Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: A Year In Review

Another year about to end.  Another year about to begin.  The continuous push forward.

     Indeed, I definitely get the sense of moving forward this year.  Perhaps it is due to being a mother, who is constantly chasing after a lively li'l one.  Perhaps it is due to that extra strand of gray hair I see.  Or, simply, the need to purchase a new calendar.  Whichever it may be, forward it is!

     Forward, but, still desiring purpose.  More specifically, "What are we doing all the way away from any of our family?"  Trust me, Dear and I consistently discuss this very thing.

     To be honest with you, if you have not yet noticed, we simply do not have a concrete answer to that question.  Yet, as of now, we know that we are meant to be here:  not simply because we are here, but we have seen God show us so.

     What we do know, is that we want to be in God's perfect will for our lives.  What that looks like, is a good guess.  It seems that God has us in a "waiting mode."

     This year has seen us coming along in other areas of our lives, as we wait upon the Lord.  Waiting has not been the most pleasant for us.  Just like any child awaiting a treat, we are jumping up and down in our seats!  So, to either prime us, or hold us off for a bit (or, both), He has been giving us many opportunities to do other things.

     This year has seen us get to start our first real garden!  A friend from church came over to help us get it going, and it has been such a gift!  We still have so much to learn:  in the tending to plants, as well as proper preservation; yet, it is all a lesson we are thoroughly grateful to have!

     We have also been blessed with getting to see a few loved ones this year.  Since we live away from all our longtime friends and our family members, it can get a bit lonely at times.  However, having my sister come to meet her li'l nephew; a friend drive over from nearly 2,000 miles away; taking our first major road trip to visit a dear adopted mama; a dear couple stopping by for a few hours while on their vacation, has made the year that much brighter for us.

     Along the way, we have been blessed to have made some new friends.  Some of which, we found we had some uncanny connections.  We have experienced a great deal of kindnesses with our new relationships.  Always a delight to make good, godly, strengthening friendships! 

     Most of all, we are simply being a family.  We are very much enjoying this gift God has given us:  family.  It is a lot of work.  Oh, but the precious value of it far outweighs any burden it brings!

     It has been so delightful, to be able to be parents.  To have waited so long for this time of which we now enjoy...Oh, makes it all the more sweeter.  To walk, hand in hand with my beloved, as we seek to please our Father in Heaven in the rearing of this precious child...How does one describe such delight?

     Forward.  God definitely has us moving forward.  It is much better than stagnating, that is for sure.

     So, if I had to summarize all that I have noticed in this year for us, I would say:
  1.  "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  Galatians 6:9
  2. "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing."  2 Thessalonians 3:13
  3. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  2 Peter 1:5-8 

     I pray that we do a far cry better this coming year, than we have this past year.  Oh, it will be a lot of work.  The precious value of it far outweighs any of the burden involved, though!

      "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"  Philippians 1:6




Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 December Day Book

For Today

Looking Out My Window:
...Is the still quietness of an early evening.
I Am Thinking:

...That I need to conquer this battle within me.

I Am Thankful:

...That through Christ, I can overcome!

One Of My Favorite Things:
...Is observing my li'l family.

I Am Creating:
...a home.

I Am Wearing:


I Am Reading:

...Ezekiel & "Passionate Housewives Desperate For God"

I Am Hoping:

...For clarity in our purpose in this coming year.
I Am Learning:

...To not grow weary in well-doing.

In My Kitchen:
...Is a tidied-up table.
In My Garden:

...Our plants are growing!

Post Script:

Shared Quote:
'"I'd rather know my 'ABCs' in Heaven, than Greek and Hebrew in Hell." Sam Jones
A Moment From My Day:
"Clean Kitchen Sink" 2016 Copyright Molding Into A Lady

Closing Notes:
"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How Do You Identify Yourself?

     Who are you?  Are you just the sum of your experiences?  Or, are your experiences just part of what makes you, you?

