used my fingers, heart and mouth to write and share His words with hundreds.  Now, He has guided me in a new direction. Once again, a road I would have never expected, but His road and if I’ve learned anything as I’ve grown closer to Him over the past few years it’s this . . . I NEVER want to be outside of HIs will.  I want to live FOREVER in the sweet spot of God’s will for my life.

Today, I ask you this . . . . is there anything God has been nudging or calling you to do? Take a step of faith and jump into your sweet spot with God. It’s breathtaking. It’s inspiring. It’s almost unbelievable the peace you can experience. I would love to hear your stories of obedience and sweet spot living. E-mail me!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

****Just a note: although I will not be writing or speaking much this year, I plan to continue to blog. It may not be weekly as I intend, but it will continue for now. And maybe in a year or two I’ll be back full swing in this ministry that I’ve been called to set aside for now, but until then  . . . . . . . . . . . .

Psalms + Pool = You just never know!

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As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:18-20

I took the kids to the pool today to enjoy one of the last few days of summer. It was a glorious day with low humidity and temperatures. A very rare thing for the last few days of a southern summer. As I sat by the pool and watched the kids enjoy the diving board and slash with friends I dug deeper into Psalms. [A few weeks ago our pastor challenged us to read the book of Psalms in 30 days and I LOVE a good challenge . . . .so]

. . . on one of the life guard breaks the kids wandered over to my chair with a friend of theirs from school. I adore this child. She is bold, inquisitive and very caring. She asked why I was reading the dictionary. And the kids quickly replied, “she is studying the book of Psalms – it’s in the Bible not the dictionary.” Then she asked me a question I have never been asked, “Why are you studying that book?”

Honestly, I have never had anyone ask me why I study the Bible. I am always sharing with others, when I go to speak to women’s group, how to study it and why they should, but I have never had anyone ask me this. It was awesome and for just the fourth or fifth time in my life 🙂 I was speechless ~ but just for a moment.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Have you ever thought about it?

My answer [for this nine year old and probably anyone else who would have asked me] was this: “I study it to learn more about God so I can grow closer to Him and learn how to be a better person to everyone around me.”  I’m glad I didn’t have more time to prepare an answer or I may have made it more complicated than it needed to be because that is the simplest most honest answer. Most of the time, I think if we all just kept it a little more simple and pure those we share with might not be so intimidated about investigating and discovering our amazing, loving and mighty Father in heaven through His word.

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:14-16

Here’s to keeping it SIMPLE!!!

Forgiveness and Juniper

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The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone. Numbers 32:13

I recently had the opportunity to exercise my forgiveness muscle. Thankfully, it had been a while since I had to overcome a “burning” anger, frustration or disappointment this big, but it was a burning anger! This is one I had to continually turn over to the Lord over and over again so ensure His hand was in the middle and restoring my heart so that I didn’t sin in my anger. Sometimes this “loving your neighbor” thing can be harder than painting your toenails at the end of a pregnancy!

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:25-27

So, what does forgiveness have to do with Juniper? Well, there is a lot of juniper in the yard where we are living now (see picture above of our juniper). It’s a natural, green, prickly ground cover that only needs occasional pruning. It gets lush and green, but after a while gets a little out of control. So we recently had it pruned. Just a smidge but after the pruning, the top of the juniper turns brown for a time before turning it’s beautiful lush green color again. Even though it goes through a little shock at first and turned brown, It’s good for the juniper. This juniper reminded me of how God’s laws and pruning produce fruit, but sometimes it’s not pretty during process.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. Psalms 37:8

I know this opportunity to exercise my forgiveness muscle and love my neighbor will produce fruit if I keep God in the middle and allow Him to soften my heart and open my eyes to His will. No, it isn’t always pretty and sometimes it down right hurts to follow the narrow way, but it always produces more beautiful fruit than I ever expected. I know it will not be by my power and might that forgiveness overtakes anger. It WILL BE by my Father’s power, His love, His grace and His mercy that it happens. Afterall, what He has done for me, I desire to extend to others.