Posted in God's heart, JOY, life thoughts, my heart, willing hands

Refreshing

Cause I’ll never get by living on my own ability!

How REFRESHING to know you don’t need me!

How AMAZING to find that you want me!

 

I am completely insufficient of a warrior in this battle. This battle is beyond me in immeasurable ways. The wisdom needed, the grace offered, the endurance, and so much more … I am completely insufficient! I am absolutely nothing on my own!

But the power of CHRIST in me makes me strong

This completely blows me away! How He does not need me. Not even in the slightest! He’s completely and entirely All-Sufficient!

And yet how utterly amazing to find that He still wants me.

I am completely humbled that He would choose to use me as His mouthpiece. ME?!! Oh how HE must be the One bringing the victory through these lips, through these hands…

And how He so willingly receives this offering that I lay at His glorious throne…

I am brought to tears at His utter grace.

How He takes the incapable, breathes the life in them, gives them the words and the boldness, orchestrates the listeners, touches the hearts, and then receives it gladly as an offering unto Himself.

It was all Him!

All Him all along!

Oh thank you, Lord, that You would bless me so to be a tool in Your hands.

How humbly amazing indeed!

 

 

 

Posted in celebrating life, home decor, honesty, life thoughts, Project Satisfaction, thankful and grateful, that's just life

Project Satisfaction: The Dining Room Table

She has a gimp leg bandaged in metal bandages. I remember sliding her over, the beastly thing. She’s sure solid wood that’s for sure! And then I looked down at the crack. Her leg was splintering off. Hmmm, pretty sure that’s a problem. I thought. I remember Daddy coming to the rescue one time when they were in town. A trip down to the hardware store, a few L brackets, wood glue, and some piping fasteners later and she was strong again. Not gorgeous. Not increased in monetary delight. But back to being fully functional.

She has bubbles in her polyurethane finish. And usually some playdough in her cracks. Sometimes I’ll sit there with a butter knife and clean out the sand and glitter from kid projects. She has a little piece of magnet superglued to one area. Oops. I’ve got to scrape that off some day.

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Her chairs are mismatched. I love how it’s a combination of the old and the new. I remember those chairs with the knobs from our first apartment together. Just you and me, Love. And Cheddar. My fat orange and white baby. Remember how the chairs were nice wood and the table …not so much? Wasn’t it funny how big that four seater table felt in our one bedroom apartment? And we had such high hopes of sliding that extension in to bust out a whopping six chairs.

Now we have ten. And we fill six of them. And the four empty remind us to invite someone over for dinner regularly. The empty ones remind us to keep our table open for family, widows, and orphans coming through the foster system. It reminds us to be on the lookout for those needing a friend. Even just for a season. Someone to share a meal with. To remind them of their value. It reminds us to be ready. And open.

I love how there’s those big captain’s chairs for the ends. Only one is replaced by the littlest’s highchair booster on a regular chair. That highchair doesn’t really fit up as close as I ever want it to fit. Maybe it’s that the table sags low. Maybe it’s that extra 1 by 4 that hangs under the edges of the table on the ends. Still not sure why that’s there. Or maybe it’s just that the chairs are too tall. But I love that she can sit there with us. No one is too small to be a part of the family meal. Even when you can’t quite hold your head up.

She has some marks on her. Most are washable. Straying markers imagining artwork. The occasional crayon jetting off the Math mazes. The occasional pencil scratches or pen mark from immature overly-concentrated penmanship of beginning letters and numbers. Homeschooling evidence gives her such character. And love.

Sometimes there are grease spots from time-out foreheads. Spilled milk still in her crevasses from toddlers learning from “big girl cups”. Worn sections on her chairs where this Mommy sat to nurse her baby while balancing eating lunch or correcting a pattern worksheet… or both. Chair rungs reglued in from rocked chairs while learning to read. Motion can help so much when the brain is focusing so, so hard. Or sometimes it’s just hard to sit there and wait. And wait. And wait to be dismissed from dinner. It can feel like an eternity those five minutes! Just ask the toddler with an empty bowl of ice cream and a full belly. Not everyone is served at the same time. Patience training wears on her chairs.And oh those hard chairs. They give no support to the tired bones. Fulfilling their purpose of keeping a tired Mommy awake after long nights of broken sleep because the open Bible is more important than napping so many times.

