Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Adventures of a "Super-Mom"

Woke up 20 minutes down the stairs trying to balance my huge ginormous pregnant self, rushed to brush my teeth, yank my hair into a lousy poor excuse for a pony tail, throw clothes at the kiddies, grab them something fast to eat in the car, drive like a maniac to make it to school on time...but not to maniac-ish cause I don't want us to die, while driving remember I left the keys sitting on the counter & now I'm locked out of the house...YAY...Wait, the garage door opener...battery dead on the garage door opener, run into the store with the kids for a new battery (and toilet paper...and diaper wipes...and soap...we needed those too!) Wait...dun-dun-dun...I'm in my pj's (Oh well, at least I was wearing a coat...and stars aren't that bad!), get home only to figure out I accidentally changed the code on the garage door opener when I changed the battery...ERRRR...walk of shame next door to ask our Landlord if he by any chance has another spare set of keys (still in my pj's), Praise God he does...his wife was wearing her pj's too...but, she's warm & toasty in her own house and I'm out in the world!!! Ya, I take the kids to school in my pj's...don't judge me!

Finally warm inside the house with 4 year old Bella and 2 year old Joshy (both in their pajamas too)...I take a deep relaxing breather and fall onto a chair and lay my head down at the table for like a microsecond...

"Mama, I'm so hungry starving why are you putting your head down on the table? Are you trying to sleep?"
"Honey...please hold on just one second...Mama is trying to relax for a minute."
"But, remember I'm starving and I didn't even have any food yet?"
"Bella, please be patient sweetie...I'm trying to not pass out."
"You're not gonna pass out."
"Honey, Mama is pooped out...I had to run around all crazy this morning. My body & my brain are sooo tired."
"Mama, you have're like Super Woman!"

I lift my head and smile...she's so stinkin' cute when she's trying to convince me to give in to her demands...

"Alright...let's go make you guys something to eat."

He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on 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 40:29-31

I know this was meant for the people of Israel and other believers whom are waiting upon the Lord's deliverance to comfort them and encourage them in times of trials...but at this moment today, these verses were loud in my heart! Even in my own times of weakness & mini-trials...He is my strength! He will give me the power to be a "Super-Mom"...even if it's only the kids that think I am...mission accomplished!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Am Thankful For...

This year is almost over...and the time for "Thanks" is already here! Wow, what a great learning year this has been for me!!! Although sometimes painful and rough, I know God uses anything, everything, ALL things for good!

I am learning to be content in what others may view as "little". I never thought that I wasn't content...I really and truly am happy with our "simple stuff"...I honestly don't have the desire to need (or want) more. But, this year God showed me just how dis-content I actually was...or can be.

Sometimes our finances looked a bit scary...sometimes even horrific!!! I'd pray hard for God's intervention and provisions...but, then I'd get up off my knees and turn right around and try to figure out a way to handle it myself...He was taking to long...or, my prayers would be answered in an unattractive/uncomfortable way. "That's not what I prayed for God...Well, it is but, that's not how I wanted it handled!" I was to prideful to accept His blessings.

This year it finally hit me..."Am I content with I satisfied in Him?" I wasn't. If He were to take away even our "simple things" I would have freaked out...I would be very angry, upset, and discontent with my Lord. I would have questioned Him..."What have I done...I'm not materialistic...I don't desire what the world does...look at me God, I don't deserve to be treated this way by You...why won't You just have mercy on me and just bless me!?" But, what has He already blessed me with? What does He bless me with everyday? My life, my husband, my children, my home, food, clothing, a vehicle, our health, my family's health, a baby-to-be, my salvation!

God loves me! He wants me to be content and satisfied in Him...Him alone! If I had nothing else in this world, but Him...I should be just as satisfied...actually MORE! My husband is amazing and my children are the biggest blessings in my life...but God has to mean much more...He gave my family to is because of Him that I have them! Sometimes life get's hard and scary...and even sometimes horrific...but I know now that I must trust Him and His love for me...He will provide in the best way He deems right...even if it makes me squirm and it isn't just what I had in is His will, and may His will be done...and may I be truly content with that. I am thankful for His merciful and loving kindness.

