Nuggets: The Hand That Rocks My Cradle

Today’s little post is for sure a “nugget”. I’ve been hustling my tail to clean, mow, shower and cook while Evie is napping. And I even snuck in 15 minutes of chill time! My window of opportunity is closing.

But my heart wants to share what God spoke to me late last night. Little One has slept through the night (mostly) from a very young age. But since she became super mobile, she’s often very restless at night and wakes herself up. We’ve seen her sitting up rubbing her eyes (still asleep) then slump forward, legs in a criss-cross-applesauce position, but her head down on the pillow.

Several times last night, I hurried to her room to calm her and give her a pacifier before she woke up too much. Finally, she was standing in her bed, crying and mostly asleep. I decided just to make her a bottle and rock her for a while.

Maybe it’s because yesterday was Mother’s Day. Maybe it was just God’s timing anyway, but as I sat there thinking, “Five in the morning is going to be here so fast!” I heard Him whisper:

He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand.… Psalm 121:3-5

God continued, “You will never rock her with as much tenderness as I rock you. I’m never impatient or confused when you’re upset, awake, or fearful for seemingly no reason. I’m never out of sorts when you need me or even just want me. I’m thrilled to be up all night long with you. And I can’t wait to see you in the morning over coffee when you’re awake and want to talk to me, too.”

“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassionon the son of her womb? Even these may forget,but I will not forget you. “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.… Isaiah 49:15-16

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What Are You Afraid To Lose?

The woman dreams to become pregnant, a prayer that God gave the childWhat are you afraid of losing?

Everyone is afraid of losing something–a loved one, a job, their reputation, sanity, safety, peace, hope … Or perhaps we’re afraid of something being taken from us; the anxiety is the same regardless of how this one (or more) precious thing is wrenched from our grasp.

Almost a year ago, my husband and I lost a baby. We had never expected to be parents, and after 13 years of marriage, not only resigned ourselves to this fact, but completely accepted it with peace. Until I got pregnant. Suddenly, God opened wide the doors of longing, excitement and anticipation. A whole new world brightened on our horizon. We wanted that baby more than anything. However, I miscarried at 11 weeks. The doctors assume the baby died a few weeks earlier and my body took a little time to realize the loss. My heart took much, much longer.

FINISH READING THIS POST HERE …

Down and Dirty: When God Looks At Your Heart

Woman with broken heart.

You’re no stranger to TMI here on Predatory Lies. I subscribe to the belief that if God is teaching me something, no matter how painful or humbling, there’s likely someone else in the world who’d like to hear the lesson without learning it the hard(est) way.

Just this week, the Holy Spirit took what began as self-pity and legitimate hurt, and turned it into a lesson about my own pride and the state of my heart before Him.

No matter how I control my actions and words, no matter the “holy” impression I give to others, or how “justified” my feelings, I am responsible for a heart that loves God exclusively and pursues His own.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

I love how He speaks to us, that he’s faithful to continue speaking and teaching and admonishing and explaining even when I get it wrong over and over and over.

My husband has been working maddening hours lately and we’re approaching a six-week training stint where he will be in another state. We’ve had recent weeks when he hasn’t come home at all due to overnight training. So, when we’d just sacrificed another weekend, I was actually looking forward to Monday evening, but he didn’t get home until almost nine. As he debriefed me on his day, he mentioned that the commander had just added a leadership development event to the calendar and he was going to be gone overnight on my birthday the following week.

Tears. Water works. I complained and groused until he was frustrated too. We did finally get over it, I pulled myself together and we went to bed. Then I erupted again. This time, I took it to the Lord alone while my hubby snored. For an hour I cried to God, “I’m so tired of this. I miss him. I feel like I and our coming baby are forced into second place to the Army. I feel alone and hurt. Why God? And what about our baby? What if he’s too busy to enjoy her?”

Additionally, I felt terrible for making my husband feel bad, for complaining about something he couldn’t control and making a crappy situation even worse for him.

Finally, I went to bed—cried out. The next morning, as I sat to do my quiet time, the Holy Spirit flooded me with verses about complaining. Phil. 2:14 came to mind. “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” He pointed out that even though I hadn’t yelled at my husband or sinned in my words or actions and my hurt was valid—my heart was not right before God. God sees the heart. And my grumbling and complaining did not bring him honor or glory.

Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth AND THE THOUGHTS OF MY HEART be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

Our Father is just as interested in the thoughts of my heart as He is in my words and actions.

If you’re brutally honest, what would God say about your heart right now?

In the Wake of the Storm–Protecting Our Own

I write as one blooming in puddles the aftermath of a tempest. In the wake a horrific storm—the kind that turns the sky sallow, rips roots from the ground, lifts homes and drops them in strange places, I am watching it. I am watching the clouds recede but know they are merely bearing their cruel chaos forward to other homes and lives.

My readers here know my story. For more than a decade I was caught up in the storm of anorexia. Some could see it happening; those close enough could see the toll taken by, even feel the gusts of metaphorical winds. Others, a bit farther way saw the storm as one watching it on the horizon. It looked menacing enough that some took shelter, took precautions to guard their daughters and loved ones from this tsunami.

It finally dropped me. A bit ragged—worn, but whole. And in it’s wake, there are huge puddles, inches of water and the sun has come up and a rainbow welcomes me to life again. And so it’s from this place of awakening, this place of stretching wide in the clear blue of freedom that I now watch the receding clouds and wonder of the havoc they will wreak on someone else.

Storms have varying impacts. Growing up in Oklahoma, on more than one occasion we saw side-by-side homes—one left the other taken. Winds vary and shift; what struck from the north may swing wide and assault from the south next.

And so when I read this story, my heart shook. The memories of shame, fear, confusion, anxiety and loneliness are fresh enough that I empathize with a broken heart.

I was 14 when insecurity and shame overtook me. In response, I constricted my entire being hoping to control at least what remained of me. But this little girl, this little Fern, hasn’t yet taken first steps. She has not yet said, “Mama” or beheld her own face in a mirror. She hasn’t picked a favorite food or color or experimented with a hobby and already the vicious storm that is our world is assaulting her. Already, the cacophony of personal opinions, thoughtless remarks and ignorant stereotypes are pounding on her tiny doorstep. Already the mold has been cast into which she will never fit.

The storm against identity, individuality, sacred life and undefinable beauty was already raging when she arrived—has been raging for all time. From the day Satan persuaded Eve that she was not created with all that she needed for a full, God-intended life—since then we have been searching, sure that God’s design of and for us is deficient.

Let this not be our legacy. We cannot control the weather; no more can we control the ebb and flow of societal opinion and cultural paradigms. But, within our homes, beginning within our own hearts, we can practice, preach and promote the truth that God has done all things well, every one of us is exquisite in His Creator-eyes. Who is the world to say otherwise?

I love the words of Fern’s mother:
“She is not abnormal. She is not normal. She is individually her and as she grows into a girl, a teen, a woman, she needs to always know to her core that she is exquisite and indefinable by the words of people and by the standards of this world.”

Meet Amy

bebeautiful_07d71b081eef229c27bd9b4970d6677eGuess where I am this week? Well, starting tomorrow (Tuesday), I’ll be in Texas with my sisters celebrating Henry’s pending birth! Rachelle, my youngest sister, whose diapers I once changed, whom I nicknamed Sunshine, who a few people when we were kids thought was my own daughter with our 10 year age difference, who will be one of the most spectacular moms in the whole world…is due on June 20. So we’re throwing a party. (:

Since I’ll be far too busy, and too giddy, to string three words together next week, let alone three sentences or a blog post, I’m going to share with you wonderful pieces by good friends of mine. I hope you enjoy their stories and visit their websites. You will be blessed.

See you soon~

Weighing yourself is a mind game that the only way to win is to just not play. I guarantee you will feel so much better about your self if you toss the scale. It won’t solve every insecurity and struggle, but it is a step in the right direction. Let’s start focusing on the things that matter.

Life Without the Scale, by Amy Dardis

Reminds me of this post: No More Strip Search

It’s so Obvious!

I’m not really comfortable sharing my faith, so I just try to be good – hopefully people will see Jesus in me.

Have you ever heard someone say that? Have you ever said it yourself? I think most of us have and if we haven’t we certainly want to think it!