It feels like a lifetime of memories is stored up in that loved piece of wood.

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Someday I’d like to refinish it. I’d like to wash away the old stain. Maybe sand some of the needed places. And sit with my older girls and restain our beloved table. Teach them the value of hard work. And the delight of the end project while we recall old memories at that very table.

She’s simple. A wonderful hand-me-down to us. A hodgepodge of two tables’ worth of chairs. Some faded stains. Some scratches and scuffs. One gimp leg.

But she’s wonderful. And she’s treasured. Even with those ridiculously heavy chairs that tend to smash preschooler toes when used as prep chef stepstools. And those crevasse that hoard all things sticky, glittery and grainy, refusing to release them from her clutches.

She’s still wonderful.

And we are thankful, grateful and blessed.

God is so good to us.

Posted in adoption, being a stay-at-home mom, being pregnant, celebrating life, everyday schooling, fostering, God's heart, honesty, life thoughts, living in their world, my heart, orphan care, sisterhood, thankful and grateful, the Middlest, the Oldest, willing hands

The Continuation of the Back-Story

(Insert the pre-read of: The Beginning of the Back-Story)

… And there in that daily environment, God blessed us with our first child.

The tomboy in my popped out, I wanted a boy. A son to play in the dirt with, run around outside with and bring to soccer or baseball practice. Cute little polo shirts and striped navy pants. Easy button, comfy clothes. SURPRISE! We caught the eyes of our sweet little Rachael Elizabeth on the ultrasound screen. I still remember taking a walk with a dear friend and just crying. I was so disappointed. What am I going to do with a girl? I don’t know the least thing about how to raise a girl. A girl was my lowest level of confidence… with the hairdos and the pink…. and fluffiness. And then there was the whole make-up and self-esteem issues. I was overwhelmed.

I started to get used to the idea as the pregnancy went on. Something about pregnancy sacrifices that bonded me to this little person inside. And then I met her one January 5th. Her beautiful browns. The way she turned into my neck when I sang to her. She knew my voice. She needed me. And I found a world of girl clothes that didn’t have to be pink. And the frills started to grow on me a bit.

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I was happy to see my dreams come true as Rachael neared 11 months. I was finally going to get to come home just to be with her. I wouldn’t carry the heartache of raising any more children before I got the chance to raise my own. And the hope of meeting our next one 6 months later, despite the 4.5 months of morning/afternoon/evening and night nausea and sickness, hit me with such joy as I drove away from the office for the last time. The pendulum was swinging back to investing in those God was giving us, instead of asking for their sacrifice alone.  (This is not to imply that working Moms are somehow bad Moms, this is just God’s life journey for Matt and I).

And we learned again that I was having another girl. This time it wasn’t too horrible of a shock. I didn’t need a counseling session walk with a friend. Hehe   I had grown in my confidence, especially since we hadn’t royally screwed up Rachael…yet.

Abi Grace joined us on a wonderful June 16th evening. And while her pregnancy left me wondering if we’d have any more…. EVER, her blond curls and baby blues stole my heart. Two girls… for this tomboy to raise. God sure had a sense of humor.

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God further opened Matt and my eyes to His beloved orphans a handful of months after Abi started sleeping through the night.. you know when we could actually start thinking again, as opposed to the basic survival mode of a newborn. While Abi was more clingy and more “Mommy only” than Rachael had ever been, God opened our eyes to those all over the world that didn’t have that opportunity to attach so strongly or consistently to anyone. Those forgotten. The ones that didn’t cry because they knew no one would come.

