Seek Him in The Transitions

Hey friends!!!! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a video and felt led to share a little bit about my transition back to work and how it’s been going- of course Jesus is at the center of the huge transition…so here it is! Click here  if you can’t see the video.

Flesh & Spirit- The Battle

Here I am- again- about to share a struggle that I’m facing and have been facing every single day since….well..since forever.  “Lord” I asked, “why oh why can’t you put something on my heart to blog about that is NOT in regards to a struggle I’m having?? Why can’t I write about something so uplifting and ummm….something that’s not about (*clears throat*) ME?”

His response … “If you’re not going to be real on this blog, then you’re defeating the purpose of this blog if you omit your journey with me and the things I’m brining you through.”

Hmmm…I suppose I did (by the leading of the Holy Spirit) name this blog ‘Real Life With Jesus’…which means here I am again- no sugar coating here, just being real. Ok..so here goes!

I opened my eyes this morning to my 2 year old daughter at my bedside “mommy- dowtairs? (downstairs).”…I turned my eyes towards the clock. 6:05. Really? It took some coaxing but eventually, I got her to crawl into bed beside me. 5 minutes or maybe 10, I thought to myself…then I’ll get up and go downstairs with her. But not even 10 seconds had gone by and our 1 year old started to cry from her crib in the other room. 

So I got up…

But I didn’t get out of bed with a smile on my face. I didn’t get out of bed ‘feeling’ happy. Immediately, I called out to Jesus. “PLEASE help me get this mood to pass!” I know all too well where the day is headed when I give in to this feeling of ‘attitude’ and ‘bad mood’ if you will. I know that it’s going to come spewing out of my mouth just causing more problems. So then I quickly say good morning to Jesus but as I’m thanking Him for this day, I’m thinking in the back of my mind the fact that I haven’t gotten to sleep in for like 100 years. (Ok, obviously not 100 years but at least 4.) So then I give my head a shake and tell myself “Tara, snap out of this mood before you say something that you’ll regret.” So then I try to refocus and ignore all of the negative thoughts rushing through my mind. I’m then replaying the disagreement that I had with a loved one just the other day, I’m thinking about the laundry that needs to be washed and folded and the dishes that need to be done and the rushing around that I’ll have to do to get ready for church–that’s right folks, my lovely mood happened the morning I woke up to go to church- the day that I should be excited to go and be with my church family and lift the name of Jesus. There I was Mrs Grumpy McGrumperson.

20 minutes later, after feeding both the girls their breakfast and cleaning up  yogurt that had some how made it’s way on every surface in the kitchen, I hear my hubby and our 4 year old son wake up. I’m still in a ‘grump’ so I start to repeat over an over in my head “Jesus, help me pleeeaaaassse! Dave is getting up and if I don’t snap out of this I’m likely to start an argument over this mood I’m in.”

Then all of a sudden more negative thoughts start to bombard my mind! What is GOING ON HERE? Now I’m annoyed with my thoughts AND grumpy. Not only am I annoyed and grumpy, I begin to feel guilty and condemned. Thoughts like “what kind of wife are you? Loving on your husband and serving him one minute and the next, you’re as selfish as selfish can be- moody and short with him. You’ll never be able to submit to your husband constantly if you can’t even submit to Jesus consistently.” (let me just pause to tell you that even since I’ve began my journey of becoming a submissive wife, things come against me all of the time! Especially thoughts just like the one I just described. The Lord reminds me frequently that when we’re doing something FOR Him, oppositions will come against us- But push through, don’t stop. What ever you do, don’t give up. Our godly marriages are a threat to the kingdom of God so opposition will rise up- but God is greater the he that is in the world so don’t back down) Ok that was tad off topic , but felt led to share.

So I continue this rant to Jesus…It sounded something like this … “Jesus what is going on here? Why can’t I shake this? Why can’t I stop focusing on all this negative STUFF. Why can’t  I stop being so selfish, thinking only about me and how I’m feeling? I just can’t stop thinking about what so and so said to me. And I can’t get over how bad I feel for overreacting the other day and I can’t this and I can’t that and on and on and oooonnnnnnn.”

