July 6, 2010

Thinking About Plans and Such

We just got back in from the Orthodontist's, and have mixed news. DS had to come clean and confess that he has not been wearing his retainers the specified amount. He did it, made no excuse for his behavior, had no reason (other than he just didn't do it), and took his lump. I am very proud of him because I know how difficult it was for him to see this consequence through, and how nervous he was with the unknown outcome.

The bad news is that is front teeth have shifted some what; the good news, he is still within the margin where our Orthodonist can do some work adjusting the retainers.

Whew! I think he was relieved that he got such a repreave. I talked with him on the way home and just reminded him that he is out of second chances on this one area. He is now 100% responsible for wearing his retainers. Any follow up work that will cost money, will have to come out of his pocket. His dad and I and his grandparents will not foot the bill for any repairs or extension of braces due to his failure to follow written instructions. I know it sounds harsh, but it is the hard knock of life, and he has skipped through times before with lighter warnings. He knows now that the outcome is squarely on his shoulders.

I am glad that the Lord watched over him and gave him Grace -- I know it was of the Lord's hand, and that He favored him today. We pretty much thought we would get the "back in braces" talk, and while he was sternly warned (last chance), we were saved from that worry.

Life does indeed go on, and now I can start to think about making other arrangements (namely, getting his wisdom teeth out). I am still waiting for a job, but am relinquished to wait on the Lord, and know that it will come in His time. I am also at a stand still regarding home (life here at home), and am waiting on the Lord's timing there as well. Until He moves, I am content to do what needs done each day: care for my family, my house, my cats, and do whatever work the Lord brings my way.

It is hot now, and I am feeling sleepy. I think I will go in the house and get a cool drink of water. Perhaps a little rest, just a little rest would do me good.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for protecting DJ today and for giving him such a report card (an "F"). I am sorry he had to go through this, but it is for his own good. My prayer is that he will take this experience and use it for good, change his habits and attention, and take responsibility for his own person. May your Name be praised today and forever more. You are SO GOOD TO ME.

Update: July 7, 2010

I am having some mental issues today. Nothing serious, just some confusion and considerable drain on the old "gray matter." I feel pretty exhausted and am wondering why I am having difficulty focusing on my work. I have prayed over this and believe that it is persecution. I know, "Carol, can't you just accept the ordinary? Why does everything have to be persecution or oppression?" Yes, good question, and I agree. I wish I could simply say that it was of my own doing or I am getting old (both could be true any day of the week.) The problem is that I am not always to blame, and though I am old, the Bible clearly tells us that age is never a factor when it comes to the Lord. God often used older people, quite elderly in fact, to do His work. God is not limited by our declining faculties, and therefore, I think we need to consider that aging is actually a bonus to Him, and not any type of hindrance.

I was reading Beth Moore's study book, "Breaking Free" last evening, and found it interesting that she spends a great deal of time discussing strongholds. Strongholds, for the uninitiated, are areas of our life whereby Satan can gain access to us to persecute and oppress. Some believers do not want to accept this fact, that Satan actually purposes to attack us whenever and wherever possible. Some believers, especially those who have been under attack or who have suffered this type of attack for a prolonged time, accept this as fact right off. I am of the latter case, and am amazed at the lack of teaching on the subject. It seems that more the charismatic believers tend to place emphasis on such things, where as more traditional believers tend to accept a general view of Satan and his work (meddling, nuisance -- "the devil made me do it" type of approach -- light).

Not to digress too much, but I am under persecution and I can feel it. The Word tells us that God is not the author of confusion -- so when we feel confused mentally -- often it is a sign of attack. This is exactly how I feel today, and I am prayerfully considering the reason why. Most of the time, it is of my doing -- I have opened the door by saying or doing something to give Satan his point of access. I most often do this without thinking, and then when I am in the midst of the attack, cry out to the Lord, "Why, Lord? Why is this happening AGAIN?" Yes, I am slow to get it, I will admit that most readily.

Today is a very busy day for me (several appointments), and I really do not need to be persecuted. Sigh!

Update2: After Awhile -- Always Awhile (LOL!)

Okay, I figured it out. I already knew that I had an issue. Yesterday during prayer, the Lord revealed that I am seeking a job as a form of idolatry. It is not that finding a job is a bad thing, it is just when you allow it to consume your thoughts that you need to watch your step. This is part of a stronghold within my life. I seek power and position along with wealth for several reasons. The primary reason is this: I have always seen myself as inadequate and I learned early in my working career, that education equaled position, and position equaled wealth. I began down this path nearly 17 years ago, pursuing higher education with one desire only: to prove to myself and others that I was worthy of respect. This pursuit was fueled by the desire to achieve standing within academic circles, and to demonstrate my abilities to think, to work, to be a scholar. The Lord stopped me from achieving that goal, and over the course of time, I have had to submit these desires to Him over and over again.

Now, I am about to embark on that same path, though this time, I am much further along in my relationship with the Lord, and I also am walking circumspectly. I know that any attempt on my part to achieve educational standing outside of His specific parameters will not prove successful. He has granted me permission to do certain schooling (for His Work only), and I am not to use it for any other reason. I also know that the job He has shown me, while providing a good income and all, is not the "job" I am to do for my life's work. It is a means to an end, a way to make ends meet, so to speak. It is only for the purpose of paying bills, saving for retirement, and paying for college (for me and my son) as well as daily needs (food, clothing, etc.) This provision is of the Lord's hand, and it is not based on my education, my abilities or anything of my hand.

I have confessed my stronghold, and take the words of 2 Cor. 10: 3-5 very seriously:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, ...

Through the Word of God (the Sword of the Spirit) and prayer, I am able to defeat Satan's hold against me. I can overcome by confessing my sin, and then taking action against it through God's Word (memorizing and reciting scripture). In confessing Scripture, the stronghold is defeated and I gain victory in Christ Jesus.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31

I realize that I am prone to a specific stronghold in my life (my pride). This is something I have known about for a very long time, and it is something I have dealt with over and over again (over the course of time). I am now seeing that much of what I am being ask to consider is impacting my sense of "right and wrong" or what I think is best. This has been a constant thread over the course of several months -- that I think something is best, and the Lord thinks otherwise. I have submitted my will time and time again, only to find that ugly head of pride sticking back up again. Oh, Lord will I ever be free from prideful thoughts and feelings ("Yes, Dear One," He tells me, "when you are with me in Heaven." "Drats...not until then," I cry out. "Yes, not until then," He says.) Drats and double-drats -- pride and it's lingering affects will be a thorn in my side until the day I die. I have surrendered it at the feet of Jesus, but guess what, it will be a daily surrender for me. I will have to humbly lay it down, over and again, until I am dead and gone (and off to heaven). It is something I am more fully aware of now, and something I will, I am sure, be confronted with regularly.

Thank you, Lord, for showing me the ugly side of this sin. May I continue to lay my pride at your feet, and then and only then, pick up my cross and follow after you. May God be Glorified forever more. Amen.

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