Saturday, August 29, 2015

But, Why?


Over the past couple of months I have been in some very interesting situations.  I found myself asking God why.  Why do I have to face this challenge, endure that suffering, be rejected by those people? Yesterday as I lay in my bed, exhausted from days of travel and Mommy duty I was drawn to my answer.

The answer came back to my point of prayer list.  No, God was not having me experience all of the situations of the people on my list, but He was providing insight. Because the Holy Spirit abides within me, I know that I am qualified to pray in a unique way.  So, why the need for perspective?  Well, God does not force His hand or His will,  he has given us the freedom to choose. A little perspective often takes our eyes off of our lives, needs, wants, etc. and places them on others.

As I lay in bed yesterday I was overwhelmed by a desire to pray for a particular woman who has been battling cancer.  In my exhaustion I was reminded about how much greater her exhaustion must be, yet she focuses on Christ.  I prayed for her husband and children.  As a wife and mother I know the love, the bond, the dreams, hopes, and desires you wish to see fulfilled.  I can imagine the heartbreak as her family watches her struggle for physical strength day after day. The stress, the strain, the uncertainty, yet UNWAVERING faith in God. I am humbled by their story.  Celebrating Christ in every moment possible.

I was literally brought to tears praying for this family.  I do not know them, but I thank God for perspective to pray for them.  I thank God for every situation that leads me to pray for another.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Point of Prayer



As I said in my post on Saturday, I found out about some things, really over the last two months, that have made me say wow!  Happy wows, sad wows, disappointed wows, overjoyed wows.

About a month or so ago, I was sharing this with a good friend. Her response was so on point that I asked her if I could share it with you all.  :-)  She said, "Jocelynn, God has given you ears to hear and a heart that sees His people.  Now find the point of prayer."

"What do you mean, point of prayer?" I asked.

"It is the place in the happy and the sad where they need God.  People can gab on and on and on, but you have to listen for what it is their heart desperately needs.  That is the point of prayer. God brings certain people into your life so you can intercede for them.  Maybe you have had a similar experience, maybe not.  Either way God knows the temperature of your heart and the pulse of your prayer life. He knows you will allow the Holy Spirit to give you the right words."

"Sometimes I know I'm supposed to pray for a person, but I can't quite focus in on the point of prayer."

"Get rid of your distractions. Without the distractions of your own "stuff" clouding your thoughts, you'll be able to hear God speak more clearly."

My friend actually keeps a point of prayer list.  I thought this was a wonderful idea.  As I go through my day, I try to focus less on myself, and more on the joy and sadness of those around me.  I try to see them with God's eyes.  I pray for them.

God has given all of us opportunities to find the point of prayer.  Are we missing these opportunities because we are so distracted by our own "stuff"?

I challenge you to listen through the happiness, sadness, and straight up madness for the point of prayer.

Pray for the continued strength and joy in a couples' marriage.  Pray peace that passes understanding for a couple that has lost a child.  Pray for reconciliation in a family broken by infidelity, strife, and unforgiveness.  Happiness, sadness, madness.

Always Striving,

Joce




Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Week of Wows

Good morning, Friends!

This week I have found out a number of things, good and challenging, that have made me say, "Wow!"  I'm not quite ready to share, but you all know me.  I will share soon.  Lol  Since I'm not sharing, you might be wondering why I'm writing at all.  Well, I just wanted to reflect on God's love through it all.

 Although I know the importance I giving God the first moments of my day, I have not for quite some time.  Not consistently anyway.  Last week I downloaded the Proverbs 31 Ministries' First 5 app. The app is free.  It is designed to help us give God the first 5 minutes of our day. You can set your morning alarm on the app. When you wake up to hit the alarm, the app is up and ready to read.  It is fantastic!  Fantastic!  The devotionals are quick, yet deeply poignant and inspiring.  I am inspired to pray and seek God as soon as I'm done reading.  I'm inspired to reflect on His word.  I am inspired to share about His goodness and grace!  I love it.

So, I say all that to say that God is awesome in His timing and preparation. This app came out just in time for me to have a prepared heart for all of the news that was coming my way.  Each morning I start from a place of peace. I start from a place of reflection. I start from a place of trust in Him. While it may not be easy to deal with certain situation, or digest information, it is certainly easier when I am resting in Him. This week I have had to say, "God, I trust You. I trust your plan for my life. I trust that no matter how I'm feeling, you will give me peace if I ask for it. I trust that no matter how confused I am by this life and the day to day, that you know all and see all.

