Thursday, February 24, 2011
What a week! Perhaps my week has been tough because of the decision to deny my flesh? Hmmm…well, that could have something to do with it! Anytime we pursue chasing after Christ, denying our flesh and becoming more like Him, we are going to face adversity. When we become more and more like Christ is when we are a threat to the kingdom of darkness. All the sudden those menacing creatures of the dark world stand up and take notice. I can just hear them now!
“Uh oh…a threat is on the horizon! We have a code red at the Shortridge household. The daughter of God residing in that household realized God really meant what He said in 1 Samuel 15:22 “…to obey is better than sacrifice… We must diffuse the situation at once before we have a true emergency!”
Thus, my week of battling not only my own flesh, but also an enemy who does not want me productive and advancing the Kingdom of Heaven, has been crazy! I have been fighting emotions, discouragement, a touch of situational depression, and an overwhelming urge to hang it all up. My life line this week has been Matthew 19:26: …with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Thankfully, He has been my strength this week. I have had wonderful times of refreshing and strengthening in the Word. Also, I have been blessed with excellent reading material. I have been receiving an e-newsletter from Eternal Encouragement Magazine, formerly Teach Magazine, called “Encouraging Moments.”
Upon reading the articles, I find additional ways to become more like Christ. Ideas like praying for my husband daily. Not only am I encouraged to pray for him, but a “Praying for Our Husbands: 31 Day Plan” is included. Wow! I pray for my husband, but this helps me pray specifically. For instance, Day 2’s prayer concentration is “That he might grow in all eleven descriptions of a man who will not be shaken” as listed in Psalm 15. And Day 25’s prayer concentration is “that he might grow in humility and in being a shepherd” from 1 Peter 5:2-6. Imagine the fruit of such prayers prayed on behalf of our husbands and what our marriages might be like because of them!
Also included in the newsletter is Chick Flicks, which are short video feeds of entertaining, inspiring words for us as homemakers, wives, friends and mothers. I especially liked the video on communication! I think I could use an all day seminar on this topic alone.
I am thankful for God’s gift of women sharing with other women. My dependency upon my sisters in Christ has deepened, as I have grown stronger in Christ. The answers that I search for and the wisdom I need are often just a phone call, magazine page, or a cup of coffee with a dear friend, away. In the heart and mind of those I call friend. To subscribe to Eternal Encouragement Magazine click here www.HomemakingWithTEACH.com.
I received this product for honest review from TEACH Magazine as part of the Gabby Mom’s blogging program. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
Monday, February 21, 2011
When God created us, he gave each of us special gifts, some call them talents, that are unique to us. Do you recognize the gifts God has given to you? Have you thought about the gifts you’ve been given? Do you know why you were given those gifts?
One of the gifts that is prevalent in my family, that was passed down to me was the gift of song. My growing up years, and still today, one thing I love is singing. I love music. Right out of high school I went to college. My chosen major was voice, performance. I received several scholarships and had big dreams that included a very popular street in New York City, Broadway. I wanted to be a star. I was good. I knew I was good.
The college I attended was a Christian based college. We had chapel services and I regularly attended. I was a Christian. That is what Christians do. So, I went. My voice professor approached me one day and informed me I was to sing for chapel. A solo. I was excited. The chapel was enormous. The acoustics were fabulous. And, I could invite everyone I knew so they could come and hear me sing. The year was 1985, that kind of dates me, so please, don’t do the math. The Christian music scene was really gaining momentum with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith’s entrance into the genre. “Friends” by Michael W. Smith, was a huge hit and that is what I decided to sing. I practiced. And practiced some more.
The day came. I stood and looked out at my adoring fans, all neatly line up in rows. I was always in the gym during college. I was friends with the whole basketball team. They took up a few rows, front and center, and they all gave me the thumbs up. I simply smiled and nodded to my fellow music student who was seated at the grand piano center stage. I stood right next to the piano.
I turned to him again, this time I smiled a little harder with a bit of a nod, letting him know I was ready. I wasn’t nervous. I grew up with this gift. It was like breathing to me. He looked at me, with a question in his eyes. I looked down and realized he was playing. I couldn’t hear anything. It was like God reached down and literally put his fingers in my ears. I was horrified. There were hundreds of eyes, staring at me, wondering what I was doing. I tried to sing. I could see people whispering. I knew I was singing in a different key than what was being played, but there was nothing I could do. Finally the horror ended and I made my escape. I walked the halls with my head down, in shame. I questioned God. Why did this happen? And I heard that still small voice say, you made this gift I gave you, all about you. When you invited all those people to chapel, it wasn’t so they could hear about me; that I love them and died for them so they could live with me for eternity, You were puffed up with pride. You wanted to take the glory for yourself. I brought you this far, through so much, I am not going to let you ruin yourself.