I am thankful this year for God's love, God's blessings, God's mercy, God's patience, God's refining, my husband, my beautiful children, my beautiful baby-girl-to-be, our health, my home, our stove/oven, electricity, running water, a full and working refrigerator, our clothing, working vehicles, my husband's job, the pleasure of being a "stay-at-home mom" know, all the "simple little" things!

Monday, November 8, 2010

What will you do with all of your clutter...will it be your legacy?

We moved a few months ago and since I got pregnant as soon as we moved in it seems, I wasn't able to really go through and unpack everything quite yet because my pregnancies are always chock full of nausea and super fun vomiting! Hehehe...kinda embarrassing! Anyways...since I only have 3 months to go I figured I better get moving...or well...rather, unpacking!

I was digging through a ton of boxes and bags of just "stuff"...clutter...junk...seriously just a bunch of useless stuff that for some reason I could never get rid of, throw out or pass on to someone else. I think I may have this terrible habit of keeping every single thing that ever crosses my path! I wouldn't call myself a hoarder per say...what hoarder would admit that anyway? But, I may be pretty close!

I seriously have so much junk I think it should be considered illegal to have this much useless stuff stored in one place! And, I've held onto to some of this stuff since I was a teenager! Why? Well, I am going to need it...right? Like, I have this really cute pair of jeans that I wore before I became a mom and I'm pretty sure that their kinda still in style and when I'm done having children they will probably fit me again, I think. you see the problem with that whole statement of reasoning of mine?! First, it's really obvious that I am not done having children yet and who even knows when we will be! And, I honestly pray that they never ever fit me again...I was a tooth pick when I wore those things!

So as I was going through all of the things that I know really need to go...ASAP, I started thinking about things past...which made me think about my life and then about things growing up. I then realized that I really do have a habit of "holding onto things"...even things that aren't tangible physical things. I also realized that those things that I have never let go of have affected me as a person and have become a part of who I am. I mother a certain way and I "wife" a certain way...I always have guilt and stress. I'm always trying way to hard to do, do, do. I'm trying to hard to be perfect and not be like my parents. I want my family to just be happy...then when things go wrong I completely lose it and freak out! When I became saved, I gave everything to God...all of my sins were forgiven. But, what about the sins of my parents, grandparents, and other people in my life who have hurt me? I still held onto their sins. But why? Because they affected me as well, not just them. I still held onto my confusion, disappointment, sadness, fear, unforgive-ness (is that even a word?), anger and hate. I didn't even realize that I still had all of that packed away and stored up inside of me. This was the legacy passed on to me from my parents and their parents...this was a legacy passed on from other family members and other people in my life. This was a legacy my children were in danger of inheriting as well...maybe not in the same personal way as it was passed on to me...but there was still indeed a possibility of this legacy being passed on to them through my struggles and torment of not being able to let go.

For a few days I have been thinking about all of this unnecessary stuff just sitting around needing to be let go. How do I get rid of it? I CAN'T repent of other people's sin. But, I CAN forgive them for what they have done that has affected me personally. And, I don't need to call them up and say, "Hey, just wanted to let you know that I have forgiven you and everything is all good now." They don't even really need to know that I have forgiven them. Honestly, if they wanted my forgiveness they probably would have come to me personally and asked for it...and since they haven't, then they may not even think they've done anything that would render forgiveness in the first would be silly and maybe even prideful for me to announce that I have forgiven them. Thus, leading to even more drama and even more heartache...and the point is forgiveness.