And we know that God causes everything 
to work together for the good of those who love God and 
are called according to his purpose.
-Romans 8:28 NLT

Although I know I do not have enough strength to get me through this or that situation, "[Your] grace is sufficient for [me], for [your] power is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9 ESV).  So I will lean on you, tap into your strength Lord. 

Lately, instead of focusing on my troubles, I find myself praying for random people I see walking down the street, teachers and leaders I meet during professional learning sessions, and folks whose profile I scroll by on social media. I don't do this to prove I'm better or more holy (no one knows I'm doing it), I do it to show God that I trust Him with my life.  If I pine over my problems then I obviously don't trust that He is taking care of me.

My week of wows has turned into a week of pow pows through the power of prayer. As things begin to unfold and take shape. As God places His word on my heart I will share more in detail the wows of the week.  Until then, let's keep each other lifted in prayer. Offer your situation/the enemy a pow pow of prayer!  :-)

Always Striving,

Joce

Friday, August 7, 2015

Quick Conversation: Cover Me

Last Sunday, on the drive to church, we put in the Men of Standard CD Surrounded. The song Cover Me came on. As I listened to the lyrics, tears became to well up in my eyes. I was so moved, so honored, so thankful, thinking about just how much God loves us.

Now there goes the sun
Triumph over rain clouds that cover me
I'm not the only on
Your loves for everyone but it still covers me

Wow! Every time. Every time the sun triumphs over the rain. My rain, your rain... His love is for everyone.

I don't know about you, but some days I barely have enough love to cover my husband, myself and my kids. I'm praying to Jesus every minute for strength to love more. Enough. But God's love is endless, deep, pure, and free. Thank God.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Making the Moment II

My moment. My Feeling.  Disappointment.

So, my plan was to run 3 miles with the jogging stroller. (If you've never run with a jogger...umm ya! Just imagine running without really being able to propel yourself with your arms.)  I stretched, got set, hit my Nike+ start button, and I was off!  Music pumping, kids snacking.  I was rolling.  I had a plan.

Maybe I came out the gate a little too ambitious. Maybe I should have picked a different route. Either way, about 1 mile in, I feel that slow down hit. My pace was embarrassing.  (I mean, I run with the jogger plenty.)  At 2 miles I decided to stop and walk.  I was so disappointed in myself.  How could I not hit my goal?  Then Jace chirps, "Mom, why aren't we running?  Can we still go to the playground?"

Thanks Jace.  LOL  That is exactly what I need right now. Despite feeling salty, I devised a new plan.  I would walk to a cul de sac, park the kids, and run around them.  My pace....even worse.  At this point I just gave up and walked the kids to the park.

Now, here's where the story gets good. Here is where I discover that my moment of disappointment was to serve a greater purpose.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, 
who have been called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 NIV

Jace starts playing with a boy his age.  Me and the mother begin to chat. Casual conversation. The casual conversation coupled with God's grace (because let's be honest, his grace is were the good stuff happens.) built trust.  A simple question answered truly, deeply, honestly led to a moment of revelation and healing.  It led to an opportunity for prayer.

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord. 
"And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
so my ways are higher than your ways 
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

There was no discussion of religion or doctrine.  The discussion started with conversation of the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It led to revelation about God's grace and mercy fresh everyday. The discussion ended with assurance that Christ is a healer who makes all things new.

See how God did that?

"The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it."
Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT

I'll take a failed Jocelynn plan any day, to be part of a successful God plan everyday! I am blessed and honored to continue praying for this family. I believe God is working fervently in their lives.

What's your moment?

Always Striving,

Joce





Monday, July 20, 2015

Making the Moment

Today I was driving around, running errands with the kids.  For the large majority of our time in the car I did not have any music on.  As soon as I did turn on a CD, Jace says, "Mommy, what is this song about?"

He caught me totally off guard.  "What?"  I thought.  Then I chuckled to myself.  Thank you, God for this moment to share You.

I was playing Everywhere That I Go from Israel Houghton's Power of One album. So, I explained to Jace that the song was about God's love for us.  How He loves us so much that He never leaves us.  He is everywhere we go.

