Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Raising Ebenezers...

Goodbye 2012...welcome 2013. 

How are we half way through January already?

When I think back on 2012, I immediately think about the highlight of our year, Miss Sydney Faith!  Our family is complete with this bundle of joy!  

I haven't blogged since October 2012 and started receiving emails and texts to see if I was ok.  I'm here!  I just needed to step away from the blog for awhile.  November was a hard month for our family.  It was a hard month in ministry.  December brought the busyness of the holidays and the beginning of lots of doctor's visits for our family.  January isn't even over and we're getting very close to meeting our family deductible.  Not necessarily a good thing. :)   

There are times in life that you just need to step away from things for a bit and make sure you're hearing the Father's voice clearly.  I was there.  So I removed the "static."  I have some catching up to do in blogging.  Pictures to post regarding Thanksgiving, Christmas, FOUR MONTHS worth of updates on Sydney, etc.  I've started them, just haven't finished them.  

A new year brings a fresh start.  I like that.   Alex and I always sit down and write out our goals as a family.  It's fun to look back at the end of the year and see what % we accomplished. 

After a convicting message, two weeks ago, I chose my word for the year.

EBENEZER.  That's my word for 2013.

I've sung this hymn my entire life and never really knew what that word meant.  

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

The word Ebenezer comes from the stone which Samuel set up in commemoration of God's help to the Israelites in their victory over the Philistines at Mizpah.  You can read about it in 1 Samuel 7:12. It was a REMINDER OF GOD'S HELP.  That moment changed those people's lives!  We know the Israelites were very forgetful folks.  They were constantly having to be reminded of what God had done for them.  I can relate to them quite well. :)  That's why the hymn also said: 

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love

Oh how easily we forget. 

I get discouraged in parenting, ministry, friendships.  I tend to withdraw in times like that.  And I cry.  And sometimes I just want to quit all together.  I start relying on myself to get through those moments and what I should be doing is focusing on the Ebenezers in my life.  Those moments that He showed up and showed out.  Focusing on those moments renews my faith and strength.  It puts the focus back on Him and off myself.  I wish I didn't forget but I do.  I wish I didn't worry and try to handle things on my own but I do.  So my word for the year is Ebenezer.  When trials come, I'm going to focus/rely on His strength not my own.  He has proven Himself over and over in my life and I have no reason to doubt Him or His abilities.  When we're on the other side of the miracle and we're faced with really hard circumstances, we tend to forget about what He has already done for us.

Alex encouraged us to list our Ebenezers so I thought I would list mine here:

1. He saved me from an eternal death of hell - that was the first big Ebenezer moment in my life.  Having a personal relationship with Christ gives me hope. He's my life support. 

2. He saved me from two years of being lost so deeply in sin.  I look back at that time in my life and just thank Him over and over for not giving up on me.  Good grief, it wasn't pretty.  I was at the bottom of the pit but when I finally repented and turned from it, He reached down and pulled me out quickly.  This wasn't just life changing - it was heart changing.  

3. He saved my marriage and with each year it just gets better and better.  Oh how I love this man.

4. He gave me two healthy babies after 3 years of struggling with infertility.  What joy they have brought to my life!!  Being a mother is my favorite job in the world.

Another thing that I want to be intentional about this year is what I dwell on.  What I think on.  What I allow to consume my thoughts.  I have the personality to dwell on things that bother me and allow them to make me physically ill.  This is wrong.  That's one of the reasons I deleted my Twitter account.  I found myself more bothered by what I was reading than anything.  It just wasn't uplifting for me.  I chose to do away with most TV shows last year because of the same thing.  

I read a quote somewhere that said "do you own your belongings or do they own you?"  

It really made me stop and think about where I was spending my time.  If I'm spending more time on Twitter or Facebook or watching TV or blogging than I am with Jesus every day, I need to change that ASAP.  Not that these things are necessarily bad or wrong but if they own me - I need to step away.  That may sound radical but I'm at a point in my life - that's okay by me.  I care more about what God thinks of me than anyone else.  And not that I don't struggle with what people may think (I DO) but if I'm in the Word and filling my mind with Him and surrounding myself with friends that value the same - those struggles go away fairly quickly.  

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 
-Philippians 4:8

My parents taught me Philippians 4:8 at a very young age.  They actually sang it to me and I can't read it now without hearing that tune in my head.  I sing this to Amelia whenever she's afraid of something.  It takes discipline of the mind to only focus on the things listed in that scripture.  I feel like there's so much in this world that just hits us in the face upon waking up every morning.  It's suffocating sometimes.  Some days I don't choose to put those things away and think on what's true, what's right, what's pure.  Some days you can't tell any difference in me and the world.  Those are the days that I feel like quitting.  In this new year, I'm raising my Ebenezers.  When I feel like quitting, I'm not going to focus on just getting through that day, I'm going to choose to go to those places where God's help was overwhelmingly clear. 

Bind my heart to yours, Lord.  

Love to all,


Joannah said...

You have chosen well! I feel the same way about so many of the things you shared. I hope that 2013 is a year of growth and blessings for you.

Todd and Courtney said...

Wonderful update. I deleted my twitter as well. Miss talking to you!

Portia said...

I really really loved this post. My word for the year is ABIDE. I have found myself stepping farther and farther back from fb and twitter. I find a lot of encouragement there so I don't want to go away altogether but I am finding a place of discipline to keep it in check. I am really encouraged and uplifted by this post. Thank you for sharing your heart.

annalee said...

beautiful lessons you are learning and sharing. thank you for encouraging me and teaching His truth through this post!