I remember calling my Mother after a session at the orphan summit weekend. “Hold Abi close for me, Mom,” I asked her. “There are so many that don’t live to be a year old in this world.” My little eleven month old Abi. I couldn’t get her out of my mind as I filled bags full of life-sustaining food for weak and perishing children’s mouths. Somebody’s baby. …. somebody’s baby…

 

Shortly after that conference and the continued praying we had done through that time in our lives, God opened our eyes to fostering. I honestly can tell you that I never once thought I’d be a foster mom. I saw the other side of the system. How little you can sometimes know about a kid placed in your home. The frustrations and the challenges and the strains. And Matt was not stained, but not naive to the hurts and the challenges and the trials of having a foster sibling. Matt had never pushed. We are a family. Our own family. So we would make decisions about what was best for our family, under God’s will’s umbrella.

Hannah Joy was added to our family shortly after we had finally jumped through all the foster care pre-trainings and the homestudy process hoops. We were certified… and had a newborn. A girl, naturally, because God knows what I need. And God knows what He is doing.

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The boys came to us one Friday, four hours after a phone call we had our two new responsibilities. Two little strangers to get to know and learn to love. I finally got some boys. Only these ones were different. They weren’t mine. … Or maybe they would be in the future. … Or maybe not. The challenges were great: lice off/on for 8 weeks, hospitalization of our unfamiliar 3 month old struggler and a 30 day illness following the hospital stay which would untrain our night-sleeper Hannah and send us all into a sleep-needing coma for 6 weeks of coughing, phlegm sucking and respirators. We were figuring out twins, Hannah and Little Man being 6 weeks apart. And working through the pains of growing from a family of 2 kids to a  family of 5 kids within a 5 month time frame. Our “middlest” Abi was now a SUPER middlest child, adding some new behaviors. Our oldest, Big Guy, was now adding some interesting habits to the mix. And somewhere along the 11 month journey we figured out how to operate as a team. There were beautiful peeks and forging valleys as the boys went through family confusion. And while we wanted “just our three back” in the really hard moments, we also didn’t want the boys to go home to anything but the best home possible. It was a weekly roller coaster at some points of the 11 months and I can tell you now that it was the most stress to date that we have had to figure out. My Matthew showed up with flying teamwork colors. I have never seen us work together so well. We were a well oiled machine of diapers, formula, kid schedules, diaper bags…. people, we could get out of the house in 30 minutes flat going from 5 undressed kids to all ready to go for an afternoon. We were constantly running schedules, play by plays and walkie-talkie like communications by each other to get everyone’s needs met from  medicines to wiped noses to clipped finger and toe nails. It was like an assembly line.

And while I wouldn’t give that time back for the world, Matt and I realized in that time that while we were able to live like that… it wasn’t our desire to always live like that. 5 kids age 5 and under was too much to sustain for years on end. So there was much joy and some hurt empty space when the boys went home the week of Christmas. An odd void in wondering how quickly our investment would deteriorate, and old, bad habits would return. And yet how much their hearts were full going back to Mom’s arms. And how proud we were and still are of how far Mom came to make healthy adjustments and sacrifices for her babies.

And we settled back into 3… almost in shock at how easy 3 was. Our house was so quiet. And orderly. And our #4 crept quietly into the end of our chaos and just grew…. and grew in the newfound normal.

Eden Rose. Girl #4 will be joining us this summer. And you know what? I prayed that we’d have another girl. I’ve seen how our Abi and Rachael are dear friends. How they’ve blessed my ears in their giggles over the baby monitor. Their little imaginary worlds exploding with fairy princess tales and rescue missions down the hallway. They are such dear friends, the two of them. And they will be bunk mates for who knows how long.

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And then there came our busy little Hannah, flocking to Rachael’s nurturing and butting heads with our drama queen, Abi, while following her around the house in awe. Hannah doesn’t quite understand that her bunk mate is coming soon, but she’ll figure it out that Mommy’s still going to call her baby and rock her even when little Eden shows up on the scene.  They each have moved over and shared with the next one in line. Some taking longer than others. But each learning a new level of kindness, compassion and nurturing.