Finally, I was quiet enough to hear God say ( and I”m not kidding) “You talk too much.” Those are the words that popped into my head. YOU TALK TOO MUCH. You talk too much and you don’t listen enough. Ouch. (I say ouch a lot ..because sometimes the truth just hurts.) And the truth is just that. I DO talk too much. I talk too much about me (my feelings, my hurts, my needs, my desires, my reason for this, my reason for that, my opinions, my thoughts) I do this with friends and I do this with my husband and with just about anyone that will listen…and I do this with God. It’s ok to talk! It’s good to communicate! But it’s not good to talk so much that you forget or don’t care to listen and understand where others are coming from. I know God wants me to pour my heart out to Him and share every little detail, good and bad with Him….BUT am I stopping to hear what He has to say? Or am I just listing my requests to Him and pouring out my heart to Him and then walking away before I can even hear what He has to say??? Ouch again.

So I quieted my mouth and my mind long enough to allow Him to speak to me about my ‘bad mood’…and this is what He gave me…

Cast your cares upon Me and I will sustain you; I will never let the righteous be shaken (Psalm 55:22). Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.(Philippians 4:8)

Now, I’m not saying this was easy or that my mood just switched the moment I thought on these scriptures but as the day goes on and as I meditate upon that which God gave me, I know that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength…and the more I cast my cares upon Him and think on things that are excellent, admirable and praise worthy, what ever is right, and pure and lovely, I know that I’m choosing the way of the Spirit and telling my flesh to step back.

This is a daily battle that every Christian faces…choosing to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh. I know I’m not the only one facing this issue. For me, the battle right now is in learning to ‘get over myself’ …for you it might be something else. But one thing I know for sure is that I plan on winning this battle and not only surviving it but OVERCOMING it. In Christ we are ALL OVERCOMERS!! I won’t back down, I won’t let my bad moods have the last say, I won’t let the enemy have the last say, I won’t let my feelings or my moods or my mess up’s define who I am in Christ. No way.

I hope and pray that what ever battle you’re going through when it comes to flesh and Spirit, that you realize God is greater then anything that we’re facing and battling..and I pray that even when you feel like the battle is too much- remember that you ARE an overcomer!

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37Image

When You Blow It

Things were going along fine…there I was, walking in The Spirit, following God’s ways even when I didn’t  ‘feel’  like it. I felt accomplished, confident in Him, ready to take on the whole world with Jesus at my side and then all of a sudden……. BAM! Everything I’d been working towards, praying for and all the progress that I’d been making  just seemed to just fall right through my fingers, right out of my grasp.  And so then I began the daunting task of trying to pick up the pieces but I felt I’d  blown it so bad that that I couldn’t even find half of the pieces or let alone where to even begin putting them back together again. That my sweet friends, was me…just this past weekend.

As I sit here in front of my computer, I wonder, how much should I confess? How transparent should I be? So I will just start from the beginning and let my words flow onto this blog and in doing so, I pray that I can bring encouragement to others even though I am still feeling the remorse and embarrassment  of my actions.

Have you ever seen a two year old throw a temper tantrum? Well…minus the rolling around of the floor, I’m sad and mortified to admit that I reacted just that way this weekend. Every part of me wants to justify my behaviour with explaining  “WHY” I reacted the way I did. Every ounce of me wants to justify my actions by telling you what kind of week I had leading up to it or what ‘others’ did to cause me to act the way I did. Truth of the matter- NO ONE made me react the way I did. NO ONE else can choose how I will react in any given situation. The truth is – I and I alone had the choice to behave like a child of God and not a selfish little girl not getting her way. I raised my voice, I yelled and shouted to try and prove my point and when I felt I wasn’t being heard, I yelled even louder. I cried (and yelled) because my feelings were hurt. I stomped away when I felt I wasn’t being heard and would stomp right back with another a childish approach to try and be heard some more. Oh my – I’m cringing right now. Have you ever just wanted to be heard?  Most of my weekend was pity party. Most of my weekend resulted in feeling guilt and shame over my horrible behaviour.

