Feb 28, 2016

Put on your big girl panties.....

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Yesterday as we were driving the back roads to church, we passed the neighborhood where we used to live. As in, the 'hood we just moved from about 3 months ago.

I wasn't prepared for the punch in the stomach feeling that hit me. My insides felt queasy and I could feel a lump the size of a Fall pumpkin forming in my throat.

My daughter was the first to say it. "I miss this place, Momma. Why did we move?"

It took me a few seconds to answer her. Here's the thing I have learned with my daughter: I have to hold it together. Because, if I don't, we both fall apart like two dollar clocks and it's all over.

Sometimes, as a Momma, you have to be a big girl. A really big girl. I have had to put on some really BIG, big girl panties being a Momma. HUMONGOUS.

It takes a lot of acting to be a Mother. You have to act like everything is "okay" much of the time to keep the whole blessed mess of emotions from surfacing like a tsunami. Y'all know what I mean.

Academy Award winners have nothing on Momma's. Where is our Oscar?

I wasn't prepared to feel that feeling. The feeling that hits you out of the blue when your day is going just fine, the sun is shining, and you are wearing your non-waterproof mascara 'cause there is NOTHING on Earth planned to make you cry today!

Well, breathing deep, collecting my thoughts, and silently asking Jesus to take the wheel in this conversation, I responded to my daughter.

"Change is good, darling. Even when it's hard."

There. I said it. Even though in the moment I didn't believe one iota of it.

My mind flooded with memories of pushing my children on their bikes up the hills of that neighborhood. Sitting on the entrance sign talking about everything from baby dolls to boys with my baby girl every time we would take a walk together.

Running sprints with my son as he was training for cross country. Conversation filled-to-the-rim walks with my husband as we tried to have 5 minutes of time together while our kids played in the yard. Riding on the four wheeler with my love, wind at my back, arms around his waist, head on his shoulder--- Not a care in the free world for those few minutes on warm Summer nights.

Burying all three of our beloved pets in the back yard of that house. Jumping on the trampoline with my children until my legs would practically buckle under me. Side walk chalk writing all the live long day on lazy Summer days with my children.

Whew.

I have to stop there. The tears are stinging my face. [where are my stinkin' big girl panties?!]

Change is hard.

Even though I know God's plan was for us to move, it did not make it easy.

I remember telling my friend Kelli that selling our house was like going into labor. I knew that it was going to be painful. However, I knew that at the end of the pain, God would bring something really good out of it. Just like childbirth.

As I drove past our old neighborhood, I was struck by something. Everything looked exactly the same. The same cars in the driveway. The same bends in the road.

It's funny because for some reason I was expecting it to look different. But, it wasn't. It was unchanged.

Immediately, I heard this scripture in my heart, "I, the Lord, do not change." Malachi 3:6

No matter how many changes we go through in life, He never changes.

Ever.

This gave me comfort today. In a world where it seems just as we get used to things being one way, the whole stinkin' thing turns upside down. Splat. And it changes again.

Except God.

He never changes.

As I thought about the nostalgia of driving past our old neighborhood, I could not help but to think of Jesus.

The night before He was to be crucified, He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Bible says He was "sorrowful and troubled." [Matthew 26:37]

I also wonder if Jesus was nostalgic.

Was He thinking of all of the good times He had with His friends? The many miracles? The feast with His friends?  Feeding the 5,000? Walking on water?  Healing the lepers? Giving sight to the blind?

Did He think of His childhood? Did He think of his mother, Mary, and his father, Joseph? Did He reminisce about the time his parents could not find him when He was in the temple?

I bet He thought of all of those things.

Yet, the words that came out of His mouth were, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done" Matthew 22:42

Jesus knew that there was no going back.

He knew that in order for God's plan to be fulfilled, He had to go through the pain.

He knew that the memories would be nothing compared to the sweetness of God's plan being fulfilled.

Jesus trusted His Father.