 

Our orphan care dreams still find their ways into conversations. Funny how you can’t hide your heart. And every Saturday morning Matt and I pray for how our family will be involved in adoption. We continue to do research and await God’s next whisper of direction. International, domestic, fostering to adopt…. we’re just waiting to hear what He’d have for us next.

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

 

So that brings us all the way to tonight. And the little story I wanted to share. See knowing the back-story helps to fully understand how far God can grow a Mom…. this Mom. How He knows us far better than we ever thought we knew ourselves.  And how His love changes us… changes me.

Hannah was down to bed. Littlest goes down earlier than everyone else since she needs more sleep. Rachael and Abi snuggled their little almost four (in a few weeks) and five year old selves into our family reading time on the couch. Teeth freshly brushed. Pottying finished. Hair being taken out of the day’s hairdos (see, I have gotten better… slowly). Abi’s little hand came over to feel Eden move. Poor Abi’s too impatient to really get a good kick but she seems content regardless.

Rachael joined in the fun, partially to stall out bedtime and the other half of her nurturing kicking in. I played along… bonding starts before they meet face to face. This late in the pregnancy game my shirts don’t fit quite so great
(can I get a witness?!). It’s easy to see my belly hanging out. But when it’s just family I don’t care.

See… my girls are learning to define beauty. I already know the media’s message they will have to struggle with in due time. But I want them to remember me as different than the culture. Real. And unashamed. God defines beauty. I want them to wonder why we defined beauty in such a different way than Hollywood ever did. I want it to point them to Jesus.

Abi commented on my belly being fat. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I carry big and low. And she’s not criticizing. Just observing.

“Yep, Abi, Eden’s getting bigger,” I usually answer back with no shame. We want her to get big. And continue to be so healthy – even if she’s already a  pound over the average weight for her gestation week.

Abi poked my stretch marks.

“Do those hurt?” Rachael’s compassion kicked in.

“Sometimes they’re uncomfortable,” I was honest as I exposed my baby bump, “but lotion helps them feel more comfortable. It’s just my skin growing and stretching to fit Eden as she grows bigger. Some were from Hannah,” they touched a few. “And some were from you, Abi.” Abi shot an excited smile.

“And some,” I pointed to the really deep ones, “were from you, Rachael. All the way back when you were a baby,” since my five year old is ‘so big’ now.

And then we chit-chatted about the blue veins on my stomach and how they bring blood to Eden so she can keep growing big and strong. And how veins help bring blood all the way down to my toes and all the way up to my head. Abi enjoyed poking my veins and I smirked at being a living science experiment.

“Did you know blood is blue?!” I asked my blondie.

“What?!” said Rachael.

“Yep, it’s blue, but when it comes out of our bodies it turns red. That’s why my veins are blue.”

Abi jumped off the couch and pointed to my spider veins. “Here’s some more!”  came her innocence.

“Yep, those are spider veins, don’t they look like spider legs?” I asked her as she poked me again.

“I like these ones,” she said with a smile.

“And here’s my huge long vein,” I pointed to my varicose vein as Rachael helped trace it down my leg.

“This one has a LOT of blood traveling inside.” I explained.

Eden began moving again and we giggled about what part of her body she could be moving.

“How is she laying in there?” Rachael asked. “Is this her head?” She patted an Eden bulge.

Eden squirmed a bit.

“I don’t know, I can’t see in. But when we got to see in with the pictures two weeks ago her bottom was here and her head pointing down with her feet up by her head.”

They giggled at how silly that sounded.

“Is this her bottom?” Abi lost it in hysterics poking at some hard section of Eden.

“Maybe.” We giggled.

“Did you know Daddy used to lay his head on my belly with each and every one of you and try to get kicked in the head?!” I shared.

Then of course after the giggles swept through Abi and Rachael had to try it.

“Now this is the only time it’s okay to let Eden kick you in the head,” I laughed, “Only when she’s inside my belly.”

It was getting late and they were getting a little overly silly. But before they scampered off to their beds, Rachael and Abi both gave Eden a goodnight hug… loving on my belly. And Abi gave my road-map of stretch marks a little kiss. “Goodnight Eden,” came their sweet little voices.