     I find myself contemplating those questions often.  I realize that I am ever-changing.  As I understand what it is the Lord desires from me, I seek to implement His will into my life.  Of course, I know that without His grace in the doing, I will fail in my obedience.  I grow as I learn.

     Many things that I learn are from my errors.  Some are in ignorance; some, willful.  Yet, I cannot help but notice that other lessons I have learned, have been not by what I have done, but rather what others have done:  in other words, by observation.

     Whether I observe from afar, or near, I desire to learn.  I think that is one of my driving forces:  always having a desire to learn.  I am not content in staying stagnant.  I am not content in being a mediocre version of myself.  I would like to see that I am improving.

     Though still relatively young, I can honestly say that I have quite a few experiences under my belt.  That is not to be a boastful statement, but rather a blunt one.  Many of those experiences, I know I would never have asked to have; but yet, I have them.

     For a long time, I identified myself by certain experiences in my life.  I did not know anything different.  I was young, and was walking through healing from a traumatic life.  Some folks understood, and sympathized.

     I became my trauma, if you will.  I really did not know how to identify beyond it.  Thus, any other bad experience only added to that identity.  Though I had been born again in Jesus Christ years prior, I had not yet learned all that it meant when it said I was a new creature in Him.  "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

     It has been well known that trauma can stunt a person, emotionally.  I know it to be true.  However, I also know that in Jesus Christ, I was able to get out of the mire:  becoming someone I never knew I could be.

     Through years of formal and informal counseling; being blessed with good, solid support structure; and, a heavy reliance upon my Good Father and Saviour Jesus Christ, I can say, with relief, joy, peace, and certainty:  what happened to me, does not define me.  I am not the sum of my experiences.

     THIS is what I am:  the blood-bought, precious daughter of God Almighty!  "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12-13

     It has taken me a long time to say that statement with confidence.  When those, who should be instilling it within you, instead remove any thought of any worth you may have, it is quite understandable to see how someone can truly see themselves only as worthless.  Add to it the abuse of Scripture, and you are easy fodder for the devil.

     Yet, I cannot thank God enough for His long-suffering love!  Not only did He save my soul, that was worth the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, but He has blessed me beyond measure!  Experiencing His stability in my life, His care, His integrity...Him...Oh, how blessed am I, indeed!

     Even now, I cannot help but be teary-eyed as I share my heart with you, in what the Lord has been doing in my life.  For so long, the devil has sought to rob me of the comfort afforded to me through Christ's sacrifice on my behalf.  For so long, I caved to the fiery darts being hurled at me, telling me so many vicious lies.  For so long, I played the victim.

     According to Webster's 1828 dictionary, there are two definitions for the term "victim."

VIC'TIM noun [Latin victima.]
1. A living being sacrificed to some deity, or in the performance of a religious rite; usually, some beast slain in sacrifice; but human beings have been slain by some nations, for the purpose of appeasing the wrath or conciliating the favor of some deity.
2. Something destroyed; something sacrificed in the pursuit of an object. How many persons have fallen victims to jealousy, to lust, to ambition! 

     I can honestly say that, yes, there were things in my life sacrificed in the pursuit of evil by those who did me harm.  However, I must stress, God overcame it all in my life!  He has been my Balm of Gilead, my Great Physician, my Good Father, my Comforter, my Best Friend, my High Tower, my Defender, and so much more.

 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Ephesians 6:10-18

     When great harm has befallen a person, it is of no surprise that they hurt.  To stay hurt, though, and never heal, causes a great festering wound that only becomes more putrid as the days and years progress.  It encourages and invites sin into that person's life.  How so?  Well sin is like an infection.  Just as an untreated wound will become worse over time, so does a person's soul.  Satan will hurl lie after lie, to keep a person groveling in the dust; never coming to the Light that can cleanse every stain.

     He is good at it, too.  Attacking a person's Achilles' heal, over and over again, ensures that they stay weak--immobile.  Yet, when you call out to the One who can rescue you from your enemy, you will no longer be immobile.  He will pick you up, heal you, and strengthen you!

