Happy New Year! I haven’t officially said that to you yet, but we still have our Christmas tree up so I don’t think it’s too late.haha On one hand it’s so hard to believe that it’s already January but on the other hand, with how eventful my last few weeks were, I find myself wondering how in the world is it still January?? Nonetheless I am overjoyed in this new year! I love new beginnings, either it’s a new year, month, a Monday or another new day, I get so excited. And this year more then most, I feel that the Lord is doing something very special. I’m not even sure what it will be but he’s been showing me so many new things and answering prayers that I’ve prayed for years. Simultaneously he’s putting new dreams and prayers into my heart and taking me on new adventures!
I take a social media breaks often but I’m very intentional about it during the end of the year/beginning of the new year season in particular. I focus on being fully present and really connecting with the people in my life. It’s been so wonderful to catch up with many of you, through phone calls or email. I love having this community. Thank you for encouraging me to keep writing. For reading my posts and allowing nattysjournal to be a part of your life.
A little recap of the last few months of 2018. In the fall we were super busy, school, sports and classes took up all of our time and energy. In the past, the weeks nearing the holidays, I usually felt very anxious, irritated and sometimes emotional. Anxious because of the holiday pressures, irritated because I can’t stand the sprit of consumerism around Christmas and somewhat emotional because three of my kiddos have birthdays (which means they are growing up and too quickly if you ask me..) all this within a very chaotic short span of time. Knowing myself and that I tend to feel that way, I decided that we (I) need a month long Christmas break. (No school, limited outings, and pretty much no agenda) We ended up starting break the last week of November, when family from out of town came to visit and ended break on the second week of January, when different family and friends from out of town left. It turned out that we had a six week break! It was just what we (I) needed and I’m so thankful for the privilege and opportunity of homeschooling and the freedom that it gives our family! (I did plan ahead and we started school the first week of August and worked through a few Saturdays to make it work. It was so worth it!) For the first week or so we barely left the house for anything, our days consisted of pajamas and snuggles. After the much needed rest I finally feel ready to get back into everything with more energy and excitement then ever. During the holidays we did have a lot of get togethers with family and friends. I had the privilege of meeting up with a childhood friend, whom I haven’t seen in ten years! And meeting with familiar Alaskan and Hawaiian faces is always a treat!
We enjoyed every minute celebrating Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Through it all the Lord was always so near. When we live in the presence of the Lord and commune with him regularly, life cannot be anything but exciting. I had so many encouraging, eye opening conversations. The Lord lead me to meet new people, that have quickly become good friends, even if I’ve only known them for a few short weeks. Life with the Lord is never dull, he always stretches me and grows me and most of all, he is so so patient with me. Always forgiving and giving new mercies each and every day. I understand that we all have hard days and seasons but he’s always there to carry us through them.
One of my youngest started battling fear, one night turned into another and another. Before we knew it, over a month had passed of him being unable to fall asleep on his own and stay asleep through the night. I tried talking to him and praying with him and it would help but I can sense that the fear didn’t leave him and sure enough he would end up in my bed again.
I watched how fear took over him and as time passed, made him terrified of the smallest things. But fear works like that, if you open the door to it, it will flood in and affect every area of your life. Of coarse I prayed about it and asked the Lord for guidance, the words “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18) kept going through my mind. So I decided to stay by his side and love on him each and every day, instead of dismissing this issue and having him cry himself to sleep. On one of the first nights that I sat on his bedside and read the scriptures over him, he started asking me questions. I’m not even sure how but the conversation went into the topic of hearing the voice of the Lord. I explained to him that after you surrendered your life to God and ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life, you invite the Holy Spirit to come and dwell inside of you and then you start listening. He got so excited and told me he wanted to do that. I asked him if he wanted to pray by himself in his own words but he asked to repeat after me. So I prayed with him “Father God, I believe in you, I want Jesus to be the Lord of my life and Holy Spirit please come and live in me, I want to hear your voice and obey you.” After that prayer he was so full of joy, we hugged and laughed and I could see how free he felt.
I finally got him to lay down again and resumed reading bible verses over him. He fell asleep within the first few minutes, all of a sudden I sensed how exhausted he was. I knew right away that he would sleep all through the night and that we have won the battle over fear. And sure enough I think he was the last one up the following morning, beaming with a huge smile on his face. He came and found me, saying “mom you know those things I used to be afraid of, well I’m not afraid of them anymore… like, at all! I can talk about them and think of them and I am not afraid!”
I’m still amazed! Fear, literally gone instantaneously. I knew that the enemy would attempt to come and steal the joy and freedom that my son had received, so I encouraged him every night, before bed to listen to the voice of the Lord. (We talked about Samuel and how he was a little boy just like him. 1 Samuel chapter 3) After the first night, before I even asked him if he heard anything from the Lord, he came to me and looked at me a bit puzzled and said “mom I slept so good that I didn’t hear him say anything”. It made me smile because it was true, he did sleep so peacefully! (We both did actually) After being tormented every night for over a month, he really really needed it. I told him that sleep is also a gift from the Lord and now that he has the Holy Spirit inside of him, he could listen to his voice anytime.