It's hard to let go and forgive...especially when that person could care less, or doesn't even know or realize what they have done, or you lost contact with them, or maybe they have even passed away. But, God has forgiven US for all of our sins against Him. He has said to us, "I forgive you and everything is forgotten and washed away's all good now." Ok...maybe He doesn't say, "It's all good now." But, you get the point. My biggest argument against that is, "Well He's God, He can forgive anything and everything...I'm just a human being, and they did (such & such)!" EXACTLY...He is God...I am just a human being! And, I am putting myself higher than God when I choose not to forgive someone for sinning against ME, a mere human being...but God Almighty, the creator of the universe forgives me when I sin against HIM! We need to forgive...He has commanded that we forgive, just as He has forgiven us. (Eph.4:32 & Col.3:12-13)

We come to God for forgiveness of our own sins...we confess them to Him. We can also come to God and "confess" the sins of those who hurt us...not for Him to forgive them...because only the sinner of the sin is able to repent and then receive forgiveness from God...but asking Him to help us to forgive them.

There can be an end to mine and my family's legacy. It really doesn't even have to be "mine" anymore. I have the power to let it go and let it end. There is a conscience decision here. It's not the old train of thought, "Well, life dealt me this hand of cards..." To some point your life is whatever your family makes it when you are younger, but eventually what life becomes is what you have decided to make it as you grow. It's your choice. Will you simply follow the old path already laid out and paved for you? Will you leave that old life behind, but then still hold onto resentment? Will you confess it all to God and then trust Him to heal you and grow you?

I've been working on cleaning out the garage, the basement, the closets, etc...Things need to go...I need to make room for our new little one and just buck-up and de-clutter away all of the un-needed, unnecessary, useless junk!

I am also slowly working on cleaning out my memories and my heart as well...Again, things need to go...I need to make room for our new memories and just buck-up and de-clutter away all of the un-needed, unnecessary, useless junk!

I have decided that my family is way to important and deserves more than my left over legacy and I will not be passing it down on to them. I will, with God's help be passing on a new family legacy, with new memories filled with lots of love, lots of patience, lots of trust and most importantly lots of love for God.

What will you do with all of your useless clutter...will it become a part of your legacy?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Here's Some News For Ya...'s a bit of news for everyone...I'm pregnant...again!

Yep, again!

I know ok...we are crazy, insane, out of our ever loving minds!!!

Now, to answer some of your questions...

Question: What the heck are you guys thinking?!
Answer: Well duh...I'm's kinda obvious what we were thinking...and, that's between us anyways!

Question: Are you guys crazy?!
Answer: Nope, I'm sure we're both pretty least that's what the discharge papers from the institution said.

Question: Why didn't one of you get fixed?!
Answer: Because neither one of us were broken...duh, aint it obvious since we're having another baby?

Question: Haven't you guys figured out what causes this?!
Answer: Uhhhh...well, ya! Again...duh, we're having another baby! So, I'm guessing we figured out how they happen...and accomplished it...again!

Question: So, are you guys done yet?!
Answer: Well, right now the baby is still being formed and stuff...soooo, technically we're not done yet.

Question: How are you guys going to afford another baby?!
Answer: In the same way we do now. We aren't rich, our kids don't get every single thing they want, we don't buy brand new expensive name brand clothing, we don't go on elaborate family vacations...but, God blesses us abundantly and our family has also been blessed with the absence of materialism. I thank God my children don't crave the materials of this world...they enjoy family! We could easily buy their affections, but will that last in the end? Will all those "things" matter? I want our children to think on their childhood and remember Mom & Dad talking to them and teaching them about God, loving them unconditionally, lovingly disciplining them when necessary, caring deeply about them, knowing they were important to us, spending time with them, and just having the greatest times together as a family...even if they were simple...

Question: What are you guys going to do with another baby?!
Answer: Well, give them, hold them, kiss them, hug them, raise them...pretty much the same thing that we're doing with the other children we already have. Why? What do you do with your children?

Well...I hope I was able to address some of your concerns.
Now, if you could join our family in prayer of thankfulness, joy, and hope for our new little one to be.

With Lots of Love,
Tina & Gary

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sweetly Broken...