At Christmas time, it’s a given that Santa shows up in the mall, nativity scenes grace the corners of most mantles and nearly everyone knows the words to Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Bumper stickers mumble our beliefs about the real “reason for the season.” But we’re lying to ourselves if we think that the Christmas message is just so obvious!

Sorry Charlie Brown, it’s not. Unfortunately, beneath the clutter of X-boxes, baby dolls, expensive gift cards and tangled lights, I don’t think most people really do know that Jesus’ birth is the reason we celebrate Christmas. How many generations are we away from tiny tots who don’t know what the manger represents?

It’s difficult to locate statistics on how many people associate Christmas with the birth of Jesus Christ. It won’t be representative of a large sampling, but I’ll post a survey here out of curiosity.   

Most people won’t argue over the historicity of Jesus Christ. But Christmas questions open a wide door for Christians to share their faith – do you believe that the baby born in Bethlehem was the Son of God? Do you believe that He lived, died as a sacrifice for sin and rose again on the third day according to the inerrant Word of God?

I confess that the story seems so obvious to me that it’s often difficult to explain the gospel to someone who doesn’t have the life-long context of being raised in a Christian environment. So this year, give yourself a gift – learn to share your faith boldly. That’s a gift that will really keep on giving.

I just finished and recommend this book:

Whistle While You Work

Don’t get wrong, I am fully aware that there are multiple occasions that warrant a good cry. In fact some of those occasions allow for screaming (if you’re alone) and stomping and banging on the counter tops. Traffic jams, (lots and lots of traffic situations) being stood up, stubbing your toe…

But, Snow White had a point, “Whistle While You Work.”

I never finished my traveling story last Tuesday from the airport. After I wrote to you, I continued to pace the terminal for another 2 hours. I arrived in Dallas about 3 hours later than I was scheduled and three hours itchier to see my new niece. On my trip home, I boarded the plane right on time, we sailed through turbulence and touched down three minutes past ETA. Then…we disembarked and I hustled to the baggage claim and the shuttle counter.

I had failed to consider that other people might want to ride my shuttle. Three other people to be exact. And we were leaving the airport at 5:30. And it was raining. Our driver gets credit for taking every possible opportunity to jut between bumpers and dart across traffic and cut the edges on construction zones. But even with all his assertive driving, I didn’t get home until nearly 7:30 p.m. Argh – 3 hours after landing.

Now I was three hours itchier to pick up my puppy. I ran into the house to find that it looked like a bachelor’s pad. No it wasn’t filthy, but Patrick doesn’t believe in putting the pillows on bed, dumping the trash or dishwasher, getting his clothes all the way through the wash, rinsing dishes or the coffee pot, sweeping around the litter pan or sorting the mail.

I saw myself doing it. I knew it was coming and I had a choice, and I chose to scream. I let the tears out of the dam and calling my husband names under my breath. Coffee, I needed a Starbucks to soothe my flustered-ness. Safeway has a Starbucks, is on the way to pick up my dog and I can pick up some veggies for dinner too. Guess what? I arrived at the store moments after a fire alarm forced evacuation and closed the store indefinitely. Everything, everything seemed determined to test my self control.

Like the metaphorical devil on my shoulder, a niggling little voice said, “It’s OK. You have every right to let your emotions erupt. No one is here to see it, so it isn’t really a sin. You are all alone on the east coast again. The rest of your family is still huddled around baby Kylie, swooning over her smiles and making up funny new phrases like, ‘mashing pumpkins’ when she poops.”

Whistle While You Work. Praise the Lord that He is bully enough to shout over my own fleshy voice.

Abby, just because Patrick isn’t here to hear you and no one can watch you put on a colossal display of anti-obedience. Sing, sweetheart. Praise me. I deserve it.

When Brave and I got home, I propped up my Ipod and let Pandora sing classic Christmas music. Within the first 3.5 minute song, “I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need… Baby all I want for Christmas is you!”

The cheery refrain made me think of my sister Rachelle. She is my sunshine – an un-dimmable light. We love to sing loudly together in stores, in the car and anywhere else. Whistle (or sing) while you work. Suddenly, I grabbed Brave’s front paws and were swirling around the smooth kitchen floors in my socks and his slippery paws.

