Monday, September 3, 2012

Matt Papa

Keeping with the theme of last week and how can I live every minute for the glory of God in Christ, I watched this video. I wept for the lost souls that are everywhere but for those that specifically who have no or very few people to tell them about Christ. I was also exhorted to see everything in my life as a potential sacrifice to Christ. A gift to give up for Him and His glory. I began asking myself again, "are you willing to give that up for Him?" about small and big things in my life. I am a little discouraged at how easily it is to say, yes I am willing but then to see sin rise up again in me. I still am struggling with wanting to do more or be more purposeful and yet wanting to indulge. So here I am, a little discouraged but hopeful as I see that it is in my weakness and inability to understand that God is glorified in me. It is so obvious that any good thing: love for the lost, desire to glorify God, purposeful living, comes from Him alone and through Him alone.

I pray that you will be exhorted by this video but I pray that you will also be encouraged to seek Him first, above all else.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

All at Once

I am avoiding my blog tonight. There is too much going on in my mind. That is not acceptable though, so here I go.

We were reading a book in the youth group on Sunday mornings called, The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves. In one of the final chapters a Puritan recounted an experience he had while relieving himself. While he was out a dog came by and began to relieve himself as well and this puritan (I'm sorry, I can't remember who it was) was struck at how much he was like an animal at that moment and committed to think spiritual thoughts in the future while relieving himself as a way of redeeming the act. One of the girls protested at the ridiculousness and severity of his response and yet as I have meditated on it over the last few weeks I find myself in a battle similar to the puritan. How do I make every part of my life about Jesus Christ and His glory?

I say a battle because if I am honest sometimes I do not even want Christ to have anything to do with a certain part of my life. I would like to compete in a triathlon. It is on my bucket list. My husband has said that this summer is not the right time and I should wait. My brother contacted me and asked me to start training with him so we can do one next summer. I started "training" and we have been corresponding about how to accomplish this without taking away from our families. We exchanged some websites and articles and then he said, we can do this and I have been praying about it. That is when I realized I hadn't. In all reality, I didn't want God or Tommy to have anything to do with it. I want it too bad to let God in and allow Him to take it away. Wrong thinking in so many different ways. As if me not praying about something would keep God out of that part of my life. HA! Still working on prying my fingers off this idol.

Or what about the struggle with practical details of raising kids. A son, that I would like to grow into a responsible MAN. I know that the best way to encourage him in that honorable direction is to respect and honor his father but what about when he is fighting me with every part of his being? He sticks out his chin and crosses his arm as I stand there feeling like I am looking in a mirror and wondering how do I train him in this situation?

Then there is the issue of very old issues that have come up. Pains I thought were gone. So long ago that I didn't even see the connections until someone else pointed them out. Now I have to hurt again and chose to forgive again, because Christ forgave me. It's painful but it's clear.

This all seems to hit at the same time. I'm tired. I'm glad that He is stretching me and holding me and bringing me along. Lord, carry me through. Grant me perseverance and faithfulness.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another school year

School has started again. With this time of year comes some of the same old struggles I often have. I schedule, so that I can fit everything in that I prayerfully have come to the conclusion needs to be in our day. Next, I become militant about keeping our schedule so that we can fit in everything that I have ordained will be in our day. Finally, I rebel against my own schedule, feeling guilty the entire time I am rebelling because I know that I am only rebelling against my own standards. I still feel confined, restricted and just plain bored.

At least, this is the usual cycle of the school year.

This year has been a little different. God has been working in me. I know that He always is working in me but I have seen some significant changes and that is exciting. I still scheduled out our days so that we can be effective with our time, good stewards of what God has given us. The difference so far is that I am not militant. It is still a battle. I want to be a drill sergeant and I am tempted to freak out when I forget to turn on my alarm and the day begins 45 minutes behind schedule. The Lord is helping me to resist...there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...and move on from where we are.

I am also seeking help and have been given the perspective needed, to not be frantic and guilty. If I choose to let the kids play with the neighbor instead of make them do school work then I am committed to my decision. It is my decision and there is nothing wrong with it. No reason to fret about getting behind or feel bad because we should be doing something else. If we should be doing that other stuff then I need to make the decision to do it.

Anyway, I think I am babbling now. God is good and He is blessing the beginning of this school year in so many ways. To give this perspective amidst two ER visits, and other less serious injuries, birthdays and ministries. He is blessing and I am humbled.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Peaceful Home

It has been an interesting my head. I recently gave up eating gluten. I have suffered greatly from digestive issues since I was a kid and when I did some research I found that taking out gluten would be a good place to start in healing. It was. I am so much better when I am not eating anything with gluten in it. The down side is without wheat or milk products (Betsy has dairy issues) it sucks a lot of joy out of cooking for my family. It is way more difficult and much more limiting and a lot more exhausting.

Food is delightful though and I want to serve my family and enjoy food as well. Off to the library I went for more, fresh ideas and inspiration. Evidently Julia and I would have to see a little less of each others. Sad.

I found some books by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. Her books are beautiful and her recipes are intriguing. I sat down Sunday afternoon and poured over them, reading her little introductions and stories or life and her journey as a wife, a homemaker, a the end of the evening I was downright depressed.  She talked of large overstuffed chairs and couches in their home with piles of books and good lighting for reading. Mood music playing. Candles. Flowers everywhere. Her goal was to make a home that was comfortable, peaceful and where people wanted to be.

This is not my home. I started re-ordering my life. What can I take out of my schedule to make more time for decorating? Entertaining? Scrubbing? Saving money so that I can furnish my home in ways that make other people comfortable? The list in my mind kept growing, as did the guilt. I felt ashamed that this woman who didn't even know the Lord, did such a better job at making a peaceful home. I should be working harder at this. I should be...but then it hit me:

She doesn't know the Lord.

Ina Garten is a great cook and a talented author. She has time and finances to spend on making her home beautiful to the eyes and ears, nose and mouth but since she doesn't know the Lord there is a peace that she can never achieve, no matter how hard she tries. She is to be prayed for and pitied...not envied.