I am very sorry for the very graphic video below. To be completely honest, I myself couldn't even watch a lot of it. But, this is what He has done for us...and I am sickened that some of us dare to even suggest that there are many ways into heaven! My question...If there was another way don't you think God would have chosen another way? If there was another way than why would God put His only precious Son who was perfectly sinless through any of this? If there was another way don't you think Jesus Himself would have never submitted to such a cruel and torturous death?! If there was another way than the beautiful cross wouldn't mean anything!!! He suffered and died on that cross for us...He chose to die to pay for our sins...We killed Him...Our sins murdered Him! He loved us that much! (John 3:16)

There is no other way....He is the ONLY way the truth and the life! (John 14:6)

He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our
iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. ~Isaiah 53:5

Please REALLY listen to the words...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Did that worm die for my sins too?

So, the kids found a dead worm just laying there all gross, squished, and lifeless!!! Bella (my beautiful little 3 year old) gets a "deep thinking" look in her eyes and looks up at me and says, "Mama, did that worm die on the cross for my sins too?"
Trying not to laugh, I look at her very serious like maybe I'm in "deep thought mode" also, and say, "Ummm, well, no Honey, I think he was probably just smooshed by a foot or something."
She then thinks and thinks and says, "Ya, 'cause only Jesus died on the cross for my sins, right?"
"Yes Honey, that's right", I said.
"And, Jesus is alive now, He's not dead on the cross anymore!" She said with great authority.
"He is watching me in heaven. He always knows when I do bad stuff and then He get's mad at me when I do bad stuff." She then said with a teary eyed look.
I asked her, "Honey, what's wrong? Are you ok?"
She then finishes and says, "So, then I tell Him that I am so sorry, and then He forgives me and get's happy with me again!"
"Yes, Honey that's right", I said, kinda giggling a bit.
"YAY!!!" She squealed, her big beautiful chocolate brown eyes sparkling as ever!!!
She then danced a very silly little jig and even sang, "Uh-Huh, Oh ya, Woo-Hoo!"

How so sad she looked when she realized that God sees when she sins against Him. How sad she looked when she realized her "doing bad stuff" displeases Him. Oh, but how full of joy she was when she also realized that our amazingly loving God forgives her when she comes to Him!

How precious of a reminder this was for me this morning! God, my loving Father has and will continue to forgive me (and not think on it again, ever) when I come to Him and truly confess and repent of "doing bad stuff" (Acts 3:19 & Psalm 103:12). How amazing, how truly gracious, merciful and loving of a God we have! When we come to Him for forgiveness, in faith...We are washed clean, forgiven, and guilt free!

Thank you Dear Lord for your loving forgiveness!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Are you guys done yet?!

So, I hear these questions pretty stinkin' often...almost daily, actually..."So, are you guys done yet? Have you guys figured out what's causing that yet? Is one of you getting fixed? Have you decided enough is enough?" And, you know what? I think I'm pretty tired of hearing all of that, and then some.

Yep! I'm talking about children...

So, to answer all of you...We're not sure if we're done yet, we'll just leave that up to God. Yes, we're pretty sure what causes it. No, neither one of us is getting "fixed", I'm pretty sure we're not broken cause all of our parts seem to be working properly and the way that God has intended them to work. And, well sure enough is enough...I guess...but, what does "enough is enough" really mean anyway, and where did that saying come from in the first place (maybe I'll Google that)?

Why is it that there has to be a "correct" number of children that we as a society "approves" of a couple having? This is insane! I thought children were a blessing! People look at children like they are just an accessory...we take them out every once in a while to impress our friends. That's is really just sickening!

If God gives us more children then I praise Him for it! But, how will you afford it? God has and will continue to provide for our family and supply all of our needs. NEEDS...this is not the same thing as WANTS. See, these two words are always being confused with the other. We trust Him, simply put. Right after the birth of our little Joshy, I thought for sure we should not have anymore children. But, why? What was my reasoning? Honestly after doing a lot of true heart searching, when it all came right down to it, my reasons were because I didn't want to deal with other people's opinions! I didn't want to hear how we already have...(such & such amount), or that we won't be able to provide for them all, or that we won't be able to spend equal amounts of "love time" with them all, or even hear that we're just crazy! So, as of right now we are trusting in God! This is the way that it should be. Getting "fixed"...hahaha...WOW, what a term! Anyway, why get "fixed" when we're not broken? God has made us perfectly able to be blessed with children...why try to "fix" or rather, un-fix that?