I ask my kids often what the Lord is speaking to them, sometimes they say he didn’t say anything. Most of the time their response is “oops I forgot to listen” and occasionally it’s something like “he told me to let so and so into my room to play” or “he reminded me to be kind” or “to pray for someone”. This morning over breakfast I inquired them about their dreams or if they heard anything in their Spirit, my little man jumps up and goes “Yep! He told me again that the thoughts I’ve been having are not true and I don’t ever have to think about it again”. How neat is that!? It’s been a few days now, actually about a week and the Lord is still gently reminding him of the truth, that he has nothing to be afraid of.
God is real, his Spirit is alive and working today. He is just as available to you as he is to me and my family. We are no different than anyone else and by no means anymore special. I’m just willing to trust him, and hold him to his word. Take the time today to just center your full attention on him and listen to what he wants to say to you. Like I tell my kids “he is always speaking, we are just not always listening”. Maybe it will take some time to learn how to discern his voice from your own thoughts or the enemy but with practice I know you will learn to hear his voice above all the others.
I recently, randomly took the kids to the park, we had such beautiful, warm weather for a few days. We had no plans but just to enjoy the day. As we took a walk around the track, we found ourselves distracted by the river in the woods. After spending some time exploring we decided to head back to the car. By this point I was ready to go home and rest after the few busy days we have had. As we were walking I noticed an elderly lady ahead of us. She caught my attention but I brushed it off and told myself, not today. (Hehe do you ever do that?) In other words, I wasn’t going to stop and talk to her, like I usually do when someone stands out to me. Well that was my plan. But did you know that the verse I live my every day by is “We make our plans but the Lord determines our steps” Proverbs 16:19. I always pray that the Lord would direct my every step. I’ve made so many wonderful friends that way! I’m not sure why I allowed how I felt to dictate my desire to obey that day, I’m very ashamed of that, but it also reminds me of my dependency on the Lord. He knows that either way he will accomplish his purpose and that I’ll never regret it.
Anyway, we continued walking, the kids were on their scooters and were way ahead of me, so I passed the lady and kept on walking. Until I noticed that I was missing a child haha I look back and he’s trailing along behind me. When I looked back, my eyes met with the women and she began the conversation by commenting on the number of children I had. That comment began a few hour long conversation, which turned into a good relationship. And an answer to prayer in disguise.
Our conversation went so deep so quickly. I reasoned that if I would let the kids play in the play ground for a few minutes while I wrap up the discussion we would head out soon enough. But the Lord had other plans, he told me to invite her over for tea. I made a few excuses (in my mind of coarse) like “my house is messy” “my last overnight guests just left an hour ago”, “I really need a little people break, to process some things, haha” “What if I don’t have anything for tea?” then I tried this one… “I know! I’ll get her number and follow up with her”. Ha! Brilliant right? Nope, didn’t pass, every time I made up an excuse he firmly said “invite her for tea”. So when my kids finally got hungry and were done playing, I turned to her and asked “would you like to continue our conversation at my house, over some tea?” She was astounded, and excitedly said “yes!” And that began our friendship. She tells me that I’m a huge blessing to her and I insist that she is the same for me and my family. One small act of obedience opens up the door to an abundance of blessings.
On the other hand one small act of disobedience can be quite the opposite sometimes. As my husband was leaving to work the other day, I told him to listen carefully to what the Lord would say to him that day. He cutely smirked at me and walked out the door. That night he had a great story to share with us all, a very important lesson he had learned on hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord!
As he was driving on the highway he heard a voice tell him to take the next exit. He explained that it was just like the verse says. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left. - Isaiah 30:21 He looked around and assessed the traffic, it didn’t look bad and flow was going pretty well. He decided to drive by and take the usual exit that he took, in less than a mile he hit stand still traffic. When he looked it up, maps told him he would be twenty minutes late to work. But if he took the exit he was “told” to take, then he probably wouldn’t have been late. It was a good lesson for all of us, to listen carefully and to not only hear but also to obey. The kids really liked that one and I’m happy they are learning to thrive in this area for themselves.
The same Spirit that lives in me lives in my children and in every child of God. We have no place or right to belittle anyone or their walk with the Lord. If anything we adults should actually watch, listen and learn from children and the childlike faith that they have. Jesus said “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” -Matthew 18:3 and -Mark 10:15
I’d love to hear your stories! What has the Lord been speaking to you about lately? Or maybe if you have questions or would just like to talk, email me, it would be my pleasure!
God bless you!