God turned my thoughts upside down, or rather right side up again, renewed my mind and I remembered what peace is in His eyes. Peace is a right relationship with God, no longer under wrath and condemnation. My home has that! Her home is relaxing...very relaxing, but not peaceful.

It is true that there are other things that I could be better at doing like moping the floor but sometimes by the time I get everything picked up and then swept it is time to do the next thing and the moping will just have to wait. There are other things that are not relaxing in a home with five kids. Sometimes music is just one more thing making a racket in the house... definitely not relaxing. I look forward to continuing to make our house more relaxing as the kids grow.

I am grateful that we are already a peaceful home though and that everything we (Tommy and I) do is motivated by that peace and the desire for our children, and others who come into our house, to know that peace too.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Anna update

Just need to give some praise to God as Creator and Healer. We went to the orthopedic surgeon today for Anna's check up and she is doing amazingly well. He says that you will not even be able to tell in a couple of months when the fingernail has regrown. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it but her finger is taking back its shape already. It is simply amazing. God is simply amazing. Monday her fingertip was gone...smashed, cut off! Today is Friday, barely five days later and it is filled back in and healing so well.

We still have a few weeks until scabby starts and then a few weeks until her nail is visible but I know God has been answering so many of our prayers because He is blessing her with quick healing. Thank you for your prayers. Thank the Lord for His goodness and praise Him for His power to heal and His creation of our bodies!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


To be honest Anna has been doing great, but I haven't. I have used this huge interruption to my weekly schedule as an excuse to be "off" all week. I don't like that I am that way but there it.

I am constantly struggling with the battle between doing too much and being lazy. Constantly fighting to get things done or just being with my children. When you add in prepping for school to begin again, a trip to the ER, and throw in some potty training and a few hormonal roller coasters the fight is even more difficult.

Tonight was our weekly youth group meeting and Tommy asked the students what they wanted to improve at in their spiritual life. My answer is simple. WHATEVER...I want to improve at " So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." If I read a book: TO THE GLORY OF GOD. If I clean the bathroom: TO THE GLORY OF GOD. If I color a picture with a child, make dinner, sweep the floor, give a reading lesson WHATEVER: TO THE GLORY OF GOD.

However, I know that to do so requires enthralled love with my Savior and King and that is not something that I can devise on my own. This comes from the Lord. I can feed it is certainly easier to think of the Lord when I have been reading about Him, talking to or about Him, listening to others talk or sing about Him. 

So here is to feeding myself and pleading with God to grow that love. Here is to knowing that I cannot do it (fill in the blank) right and resting in the FACT: JESUS ALREADY DID!

Monday, August 6, 2012

ER Visit

Today was normal and abnormal in many ways.

It started the same as any other is Monday right? Although a little slow out of the gate. We did our little routine and then through normal distractions I was hollering (because I am loud) at the kids to get there shoes on and head out the door to the grocery store.


I then I heard crying but went on finishing getting ready because, that is also very normal in our house. But that is where normal ended...the crying get worse. Then Christian started panicking and saying, "she's bleeding." Tommy brought Anna into the kitchen and there was a lot of blood. We stuck her hand under the sink to rinse it and immediately noticed that the tip of her finger was just gone.

I threw a towel around her hand and grabbed my purse, took Anna from Tommy while he got his shoes on and herded everyone to the door. Somehow Betsy and Daniel made it out to the car and were waiting abnormally patiently for us. Christian was crying, sobbing. Praise God for the presence of mind to look him in the eyes and calmly tell him that though we had to go to the hospital, Anna was going to be fine. This was not life threatening AT ALL.

A couple more "on the verge of freaking out" moments when Tommy had to take the fingernail off the door jam and put it in a plastic bag to bring with us and when I noticed there were no car seats in the car but we made it to the hospital.

God blessed abundantly. This too is normal. An interruption to my day that is filled with God's faithfulness and blessing.

  • Someone took the kids for us while we were at the hospital.
  • Christian was able to be freed from his guilt and great Gospel conversation was had.
  • No surgery or stitches for Anna, only band-aids and acetaminophen
  • Calm for Mommy and Papa (there really were times when panic and fear, worry and concern could have taken over, like when one doctor said reconstructive surgery and loss of the fingernail but God blessed with peace)
He is good. Anna still has a lot of healing to do but it could have been much, much worse. Amazing how God brings glory to Himself through suffering. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

What about you?

A little story to give you something to think about.

At camp this last week one of the counselors asked the small group of students, "What is the next step for you in your walk with Christ?" (A great question to ask!) The students had different answers but one in particular said that he wanted to spend more time in the Word. (A great answer.) The response was what is amazing: another question, "What in your life do you need to be doing less of in order for that to happen?"

WOW! So simple. So obvious but very profound.

There is enough time in your day to be with the Lord but I ask YOU:

What in your life do you need to be doing less of in order to have more time with the Lord, specifically in His Word?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Done with this week!

WooHoo! Tommy is home, but what an amazing week! So many opportunities to see God's goodness and His sovereign work in our lives. 

Monday did not start out so well. You can read about that here if you need a refresher. The rest of the week was so much better and so much crazier all at the same time. 

I really don't want to be loaded down with the details of what happened during the week because that is not the important thing, the amazing thing however in order to grasp the magnitude from my perspective I'll give you some highlights:

  • 9 children 10 and under for 18 hours at my house
  • I don't sleep well when Tommy is not here therefore never more then 6 hours a night and always interrupted
  • Making a pinata the entire week, three layers a day
  • Grown-up girl birthday party
  • Normal life with 5 kids
There was a list, an idea in my head of what we were going to do this week and God changed just about all of it.