Do you know that in the poorest countries families with many children are considered very blessed...but here, in one of the richest countries we look at children as "poverty starters"! Why? People base how "blessed" a family is on the size of their home, how many cars they have, the amount of $$$ they have in the bank, how many pairs of shoes they have, what kind of fancy electronics they have, etc...But, when did those "La-Dee-Da material" things become more of a blessing than our children? We, in this country will easily run up our credit card debt on cars, houses, fancy electronic toys, vacations and travel, and other grown-up desires, but won't even consider having "to many" children so as not to inconvenience our spending! Children are a burden, they just cost to much!

We "wait" to have children to not inconvenience our lives. We want to have our careers and youthful adventures before we settle down and become parents. Obviously, those with that kind of mentality really haven't truly thought about that decision...How long did you want to wait? How old did you want to be when you start having babies? Whew man! Let me tell you about's truly an adventure! You're gonna want to be pretty youthful, I'll tell ya straight up! joke! What a blessing it is to be a mom, and what fun! Is it easy to be a "mom of many"? No, we definitely have our days where someone is standing in the corner for lying, another is getting reprimanded for hitting someone, another is jumping on the kitchen table, another is coloring on the hardwood floor, another is taunting the one in the corner, and yet there is a ray of hope because there is another just sitting there all wonderful reading a book! :)

Here's a quote from a book that I have read...

"Moms, we need to be reminded of the awesome responsibility that God has given us. When we respond to the high calling of motherhood with a passion, the rewards are far greater than any we could ever gain outside of that calling. The joys of motherhood are rare and beautiful treasures that can be easily missed if we don't seize the opportunity to grab them."
~Don't Make Me Count To Ginger Plowman

WOW!!! I just love this! Rare treasures that can easily be missed if we don't seize the opportunity to grab them! This is such a true statement, so powerful!

I honestly thought after the birth of Bella that I was "fulfilled". We weren't trying for another baby at all, and Joshy surprised us. What a missed blessing that would have been if one us would have gotten "fixed".

Just Wanna SHOW You Love!

I was listening to the radio yesterday, and this older song came on that I have heard and even sung along with many times before. Something was different though...I actually listened to the words...

Please forgive me
If I come on too strong
I get a little anxious
When I talk about God's love
Hold me back now
Stop me if I start to preach
'Cause I don't want to be the one
To push you out of reach
The way to give love
Is how you live love
That is what I'll do
You cannot fight it
You can't deny it
Love will get to you

Don't wanna get up in your face
Don't wanna put the pressure on
Don't wanna make you run away
Just wanna show you love
Don't wanna beg you to believe
Don't wanna take you for a ride
Don't wanna sell you anything
Just wanna show you love
Show you love
Just wanna show you love

I won't convince you
With anything I say
But maybe you will see His love
In how it is portrayed
An act of kindness
A loving sacrifice
Simple little things that have
The power to change your life
There's no surprises
And no disguises
Just the blessed truth
No obligation
No complication
Just a gift for you.

Ok, well now what did you hear? A song all about how she wants to show you love, right? She doesn't want to get up in your face, she doesn't want to put the pressure on, she doesn't want to beg you to believe, she just wants to show you love!

Well, I DO want to put the pressure on! And, I DO want to beg you to believe! But, it's because I want to show you love!

Now, I understand that getting up in someone's face and preaching AT them, just isn't very cool...but loving someone without even sharing God or the Gospel with them just isn't very cool either!

I understand the desire to help those in need, and as Christians this should be a natural desire for us. I pray all of the time, seriously almost everyday that God would bring me to someone or someone to me that I may be able to serve for Him. I know the strong desire to help those that are without, those that are depressed, those that are just having a hard time in this world! But, is just loving someone (no matter how wonderfully strong your love is) enough for their eternal needs?

