If I Were at the Alamo…

If I Were at the Alamo…

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

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If I were at the Battle of the Alamo, I wonder what I would have done.

Have you ever pondered this? No? Let me explain why this is on my mind today.

In case you’re not from Texas or a history buff, allow me to give you the Cliff’s Notes version of the battle:

  • Texas declared independence from Mexico.
  • Mexico didn’t like this.
  • A pivotal battle occurred at the Alamo.
  • The Texans fought bravely but were greatly outnumbered by the Mexicans.
  • The Texans lost the battle, but the bravery galvanized the other Texans.
  • Texas won its independence.

Here is the part that is getting me thinking today:  

Legend has it that Texan General William Travis knew on the eve of the battle that the outlook was bleak.  He drew a line in the sand.  He asked those who were willing to stay and fight despite the certain doom to step across the line.  Anyone else was welcome to slip away.

Almost every single person stepped across that line and stayed to face battle.

If I were at the Battle of the Alamo, I wonder what I would have done.

Well, the Lord put me on the earth about 116 years too late to tell for sure, but He did give me four children.  And most moms know child-rearing is a battleground of sorts.

Today, that battleground found me whimpering face-first into a pile of laundry on the floor while my kiddos watched in shock and awe.  Yes, friends, it was a sight to behold.

So, as my eyes moistened with tears of exasperation, wetting my newly dried t-shirts, I thought about the choice I was making.  Not too long after, I “remember the Alamo” (pun intended). I thought about that line in the sand and the choice those men and some women had to make.  Who were they going to choose to serve?

“Choices…choices…”Add subtitle text (1)

That word resonated.  As “choices” echoed in my heart, while my children continued to stand over me in a stunned stupor, my mind shifted to Joshua’s entreaty to the Israelites,

“Then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15

The Bible says nothing of Joshua drawing a line in the sand, but I see this as a verbal line in the sand.

If I were an Israelite listening to Joshua, I wonder what I would have done.

I am a mom in Indiana with four little ones watching me in shock and awe. (Remember what am I going to do?)

I ran to the bathroom.  That’s what I do.  Ah, that line in the sand.  Rather than cross that line, I chose to slip away.

Not two minutes later, our middle son darted into the bathroom and placed a card with a Bible verse on the bathroom counter and darted back out.  I picked up the card and read the verse.  It occurs to me: Here is another line in the sand.

I have a son who believes that the power of God’s Word will pull Mommy out of this “adult temper tantrum.” What am I going to do?

This moment now, like the Alamo, is a pivotal battle.

Humbled, I make the choice.

I cross the line.

I wish I could tell you that upon being reminded that my strength comes from the Lord and His Word, Bible verses to back up this truth rushed from my memory, but they didn’t.  All I could pull up was Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul.”I was making a deliberate choice to (2)

It still worked.  I began to calm.  I was making a deliberate choice to dwell on His Word and not on my exasperation.  A choice to serve Him and be led by His Spirit; to follow His commands to love. Love is patient and kind, not exasperated.

 

 

 

Friends, we are all in a pivotal battle every day.

 Each morning, as soon as our eyes open, we must choose that day whom we are going to serve.  Are we going to serve ourselves and give in to the unstable tossing to and fro of our own wills and emotions? Or are we going to cross that line and serve the Lord, being controlled by His Spirit?

Paul says it in Galatians 5 like this:

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

Then just below this he writes:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25

Again, this is another verbal line in the sand.

Face first in the laundry, I was gratifying the desire of my flesh.  Our middle son reminded me with the Bible verse card that my strength to cross that line and serve the Lord comes from Him and His Word by His Spirit.

Tonight, convicted that I couldn’t from memory pull out God’s words to back up this truth, I found 1 Peter 4:11 to memorize:

“If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

So tomorrow before I open my eyes, I’m going to do a few things I read here. I will:

  • First, admit to God that I can’t serve Him without Him.
  • Ask Him to help me.
  • Then, trust that He will.
  • Make the conscious effort to choose to cross the line; to serve Him and not myself; and to dwell on His promises: His words I’ve memorized.
  • At the end of the day, I’m going to thank Him for His faithfulness.

Tell me, how do you choose to serve God each day?  

What steps do you take to cross that line into His service?

How will you choose to Create a Great Day? (Again, pun intended.)

Finding His Eyes of Grace

Finding His Eyes of Grace

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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When was the last time you felt yourself losing your patience with someone? Was it on the freeway when a stranger cut you off? Was it with your kids during the difficult hour before dinner? Was it with your husband when he irritated that last nerve you had in you? Oh, there are plenty of opportunities to practice patience in our lives! More than patience though, what we really need are eyes of grace.