  •  My friend and I watched one movie together instead of one a night. 
  • We cleaned house on Friday instead of Monday and we never made it to the basement
  • I did not crochet anything, ever, let alone finish a project
  • I was exhausted the entire week, instead of rested and lazy
All of things were wonderfully okay though. I have been praying for God to use really shake up my life and use me in ways that my family was able to make healthy sacrifices and show love for others. He did that this week. I was able to often and continually let go of my agenda and embrace His. I did not have a meltdown in a week of situations that in the past would have sent me over the edge into freak out land. In fact, though I did not spend consistent time in the Word (something I am sad about) and though I did sin often, I lived in trust of God and His goodness and sovereignty every day. Taking naps when I felt like I should continue working because I wanted to display the fruit of the Spirit more then I wanted a clean house. 

I am glad the week is over. I am glad that my husband is back. I am thankful that no one is sick and that tomorrow is the Lord's day. I am thankful for friends who helped get everything ready for tomorrow so that we can celebrate Daniel after we worship and fellowship together. It was a good week because God is a good God and His work is so evident but I am thankful to go to bed and be done with this week!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

John Piper vs. Pierce Brosnan

It was just after this interview that I met John Piper.

We had just finished worshipping at the Throne as we saw God's glory magnified through this man. It was awesome and fearful as Jennie describes. I had to be alone during the break after he finished speaking, but I walked by the interview area and saw this line forming and Dr. Piper turn to pour his attention on these women.

I had to join them. Why? Because this man has shown me GOD. I am tearing up just thinking about it. God has used him to open my eyes to the glories of my God and King in ways that were then used to change me, strengthen me, humble me. How could I not tell him that God has used him in my life.

It's true, it was a feeble attempt to communicate the magnatude of my gratitude but I think that is because the glory and thanks belong to God. John Piper is merely His vessel and he would say the same thing. Praise be to God that He chooses to use us in each other's lives. Praise be to God that He allows us to participate in His glorious work, to show grace and glory and to exalt Scripture and share real stories. It is amazing.

In 2008 I went to the True Woman conference in Chicago. On my way there Pierce Brosnan and his wife stood in line before me, boarding the same plane. It was exciting. He is attractive and I still remember it BUT I was not compelled to give glory and thanks to God because I saw him. There was no need to thank him. There were no tears and there was certaintly no worship of God because of how Mr. Brosnan had been used in my life. It was only kind of neat.

As I spoke to Dr. Piper I tried to express how I am encouraged: Being a mom is wearying and sometimes tedious and often thankless. There are many blessings and joyful times too but it is easy in the repetion to lose sight of how God is working and to forget the value and honor God has placed on you as a mom. (no this is not what I actually said, it was more like: I struggle with feeling insignificant because I am at home with 5 kids all day) I will not forget his response: he scoffed at me! and then he asked "With five souls in your care, how can you feel insignificant?"

Those are heavy, fearsome and encouraging words. To find my significance in Gods perspecitive and definition of me and what He has given to me to do. It is a battle and I am reminded again by the interview that the fight will follow me wherever God takes me...but it is worth the fight. God is worth the fight and God will keep me in and thru the fight.

Praise Him!

If you would like to hear Dr. Piper's exalt over Isaiah 6, follow this link.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Mercies in the Morning

Today Tommy left for mission camp with the youth group. I made plans for this week and so was actually a little excited for this time to come. I guess I was a little too excited and my plans became more important then anything else and so my mind was a little messed up.

The gang pulled out at about 7:45. The kids and I (one extra kid too) all went home after saying good-bye and ate our breakfast. By 8:30 we had all piled in the car ready to start our errands.

I started the car and pulled up to the street...I forgot something...ran back inside and grabbed it.

Drove to the doesn't open until 9:00...ten minutes to wait.

I forgot something else...drove home and grabbed it is late enough to drop Christian off at a friends for some school and fun.

Back to the bank: kids throwing stuffed animals, fighting over chairs and playing tag at 9:30 in the bank lobby on a Monday morning...not my idea of proper behavior and unfortunately an indication of the rest of the day.

By 1:30 we made it back home and I put the girls down for a nap and fell into a chair at the kitchen table to eat leftovers and rest. I still had two errands to run after all.

By 2:30 unexpected guests arrived. By 3:30 Christian was home and the continued tension with 6 kids was building even more. Expected guest arrives and I am sad and excited. This was who I was waiting for, to have a great time with and I am still two errands behind, haven't even begun to clean the house (an essential for relaxing enjoyment of girl-time) and the children are arguing with each other and myself to the point that I can't think straight.

I continue to indulge myself with watching youtube videos and sharing favorite songs with my friend while the kids jump out their energy on the trampoline. Still I push away the thoughts that perhaps I am being a little selfish here and should interact with and work with my children.

Somehow dinner gets made and we all sit down at 6:30. The phone rings. The children have a temporary lapse of memory as to dinner expectations due to 6th child and messes, arguments and tears ensue.

A moment of calm between 7 and 8 when I decide that I can focus on the children since they will be going to bed soon and then I will be free. My dear friend cleans the kitchen.

Eight o'clock finally arrives, the little ones are in bed and my friend and I start a movie. Christian wants to watch. I say no. I want to be free of them. He is hurt...I don't blame him (I really don't want to be with him and he knows it) and try to soothe his pain and my conscience, then send him to bed.

We watch our movie. We talk.

I review my day and analyze why it was so difficult. Then I realize that I have been so focused on my agenda and what I want that I never stopped to consider God's agenda or really Him at all. When the Holy Spirit tried to poke and prod at my conscience I ignored it, distracting myself and rationalizing my actions. It was a sad day and we all could feel that something was wrong.

Praise God for grace and mercies that are new in the morning.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just another day in the life...

This is the problem with taking such a long break from writing. I sit down and there is so much that I would like to share that it is difficult to decide what to write first. I guess I will tell of what has happened most recently and maybe I will be able to go back and maybe not, we'll leave that up to God what He has for me to share. I will also leave to Him any good that may come from my opining.

Three things come to mind that stood out today.