But in all of this do you know what God is showing me?  # 1, He’s pruning me. I thought I had dealt with certain things in my life and in my heart but I haven’t. Now to go back to Jesus with all of this and ask Him to forgive me and to show me where to go from here…

John 15:2~ He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

The second thing that He’s showing me is that I’m STILL trying to do this thing called life on my own most of the time. I kept finding myself saying “I’ve been trying to change! I’ve been working on changing! What’s the point in trying to change when I just can’t change?!” So there it is… Jesus is the one who does the changing. I’m to study His word, fall more in love with Him, be obedient to His teachings and HE WILL CHANGE ME. “I” won’t change me…. this is a huge struggle for me. I constantly find myself asking God “HOW HOW HOW do I let you change me? HOW do I stop getting in the way??” Does anyone else struggle with this?

The one truth that I’ve been standing upon for a couple of years now and has encouraged me tremendously is Romans 8:1-2 ~ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  I had gotten myself into such a state this weekend that I was only just hanging on to this truth by a thread. The enemy was probably laughing, thinking that he’d gotten me to give up. (Now I know that my choices and my behaviour wasn’t the devil’s fault. I have free will. I made my own choices. That was all me. BUT the devil DID use my behaviour, my mistake, my sin as ammunition to try and get me to give up on Jesus, on myself and on my situation. I opened the door by sinning and that gave the devil a foothold.)

This is what I chose to believe now….

*I’m still a daughter of the Creator of the universe.

*I’m still loved

*I’m forgiven

*I have to deal with the consequences of my actions but Jesus still loves me and will never leave me nor forsake me.

*God knew that I was going to have a melt down this past weekend. He loved me 2 weeks ago and He still loves me today-faults and all.

*I am not condemned

*Jesus hasn’t given up on me so I shouldn’t give up on me either…

Can anyone relate? Have you ever had a melt down…a blow up that just spiralled downward? If you have, then you’re not alone. I can tell you that I honestly feel that no one could have reacted the way I did this weekend. I’m sure I’m not the only woman in the world who has ever had a blow up like I did, but I tell ya, the enemy sure wants us to feel alone and isolated. But I for one refuse to stand behind a wall of fear. I for one refuse to ‘appear’ that I have it all together. So there you have it…a real life moment. One that I’m not too proud of…but in this real life moment, there is grace, there is forgiveness, there is conviction, there is opportunity to grow, there is mercy and love even in the midst of my mess up.

Xox Blessings to all of you,

T:)

A Wife In Progress (series) Part 4- Making Progress

As I think back to a couple of weeks ago to when I decided that ‘enough was enough’ of the enemy trying to mess around with my marriage, I was determined and excited and ready to face the challenge… And I realized…everything goes smooth when I’m getting my way and everything is nice and pretty when always on schedule. It’s so easy to respect my husband when he gives me what I want and sees things the way I see them. Oooooo well that ‘determined and excited and ready to face the challenge’ idea didn’t seem so great anymore when I woke up in a grumpy mood this morning… And so now the discipline and I ‘choose’ to do this kicks in to full gear as I face my issue of having to be in control of every thing. This journey that I’ve decided to embark upon to make my marriage as good as it can be, is causing me to take a deep look at myself and into my heart…and there are some things in there that I don’t like what I see. Thank God for His grace! I will not fall into condemnation but I will fall into Jesus and press into Him as He walks me through this.

Enjoy the video ladies…I love to share my heart with you every time….