When Brave started panting and I skidded into the sharp edge of the countertop we slowed. But the crustiness of anger and loneliness were gone. Tonight, in half the time I feared the daunting tasks would require, I had paid the bills, sorted the mail, made the most of an empty fridge, folded laundry, brushed the dog and written to you.

So, this post does have something to do with lies. In a world where we’re told that we deserve to do somethings for ourselves, to express ourselves bluntly and without regard, to pursue happiness at all costs – I did not – you do not – have the right to indulge our flesh. When your personality divides along the lines of spontaneous reactions versus choices, chose Christ. Choose the fruit of the Spirit: self control.

Because even in the quiet of my kitchen I am in a constant dialogue with my Creator. May I speak in reverence, respond in love and bring Him glory.

P.S. Please forgive any typos you notice here. I strive to write professionally. However, tonight I’m writing through bleary eyes. There should be warning on keyboards: DO NOT USE THIS DEVICE WHILE TIRED, STRESSED OR UNDER THE INFLUENCE. But I wanted to talk to you tonight and promise you that we’re back on track here. I’ve got some great posts for you this month and a new slant on the theme of Predatory Lies in the new year.

Merry Christmas!

Kylie Reese Gunderson

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Just in case I miss a day of communication here, I thought I’d post some pictures of Kylie so that you can understand how good my reason is! I do plan to keep up with the blog theme of mentoring, and I will catch up with Starbucks card giveaways as soon as I get home. I haven’t had a response for contact information for last week’s winner, so I may have to draw another name. Both sets of giveaways will go out next Wed.

Lastly, I’m sharing a poem that I wrote for Kylie:

 

A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.

So when fear strikes hold, your heart is a pawn,

In a ruthless game of chess.

When fear grants your heart no rest.

 

A baby is My Father’s opinion that the world should go on.

He bid me wait at least one more day

Till I bring you to our home to stay.

Dearest Kylie, learn to wait on your knees.

 

A baby is My opinion that the world should go on.

I want you, Love, to know me as your very own.

To learn to worship at my unseen throne.

To know me as your closest, sometimes only friend.

The grass will grow, sun wake and fall

Until my final trumpet call.

Wait, please wait – these days are mine for you.

Come grow up in my arms.

Love, Jesus

Women are Inferior To Men…

The Bible says women are inferior to men.  

You’re being a doormat to treat him with such respect when he doesn’t return the favor.

You’ve heard it.

Recently, my little sister’s boss asked her the $24,000 question.  As a mom-to-be and a new home owner, her priorities are shifting.  In the midst of an unrelated conversation he asked, “Do you think your husband’s job is more important that yours?”

Wow, feminists, I can hear you roaring!  I smell the bacon frying and you’re on your way back out the door to trample on every man who gets in your way.

Kelsey said, “Yes.”  Now, there are plenty of logical reasons – Kelsey is going to be taking maternity leave at the very least and be unable to work for a while, and Blake makes more money, to name two.  But really, she told me, her heart is committed to the Biblical description of Christian behavior.  She is proud of and loves her home.  She is anxious to fill their new house with baby things, a loving atmosphere and if she’s lucky – puppies!  Kelsey does not plan to sign her life away to a progressive career before her first child is even born.

So, Christian, is a woman inferior to a man?   Can she achieve less?  Is she doomed to servanthood all her days?

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”  1 Peter 3:1,2

I can hear you protesting.  Did you only look at those two verses?  Step back, take in the full view.  Start in 1 Peter 2:13-25.  I’ll excerpt some of it for you.

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.” (v.13) …jump…

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His footsteps.” (v. 21)  Jesus was abused, ignored, reviled and slandered.  Even in the worst of circumstances, Jesus submitted himself without retaliation or indignation.  He entrusted himself to God, who judges justly.

If Jesus Christ submitted Himself to the Father’s will in order to ransom me, then, can I not submit myself to any authority figure, knowing that ultimately (whether they realize it or not) I am subjected to and judged justly by God?

And men, don’t think you’re off the hook!  Just a few verses down, there’s another “Likewise.”

The command to submit is not limited to women any more than salvation is limited to men.  Christ-like behavior is to, “Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:17

“Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 13:10