1. We were late for a doctor appointment today. My reaction was the reason that this stands out to me. We were very late...25 minutes late and the office is about 40 minutes from our house. Needless to say, I had a long time to sit in the car and think about how late we were. I was angry. I was angry because it was not my fault that we were late but I was going to be the one who had to interact with the nurses and other office people. I was angry that I was going to have to be at the mercy of someone else's grace for something that I didn't do. I was so angry. I wish that I could say that God made everything right by the time we got there but that isn't the case. I prayed, a lot. I tried to counsel myself too. I have just finished reading The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller and so I reminded myself that this was just my bloated ego being deflated and the only opinion I should care about is God's opinion. I also reminded myself that I was in good company because Christ suffered on behalf of other people...including ME! I pleaded that He would enable me to accept what He had ordained for me in that office and that I would be humble but I couldn't let go of my anger toward the one who had made us late. We arrived and everyone was so kind and gracious...God's goodness to someone who was and still is so undeserving and when everything was fine I could easily let go of my anger. It was grace from God and blessing but I do wish that the anger would have been let go of before the verdict in the office waiting room.

2. D has strep throat. If you know me very well then you know we use alternative and natural remedies first before we head off to the doctor for tests and antibiotics. Ear infections? Garlic oil. Rest, fluids, garlic and vitamin C are our first defense. Last summer however I tried to fight strep throat on my own and it became scarlet fever. I learned that this is the kind of illness that antibiotics are supposed to be used for.  All that to say I am trusting God for grace to endure this time of trial as I am anticipating more children being sick and wisdom as schedules will be changed, events will be missed and life will have to be even more flexible.

3. Finally we attended a beautiful wedding tonight. It was everything a wedding should be. Two young people who love God, are redeemed by Christ and who are seeking to honor Him in their lives as they begin a life of love and sacrifice. I got all teary-eyed at more then one point. Marriage is so difficult and painful at times. It is frightening how badly we as sinners living together, can hurt each other. On the other hand it is beautiful and freeing to work through those disappointments, unmet expectations and sins with grace and forgiveness and humility to something that is more real and more true and more valuable because it is built on Christ and sustained by Christ.

There you day in a nutshell. I pray the Lord will bless and encourage you through it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mental Overload

I don't really want to blog. I am having internal conflict again.

I am tired, going on day three of a headache...continual dull pain. Reading biographies of men and women of faith who were workaholics while having this, sometimes incapacitating pain, trying to serve my family all at the same time is a struggle for me. What is laziness? What is taking care of yourself to better serve your family? What is most glorifying to God?

I am still processing some things that came up while at this conference. My husband and children were not with me and somehow my extroverted, slightly overwhelming, usually self-centered personality came out. This also brought out desires to be used more publicly, which stirred up discontent and questioning and analyzing the motivations behind those desire.

When I get this mental overload I tend to freeze up and have a difficult time expressing much of anything. Throw in the headache and the continued fast pace of a family of 7 and I just don't feel like blogging.

Reading the Word and a few new books from the conference, one on prayer, hoping that will help sort me out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More muddled efforts

Still trying to recover from the little sleep and deluge of teaching and preaching and worship this weekend.

In trying to describe what it is that I learned or "took with me" from this conference, the thing that I keep coming back to is the big picture of God that was painted throughout the whole weekend. It was beautiful. To see deeply how He has been working to reveal himself to us in deeper and clearer ways from the beginning of time and then be presented with a picture of the worship and revelation of God from Revelation 21-22 is overwhelming. It is also comforting and encouraging. His goodness and sovereignty are evident and real. He is trustworthy and loving, forgiving and drawing us close through Christ.

More then anything I have come away with a desire to know Him more. The breakout sessions I took were on memorizing Scripture and studying the Word in more depth. The books I bought were about prayer and fighting fear with the Word. I chose these because I want more of Him. I am not sure how else to describe it. I want less of the world and I want more to be part of the continual worship of God on the throne.

I am also a little confused and frustrated. I want these things and long for them for me and for my kids but I am tired and I am quickly falling into old patterns. I am fighting though, not by trying harder but by pleading with the Lord in prayer and choosing little moments throughout the day to do what is harder and take the better option. Engage the children when I would rather send them away. Read the Word while the dinner is cooking, instead of hop on Facebook. Talk with Tommy even when it is difficult to explain what I am thinking. Trusting the Lord to use these choices in this long process of sanctification and knowing that I can trust Him. He has called me and He will keep me. This vision of a great and faithful God who has been working to complete His ultimate plan throughout history has solidified in me:  "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tired and joyfully overwhelmed

I returned at 1:30 in the morning from The Gospel Coalition National Women's Conference. I am still very tired and filled with the Word. It is difficult to express what I learned and how God worked...partly because there was so much that He did and partly because it is still so fresh I am not sure what was excitement and what was lasting change.

As I mentioned before, one of the blessings was being able to see my mom, sister and friend from California. That was sweet time of fellowship and worship with them.

Another blessing was the relationships that were started with the women I drove down to Orlando with. I am always amazed at the strong and deep connection that God gives to the body...even when they have only first met. I count these women as dear sisters that I care about, have been praying for all day today and long to spend more time with in the future. It is sweet, the tie that quickly binds.

The teaching was incredible. The theme of the conference was: Here is Our God. It was beautiful to hear the speakers walk us through the Bible, starting in Exodus and moving through to Revelation, and show us a BIG view of God. It sure puts everything else in life in perspective when you are consumed with a vision of God that is that big.

As I process I know I will have so much more to share. Thanks be to God that He saw fit to bless me in such an amazing way...especially when just one week ago I was raging at His ruthless idol crushing in my life. He is good.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Big Surprises and The Gospel Coalition

Yes, it is very late and yes, I have been avoiding my blog...but not for reasons that you may think!

At approximately 7pm on Tuesday night I received a phone call from a friend telling me there was an open spot to join them in Florida at The Gospel Coalition National Women's Conference. I was thrilled. God was blessing and showing His goodness in so many ways! 