Using Eyes of Grace Instead of Judgment

Do you ever find yourself judging others? Of course you might not want to admit this, but I’m willing to bet that all of us have. Maybe it was the single mom who walked into church halfway through the sermon with her two children, all of them looking sloppy and making noise. Maybe it was the teenager wearing a “dress” that should be a shirt. Perhaps it was the older woman who never has a kind word to say. Yes, there are often times when it’s tempting to be judgmental. What we really need are eyes of grace. 

Do you suffer from insecurity? Or wish that you looked different or had nicer clothes? Do you feel defeated before you even begin to try something new? Do your failures and shortcomings speak louder than any victory? If so, sweet friend, you are not alone, and you are desperately in need of eyes of grace.

Grace is life-changing. Of course, the best example of grace is from our Father in Heaven.

 

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies us intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:4-6

Undeserved Grace

The Lord envies for our hearts intensely, yet time and time again we give in to the world. At least I do–I can’t speak for you. What a comfort to know that God extends me more and more grace. Grace I do not deserve. But really, grace is never deserved, it’s a gift we are given because we are loved so greatly. God’s eyes are full of grace when he looks on his children. As a daughter trying to be more like her Father, I must also try to see myself and others through His eyes of grace. 

 

When we exchange our pride for eyes of grace, we see ourselves not just for who we really are or who we want to be, but for who we are in Christ. This is not a place of insecurity but a place of victorious security! 

As we interact with others if we exchange our judgmental thoughts with eyes of grace we will see others the way God sees them. We will look on their disposition with love and understanding. This does not mean that if we notice a sin in their life that we accept their sin, just as I don’t want to accept the sin in my own life. What it means is that we see their heart, and seek to lovingly nurture it.

When our patience runs thin, and we exchange our anger for eyes of grace, we will remember to let the Holy Spirit shine through us in those times. Mercy and forgiveness will be on our hearts because we know that we’ve received it often ourselves.

 

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Recite Before You Respond

In the book Toddlers on the Move by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller I’m learning lots of tips for staying patient, as that’s a needed skill with a toddler! They suggest when you find yourself turning angry to recite the fruit of the spirit before you respond.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

 

You see, we can’t offer this wondrous grace on our own. We are only human, and we most definitely fall short. But if the Holy Spirit is living in you then you’ve got His eyes of grace living in you. You must call upon the Spirit and beg that you see through HIS eyes of grace.

When we use His eyes of grace it reminds us that we want to treat others and ourselves the way Jesus would. The best way to do that is to let the Holy Spirit’s fruit pour out from us.

Eyes of grace–we all want to be seen through them–and the good news is that we all are.

But he gives us more grace. (James 4:6)

 

Dear God, Are You Sure You Know What You’re Doing?

Dear God, Are You Sure You Know What You’re Doing?

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

Dear God,

Lately I’ve been going through some challenges.  You know, growing older, raising children, constantly questioning my decisions, etc.  I understand that trials will be part of this life and that through those trials You teach us valuable lessons.  But sometimes I have small doubts about Your timing.  Sometimes, in my humble human brain I can’t piece together the exact reasoning You have about some of the things that happen in my life.

You’ve definitely proven to me over and over again that I am not in control of this life.  

I always thought that I would have a career that fulfilled me, and You brought me together with a man with very different ideas.  I always thought I’d stay home with my kids until they went to school and then I’d find a job.  Then You brought me into homeschooling.  I had decided that three children were plenty, and now You’ve gifted me a fourth.  It is quite obvious that You are in control.Dear God,

As I’ve grown older and grown in the word, I’ve slowly but surely been able to release my grasp on control; not for Your good but for my own.  As I’ve let go, I’ve gained such a feeling of contentment.  As I’ve let go, I’ve gained a freedom that I’ve never known before.  As I’ve let go, I’ve made time for other things that actually are my responsibility.

However, Lord, You still find ways to remind me to trust You.  

You find ways to send me messages like, “Your day will go smoother if you’d start it with Me,” or “Take care of your children, your husband, AND yourself.”  The latter seems like a long hard road that we’re now traveling down.  Years of neglecting myself has finally caught up with me and I have been physically forced to slow down.

However, Your goodness and love never fails me.  

You placed people in my life to support me during this time:  friends to bring meals and clean my kitchen, grandparents to watch the kids, and an amazingly compassionate husband to understand.  And through the rest, You revealed to me just how much I’d been neglecting myself.

I can’t help but wonder though, if You’re really sure You know what You’re doing?