 

 

 

 

Removing The Mask

For so long, I believed that to be able minister to other women effectively I had to portray that I had a perfect life; the perfect marriage, the perfect children…and so on…I believed that if I didn’t act like I had it all together (even when I was falling apart) that I would cause discouragement in others. I was afraid that they would see my struggles and wonder “well, why would I want this Jesus she’s talking about when her life is so messy?” …. And so I hid behind the mask- The mask of perfection.

This mask of perfection can only cover so much for so long….

This mask caused me to become exhausted and discouraged. I reached my breaking point a few years ago. I was in leadership for a season. I’d had it imprinted upon my mind that as a leader, others were watching me and I was to ‘set the example’ of being a follower of Christ. I fell into the trap of believing  that I was supposed to look like a christian woman who had it all together. I’d been deceived, believing that I was not to be vulnerable or real with others because it seem to others that I wasn’t Christ like. I was always striving to minister to others and pray for others, give godly advice to others, be aware of what others needed and how to help when others were struggling.

It was one of the most challenging times in my life. My husband and I were away from our family. We had just had our second child. My husband was going through a season of tremendous trial and I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t hide behind my mask any longer. I broke. And I’d felt that I’d failed. Failed my friends, failed my family, failed my Pastor and his wife. I even believed that I’d failed God. At that time I cried out to God, “I’m so sorry that I couldn’t do this for You. I was never meant to be in leadership. What a horrible example I’ve set for others.” I then started to believe that I’d never been good enough, smart enough, or wise enough….

Little did I know, that God would not let that season of my life go to waste…it was the beginning of my journey of moving towards becoming transparent and real before others. I had believed a lie. I believed that even if I didn’t have my life all together, I needed to act like as though I did have it all together. What a lie! ….but oh when I became honest with myself, God and others, God’s grace took over and continues to fill me and sustain me. 

And THAT brings me to why I’ve started this blog and doing videos.  As uncomfortable as I am at times speaking about what I struggle with and revealing to all of you the things that make me so imperfect, it is brings freedom and healing and to my soul. Now, granted, there are things that I don’t write about or talk about. I don’t believe the whole world needs to know every tiny detail of my life (or yours)  and I do believe that for certain struggles, there are particular people that God wants me to share with and certain people that I’m not to share with. That being said, don’t feel that you need to run around town telling everyone every detail of your life…but be open to being real with the women in your life. It is absolutely refreshing and takes the weight off your shoulders!

There are some things that I’m learning as I continue to take off and keep off my mask of perfection.

*First thing- As women, most of us don’t want to open up or share our struggles with someone who seems to be perfect in every area of life. As women, we desire to share our struggles with someone who can relate to us…and if our lives are ‘messy’ we want to know that we’re not alone. I for one, can tell you that my life is messy. (2 Corinthians 1:4 ~ He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.)

 
 *Second thing- When we are transparent with each other, we are encouraged. We not only realize that we’re not alone in our struggles but we can then pray together and lift each other up and be accountable to one another. (James 5:16  ~ Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.)
 
*Third- I’ve come to know that the enemy wants us to feel isolated and alone in our trials. He wants us to be afraid of what others will think-  he wants us to feel alone  to keep us feeling guilty, ashamed, and in darkness. When we confess our struggles to one another, it’s no longer hidden in the dark but out in the light where healing can take place. Healing can’t take place if it’s surrounded by darkness.
(1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.)
 
*And so just let me add here that the most important revelation that I’ve received in all of this, is that I need to be real with God before I even talk to anyone else about what’s going on in my life and in my heart. Yes, He knows already, but He still wants us to come running to Him pouring out our hearts to Him, holding nothing back, hiding nothing at all. 
 
I hope and pray that you’ve been encouraged in someway while reading this. I still struggle at times with trying to have it all together and hiding behind my mask when I don’t.  But I do believe in my heart that as a child of God (and especially as a leader) we will be much more effective for Jesus when we’re transparent and willing to do real life with others. ❤
 
Much love and blessings to you all,
 
T:)
 

 

Focus On The Good

Time to confess and be brutally honest here….