There had been debate as early as Christmas about me going to the conference for the obvious benefits of sitting under great Biblical teaching and learning how to minister to other women through the Word. After consideration it was decided that this was not the right time for me to go. It was more disappointing because my mother and sister who live in California were going to the conference. They would be so close and yet I was not going to be able to see them. We had gone to the True Woman conference in Chicago a few years together and were sad to miss out on this time of fellowship. 

Fast forward to Tuesday night. Not only did I want to go to the conference because it was going to be a great conference, I also wanted to get to know these women I would be travelling and staying with but I would also be able to surprise my mom and sister. It was more then I could hope for or imagine.

Tommy of course agreed that this was important and God was providing...I needed to go. Wednesday I suffered through a long conversation with my mom, fighting the urge to tell her I was coming and Thursday morning we left bright and early.

*A small spiritual side note here that I hope to explore more in the future: When I was done with that phone call on Tuesday my first and reactive response was to worship the good Creator and Provider God who was blessing me in such an amazing way. It was encouraging and an answer to prayer to see that work in me. I have been praying that God would enable me to respond appropriately to situations He put me in (emotionally joyful in huge blessing or sad and sorrowful in loss). I struggle with shutting off and not "feeling" until later. So this was evidence of God answering that prayer.

On Friday morning I walked to my mother's hotel and enlisted the help of my step-dad Mark in California to get her hotel room. Then, standing outside her door, I sent her a text: Did you make it? No response. Another one: God is good Mommy. Go open the door. I stood there heart pounding waiting. I could hear her talking on the phone inside. I sent another text to Mark asking him to get off the phone so she would respond to her texts. The conversation ended but still the door wasn't opened. I sent one more: Did you open the door?

Screams! Tears! Hugs! It was priceless! 
My sister was just as surprised though it was a little less dramatic tracking her down.

Now we are together again at a wonderful conference. I will have more to share as I process through the teaching of God's Word this weekend but I encourage you to listen as you can on the website as the plenary sessions are streaming for you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Idol crushing

Oh man! This weekend was so painful and so good! Those two often go together in the Christian life. It was really amazing actually because God's work, His goodness, and His sovereignty were so evident in my life. I am still amazed.

Friday night was not so good. I had an idol. God put Tommy in the way of my idol. The scene that followed was ugly. The anger, fury and filth that came out of my heart because he was getting in the way of what I wanted, my desire is embarrassing and shameful. I watch my kids throw fits when I get in the way of their idols and I am shocked or annoyed or offended at the reaction. The tantrum of hot tears and throwing themselves on the floor or little hands balled up in fists and I have so little compassion...because they are not my idols. There I was throwing a tantrum that would rival the best.

The next morning as I wrestled with God, begging Him for help to see clearly (because at this point I did not realize the root of my problem) the tears kept coming. I sought wise counsel. I talked and talked with Tommy trying to work it out then this thought formulated in my mind: I feel like I sacrifice so much, my life is all about serving and giving and I want one thing, just one thing and that is the one thing God says, "you can't have that."  As the words were coming out of my mouth I began deflating. This was my problem God was saying no and I was not happy about it.

It was a relief and the rest of the afternoon and evening went smoothly despite the puffy eyes and fatigue. For all my repentance and everything being back to normal there still was something missing. I couldn't put my finger on it until the next day, Sunday, when God blessed me with what was missing...purpose in the sacrifice.

Anna woke with a fever Sunday morning and we stayed home. With everyone gone and Anna sleeping I pulled up a sermon I had begun and never finished, "The Underestimated God." I began cleaning the living room and dining room while I re-listened to the first half. Then my work slowed as I realized God was doing with me the same thing he had done with Elijah. He was taking that thing that I wanted (good or bad), that idol and He was ruthlessly crushing it for my good and His glory. How can this be for my good? Because when all my idols are crushed then I will have nothing else but Him.

10 For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.

12 Lord of hosts,
     blessed is the one who trusts in you! Psalm 84:10-12

I sat and wept with joy. This ruthless idol crushing was good! There was and is a purpose. God loves me and because of His love He cannot allow me to give my heart to anything or anyone else. I cannot say it better then Ligon Duncan and I urge you to listen to this message. If you have ever been disappointed or discouraged or had to make a sacrifice there is something here for you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Daily examples of God's love

I find it very interesting the times that morning devotions are "forgotten" or set aside until later, it changes the day. This morning family devotions were just forgotten and that can't be a good sign when you don't even think about worshiping God together as a family first thing. It was reflected in the moods and attitudes of both the kids and myself. We were selfish, argumentative and indulgent. I was snacking all day, pacing, and doing things I wanted to do that were not on "the list." (they weren't bad things but a means to avoid what I was responsible for doing) I didn't want to deal with the kids and they all wanted their hearts delight and fought about it all day. It was ugly.

On the flip side, when I finally sat down and opened the Word for personal worship the physical tension in my shoulders and face relaxed. I can't explain it but just the act of showing repentance and need began the transition to peace and joyful service. It was good and I am thankful to God for another example of how He provides and loves and gives grace.

I then went and spent the evening with my prayer group and was encouraged by them. One of the ladies just had her first baby two weeks ago so it was a blessing to hear her experience and joy and be able to love on that precious baby girl too! God continues to be good to me. I don't deserve it but that is part of the point. He graces those who are not worthy of grace because of the only One who is righteous and deserving. Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

By faith

I have moved a lot in my lifetime. 12 different houses by the time I was 12 years old, then a big move from city to rural mountains, across state lines. God rescued me during a time of stability. In reality this was only three years but to me it was a very long time and since my mother still lives in the same house, the same town, it feels permanent.

I moved to a new and bigger city in a new and different state for college and within a year was getting married and moving to yet another state. This began 10 more years of moving every couple of years. I have lots of things that I could say about this journey. I have many things I could complain about and people I could blame. I won't though and here is the reason why:

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tentswith Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations,whose designer and builder is God.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamedto be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

I seek this same homeland. I strive to embrace this life as a stranger, an exile as it follows me everywhere I go. No country, state or city is satisfying because the fight between restlessness and disappointment everywhere I go and my desire for stability both point to a promise that is a city whose foundation is built by God. 