 

 

I have tried to make it a point to be honest with my girls. I don’t want to share too much for their little worlds to grasp, but I do want to filter to them real beauty. Beauty not defined by concealer, dieting, or a constant desire to physically look better.  Beauty not disguised as idolatry or wrapped in manipulation or a power status. A beauty that strives to be healthy, but embraces motherhood and being a wife in its raw and vulnerable moments. A beauty defined in God’s definition of worth, love and grace.

I see curiosity in their young eyes, but know that self-worth doubt will most likely fumble in through the awkward Jr. High years. And desire to be like everyone else, a carbon copy of culture’s definition of beauty, even if it’s defined in the Christian culture community. may very well be a High School challenge. Outward appearance will drive a message of highest importance, leaving many ladies struggling with self-image for the rest of their lives.

But I want to outwardly embrace my laughing lines… it’s evidence that I laughed. When I’m old I want to have gray hair. It’s evidence that I have been gifted a long life. I want to have crows feet on the sides of my eyes…. fruit of smiling at others. And I am so blessed to have a husband who treasures my “honor marks” left by my wonderful girls. And my stomach will probably never have a six-pack of abs…. my skin will probably never go completely back to what it once was before my big, healthy girls… but I wouldn’t exchange it for the world. Sure I’m going to strive to be healthy and maintain a level of fitness to be able to play with my kids at the park, and chase grandkids eventually, if we are so blessed. I want to be fit enough to walk some flights of stairs without dying for breath and encourage my family through self-sacrifice and self-determination to overcome future 5k’s on a decently regular basis. My body is a temple of the Living God and I want to be healthy and fit enough to do His work that He has for us. But I am not ashamed of my love handles. They are a reminder of carrying little kickers and being a part of the miracle of new life.

I want my girls to learn about that kind of beauty. A beauty defined in My Father’s eyes.

 

… and maybe that’s why He keeps on giving us girls to raise.

 

 

– Thankful, grateful and overwhelmingly blessed.

Posted in being a mom, celebrating life, everyday schooling, faith, fostering, honesty, life thoughts, missions focus, orphan care, thankful and grateful

The Beginning of the Back-Story

Growing up I didn’t really give much thought to the genders of the kids I wanted to have. I started out wanting to have 16 of them at about age 3 or 4 years old. Then the number dropped to 12 for a while going through elementary school and fell into the back burner of Jr. High and High School’s shadows. In college I knew I wanted to have a good number of kids. I have always adored them and find it quite natural to be in their world. I surrounded myself with kids growing up from helping Moms to play in the other room with their kiddos so they could accomplish tasks independent of kid needs when I was too young to babysit at 9 and 10 years old to babysitting, nannying, going on a few vacations with families and even running church nurseries.

When the idea of a career field came into my world, I naturally gravitated toward an early childhood education teacher. I had helped in teaching environments from the home to Vacation Bible School to even a few tutoring environments. I just love kids. They’re my normal.

In college my early childhood education window opened as God opened my worldview to His heart for “the least of these”. It began in the form of foster care, one branch of forgotten children. Suddenly He taught me how teaching goes so far beyond the classroom and even the very basics of worth, love, and trust need to be taught before a child can move on to enjoying and asserting themselves in Math or Reading or being vulnerable in a challenging subject. I suddenly had a heart change, resulting in a change of my major to Social Work. I began t see my fringe kids in the daycare in which I worked in a totally different light. No, not every case is a social work case, but my eyes were opened to those foster children coming through my afternoon Kindergarten classroom that were “a little more rough around the edges”. I enjoyed being a “secret weapon” substituting in more challenging classrooms. “Who’s name do I need to know?” I would ask the lead teacher of the classroom and then try not to single those kids out for poor behavior problems, but provide structure, consistency and special love to those children. It was cool to see their behaviors change a bit. Nope, I’m no miracle worker, but loving structure goes a very long way in a child’s chaos.