Even when He knew it would be painful.

I know, I just KNOW, that Heaven will be the same way. We will not change anymore. Nothing will change. We will worship the Lord, and NOTHING will change.

My spirit craves this. Our spirits crave this.

[And just for the record, I am asking the Lord to make me young in Heaven. Young and wrinkle-free]

[and I am standing on this scripture right here thank you very much: "you have not because you ask not" James 4:2]

As much as I want to stop the hands of time, and even turn back time, I know that with each ticking of the clock it brings us closer to Him. Closer to the day when there will be no pain. No sorrow. No tears.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." Revelation 21:4

Until then, I will keep a big huge stock of big girl panties in my drawers, and continue daydreaming about my wrinkle-free skin.



moving on,



jill

Feb 22, 2016

Don't give up little Momma....

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Every Sunday I teach a group of 7th and 8th grade girls at our church. It's the hardest thing I have ever done. By far. Not because they are hard, but because there is a pretty large generational gap between us. My comfort zone is women closer to my age, or older.

I often wonder if these precious girls are "getting" what I am trying to teach them. These girls are very smart, and very wise. However, I still feel inadequate at times when trying to relate a concept to them.

However, I am reassured by God's Word being the foundation of our conversations. His Word is transcending and relatable to all ages and generations. So, even if I blow it in my teaching, they will get it when the Word is spoken.

"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" Romans 10:17

As parents, I think we feel this way with our children at times. At least I do.

When I speak to my 14 year old son, his response is not always what I want to hear.

I often wonder if he thinks I am just talking to hear myself talk. He's a really good kid. He tries to listen. He really does. But half the time I think he's not really comprehending because his thoughts are far away. In teenage boy land.

I have a choice. I can let this make me angry and yell at him for not listening.

Or, I can speak in my normal tone and convey what I am trying to say as calmly as possible.

Often I have raised my voice. However, I am beginning to see that I really don't have to yell.

He is listening. Whether he realizes it or not.

Our brains are pretty powerful. They can soak up information that we don't even realize they are soaking up.

When my husband leaves the TV on at night, I will have dreams about the shows he is watching. I am not even cognizant or awake, but my brain is listening and taking it in.

Crazy, right?

So, why am I telling you all of this.

Because, I want us to not give up as parents.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 4:9

I want us to keep talking to our kids. Keep teaching them. Keep praising them more than we criticize them. Keep pouring God's word into them.

They are listening.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Tape scripture under their beds. Around their bathroom mirror. Hide them in their book bags. Hide them in their diaper bags. Yes, even there.

Even if your children are very young, God's word will translate to the language their little hearts can understand. Just keep speaking it to them.

His Word is alive. It will penetrate into their hearts. Be patient and trust in Him to work.

Do not lose heart, whatever you do. Every single prayer prayed on behalf of our children is a seed planted for a harvest one day. His Word will never return void.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

I love this scripture. No matter what the "outside" shows in the lives of your children, it's the inside that God is renewing. Trust Him to do this!

Believe He will.

Stake your claim on the promises found in His Word and pray it over your children.

Ask God to "hide His word in your child's heart". Psalm 119:11

Never stop speaking God's word over them. No matter how old they are, speak it. Speak it daily.

The more we repetitively hear something, the more we believe it to be true.

"I will never stop praising the Lord, His praise will always be on my lips." Psalm 34:1

Be a broken record of praise over your children. Let them know you mean it when you say that they are "fearfully and wonderfully" made. Psalm 139:14

Be your child's biggest fan. Not their worst critic. Let them feel safe with you. Not threatened by your judgement and critical spirit towards them.

We will never as parents always get it right. But, we can love the living daylights out of our children even when we stumble and bumble our way about in this parenting world. A humble heart before the Lord goes a long, long way.

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. Psalm 25:9
When we ask for God to lead us, He will.