I don't know if you can identify with that struggle. I long to be comfortable, settled and yet I know that I will never be comfortable (because nowhere here on earth is truly satisfying) and I know if I am settled it is only an illusion and only for a short time because God has provided something better: Jesus Christ. 

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for usthat apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The first time I saw a firefly I was 26 years old and I was driving from Georgia to Kansas. It was July in the south and they were flashing all along the wooded side of the road. I have to admit that I cried. It was amazing. I had never seen anything like it before. Their little green flashes distracted me as we went racing down the highway.

I remember talking about them for the next two weeks. I was enthralled but not just by them...I was awed by their Creator. Miracle of miracles these insects caused me to worship in a spontaneous and uncontainable way. It is a miracle because I hate all other insects. In fact our pastor said it well when he observed that they (insects) represent the fall to me. It's true...they are horrid. Fireflies are in an entirely different category. They represent the wonder and creativity of an all powerful God who delighted in making these creatures that have purpose in the life cycle of this world but whose greatest purpose is to do what they do in my heart: glorify the Creator.

I still love to watch them. Nearly five years later I still can't get enough of them. Even tonight I noticed them out the back window and had to pause just to admire and point them out to Tommy and worship...again.

Genesis 1
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday Morning

We were late again. This time when I walked into the youth Sunday School class opening prayer was already finished and Tommy had begun his lesson. I don't like to be late but I smiled and sat down and jumped right in...guilt free and excited to worship through learning God's history.

This is a victory.

I don't know what Sunday mornings are like for you but for the Petersons, it has traditionally been chaotic. There are many reasons why...Tommy leaves before we are generally even dressed to finish up last minute details for the morning. A friend who grew up in a pastor's family was agreeing that it is just different when Sundays are "go-time". Then there is the usually spiritual attacks that happen in so many small things: I notice as I look out the window (just getting out of the shower) that the three year old is walking along the retaining wall outside, or one child has opened the bag of rice krispies and now they are all over the table and know the little things that test your patience. That is another addition to our chaotic morning, needing to get five young children and myself neat and presentable, ready to worship and at the church by 9:15 am. It is tiring just thinking about it.

Here is where the victory is won. It is not worth it to be angry. Brilliant, I know but it has taken me 10 years to realize that being angry on Sunday morning is not worth it. It is better to be late than angry. It is better to leave the house a mess, than be angry. It is better that the kids are in "casual" clothes, than be angry. Being more concerned about my agenda on Sunday morning, my desires or my expectations only leads to my being angry...preparing my heart and the heart of my children is far more important and valuable than all those other petty concerns.

So yes, I am often late, my kids sometimes are not dressed well and my house is usually a disaster when we leave...I even drive to church sometimes BUT for the first time in 10 years we are consistently joyful when we arrive and we are ready to worship.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Inconsistency is growth

Tommy just asked me if I was done with my blog. Ha! No! I did take two days off but this is actually growth people. I have decided that it is a goal and a desire to blog everyday but Sunday BUT here is the growth part: it's not a rule. That may not seem like a big deal to any of you, but it's huge to me.

I am the kind of person who has big ideas and big rules all the time. I commit to grand changes and reforms then, I fail quickly and get frustrated and give up. It is a destructive cycle that has painful consequences, especially in my spiritual life, but God is good and he has been working on me. 

All that was just a way to say that Tommy has been out of town and returned late on Wednesday night, then I had a birthday party for a very special friend (Love you Danielle) on Thursday night and it was just too much to write this blog with everything else going on. It is a gift of wisdom from the Lord to persevere and yet see when it's better to not blog. 

I have been keeping up with reading in the Word, which is good. The Lord has blessed with a significant schedule change that allows me to have some quiet peaceful time in the morning, when the house is still and I am refreshed. It is lovely. I am hoping that as our new schedule becomes routine I will have more time to pray. That is the conviction that has been growing in my lately. I really don't pray as much or as diligently as I would like to.

That's all for me tonight. In this life of ups and downs today has been very pleasant. Thank you Lord! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Losing the fight

Yesterday was a victory in Jesus and in many ways today was too.

Nowhere to be and no one calling this morning. I woke to a quiet house at a decent hour. Opening the curtain an inch to let in the sunlight I enjoyed reading the Word for a good half hour. Slowly, digesting God's heart to His people through Paul. It was sweet and peaceful.

The kids started stirring and I got up thankful there was no headache...and motivated to accomplish a lot! Motivated to make up for yesterday!

I hit breakfast with gusto and started snapping and yelling at the kids immediately. My jeans were wet because one of them didn't make sure the clothes were dry before they brought them upstairs from the dryer. They all wanted second helpings before I could even eat my first bite. Slow. Playing. Distracted. They did not get the memo that today was a work day...a make up day...they didn't get my agenda.

The victory is the immediate repentance that came. As quickly as the words were out Grace enabled me to repent. Verbally. Genuinely. Continually. Until I gave up on my agenda and accepted the Lord's agenda. I fought my flesh and desires for almost two hours, repenting every 10 minutes or so until He won my heart again. The struggle is painful but the peace when He wins is beautiful.

We spent the majority of our day at the park with other mommies and kids from church, enjoying creation and fellowship and relationships. That may not sound like much of a victory to you but it is. I would rather hide in my house, protecting myself from the potential hurt that comes with getting to know people on a deeper level. I like to keep it safe. This too was a fight my flesh was having all go or not to go. So, this was a victory on two levels.

He continues to prove His goodness to me.

Monday, June 4, 2012

You don't "do" faith

Another migraine today. Of course this had to happen on a day that Tommy was on the other side of the country. I don't mean that sarcastically either. I have been praying for God to allow me to see everything as a blessing from Him. This was another opportunity for that. To trust Him at His Word, that this was working for my good and His glory. It was very much a process.

Anger: why today Lord? Nothing is going to get done, in fact the house will be destroyed all while I lie in on the couch in the fetal position trying not to vomit.