It was one of the hardest, most humiliating times of my life. I also learned one of the most important lessons of my life. Everything, and I mean everything I do, is for him. With each volleyball serve, I whispered, this is for you. With each song I sang, this is for you. Everything, especially anything I was apt to take pride in, was to give God the glory.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Have you ever really messed up? I mean, you know God wants you to do something and you keep failing, miserably? I am there. I am dwelling in the land of self pity, procrastination, excuses and justification. Let me tell you about it.
I’m going to say it straight up. God is calling me to become more obedient by becoming more disciplined. I am failing miserably. I want to lose weight, be healthy and be able to do what I am called to do with abundant energy and tenacity.
Every day I wake up with a prayer on my lips. Lord, be my strength today. Help me do Your will. I want to be obedient to Your voice.
Our pastor has challenged us to read and study the book of Hebrews. The other day I read Hebrews 10:26&27 and the words I read scared me.
Here they are: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries.”
Thus began my journey in the land of self pity. I cried out, “Lord, I sin every day. It’s useless to even try. I might as well give up. There is no hope for me! I’m doomed for hell. I might as well resign myself to it now and accept the inevitable.”
I read a few chapters that day. But those are the words that stuck to me, pierced my heart, and condemned me to an eternity of everlasting pain and regret.
Today as I was reading those same few chapters, another set of verses struck me. They are from Hebrews 11:11&12: “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful, who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude-innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”
Whoa…hold on here just a minute. Didn’t Sarah mess up big time? Didn’t she tell her husband to sleep with her handmaid because God wasn’t working fast enough for her? Didn’t she doubt Him? Didn’t she think He wasn’t going to follow through? Didn’t she think she must have heard Him wrong or that He was really talking about something else? Oh my! And here is the WOW part. By faith, she still received the promise. Unbelievable. God still used her as He promised He would.
You mean there is still hope for me? Is it possible that God may still use me to glorify Himself somehow? Today as I was reading, it dawned on me I conveniently skipped over one word in the first passage I read. The word, “willingly.”
So, now I am standing at a crossroad. One road is called “giving up and resigning myself to how I am” and the other is called “deny the flesh and walk in obedience.” The choice is mine.
Friday, February 11, 2011
I think I need to start this post with some clarification. Today is Friday, the second Friday since I began “Friday’s Rants and Raves” on my blog. I should have titled Friday’s posts simply “Friday’s Raves” because long ago, I gave up the horrible habit of complaining, at least for the most part. (God is still working on me) Therefore, I cannot think of any subject that I would willingly rant about on my blog. So, I am proceeding with “Friday’s Raves.” Enjoy!
Today I want to talk about someone who has helped me a great deal in the area of writing. This person willingly, and with a tender heart, encourages writers all around her. Her humble spirit and kind heart are an example to us all.
When I first signed with Tate Publishing my searching led me to a couple of Tate authors. Today, I want to tell you about one of them, Elaine Littau.
Elaine Littau has published three novels, Nan’s Journey, Elk’s Resolve and Luke’s Legacy. I own and have read all three of them.
Here is a short review of Nan’s Journey: My early assumption that this book was for young adult females was totally dispelled when I read Nan's Journey. I found the story of this young girl/turned woman, the heartache and pain she endures, to touch me deeply. Her ability to love through all that she goes through gives us, the readers, an example for our own lives. Her eventual trust in God is the culmination of putting her heart on the line and recognizing her own short comings. Elaine has done a fantastic job of bringing the past into the present!
A review of Elk’s Resolve: Perhaps because I had just read Nan's Journey, Elaine's first novel, I greatly anticipated reading Elk's Resolve. I was not disappointed. Elk, a young white man who was raised as a Native American, sought the answers to the questions that men are still asking themselves today, "Who am I?" and "What is my purpose?". I was delighted at being a sideline participant in Elk's search, or resolve, in finding the answers to these questions and so many more! Excellent reading!
A review of Luke’s Legacy: Luke’s Legacy by Elaine Littau
After reading both Nan’s Journey and Elk’s Resolve, I had high expectations for Ms. Littau’s third novel, Luke’s Legacy. She did not disappoint. Luke’s Legacy is a story of struggles, of determination, of finding love and hanging on to it. Luke and Purdy find themselves in a relationship that is built on mutual desires and commonalities. When their relationship is put to the test, it seems the easy thing to do is go their own way. Their trust in God and the realization that their feelings run much deeper than friendship binds their commitment, bringing them joy in the midst of sorrow.