Guilty! I’m guilty….

I’m so guilty of comparing my marriage  to other marriages and  my husband to other husbands. If you’ve been there, done that or are doing it now,  raise your hand or say amen or nod your head- just acknowledge it in some way and let’s go and dig a little deeper here.

First of all, to make things clear, I’ve never desired to have a different husband but I’ve watched other husbands and how they treat their wives and I’ve thought to myself “oh,  I wish Dave would do things like that for me..ohhhh, I wish Dave would give me that kind of attention out in public”…and so on. And same with other marriages. I’ve seen other marriages and what they ‘appear’ to be like on the outside and I’ve longed to have a marriage like ‘theirs’, for me to be the gentle submissive wife and for Dave to be the romantic, lovey dovey husband.  OK. let’s STOP right there.

Enough entertaining those thoughts. First of all we need to take a quick look at what God says about coveting . One of the descriptions of coveting is to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others. So when I look at this, I’m reminded that when I’m desiring to have the life or the marriage that others have, I’m doing the very thing God tells me not to do….

Deuteronomy 5:21 commands us: “‘And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

Now, let me squeeze in here that I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with seeing another healthy, godly marriage and wanting that for our own marriages. When we see others living godly lives, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to imitate them. Paul said of himself in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” However, it’s  not right or godly to desire and long for our husbands to be someone that they’re not.

That’s exactly what God  has revealed to me. He’s opening my eyes to all of the amazing qualities my husband has. He’s a family man. He loves to spend time with me and with our children. He hugs me when I’m sad. When I ask him to help me with the children, he does. He helps clean up meals. He disciplines our children and when I discipline them, he backs me up. The list goes on and on but I’m sure you don’t want to read pages worth of my husband’s amazingness 😉 … so instead of focusing on all that my husband might not do right, I’m having a change of heart and I’m focusing on all the amazing things about him..and the more I do that, the more blessed I realize that I am.

It’s really not fair for me to expect my husband to meet all of my needs..and this is an area that I’m working on! Because I know that I’m to look to Jesus to meet all of my needs. It’s not fair nor is it scriptural for me to place expectations on my husband to meet my every need. Trust me! I’m still working on this! But I have such a gracious and patient God who is working all this junk out of me one step at time…

Focus on the good

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Reflection:

~Are there days when you find yourself focusing on all the negative things about your husband? Why not make a list of all the things you love about him. In this list include all the things you can think of no matter how small. Spend every morning going over this list- It will give you an attitude of thankfulness! And when we have a thankful heart, we have a happy heart 🙂

~Like me, do you sometimes (ok…alot of the times) look to or expect your husband to meet all of your needs? This week, why don’t we bring all of these needs to Jesus and ask Him to fill us with all that we need.

~If you’ve been comparing your marriage to other marriages or your husband to other husbands, take this time to repent and ask forgiveness. Ask God to come in a do a new a fresh thing in your marriage and focus on all that God has for the two of you!

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Leave a comment below if you struggle with any what I’ve just shared. If we married women can all support and encourage each other, the devil is going to go running in fear when he knows how determined we are to stick together and work on our marriages! Let’s do this!

God bless each and everyone of you. Xo

T:)

A Wife In Progress (series) Part 3- Prayer and Accountability

Hi sweet friends! I’m so glad to be back with you today!! So this video below pretty much says it all….no need for me to write much at all.

I love you and God bless!

Below, under the video, you’ll see some questions and areas to reflect upon. Feel free to go over them and feel free to leave a comment. Let’s do this together! If you can’t see the video click here.

Reflection:

~ I will be intentional about praying for my husband daily. When are some times through out the day that you can pray for your husband and make a point of praying for him even when life gets busy?- For me, it’s when I’m doing something for my husband i.e.- folding his laundry, cooking his supper.

~I will be sure to find an accountability partner- another woman who loves Jesus who will stand and pray for me and my marriage. Do you have someone to stand beside you for encouragement and prayer?