Guilt: I am a failure of a mother today. I am allowing my kids to indulge on electronic entertainment and unkind, selfish behavior.

Fear: What should I do? How do I demonstrate trust in Christ through this? Do I get up and push through it? Carrying a trash can to throw up into and crying as I keep on keeping on? What do I do?

Defeat: Who cares? It doesn't matter anyway. I am a failure, a sinner and Christ's blood covers this just as much as it covers all the other crap I doesn't really matter what I do.

All these thoughts and more kept going through my head as I tried to relieve my pain with sleep, medication, chiropractic care, mind over matter, more water, less sugar...whatever I could think of. I admit that when I couldn't sleep because of the pain I picked up the Bible because I didn't know what else to do and I wanted to "do" something that would make God see that I trusted Him and then He would help me.

That is where the cycle ended. It wasn't magic or instant relief but I was reminded of the truth about is not something to "do". It is not a question of whether I trust God enough and prove to Him that I am working really hard at my faith during this time of suffering. The question was will I take Him at His Word or not? By God's grace the answer had to be yes.

No more did the dirty floor bother me. No more did I worry that I was scarring my children by letting them watch another show. I didn't fret about making it to the meeting I had. I even gave up trying to pretend it didn't hurt and that I could make it. I cried out (literally) for relief and then in faith, knowing God would do what was best, I fell asleep for 20 minutes.

When I woke I was operational. Not healed but operational but more importantly I was not overwhelmed with guilt, fear, anger or defeat. God is so good! It is amazing that something so simple can be so hard. It is a wonder that I fight so hard against what God has already given me. I am in awe of the wonder and peace that His Gospel brings. It is a mystery and a gift that I never want to stop being thankful for or lose my awe of. It was a hard day but God makes it good and full of His glory.

Friday, June 1, 2012


There have been a lot of things going on today and this week. Choices about the future. A death (Tommy's grandfather). A birth (a friend's first). More soul searching questions: how do I express my anger and "punish" those around me? How does the Gospel and Christ's sacrifice apply to the offenses of other people, my anger, and my response? Interesting stuff that I could go into BUT I'm not going to because tomorrow is my babies birthday and I want to talk about her!

Two years ago I was in the hospital in labor with Anna. Her birth was the best and worst all at the same time. Medically I was freaked out because of the drugs they used for inducing, my sugar level problems and the fact that during the entire pregnancy I was very depressed and had a difficult time taking care of my body. There was great blessing in this though. I knew that this baby, my Anna, was in God's hands and God's care. I knew that for all of my children but I understood this in a new and real way because of my lack of ability to do more for us.

Anna has continued to be a delight to all of us. When she arrived perfect, healthy and we brought her home she was content. She still is. Content to be with the crowd, watch the crowd, enjoy the crowd. Never in a hurry and not one for extremes she is sweet and happy.

Yes, there is always the knowledge and awareness that she has a sinful nature but you couldn't ask for a better "#5." A snuggler. Curly hair. Chubby cheeks. A love. Who really is just happy to be with us.

Thank you Lord for Anna. I pray that she will grow to be a woman who, like her namesake, will serve you with prayers and fasting and when she sees Jesus she too will begin "giving thanks to God, and continue to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem." Grant her faith!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Got grace, give grace

Today was a good day. I was able to start it with the Word before I even got out of bed. I love it when that happens. It helps to keep perspective when challenged by all those situations where your flesh cries out for the law and justice and God reminds you that you have been given forgiveness and grace and so you should give forgiveness and grace. Family, in particular, need that a lot from Mom. :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ending the day with the Living Word

Last night we received the news that we have been waiting to hear. I was so stressed that I had one of my terrible headaches. I would like to have more faith then that. It really makes me very sad that I don't.

I am not sure what else to say. God is still good by today has been a little anti-climactic.

I haven't been in the Word the last couple days. I am going to go end my day on that note...Words that are living and active and abiding.

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23  since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass
    and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
    and the flower falls,
25  but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you. -1 Peter 1

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Still don't get it

Today I heard a comment about myself that made me stop and think.

"You are an expert on all the things that 'could' go wrong in your life and to the people in your life. The day you stop worrying about those things will be a very freeing day."

It's true. That is why it stopped me. I feel like that is the pursuit of my life right now. To stop being concerned about what-if's and fears that may possibly happen maybe in the future...after all it has happened to someone else. I have to fight planning for a tragedy...planning for a tragedy...the sound of that is ridiculous.

This new instability in life has brought out these fears in a new and furious force. I am just not sure what to do with them. I know God, Jesus and His sacrifice, the Word and prayer have the answer wrapped up in them...I just am so distracted by trying to avoid my fears that I cannot even sit down and focus on the Word. I don't want to pray because then I would have to face these fears and actually admit to them...specifically. I don't want to blog because all I can think about is how I should be fighting this lack of faith and I'm not.

So there you have it. I am a little stuck here. Not sure how to live in light of the Gospel and eternity when life won't stop and I am fighting with all my unconscious (and sometimes conscious) energy to disconnect from what is happening in life.

It will be a glorious and praiseworthy day when God opens my eyes and I "get" Matthew 6:25-34...I am not really there yet but I want to be there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Random, disjointed thoughts

I am not sure what to say today. I am really full of random thoughts.

I am blessed to have my children at home with me. It is a blessing to not be confined to another persons schedule. Days like today it is difficult though because there is no one else to motivate you. When you are sad, indifferent, apathetic, even depressed there is no one there to excite you to action and encourage you in perseverance.

I would much rather bake, crochet, garden, and read then sweep, wash dishes, fold clothes or put things away.

I am discouraged still. I know many of the true and right answers I just don't seem to believe least I don't cling to them like I should.

The most encouraging thing I read today...what has stuck with me all day is Ephesians 4:8, "...“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives and he gave gifts to men.”

There was a lovely vision of captives, prisoners set free, following Christ to Heaven in my mind...and I am one of them. That is all there is and all I have when details are muddeled here on earth.