When I met my husband he was one of seven kids, now one of eight with two adopted siblings. He ate, slept and breathed kids, bring the second in the pecking order. Granted, he was one of those kids for the longest, but with parents who consistently ministered to children through foster care since almost as far back as he can remember, his heart and arms were just open. That’s one of the things that drew me to him. See, some can call that being a “family person” but I believe God made my “family man” into so much more through walking with others in their deep hurts and struggles. Barb and Rodger, my in-laws, did a wonderful job of sheltering their children’s innocence while also coming alongside of these really hurt little children in the foster care system. They protected their own blessing while also taking on some pretty tough cases. Their family motto? Christ is more than enough. And that was tested. And it was challenging. And they lost a lot of sleep. And walked in a lot of hard pairs of shoes. And they still have no idea of the impact they had in some of the children’s lives that came through their home for the 18+ years of foster care their family offered.

I joked with Matt that I wanted to have eight kids of our own when we were dating and engaged. His eyes nearly bugged out of his head a few times when he realized I kept repeating the same number… and it wasn’t a joke. He reminded me of how nice four sounded. Hehe. I told my friend and sis-in-law, Ellen, one time that I planned on starting at 8 so we could compromise at 6 kids. We both laughed since Ellen kept talking about a dozen children to her, at the time, new husband. Poor Ron and Matt. Our providers. They must have lost some serious sleep over the thought of feeding so many little mouths on a single salary – you know, since Ellen and I had plans of being stay at home moms. Don’t we sound awful? Hehe.

I worked as a foster care and independent living (transition program from foster care for older teens) case manager as my internship and for a year of my launching board off of college. I wanted to have a baby, but God wanted me to raise a few other kids first. When my car died from all the case management driving, I knew I couldn’t sustain at case management 40+ minutes from the office. The hours were long many days. Too long to start a family. Matt was doing his internship for school. I missed seeing him.  It was our first year of marriage.

I switched to individual and group therapy at a program designed for children who had failed out of multiple preschool/daycare settings due to behaviors. We saw every kind of case there from the lack of parenting to the product of broken homes to foster care cases. I had chairs thrown at me, was called everything under the sun, and had so many scratch marks and even a few bite marks while being spit on. Some of these kids entered our program with utter wild in their eyes. They had all the authority. Many of their parents had given up or they had failed out of multiple, multiple foster homes… and they were only 4. I had the group kids who were older. 4 years old until 6 years old when they aged out of our program. Some of the things these kids had been through would bring even the hardest heart to tears. Such innocence stripped. And all was left was a hurt, hurt frail child who hid behind aggression.

 

And there in that daily environment, God blessed us with our first child.

 

(Continue on to: The Continuation of the Back-Story)

Posted in being a friend, faith, God's heart, honesty, life thoughts, my heart, thankful and grateful

Sufficiency?

*** This post is written upon the basic Truth that

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture. Not some. Not segments. Not sections are inspired and others no longer apply. ALL Scripture – – even the hard to comprehend parts is inspired by God Himself.. ***

 

Sufficient is defined by good ole Webster as “adequate to accomplish a purpose or meet a need” (c 1995). If you need a more updated definition, dictionary.com defines “sufficient” as “adequate for the purpose; enough”.

Jesus is defined as an All-Sufficient Savior. If you choose to read through Scripture you will see the definition of “All-Sufficient” fleshed out. (And even if you choose not to read through Scripture, it doesn’t make Him any less Sufficient.) So for those of you who enjoy definitions, All-Sufficient would therefore be defined as “All-Adequate” or “Fully-Adequate”.

Now I’m not a theologian or a major in apologetics. I don’t have my masters in anything, actually and while participating in a debate class in High School, I don’t consider myself to be particularly skilled in debating a case and point so as to “hold and persuade the attention of the audience”. BUT that does not mean that the “common man”, like myself, cannot apply their mind to Scripture.