I looked at Jace in the rear view mirror.  He was smiling.  "That's cool Mommy.  God is everywhere we go."

I was smiling outwardly and tingling all over. What an amazing moment!  And, what if I had not been playing a song about God's love?

Yesterday, our pastor talked about how music is a vehicle created by God, to lead us into His presence.  It is a way for us to worship the creator.  However, this same vehicle can be, and is often used to worship the created.  Stuff.  Self.  Sex.  What we worship is what feeds us, what leads us, what comes out of us.  I don't know about you, but I want to be fed by God's word, led by Jesus Christ, and pour out Fruit of the Spirit.  I also want my children to be fed, filled, and led this way.

If we are filling our children with sex, drugs, and money from the time they come out of the womb, is it any wonder our value system is on a high speed trajectory to hell? No genre is excluded.  Let's consider.  Consider filling your mind, body, and spirit with the Word of God through song.  See if you don't have a garment of praise and protection, steps filled with joy, and a word of encouragement for those you encounter.

Today, I am thankful for a son who asks questions.  I am even more thankful for the opportunity to share God's love with my him.

Always Striving,

Joce

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Girl Crush


Lately, everything I see, hear, read, and experience has made it glaringly obvious that I have a...girl crush?

Well, maybe I wouldn't refer to myself as having a girl crush, but when I heard the song Girl Crush by Little Big Town, I had a major wow moment.  If you're not a country music fan, humor me for 3 minutes, 27 secs and watch this video.  :-)



To be honest, this blog post has been sitting as a draft for a few weeks.  The ah ha moment came when I heard the song, but in true God fashion, He had a few more things to show me before releasing me to write.  LOL  I actually really love the process.  The process.

So, after listening to the chorus it is easy to determine that the song is not describing an actual girl crush.  Instead, it is about coveting someone else's characteristics, desiring their partner, and discontentment wrapped up in a lusty alto country chorus.  I enjoy the song, but it made me think. "Oh geez, Jocelynn!  What am I coveting?  What am I discontent with now?"

Well...?

Well, here it is.  I am covetous of appearances.  The couple that looks so lovey.  They hold hands and pass adoring looks.  They always say things are great, and by George they look fabulous!  My little feelings get to rising up and I think, "Jonathon and I must be the only couple that struggles with X."  Absolutely silly, I know.  Silly and dangerous.  You honestly never know what is going on in another relationship.  You don't know the struggles and sacrifices that led to the celebrations, or perceived celebrations.  Great marriages don't just happen.  I have to check myself.  Refocus my gaze.  Coveting what other couples appear to have will never get me a closer relationship with Christ or my husband.



I also covet time.  I think Priscilla Shirer says it best in The Resolution for Women:

     As a teenager, I'd impatiently rushed toward young adulthood full throttle.  As a single university student I couldn't wait to be in a committed relationship and out of college so that life could "really begin."  Then with a loving mate promised for life, I enjoyed our first yeas of marriage, but during some of them secretly harbored discontentment with our childlessness.  And when the kids started coming, the nights were long and the days even longer, and I prayed through each of them that bedtime would come more quickly today than I'd remember it coming the day before. (Shirer 14)




How many days did I think about how great life would be once I got out of my parents house?  Zoooom.  How many days did I pray for my husband?  Zoooom.  How many days did I cry for children?  Zooooom.  How many days do I complain because the kids are wearing my out?  Zoooom.  How many days do I whine about wanting to start working full time already?  Zoooom.

Why am I in such a rush to get to the next thing?  Good gracious.  I will only be 31 years old once.  I will only have these moments with my sweet babies once.  I will only get to be married to Jonathon in this moment once.  Once.

Lately, I have had the opportunity to talk to other people who are hitting the zoom button in the vehicle of life.  I encourage them, as I encourage myself to slow down.  You will never get these moments back.  Refocus your gaze.  What is this moment about?  How does God want to use you right now to bless His people?

Stop. Thinking. About. You.

I have decided to reread The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer because I know that every day I need to resolve to work on becoming the best women God has called me to be.  I will post some thoughts as I traverse the pages.

I also recommend reading some of my fellow blog sisters writing on contentment:

+Nicole Miller's "Are You Content With Your Portion?"

Candace Claiborn's "Are You Content With Your Content?"

Always Striving,

Joce