Nothing (Five Minute Friday)

This is a link-up with Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday

The story about Elijah is still burning in my mind and has been all week. I love when God’s Word soothes your soul like that.

And I’ve been thinking about Nothing. How God came to Elijah in the stillness, in the quiet, when there was nothing.

Elijah was so inflamed that his people would turn their backs on such a powerful God. He wanted to show them God’s power in big, demonstrative and mighty ways.

He asked God to show His might with a big supernatural fire.

But then when Elijah was discouraged and tired, God demonstrated to Elijah in a very clear way – first a big wind, then a big earthquake and then a big fire, and then nothing. And that’s where God met him.

God is in the nothing. Which negates the nothing. There is no nothing because He is always there. And sometimes we don’t feel Him there. So we hold on the the hope that He gives us when all we feel is nothing.

1 Kings 19:11 Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.

A gentle and quiet whisper in the nothing.

That time when Elijah had a breakdown and God made him rest

My small group of women are doing the Emotionally Healthy Woman study (which is fantastic btw) and last night Geri Scazzero was talking about faulty thinking. And she referred to the passage in 1 Kings 19 where Elijah finds out that Jezebel has vowed to kill him. (After he slew 500 Baal prophets).

And Elijah runs away and cries put to God

Take me now, Lord. They have killed all your prophets, destroyed your altars and I alone am left – and they seek my life!

And the story seems really odd. Like why did Elijah have no fear going up against hundreds of Baal prophets. He never doubted that God would do as he prayed.

And he wasn’t afraid of the king’s wrath at all.

It was Jezebel, a woman.

She vows to take his life and he runs away.

And we wonder what happened to his faith?

But does God scorn him for his lack of faith?

No, in fact it is the opposite!

He sends him to shelter. And he has him rest. Like sleep and sleep. So that an angel has to wake him up and give him food.

And the angel doesn’t just give him bread. The angel gives him cake!!

And he sleeps more. He sleeps and sleeps. And again, the angel has to wake him up to give him more cake and water.

And whatever is in this cake from the angel, it is enough to sustain him for 40 days and 40 nights as he walks to mount Horem where God is.

I really could use some of that cake!

A cake baked on a hot stone and a jar of water.

I checked this verse in multiple translations and they all say cake. I even tried to look it up in my key word study Bible, but it wasn’t listed.

The angel says to Elijah

Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.

Words of tender compassion from an angel.

And it is sustenance for 40 days and 40 nights.

And when he arrives at the mount,

1 Kings 19:9-14 There he went into a cave and spent the night.And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

I alone am left.

Have you ever felt that way?

But God corrects Elijah,

1 Kings 19:18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

7000 men who still serve God. That’s hardly alone.

Elijah was so zealous for the cause. The Hebrew word qana implies a very strong emotion in which a person is desirous of some aspect.

I think we would say that Elijah was so passionate for the purposes of God. He felt so burdened that His people had rejected the one true All-powerful God. He felt compelled to demonstrate God’s power to them and how foolish their obsession with Baal was. He had such great conviction.

Yet once his treat powerful demonstration was over, I think he just felt that it was all for naught. If there were no other prophets or altars to keep reminding the people, then what was the point?

I think he felt he won the battle but the the war was lost.

And I think he was just spent.

He had gone all out for God and now he was done.

And when you are in that place, even the smallest thing can seem insurmountable.

And Jezebel had vowed to kill him.

That was the thing that broke him.

How awesome is it to know that when we are in that place, just too tired, our compassionate God wants us to fully rest?! That he sees us with so much compassion and wants to give us rest.

This was nourishment for my soul this week.

The Importance of Teaching Your Children Obedience

It is one of the 10 commandments – that is how important it is!!

In fact disobedience to parents is listed among sins such as sexual immorality, thieving, etc.

But children need to be taught to be obedient.

This was a crucial point my husband and I agreed on when we started our parenting journey. And we probably had different reasons for our strong feelings on this.

1. Safety – it is very difficult to keep your babies, toddlers, children and teens safe unless you have confidence that they will obey you without question. We needed to know that if I shouted a command, their automatic reaction is to obey. They might still question it, but their instinct is to obey.

2. Deliberate disobedience is disrespectful and should not be tolerated.

3. I shouldn’t have to ask for something more than once.

4. Order from chaos – this is especially true once you decide to have more than two kids. Kids learn quickly that life is not fair. Everyone does their part, and everyone has to obey.

HOW do you teach you kids obedience?