The "Love 'em like Jesus!" thing is so super-duper popular, but what does that even really mean? Did Jesus just hug and kiss people and love all over them like crazy? Did He just feed, clothe, and hold hands with the poor?, I think when people say, "Love 'em like Jesus" what they are really saying is, "Just do nice things for people and don't ever talk about things that may offend them...things like, hell or sin, or repentance, or that Jesus is the only way kind of stuff". But, is this what Jesus did? Is this "loving 'em like Jesus"? Nope.

Jesus was VERY loving, I won't deny that...but, didn't He Himself preach about hell, sin, repentance and that He is the only way? (Matt 4:17, John 14:6) YES!!! And yes, He also preached about love. But, when He defeated death and rose from the dead He told His disciples to go out share the Gospel, that included sharing the need for repentance. This means today's Christians also, and it was a command...not a suggestion (Mark 16:14-16).

As a professing Christian when you love on people without ever even mentioning Jesus, then that was just simply put, "a wasted evangelizing moment". You just wasted your time, the person in need's time, and more importantly God's time. So, do we have to yell and scream on some street corner telling people that they are all going to burn in hell? No, of course not...that would be pretty crazy! But, if you want to show them love, at least take the time to also share with them their need for a Savior. Savior from what? Savior from their sin. What sin? All of their "mistakes", "whoopsie-doos", "boo-boos", "bad choices", "past decisions your not proud of", "things you do in secret & hope no one ever finds out"...SINS that have been committed against a holy God. See, we have to share not only our love, but also God's love. God loved us even while were still sinners (Romans 5:8), He loved us so much that even though we didn't at all deserve it, He sent His only Son to save us (John 3:16). Those that we love, need to know this if they don't already! And, if you are a Christian then you must believe that without Christ, you will perish. If this is so, then wouldn't you want to tell as many people as you possibly could...especially those that you love?!

So, this train of thought
..."Don't wanna get up in your face, Don't wanna put the pressure on, Don't wanna beg you to believe, Just wanna show you love"...shouldn't be in existent to a true, loving, and caring Christian. You should want to beg and plead with those that you love to believe...BECAUSE you love them!!!

Go ahead and clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give to the poor, show compassion for the hurting...but also show them love and share with them who the God of the Bible is! Without the truth of the Gospel your just taking care of their temporary physical needs, and completely ignoring their eternal/spiritual needs. Just showing them love is making the here and now a bit better, but what happens if they pass through this life without Christ?

People will be offended. The true Gospel is offensive and it convicts. But, that's ok...taking offense to something that is true isn't really a bad thing, it leads to conviction and guilt, which then leads to having faith, repenting and turning away from sin, which then leads to eternal salvation! The truth hurts sometimes, and that's ok. My son Jordan just this morning said,..."Well, Obviously Jesus offended people when He preached...He was crucified!" Now, I don't want to offend someone so deeply that I am murdered, but I can't tender-foot around things and make the Gospel all pretty and fluffy so to not offend. And, I need to pray that God will give me the courage to always stand firm for Him. Love them enough to share Him!

Another couple verses in the song..
."The way to give love, Is how you live love" This is VERY true! The way you love God will affect how you give love! If you are living for Him, you will love like Him and live out that kind of love! If you can die of self and love God and others much more then yourself and your fears of rejection, you'll be able to share Him much more naturally! Believe me, I am scared to death to share Him, but I know that as a Christian I need to! So..."That is what I'll do!"

PLEASE Christian truly "Show Them Love"!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't Make Me Count To Three...

Wow! I have been reading this book 'Don't Make Me Count To Three'...a baby shower gift from our Pastor and his wife for the birth of my little Joshy. At first I thought, "Hmmmm...uh-huh...they do know I'm not a "new Mama", and then it was put up in the book shelf. I mean I knew I wasn't perfect or anything, but seriously I wasn't new to motherhood! I thought, "Ya, the thought was really so very sweet and so very thoughtful too, but I'm already raising 5 children!...Plus, now with 6 little ones...who has the time to start a book?!"

Well, I started that book...and got distracted by the kids...but then started again, only to be distracted again, and then started it again. Which means...I obviously changed my mind and realized that I truly did need this book!