"in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight"  Proverbs 3:6

I came across the following scripture recently when I was at a loss with one of my children. I needed wisdom and I just wasn't sure what the right thing to do was.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

And all the momma's said AMEN.


lead us Lord,

jill



Feb 21, 2016

Open your eyes....

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I have to share with you an experience that I had yesterday at the Laundromat. Experience is the word I use because when I was telling the story to my fourteen year old son, he said, "Mom, that's not really a story, but an experience."

Don't you love being corrected by your child? So much fun.

First, let me start by saying that we finally [finally!] got moved into our house. Whew. This has been a journey. A long one.

Anyway, remember how I told you about my over-sized laundry room? If you forgot, see post here.

It's bigger than my kitchen. I am not kidding. My kitchen is teeny tiny and this laundry room is ridiculous. Go figure.

As we began to settle in a bit last week, our washing machine decided she was ready to retire. RETIRE. After only about 4 good years of service. FOUR.

Who retires after four years? Well, she does I guess.

The repairman came to try to work on her, but she was going to be more costly to repair than replace. So, we have a new one on the way.

With that said, I have been without a washer for over a week. Make that going on two weeks. Yep.

I'm all about a laundry strike, don't get me wrong. But, things start to get smelly after a while. Know what I mean?

So, yesterday, instead of invading my sweet friend Kim's home, again, to do my laundry, I visited the local Laundromat, The Wash Rock.  Catchy name, right?

I walk in with a not-so-great attitude and my four loads of laundry.

I felt like I was in a foreign land. I had no idea what to do. Which machine? There are so many!

As I stand there with my laundry spilling out of my baskets, I feel people staring. Ugh. My new organic deodorant apparently is not working, because I am sweating like an elephant under circus lights.

Finally, I meekly asked a lady how this works and which machine to use.

She gladly showed me the ropes. I could have hugged her right then and there. Except I was holding smelly laundry and my pits were sweating profusely.

I started my loads, and began to sit down to make my grocery list, catch up on emails, and write in my planner.

However, before I could even sit down, my first load was done. Whew. That was fast. A little too fast. I was kind of looking forward to some "down time".

It all went by so quickly! I now know why people use Laundromats. They are fast! You can also do many loads at one time. [Just be prepared to have a small fortune in quarters. Good grief.]

As I was folding up my last load, I noticed a young man. He looked very thin. And very frail.

He was no more than 25 years old.

He was having trouble getting his clothes out of the washer. He had used an older washer I guess to save money, but it left the clothes soaking wet. Almost like it had not used a spin cycle at all to drain the water.

As he took the clothes out of the washer, water was dripping everywhere. I could tell he was embarrassed. There were a lot of people around. A puddle was forming at his feet.

More than anything, I wanted to throw my laundry down and go and help him. I wanted to ask him if he had eaten, or if he needed clothes, or money for the dryer. I tried to think of a million scenarios to try to talk to him and offer to help. I prayed and asked God, "what can I do??"

The scripture that the Lord laid on my heart was this, "Be still."

I wanted so badly to give him something. To help in some way. Yet, I knew in my heart that wasn't my purpose. God wanted me to see this man. God wanted me to see, because often I don't see.

Often, I am at home in my own comfy house, using my own washing machine, and my own dryer.

Often, I have my face in my phone instead of noticing those around me.

Often, I am too busy thinking of my "wants" instead of the basic needs of others.

God wasn't trying to condemn me. No.

God was using conviction to cleanse my heart. To not just cleanse it, but to break it wide open.

To pieces.

I will never shake this experience. This man.

I don't know his name, but God does.

God tells us in Isaiah..."See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands". Isaiah 49:16

Since seeing this man, I have prayed for him fervently. Not because I think he desperately needs my prayers, but because I desperately need to remember him.

I need to remember this raw heart feeling.

Therefore, I will always remind you about these things--even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 2 Peter 1:12

It's not about a broken washing machine, but about a broken heart. A heart that notices others. A heart that decides to see instead of building a wall so tall around it that the view is blocked.