 

I often hear in Christian circles a swirling and “normal” topic of battling sin. I’m talking everyday sins. Anger (rage). Frustration. Being quick-tempered. Selfishness. Pride. Disobedience. Apathy. Laziness. The list could go on and on…. and sadly it does. Paul describes it as a battle between flesh and Spirit. See, the Holy Spirit is a Guide in us, Christians, and we wouldn’t need a guide if the navigation was easy.

But all too often I hear an unanswered grumbling or groaning from the body of Christ. It looks like this: someone in the group admits to struggling with a particular sin. Throw anything in there: pride, apathy, a quick temper… whatever. And the group agrees. “That is really hard to battle” or even “I know, I’ve been there” or “I know, I’m there too”. And that’s the conclusion of the conversation… we return to the Bible lesson, or change the subject, or excuse ourselves to another scheduling demand.

And so what do we leave the other Christian with? An insufficient Savior.

 

Christ takes on the mask of a weak Savior who can save us from our sins’ consequence, “once and for all” according to the Scriptures, but fails to save us from our daily lives. And, therefore, we just have to play this tolerance game for the 2 steps forward, 3 steps back battle with our sin nature.

Why in the world would anyone come to that kind of a Savior and lay down their life?

If I’m struggling with the exact same sin without conquering it in the least, then what did Christ save us for?

 

Christian, I’m not saying that there aren’t repetitive themes of sin in our lives. Some of us are certainly more prone to specific sins. Man, my fiery temper needs self-discipline just the same as Moses’ did. But we are forgetting the KEY POINT in this battle with sin: CHRIST.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

Paul is 100% right. It is a daily, minutely battle with sin. We are still in the flesh and it is completely unnatural to think in the Spirit while still being in the flesh. But that is why we must train our minds to be like Christ. I mean check out the whole New Testament, Christian, it’s jam-packed full of “putting off the old self” and “putting on the new”. If the old self fell off easily we wouldn’t be instructed to PUT it OFF. But furthermore, trying to conquer sin in the nude is not going to do us any good either. We PUT ON the new self. Who is the new self? Christ!

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. – Galatians 2:20

The Scripture doesn’t say that after putting off the old self we now have faith in ourselves because we have a new self. No, it says we can now have faith in CHRIST who is the new self within us.

How are we to overcome sin? We cant! CHRIST in us can. We find ourselves, I find myself, stuck in a pattern of sin, struggling with the same thing over and over again without really making any advancing headway when I look to myself to “fix my sin problem.” There are hundreds (thousands?) of self-help books out there – and so many are stocking the “Christian Reading” sections of libraries and bookstores. But we need to wake up and remember that we couldn’t overcome sin. That’s what lead us to the cross on our hands and knees. We can’t do it! But Christ can… and already has overcome ALL sin. He is ALL-SUFFICIENT. He is more than enough to overcome anything we ever face… even the darkest, hardest stuff. Are we living our lives like we believe that? Does our daily, minutely Christian walk reflect that? Are we teaching our kids that truth (whether they are “in Christ” or, even more importantly, especially if they are not “in Christ”)?

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Who is our way of escape?

Christ.

Sure being Christ looks different in different circumstances. Sometimes being Christ looks like showing up for the test. Sometimes being Christ looks like fleeing from the temptation. That’s where we need to pray and be in tune with the Holy Spirit’s guiding and not our own agendas or self-reasoning to try to out-smart our way out of sin.

So next time we struggle, or hear of someone struggling… run, bringing the Word, and searching for Christ. The Holy Spirit will guide you if you are seeking. There IS a way of escape. We are not left on our own to battle our daily, minutely, sin lives. We are not just as entrapped and ensnared in our inability to fight sin as we were before Christ… WE HAVE CHRIST NOW.

It’s time to start harnessing Him, Christian (and I’m talking to myself here too!). We cannot overcome sin.

Christ can.

And. Has.

And He has extended His own Self into our very beings that we can live out sanctification, which is a fancy word for being and looking more like Christ daily.

It’s time to take faith and trust and stake our daily, minutely lives on the Truth that He is, can, will, and has been more than enough.

He is All-Sufficient.

 

Sin life… He is All-Sufficient.

 

– Stand on that FIRM foundation.