I mean, through the pain and discussion of back surgery You brought into my womb a beautiful new life.  How wonderful!  But why now?  Why, when I was on a dangerous medication?  Why, when my baby was just barely 10 months old?  Why, when our house is already nearly stretched to its limit?

Please don’t misunderstand.  

I am incredibly grateful for this beautiful blessing.  I’ve seen the pain of a barren womb and I thank You for this miracle inside of me.  But Lord, was this really the best time?  Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

Dear God,

Obviously, I haven’t given up as much control as I thought.  

If I had, I wouldn’t be questioning Your perfect timing.  I remember in those first days when I was in such pain that there was no sleep, no rest for my mind, body, or soul.  In those days I remember asking You fervently to reveal the lesson that You had for me in this trial.  As the pain lessened and I found my new normal, that plea slowly faded away.

I know that You aren’t done with me yet, and for that I’m grateful.

Perhaps You intend to teach me patience.  Perhaps it’s more about putting my faith in You and not in the hands of any surgeon.  Perhaps it’s about bringing glory to You in my time of weakness.  I have yet to discover Your perfect plan through all of this Lord, but I know that I can trust in You.  Through my struggles and my failures, You’ve always been by my side.  Please forgive me for questioning Your perfect plan and open my eyes to the many lessons I have yet to learn.  Thank you for Your goodness and Your love.

Sincerely,
Your humbled doubter

 

 

Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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With my little baby bundled up in the back seat, we started the drive to the allergy clinic downtown. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Our little one hadn’t been doing so well, and we’d been working with a GI doctor and her pediatrician to figure out what it was her body didn’t like. I was scared and uncomfortable with the process. Uncomfortable with what we might find out. Uncomfortable with what we wouldn’t find out. And frustrated. So, so frustrated that my baby girl was having to go through this.

I was trying to pray, but I wasn’t sure what to pray for. I’d been praying so much for our sweet girl and her troubles. What could I possibly say right now, as we were nearing this critical appointment? About as soon as I had these thoughts I heard this song playing on the radio:

“And I know any second You could take my pain away, but even if you don’t, I pray

Help me want the healer more than the healing.

Help me want the Savior more than the saving.

Help me want the giver more than the giving.

Oh, help me want you Jesus more than anything.”

I burst into tears as I felt God’s arms around me in that moment.

The song went on to talk about the weakness we face on our own and the feeling of overwhelm we can feel from our burdens. It helped me realize that God has already done everything that we need, no matter the circumstance we face.

He sent Jesus. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 

Isn’t that all that really matters? Of course, in our humanness we forget. We become consumed by our circumstances and it’s not enough. This is nothing new for our generation.

God’s Presence is Enough

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the first few books of the Bible lately. Oh, the Israelites–how easy it is for us to judge them! This group of Hebrew slaves has been known through the ages for their complaints. God delivered them, but again and again their struggles consumed them and they started to question God. Their struggles were very real, by the way. Can you even imagine being in their place? Wandering about for years, facing the harsh realities of the desert, and going through foreign lands? Their complaints and questioning frustrated God. God wanted them to understand that his presence with them was enough. He would sustain their needs. He wanted them to trust him.

Why is this so hard? Why do we act like God is never enough? 

Trusting God is Enough

Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and mercy. He knows our weakness. In our faith, we can cast our burden on him (Psalm 55). He hears us and cares for us. We must remember, though, that our true battle is already won. Our hope is not in answered prayers, but in God. So through our struggles, may we want to be drawn closer and closer to the Lord. May we remember the love he has bestowed on us and find peace.

That day, I met my fears head on as I faced the situation I’d been dreading: peanut allergy, among other things. Our family entered a new reality that day, one I still don’t like. I pray boldly, asking God to take this burden away from us, to protect and heal our daughter. While I pray, though, I understand that even more than this, I want God to stay close with us. I want to remember what He’s already done for me. I want to praise Him still, knowing that come what may, He is God, the blood of Christ saved me, and victory is mine. 

Remember God is With You

Whatever struggles you are facing, I encourage you to take hold of the big picture. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8) I will end this post with Natalie Grant’s song “More Than Anything.” I hope this beautiful song comforts you and reminds you of God’s presence and redeeming love.

 

 

The Gift of Immanuel

The Gift of Immanuel

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”

John 16:7

the-gift-of-immanuel-pin

Isn’t it crazy to fathom that Jesus himself said it is better for him to go away than to stay? How is that even possible? Isn’t Jesus on this earth the best thing that has ever happened? The answer is found in the word Immanuel – God with us! Yes, while Jesus walked this earth, people saw God and began to understand him better. He was with them! But we did not live then. We have the Bible stories and because we believe these biblical truths, our faith is credited to us. However, that is not all we have. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Counselor, with whom Jesus seals all his followers. Because Jesus is gone and has given us His Spirit, we can still to this day proclaim God is with us!