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

We are surrounded by the least of these. Surrounded.

However, before we can "do", we must "see".

Our eyes have to be open, our hearts prepared for the mission he has for us each day.

We must be in alignment with the Lord each and every moment.

From the moment our eyes open, we need to ask Him to speak. To show. To teach. To convict.

Being in the will of God will always be about noticing and acting on the needs of others. Always.

We need to look no further than Jesus for this example. Nothing He did was for Himself. Jesus spent all of His days seeing, hearing, teaching, ministering, feeding, and loving others.

Not a minute was wasted.

Let's follow Jesus' example.

Starting today, let's open our eyes. Open our hearts to a world that needs the Love and Hope of Christ.

Who will you see today?


eyes wide open,


jill


Feb 19, 2016

It's about time...

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As we read through the book of Exodus, I am constantly amazed at the faith and perseverance of Moses. Good gracious. This man is truly incredible.

So many times recently, I have found myself complaining just like those ungrateful Israelites that Moses was leading through the desert. I mumble, and I complain. I huff and I puff.

Then, I am reminded of Moses. He never complained. He just kept going. And going. And going.

When the crowds complained and blamed Moses for their misery, Moses prayed for them and begged God to forgive them for their sins.

I want this kind of heart. A heart for those around me that get on my nerves. Those that I think God put on this earth just to bug the living daylights out of me.

We read in Exodus 32 about the people asking Aaron to make them an idol to worship and go before them. They were tired of waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. As Moses was up on the mountain receiving the 10 commandments from the Lord, the people were melting their gold to form an idol to worship.

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
Exodus 32:1

They were impatient. They were anxious. They wanted an idol to worship. They did not want to wait for Moses. They wanted what they wanted, and they wanted it now.

Oooh. This little piece of scripture steps on my chipping red toe nails. How many times have I jumped ahead of the Lord's plan for me? How many times has something become an idol to me because I was tired of waiting on God's plan?

Too many to count.

Let's see what the Bible tells us about waiting, shall we?

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4

We can stop here. Although, we could go on. For days.

In a bible study that I do with some friends on Tuesday mornings, we are studying Nehemiah. Nehemiah had a big, huge, desire in his heart. Yet, he prayed and fasted for four months before he did anything about it. FOUR months, y'all!

I cannot help but believe that the way our culture is today, it is prime time for the enemy to tell us lies about waiting. The enemy wants us to believe that if we cannot get it now, like we can most everything else, then it is not worth waiting on.

Think about it. We can pretty much get anything we want from the touch of our fingertips. ANYTHING.

Waiting is kind of old news in today's world, right?

For heaven's sake, if I go to the grocery store and there are more than 2 people in front of me I get panicky and look for the quickest self-checkout lane.

We are not accustomed to waiting. We just don't have time for it.

When we don't go through the long days of waiting for something, we miss the growth. We miss the character that develops from waiting.

Think about an embryo. It has to take many days and many months in order to be stable enough to survive outside of the mother's womb. Without the full waiting time, the baby is at great risk for failure to thrive.

The same is for us. When we jump ahead of the waiting time, we miss out on the full blessing that God has for us. We become at risk for failure to thrive.

Just like the Israelites, we look for a substitute. A quick, man-made substitute to fulfill our gaping need.

Isn't that just like sin? A cheap, easy, and hollow substitute for the real deal. God's fruits are real, tangible, and satisfying. Sin is anything but. It is short-lived, and satisfaction will never be found there.

Due to the Israelites constant rebellion, the journey to the Promise Land took 40 long hard years.

I wonder what would have happened if they would have waited patiently and joyfully during that time. What if they would have praised Him and trusted Him in the waiting, even when the days were long and dark.

Friend, something amazing happens when we can learn to be still, and know that He is God.

Something supernatural and extraordinary develops in our spirits. Something that God could not develop in us except through the waiting.