This is such a great book! Not only does it help with resolving unwanted behavior, but it gets to the heart of the problem...which is, the "problem of the heart". It helps us remember that our children; as cute and as precious as they are, are also smaller versions of ourselves...SINNERS...yep, they are a bunch of sinners! Teenie, tiny, little sinners! I think sometimes we actually fail to realize this. And, it's our jobs as parents to help them fight against those sinful desires. This is no easy task! Have you ever noticed that you don't have to teach a child to be selfish...they know already how to be selfish, from stinkin' day one! It's natural for them to be "me-oriented". But, we DO have to teach them to share, to be nice, to care about the feelings of others, etc...TOTAL DEPRAVITY!!! That's what it stinkin' depravity!

That's just like us! We (us adults, and human beings in general) are totally depraved! But, God in His mercy has taken us and shown us the "right way". He poured His grace upon us and opened our eyes and our hearts to what is true. It took Him to change us, to change me. Would we just know to come to the Lord without Him? I don't think we could, how would that even be possible for us to do? I was a totally depraved sinner. Not one desire of mine was for God. I was selfish, and "me-oriented". Did I believe in God? Sure I did...but was I living for Him? No. I mean I loved Him, right? I went to church, and even was involved in ministry, I prayed and read my Bible sometimes. But, I was still selfish, and when I sinned, I did feel bad...but then I'd sin again, and feel bad again...It was a very unnecessary cycle! It took God to say to me, "No!" Just as we as parents say to our own children..."No! Don't do that, don't touch that, don't say that!"

So, how dare I take credit for who I dare I take credit for coming to God all on my own! Like my children, I needed my Father to love me enough to take me, show me and teach me the way that is true and right. I needed Him to accept me, not the other way around...and I thankfully praise Him for that.

If it were just up to our children...we'd be in trouble! And, we'd fail as parents! We'd sit around nervous all of the time biting our fingernails and hoping that they will make the right decisions and turn out all right in the end. Hoping that they will accept and do the right thing. That's kind of what we are saying about God when we put ourselves in the driver seat of our own salvation. We are saying that our Heavenly Father is sitting up there wringing His hands, biting His nails, worrying and watching us hoping that we will come to Him, hoping that we won't make to many bad decisions while we're down here, hoping that we'll turn out all right, hoping that His plan didn't fail and that His only Son didn't die in vain and that we will accept Him into our hearts. How does this even make sense at all?! Our God is not just sitting on the side lines like a spectator at some sports event...He's in the game! He's our coach, He's our trainer, He's our cheerleader, and He's the star player! He is in full control!!! His plans do not fail, there is no other options or a plan B.

So, what does this mean? I believe that only through an act of God was I able to come to Him. I believe it was solely God, and no work of myself that I was convicted of my sin, repented, and then put my faith and trust in Christ alone. It wasn't a "special prayer" that I recited along with others during a ritualistic act of "accepting Jesus into my heart", it wasn't the drawing of special emotionally charged music as I made my way to kneel down during an alter call...No, it was God. All God, taking mercy on me...opening my heart to what a wretch I was, an unforgiven sinner headed for an eternity apart from Him, a totally depraved sinner in spite of any good deeds I may have performed, a sinner who desperately needed a savior! Then, and only then was I able to see.

Ok, so I'm saved now...will I ever sin again? YEPPERS!!! But, it will hurt me when I do! Not like an, "Oh man, I totally just made a boo-boo again, oops, my bad!" But, a true and sincere sorrow that I have just yet again sinned against my holy God. And, the sins should be less frequent and harder to accomplish! Just like your own children...once they know what is right and what is wrong, they eventually start to want to please you by doing what is right and what will not hurt you by disobeying you. They will start to feel upset when they let you down, and have a true and sincere sorrow for going against you and being disobedient. They will strive to please you by choosing to do what's right.

A child just isn't born with the knowledge to do what's right...they need their parents to teach them, to discipline them, to nurture them, to shepherd them, to show them the way they should go. We would never expect them to figure it out all on their own...We would never leave them to just fend for themselves...Why would God leave us to ourselves?