While I highly recommend all three books, and enjoyed them immensely, I am so much more thankful for the friendship I have found with Elaine. She has been an encourager to me from the start. In her, I found wisdom, a dear friend, a prayer partner and someone who is always willing to listen and answer questions to the best of her ability. I have noticed over the past year, I never see her complain. She is always positive, always finding the good in people and in situations. I seek her often to get advice and to benefit from the fact she has been where I am.
Thank you Elaine, I appreciate you, pray for you, and am thankful for you each and every day.
Currently Elaine is running a promotion for speaking events. If you are interested in having her come to your meeting and speak, your name will entered in a drawing for a free Kindle. You must have a minimum of 10 people at your event. This event can take place at your home, church, writer’s group etc. If you have any questions, please contact her directly. Her website and blog addresses are: http://www.elainelittau.com/ and http://www.nansjourney.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The other day, as my husband and I were traveling down the road, we had a lovely conversation. Often times, when we are traveling together, we pass the time in silence. Not my choice of course. But, what can I do when he chooses to not actively participate in the bantering?
On this particular day, he was actually engaging in “road” conversation. This odd turn of events actually makes sense. We were talking about food.
My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He still considers corn a vegetable. I have tried to convince him otherwise, that indeed corn is a starch, but he will not hear of it. My son is just like him. Where did I go wrong? Place anything green in front of them and they crinkle their noses in disgust. I will say that my husband will eat green beans. His preferred preparation of said vegetable is “covered in cheese.”
Fruit? Don’t even go there. His one fruit that he tolerates is bananas. A few months ago, he was going to eat a little healthier and when packing his lunch, he included a banana. I shook my head in despair, knowing full well that the banana was destined to become banana bread. Watching me and trying to dispel my doubt, he assured me he was going to eat the banana. “If not today, then maybe tomorrow” was his loophole. The banana was delicious. And he did end up eating it. Although not in the form he originally intended. He had it sliced warm out of the oven with a layer of butter spread on it and a glass of milk on the side. I have to say I do make some good banana bread!
My question for him while we were driving was “what happened?” In the Garden of Eden there were no hamburger trees. Growing out of the ground, you found those potatoes, and corn, but there wasn’t a pork chop plant or a beef roast bush to be seen. Daniel would have starved had he been the “first” man!
One of his responses to my question was “we don’t like to be associated with anything called “fruit.” Hmmm…well, I guess that is a bit stereotypical, and silly, but ok.
Pressing him further, I asked him again, “Why won’t you eat fruit?” He turned, looked at me and said “You know why.” My response: “Come on, take a bite. You’ll like it!”
Friday, February 4, 2011
I am beginning the “rants and raves in review” section of my blog with True Treasures, a collection of 10 years of TEACH magazine. This week is definitely a rave! As a woman, a wife, a mother, a teacher and a daughter of God, I found many pearls of wisdom tucked neatly into the pages of this book/magazine. Each time I picked it up, I found something that touched me right where I was at.
When True Treasures arrived, I excitedly opened the package. Before me was not any ordinary magazine. The rich colors of the cover drew me in. The woman’s silhouette could be any of us. The words in-between the lovely binding could be all of our stories. I found myself leafing through the pages, looking for bits of wisdom that would help me become a better mom and advice on strengthening my marriage.
One of the first articles I read was “I’m a Homemaker…Period” by Phyllis Sather. I saw myself in Phyllis. I heard myself saying those same words and smiling when I realized I too find myself justifying why I am a stay at home mom. You are right Phyllis, I am a homemaker. That is what I do. Everything else is extra. And nothing else is going to have more impact. Thank you for this reminder. I needed it this week.
Someone in our family has been sick during the past four weeks. We were just getting our energy back when my son, who already had one round of the bronchial cold/cough, started coughing again. It’s tough being a wife, a teacher, an author, a speaker and all the other roles placed upon us moms when one of our children is sick. Yes, we pick up the pace, fill in the gaps (possibly turn in a late writing assignment here or there) and make more frozen pizza than ordinarily on our neatly scribed, planned out menus. When I read Lori Flem’s article “Slow and Steady”, I was reminded that not everything is going to work out the way my planner says it should. When I look back at what I have accomplished during our “down” days, I realize I accomplished much. I spent many days snuggled with my son, cuddling, watching movies and reading. Again, an article in this magazine touched my life when I needed encouragement the most.
My husband and I home school our son. There are days I question my sanity and there are days I am absolutely certain this is the absolute best option for our family. I love that there is a complete section on homeschooling in True Treasures. If I’m feeling discouraged or need a little pick me up, I can head to True Treasures and take a few “me” minutes. In fact, there are also sections for homemaking, marriage, parenting and articles just for me; articles that will help me become the woman God is calling me to be.
True Treasures can be found at http://www.homemakingwithteach.com/. I received this product for honest review from TEACH Magazine as a part of The Gabby Moms blogging program. All opinions expressed are solely my own.