Jesus was 30 when He began full time ministry. 30! Why not 20? I mean, He was the Son of God?

God had a perfect plan for Jesus, and it took 30 long years for Jesus to be ripe for the season of His ministry. God had to align the hearts of all of the others that would be affected by Jesus as well.

In our limited perspective, we cannot see the many details God is laying out and preparing for the timing of our lives. The details to find the right spouse. The details for our wombs to conceive at just the right time. The details of bringing our dreams and desires into fruition. The details of preparing the heart of a wayward child or family member that we think will never see the light of day. The details of the good that will come from a tragic loss and grief.

It takes time.

Jesus came down to  Earth in the womb of Mary after a long, dark, cold period of silence and waiting...over 400 years between the last book of the Old Testament and the birth of Jesus.

This time has actually been called "The time of silence". I shudder to imagine this. I cannot imagine the darkness.

Jesus' arrival was the exact time God had planned.

The fullness of time had to take place.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, Galatians 4:4

Are you in a season of waiting?

Oh, friend, I know it is so hard. So hard.

However, look to Him in the waiting. Worship Him. Thank Him. Remember back to what He has done in your life. Look for Joy in the waiting. It is there, because He is Joy. Joy is always with you.

The Joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

It is okay to be discouraged. However, don't let your discouragement take you out of the will of God. Press on, just like Moses did. And the next day, press on again. And again. And again.

The fullness of time will come. And it will be sweeter than you could have ever managed to attain on your own.



waiting in faith,



jill





Feb 9, 2016

Quit rolling your eyes....

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This past weekend I had a long, yawn-induced, talk to my children about the importance of good character.

What they don't know is that every teaching moment I share with them, is really a teaching moment that God has shared with me. I was taught first by Him. Then, I share it with them as if I have it down pat. When actually, I usually am right in the thick of the lesson. 

Hence, the lesson on character. 

This all came about when I was on the phone with someone a few weeks ago. I found myself rolling my eyes at something they said. It may or may not have been my husband on the other line. 

By the third time I rolled my eyes, I had a ping in my heart. You know the ping. The ping of conviction. 

I looked around and thought,"Why the conviction? Nobody is watching me. My kids cannot see me. No one can see me roll my eyes."

Then, I heard a scripture in my head loud and oh so bell-ringing clear..."You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I'm far away." Psalm 139:2

Here is how I heard it in my heart though.."You know when I roll my eyes, Lord. Even if I don't roll them and roll them in my thoughts. You see me."

Eek. 

I was busted. Oh so busted.

So, this is how this character stuff all got started. 

How am I acting when no one is looking? 

What kind of thoughts are going on in my head?

Do I really have to put the grocery cart back up, Lord? Can't I just leave it here and pray it won't roll off into the wild blue yonder and hit someone's car?

I want to always do the right thing. Not because I want to be a goody goody, but because I want to honor the Lord. 

However, it's hard sometimes. Sometimes I just wanna be a rebel and not put the bananas back in the fruit isle when it's easier to sit them right on the shelf near the spaghetti sauce when I decide I don't need them after all. [I think that was a run-on sentence. Hope that's not a sign of bad character.]

I want to live out this verse: 

...so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God... " Colossians 1:10

Please God in all respects. Bear fruit in every good work. Increase my knowledge of Him. 

YES!

So, as I was teaching my children the importance of their character, I urged them to be aware of their thoughts throughout the day. I told them to "capture their thoughts to the obedience of Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:5

When our thoughts run away, so do our hearts. 

Even if our mouths are not out of line, if are hearts are out of line, then we are not honoring the Lord.

"'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." Matthew 15:8

As I pray for my children to be bold, strong in the Lord, to be wise, to be discerning....

I am also praying for their hearts to be devoted to God at all times. Not just when people are looking. 

My prayer is that they will know that the little things in life are really the big things. 

When they choose obedience in the very smallest things, they are honoring the Lord in a very big way. 