     What about the bad things you have done?  That seems to only compound the problem.  Not only do you feel awful about the evil that has befallen you, by the hands of others, but also about how you, yourself, have become.  

     If you are born again, it can become a great source of debilitation.  There is an endless supply of scorners, looking for ammunition against you.  Plus, you have yourself with which to deal.  

     Feeling the guilt and shame of our sins can definitely be beneficial.  It implies morality.  It proves that your heart is not hardened.  What you do with those feelings of guilt and shame will be vitally important.

     If you allow it, it can produce the right actions:  coming before the Heavenly Father for forgiveness of those sins, as well as the grace to overcome them.  If there is anything else required, you will have the means by which to do so, as well as the desire.  If there are any long-standing consequences, you will have the grace to bear them.

"For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter."
2 Corinthians 7:8-11
     However, it can also cause you to hide.  Just like those before us, i.e. Adam and Eve, we try to cover it up and pretend it is not there.  Then, feeling the weight of it all, we just add more sin to our lives, figuring that we have already messed up, might as well keep going.

     That attitude destroys a person.  How can a Christian keep living for the Lord, if they do not deal with their sin?  They cannot.  Thus, Satan has won the battle.

"And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you."
1 Corinthians 5:2
     We have heard the stories of people who miraculously stop using foul language, once being saved.  Others attest to the miracle of no longer desiring the drunk's bottle, the addict's drugs, or the smoker's cigarettes.  I do not disbelieve them.  I praise God with them for those miracles!  I believe God gives them that gift, giving them a head start in their walk with Him.

     However, one soon realizes that though our soul is redeemed, and a new creature, our flesh is not.  It is still corruptible, and bent to sin.  Oh, the war spoken of in Romans 7!  Seeking to ruin a Christian's testimony is what Satan desires.

     If he can get you to "play the victim," not only because of what has happened to you by others, but also of your own accord, oh boy, does he have a field day!  A good enemy is one who's inactive.  A bad one is the one coming at you.  So, what do you think he wants to do?

      We have a choice.  When we have the Holy Ghost, (and, if you have been born again, you have, without question, the Holy Ghost), you have the strength to overcome your experiences.  You have the ability to overcome your sins.  We have the choice to either yield to sin, or to God.

"That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Ephesians 1:12-14
     Once again, I can attest to the debilitating effect it has to not go to the Father when you have erred from His will.  I know the pain, and the disgusting feeling that overtakes you, when you wallow in sin; when you believe the lies being cast your way.  I know what it feels like to be a disappointment.

     Yet, I know the rejoicing and peace that comes in remembering my new life in Christ!  When I humbly seek the Father for forgiveness and grace in time of need, guess what?!  I am a blessed recipient of those very things!   

 "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
James 4:6-10

     Yes, there may very well be humiliation.  Humble pie, though, never really hurt anyone.  If anything, I think it makes you more relatable to those who will need it, later on in life.  I cannot count the times I have been ministered unto by those I thought were relatively clean-nosed Christians, when I learned that they had struggled similarly to me.  The same has happened when the Lord has allowed my bad decisions, and the lessons subsequently learned, help another person who has struggled.

     So, no, we do not need to be the sum of our experiences.  What a sad way to live.  How can one truly enjoy the sweetness in Christ, if we never recognize His overcoming power?  

     Our experiences can, however, help make us who we are, today.  If we learn from our wrongdoings, our sins, and start living right, it definitely can bring forth good fruit.  If we learn from observing others' sins, and determining to avoid their pitfalls, again, it can bring forth good fruit.  

     If we choose to move past our past, and not wallow in it, it will do a world of good.  If we seek to use it to help, as God directs, (and, He will), oh, the beauty that comes from ashes!  If we choose to hold on to our identity in Christ, and not allow anyone rob us of that greatest of joys, we are victorious! 

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
1 John 1:1-2:6

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
1 John 4:4

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
1 John 5:1-15

Copyright 2016 Molding Into A Lady

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