1. Start very early.
2. Be consistent.
3. Never go back on your word. Always stick to your guns.

Extra work being consistent when they are young will make things much easier as they get older.

GRACE

Teaching obedience can be tempered with grace. This does not mean giving in. This means that outside of the basic ground rules, when my kids ask for permission to do something, or eat something, my default answer is going to be yes, unless there is a compelling reason to say No.

When the default answer is No, kids learn quickly that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask permission.

When I say No, I usually give a good reason. But I don’t have to. When it’s not appropriate to provide details, no means no.

Sometimes kids need to learn impulse control. Yes kids will be kids, but they can be taught to stop and think – is this a good idea? Model this and use situations In daily life to reinforce the concept of impulse control.

In the end, it’s all about the love and discipline shown to us by our Heavenly Father.

Hebrews 12:10-11 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Getting The Best for Less – 7 Ways to get the best deal for the best stuff

Although our concentrated #frugalclub efforts have been fairly recent, Richard has always been one to find a good deal.

It is often that a friend will tell me that they are looking to purchase some big ticket item and ask ‘can Richard find me a good deal on x?’

There are a couple of things he does well.

1. Research – He researches to find the best product, for the features required. He reads reviews from various sources, and will sometimes talk to either people who own the product and/or the salesperson. He has a lot of patience for this and depending on the item or the amount of money, will spend considerable time on the research phase.

2. Quality, name brand, warranty are all factors to consider. Sometimes the manufacturer warranty is good enough. Other times it is worth investing in additional coverage. One example is Apple Care warranty. For a portable device such as an iPhone or iPad, the apple care warranty is definitely worth it. The odds really are that you will need it during the lifetime of your device.

3. Is there a coupon? Will they price match? Is there a sale coming up? Can I get reward points? Can I use reward points? Is there a promotion right now?

4. Does Costco sell this item or similar for a lower price?

5. Get the inside scoop – Sign up for mailing lists. Have a gmail or yahoo account that you use specifically for these types of things, because you will get lots of deals. I was at the Gap and fell in love with a pair of jeans that I thought were on sale but it turns out they weren’t. So while in the change room, I went on my iPad, signed up for their emails and immediately got an email for 25% off. Same applies to restaurants.

6. Always ask for more – so when I got to the cash at Gap with my new favourite jeans. it turned out I couldn’t use it, so I told the salesgirl how much I loved the jeans and had to have them and she found a coupon code for 40% off that was for Gap insiders. You can be friendly, smiling and ask for available deals or promotions.

7. (For Canadians) Red Flag Deals. Affectionately known as RFD. Richard has had the inside scoop for some awesome deals from this site over the years. Of course we’ve also bought things we didn’t even know we needed because of this site!! So be careful!

Always wanting the best for us, his patience and perseverance for getting the best deal always amaze me. Love this man!

20140525-211352-76432902.jpg

All The Birdies in the Nest

Now that our kids our in their teens and pre-teens, our weekends can get busy. With sleepovers, retreats, quiz meets and tournaments, our house is like a revolving door.

So on Sunday evening, when everyone back home, we look at each other and sigh – all the birdies are in the nest. And we smile. And we enjoy a roast chicken or steak dinner together.

I’m not sure what we will do when they start to actually leave the nest to go to school etc.

But for now, I’m going to soak in all these moments.

20140523-170847-61727060.jpg

20140523-170848-61728228.jpg

Hope in The Lord

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lordwill renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint.

20140521-083556-30956368.jpg

20140521-083556-30956497.jpg

20140521-083802-31082074.jpg

20140521-083802-31082214.jpg

It is interesting that two different translations use two different words – Hope and Wait, coming from the same root.

Close (Enough) Five Minute Friday

(Linking up to Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday)

Ever feel like you are close enough to achieving someting but then it is just too hard?

Do you say
Ahh close enough
And then give up?

If we didn’t quite reach a goal, my father used to say
Close, but no cigar!
close enough

Is close enough maybe the anti-thesis of perfectionism? Does a perfectionist quit at good enough?

Or maybe driven is the opposite of close enough? Does someone who is driven stop at close enough?

Do marathoners quit at the 39km mark?

These are the thoughts that hound me and tell me I am not good enough. Close enough isn’t good enough.

But God’s grace isn’t like that.
close enough 2
It is not about being perfect, or being driven. But it is about EXCELLENCE.

Colossians 3:17 (NLT)

17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

And Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men

And interesting wording from the Message translation

22-25 Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.