It's not as bad as it sounds...just dark in this tunnel.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Past, present, future

Just really tired again today. The kids couldn't sleep because Papa was at a meeting and the weather is a little too warm. It made the day longer. A day that wasn't bad but was filled with thoughts and concerns about the future.

The future...there is so much to be concerned about. Tommy reminded me that my focus should be on what is going on today. What is happening right now, in light of eternity...not worried about what will happen next week, next year or whatever point in time I happen to be fixated on. (I never have to wonder why God included Matthew 6:25-34 in the Bible, I just need to be reminded to trust the promises of it)

Of course the future was not the only thing distracting me today. The past was too. I cut my 9 year old's hair today. That may not seem significant but over the past 18 months we have allowed him to keep it long. He liked it that way and it was something we could allow him to enjoy. It is getting warmer though and for hygiene purposes we cut it. I was instantly brought back to my sweet little 4 year old blond boy. Life was a lot simpler with him when he was 4. I miss that simplicity. Now God often uses this child to remind me that He is the Author of Salvation and the One who gives Grace...I cannot make my children to believe. I don't know change their heart. I can only be faithful to what God has called me to do: tell them the Gospel, again and again and again...

It is difficult to be content with faithfulness. I want perfection. Regrets of the past, worries about the is enough to make us forget what God has done, is doing and will do...

Ephesians 2  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's all about Him

I read through Galatians today. What a great reminder that I am justified through faith by the work of Jesus Christ and that it is not anything I did or can do or will do. It is very encouraging because I quickly get sucked into the lie that because I know Christ, because I am redeemed, that now I need to obey the law and live worthy. There can be argument made that this is true that now I have the power to live in obedience to Christ but what I am talking about is different. This is the double guilt that comes from seeing my sin and beating myself up because I am better then that. I have been chosen therefore I should live rightly...instead of boasting in my weakness and praising God and glorifying Him through the constant reminders that sin gives...this is ALL HIM. All His work. All His grace.

I look forward to sharing with you in the near future more specifics about how and through what means God is doing this in my life right now. Until then I will keep boasting in His goodness. He is giving peace as we wait on the Lord.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Little Boxes, Big God

God is so good! He is sustaining me through a trail that would have devastated me only a couple years ago. I know that is true because we have gone through similar struggles and were crushed. Not so anymore. Now, it is still difficult and it is still a war to fight for joy and faith and to fight against fear and bitterness but it is a war that God is granting victory in. See, I told you He was good.

That is why it makes me so sad that I forgot to read my Bible today. I thought about it many times. I said to myself that I would do it as soon as ________ was done. Then at 10:30 after a very frustrating game of Scrabble I sat down to write this blog and realized the day was gone.

I actually take this as a reminder that God's sustaining power comes from HIM...not what I do. Being in the Word is good and I hate that I went through a day and blew it off BUT it's not about me and what I do or don't do. There is power in His Word, yes, but the Holy Spirit lives in me and His grace covers me...even when I don't "do" what I should do. My day was full of Scripture that has been written in my heart to remind me of the truth and to battle lies that filled my head all day long.

I can only stand here (yes, I stand when I type) and be amazed and grateful for His power and His ways that are so much bigger then the box my little brain has for Him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Fear Within

Today was a busy day. I am still a little irritable as our big issue is still out there. Life goes on though. Kids have school, gardens grow, food is prepared and eaten, laundry cycle continues, meetings, all goes on and on. There is comfort in that. There is also encouragement in knowing that we are not alone because Christ suffered (as I mentioned yesterday) but also great men of faith struggled too. I read this, from Paul in 2 Corinthians 7 today:

"5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn— fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,"
He keeps reminding me that He is in control and He does care for me, even when the battle is "fear within."

I could elaborate but my bed is calling...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


When I am stressed I have a number of  "coping habits." Today I was under a lot of stress. There is some huge uncertainty about what God is doing and I have to rest, be patient and trust His knowledge of all things and control of all things and goodness in all things while I just wait for Him to reveal what He is doing. It is ridiculously stressful.

We had managed to accomplish a few chores. We read some books (one of my favorite "we are doing school but I don't have to think" activities). We even did some formal school work. I made lunch and put the girls down for their nap...then the pressure became too much to handle. I started darting from one habit to the next. I stopped moving, closed my eyes and tried to resist the urge to run (literally, it's a great stress reliever). Then I would walk up the stairs intent on climbing into bed, pulling the covers over my head and going to sleep. Back down stairs I grab a handful of chocolate chips (mature, I know) and head over to do the dishes (obsessive cleaning is another one of those habits I convince myself is okay because it is productive). As I gaze out the window and consider throwing on my boots and attacking some weeds I stop, close my eyes and the process tries to start again.

I sent a text to Tommy: "Want to hide, run away, sleep, eat, bake...all those avoidance things. Oh this is so hard!"

He responds: "Go to Jesus instead. It's more satisfying."

So I did. I sat down on the couch with a warm cup of tea and opened my Bible to what was next on my reading list. 2 Corinthians 4.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

I love how God knows what we need long before we need it and that He planned for me to be ready for His word, this word, today. He is so good. 

Still with the thoughts of yesterday and my identity being wrapped up in Christ I found nothing but encouragement and relief from these words...afflicted but not crushed...perplexed, but not driven to despair...struck down but not destroyed...

Why comfort?  

Isaiah 53

English Standard Version (ESV)
53  Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a]
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
     and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected[b] by men;
    a man of sorrows,[c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[f]
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
     smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
     and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
     yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
     and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;[g]
when his soul makes[h] an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
     make many to be accounted righteous,
     and he shall bear their iniquities.

12  Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[j]
     and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[k]
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Why comfort? Because Jesus Christ has gone before me and suffered all this and more to make me counted among the righteous. He sustains me as I walk through suffering to be like Him, close to Him and renews me as I trust Him and His grace and His purposes. He gives me peace as I remember He is already victorious!