"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones." 
Luke 16:10

Since the talk with my kids, I have seen small little changes in them. Very small, but I have noticed. 

I haven't said anything to them about the small character changes I have seen because I want them to do this for the Lord and not for their momma. 

The desire of my heart is for their true character to reflect Christ. A heart fully devoted to the Lord even in the deepest parts. I desire the same thing for my heart. 

If I am not honoring and respecting those around me, I am not honoring the Lord. 

Here are some prayers I am praying over my children and myself this week as we develop our character. 

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." John 14:23


Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58


Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27

Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Colossians 3:20

The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their walk are His delight. Proverbs 11:20

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

"And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him." John 8:29

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Our character is important to God. It reflects who we really are when no one is looking.

God desires our character to reflect Him.

Let's work on this. For the rest of our lives, shall we?


no more eye-rolling,


jill










Feb 2, 2016

Above all else....

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We tend to guard many things in our lives. We guard things that mean something to us.

We guard our homes with security systems. We guard our cars from break-ins by locking them. We guard our skin from cancer by wearing sunscreen.

If something is important to us, we guard it.

God tells us something that we must guard above anything else in life....our hearts.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" Proverbs 4:23

As parents, we are diligent about guarding our children from harm. We take many precautions to keep them safe from predators and unforeseen dangers.

Sometimes, however, we forget to guard the one thing, above all else, that needs guarding....our hearts.

God has made this very personal in my life. Very personal.

"Guarding my heart", is not just a lovely proverb that sounds good. Guarding my heart has to be a way of life. 

When I don't guard my heart, I fall into sin. I fall into captivity. Even if just temporary, I fall.

Yes, I still belong to Christ, because I became His when I accepted Him as my Savior. However, when I don't heed His instructions, when I step out of His umbrella of protection over me, I fall. Big time.

He has given me specific instructions in areas that my heart has to be guarded. 

For example, I have to be very careful about what I read, what I watch on T.V, what I scroll through on the internet, and even magazines that I flip through.

I have to be careful about certain things, because I can get easily tripped up. I can get drawn away from Christ, and right smack into the very things that held me captive. 

I can read a very well-meaning blog or a parenting magazine, and immediately feel self-condemnation. I will compare myself to those parents or people, and go right back to that place of insecurity.

It's not that there is anything wrong with reading these things...at all. It's because I  know my heart, and God knows my heart the most. He knows that certain things are triggers to my areas of past captivity of insecurity and fear.

Maybe your triggers are much different. Maybe they are lust, food, greed, jealousy, spending, sexual promiscuity, discontentment, depression, lying, stealing.......

Certain activities and even certain relationships can actually lure us right back to these places that we have been set free from.

We can get drawn to the edge of the pit of sin that held us in bondage, and step right back in, if we are not careful. If we are not guarding our hearts.

If our hearts are the wellspring of life, like the Proverb says, we have a lot at stake when we decide to take the guard off of our hearts. 

God, our Father, like any good parent, wants to protect us. He wants to keep us safe from falling back into the pit of past strongholds.

So, He sets boundaries for us. He not only sets the boundary lines for us in His Word, but in our own personal lives.

"Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you" Proverbs 2:11

We know how to access His Word, but how do we know specific areas that He wants us to abstain from for our own personal protection?

I think that can be easily answered when we look back over our past areas of temptations or strongholds.

We must always remember, that those things can and will still trip us up, if we don't guard our hearts from them. 

Sometimes, I think I have grown, and gotten past certain things that can make me fall, or bring me close to the edge of that pit. I tend to think that I can now handle those things. I am stronger, I am wiser.

This is a lie.

Those things are just as harmful now as they were then to my heart. Some things don't change. 

I urge you today, to ask the Lord very specific ways that you can guard that beautiful heart of yours. Not only that, but that He will give you the strength to walk in obedience and stay far away from paths that lead you to those old bondages. Those unsafe places that the Lord desires to protect us from.


padlocking this heart,

jill