For all you struggling with motivation on a Friday – Work from the heart for your real Master today!

(and then look forward to some Sabbath rest – Sunday is coming!)

Have a great weekend!

Noise Sensitivity

Kait on the boat

I have no idea why I have noise sensitivity issues. I am guessing it is hereditary, because my mother has some too, although in some ways different than me.

It occurred to me last night, as I was putting away dishes, that I ALWAYS use Tupperware plates and cups – like every day. I will give my husband a regular stoneware plate, but I need to eat off a tupperware plate. I think these are the ones I eat off of every day.

It made me realize that it’s not exactly normal. I wondered, what really is the scope and extent of my noise sensitivity issues? I wanted to try and capture what it is for me, and how it impacts my life. (which most days is not a big deal).

– the level of sensitivity varies – some days I am more sensitive than others, sometimes related to a headache or migraine, but other times not related to actual head pain.

– it is not really about volume, I love to hear a baby laugh and sometimes I like my music loud!

cole and megan

– repetitive noises – my kids know to never repeat a noise, a sound or a word more than 3 times or they will hear me say ‘Enough’.

– commercials on tv – everyone in the house knows – mute or at least lower the volume on the commercials. I am not sure why commercials need to be louder than the show – I always feel like I am being yelled at!

– no balloons in the house – I hate the sound of balloons and I don’t mean the popping, I mean the sound when you TOUCH the balloon. It literally hurts my ears.

– the sound of a knife and fork on a ceramic plate or glass or anything other than plastic.

– certain people’s coughs, sneezes and throat clearing, especially repetitive throat clearing.

– multiple noises at the same time – ie. the oven fan, the tv, music playing and someone talking on the phone.

– If I am talking on the phone – I want it to be quiet all around me

– when my sensitivity level is high, I jump out of my skin at the slightest noise.

But there are certain sounds I find soothing:

– the sound of waves, water rushing, or a fountain
– my mom playing the piano

(wow, can’t think of too many others…)

But I know that God understands my need for quiet.

Isaiah 30:15
This is what the Sovereign Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.

Still Waters and Green Pastures

God seems to be trying to speak to me about rest (still, or again…) because I keep running across other peoples blogs and articles about rest and sabbath.

I saw the movie, Mom’s Night Out Highly recommend it!!) I don’t want to give any spoiler alerts, but let’s just say, although I laughed so hard in this movie, I also SOBBED during a couple of parts. There is a part where the Mom is sobbing and telling her husband that she is happy, and has everything she ever dreamed of, she’s fine, she’s just tired.

And I have had this same conversation with my husband. More than once. Over several years.

But in the movie, the mom figures it out by the next morning.

Why, why, why, have I not figured it out???

Life is Messy, but I am a beautiful mess.

It’s a great message.

But it doesn’t mention the fact that my house is messy. I mean it is always messy.

Comparison steals your joy.

So I won’t compare my messy house to others.

But God – the house is still messy!!! not comparing doesn’t help it get any cleaner!

and days after seeing the movie, the thought of that scene still brings tears to my eyes. Even my closest friends who went to the movie with me did not seem to feel the sucker punch of that scene the same way that I did.

Why?

and in the past 7 days since seeing the movie, God has been whispering to my heart.

Maybe the house is a beautiful mess too. It’s a home. With a family that loves and respects one another and laughs together. As full-time-work-outside-the-home parents, we’ve chosen to make our kids a priority over the state of the house. As parents, we’ve shared the workload as best we can because in the end, we both just want to spend time with our kids.

So our house is a beautiful mess because it contains a beautiful family.

God says to my heart
– I am doing a good work in you. Look at your children. You work hard and honour me and I have blessed you.

And I reply with thankfulness to my faithful God. Help me to always honour you.

And then while driving alone this past weekend, and I spent many hours driving all over 3 counties this weekend which I take and am grateful for the quiet, restful, alone time, I heard Keith Green’s The Lord is my Shepherd.

And the familiar passage took on a whole new meaning for me.

(Amplified version)
Psalm 23:1-3 The Lord is my Shepherd to feed, guide, and shield me, I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in fresh, tender green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life my self; He leads me in the paths of righteousness uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but for His name’s sake.

Psalm 23:6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord and His presence shall be my dwelling place.

He MAKES me lie down in green pastures.
20140521-082234-30154723.jpg

He LEADS me beside the still and restful waters.

20140521-081839-29919853.jpg

20140521-081840-29920914.jpg