The Holy Spirit goes to God on our behalf. He is there, pleading our case with groans, when we pray and don’t know what to ask for. When we are confused and don’t know what to do, the Holy Spirit can guide us. When we don’t understand what we read in God’s word, the Holy Spirit can help make it clearer. We have this marvelous gift. Let us accept it freely. Let us not be scared of this gift or ignore it. Instead, take hold of Jesus’ truth: “It is to your advantage that I go away.” Let us trust wholeheartedly that God is with us every moment through the Holy Spirit!

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Lord, you are the ultimate gift giver! You surprise us with gifts we can’t even fathom. Thank you for allowing your Spirit to dwell in us and counsel us. May we forever proclaim Immanuel! In the One who decided to dwell in us in order to always be with us – Amen!

To Do: A Sacred Home

To Do: A Sacred Home

McKenzie R

McKenzie R

Hello all!I am an Oklahoma girl, through and through!I was born here and after 5 years in Texas for college, I missed Oklahoma too much and just had to come back home with my Oklahoma husband to raise our Oklahoma babies! I met my husband in high school and fell we in love in college.We have 2 beautiful kids that are full of life and make me such a proud momma.I love to craft, journal, paint furniture, and decorate our Edmond home!See some of my creations at The Lettered Light www.etsy.com/shop/theletteredlight and IG:theletteredlight
McKenzie R

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I have recently finished Jen Hatmaker’s book, For the Love.  Ladies, I am a changed woman!  I am so thankful I was able to start and finish this entire book, because I rarely see the last chapter of books of my choice these days.  It is funny and honest and authentic and AMAZING.

the-lettered-lights-a-sacred-home-1

I can really see that the Lord is going to do some big things in the people who read Jen’s words.  Please move it to the top of your reading list.  You won’t regret it!

While reading through it recently, one tiny little phrase left a longing mark on my heart.  She casually mentions “a Sacred Home.”  She doesn’t even go into any detail on what that means to her. The context was a just a brief mention of the phrase.  But when I read those words, my heart leaped!  I took the words from their context and put them right into the context of my life. And I believe that my home will be forever changed.  What a perfect goal, right?  To have a Sacred Home!

@theLetteredLight (1)

I did a little bible journaling on my Sacred Home discovery!

I began to write down all the things that came to my mind when I pictured a Sacred Home. Immediately, I thought of dear friends of mine who have that aura, that beautiful spirit when I am in their home.

What does it look like, feel like?  My list began to look something like this: peaceful, calm, forgiving, love, gentle, God…  As I stared at my list a lightbulb went off in my head almost immediately–THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT! A Sacred Home is a home where I, my family, and any guests can see and feel the fruit!

Can it be that simple, Lord?  “Yes, simple–but not easy” was His answer!  Of course, I already try and make my house these things but until now I never made the connection to the fruit.  So of course it isn’t easy. If it were easy then everyone would love and never want to leave their peaceful home!

By definition the word sacred means “devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated; pertaining to or connected with religion.”  I love this.  Literally, having a sacred home means living in a place that is dedicated to our purpose as Christians!  Oh my stars…what a dream, right!

My dear friend Jillian says this about her home:

It is so important for me to have scripture–whether quickly jotted down on an index card or a beautiful piece of art–everywhere.  They are constant reminders to me to get my attitude in check.  Since sitting down and reading scripture is so difficult to do sometimes, I make it to where I can meditate on it while doing dishes, washing my hands, folding laundry, walking in and out of the house, etc.

My prayer for us, dear reader, is that we can find the fruit in our day.  The Lord has given us all the fruit of the spirit.  We ALREADY HAVE love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control inside us. But we must remember to access it.  We don’t need to pray for patience, we already possess it.  We don’t need to pray for gentleness, it’s already running through our veins.  I usually forget that, right?  So on days when it seems like you don’t have any goodness left, remember that the Lord has already supplied you with enough.

So, a Sacred Home…a home dedicated to my amazing Lord in Heaven, where living out the Fruit makes my days a little lighter, and a little deeper, and a whole lot more like Christ.

As a gift, I created a bit of scripture art for your home to get you going!  Enjoy!

Galations 5 Bible Art

If you have any ideas that help you center your home around Christ, please share them with us!

 

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