Category Archives: God Things

The Search For Pleasure

I was born in 1985 to young parents who didn’t have the smallest clue as to how to raise a child. They did the best they could with what they had and what they knew. What I am about to share is not to reflect poorly on them but to display God’s goodness and grace in my life.

I would say that I would not sum up my youth as a happy one. There were lots of things missing and lots of hurt. Sure, there were good times and good memories but I am sure that most of us, or for a lot of us, the unfortunate things stand out most.

This post was inspired by the sermon we heard at church yesterday morning called The Pleasure Experiment based on Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. You can listen to that sermon here.  In a nut shell, the sermon was about how we seek pleasure of all kinds to satisfy the “emptiness” inside of us. I am sure you can relate that those moments of satisfaction, only lead to momentary happiness. We are left still feeling empty, unsatisfied and unfulfilled. That is, until we find the true satisfaction and fulfilment in Christ Jesus.

At age 8, I tried my first cigarette.

At age 9, I had my first sip of alcohol.

At age 12, I discovered the Hair Straightener. God’s gift to girls with curly hair. Hopefully this will help to defuse some of the bullying and ridicule I suffered throughout my life based on my appearance.

At age 13, I got my first job. I spent all of my money to dress in the latest fashions so that one day, hopefully I will be accepted and fit in. I will be popular.

At age 13, I became intoxicated for the first time and I also smoked Pot for the first time.

At age 14, I began to indulge in all of these activities on a regular basis well into my college years. I was becoming popular.

At age 16, I gave my “flower” to someone I barely even knew.

At age 17, Pot wasn’t enough and I started to dabble in the world of hallucinogens. I became obsessed with my recent weight loss and loved the attention I was receiving from others based on my new body. Wow, it feels good to finally feel pretty.

At age 18, I continued in my drug, lust, sex and idolatrous lifestyle. I began to live a double life and hurt many of the people I cared about. I could not wait to leave my home and move onto better things. Until then, I would spend every night with my boyfriend. I lost my first job and started to rack up credit card bills to support my lifestyle until I found another job to pay for it.

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

At age 19, God answered the many tear filled prayers I prayed throughout my life. He brought me to himself through amazing Godly people who had a heart for the lost. I became a member of God’s family in the spring of 2004 (This may sound cultish to those of you reading who are familiar with church lingo so in short, this just means that I became a Christian). I have never felt truly satisfied or indescribably joyful then the moment that I accepted Jesus to be my Lord and savior.

Yes, I am still a human (or “sinner” for more Church lingo) and often look to the world and the “things” in the world to satisfy my lusts and desires. But I know that it is only Jesus Christ who can fully satisfy and bring me true pleasure in my life. Psalm 16:11 says:

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Thank you Jesus. I can stop searching and trying to fill myself with every worldly desire to try to make my life “happy” and meaningful. I know that it is not the new living room sofa, the new home with that open floor plan I have always wanted, it is not those super cute Frye Riding Boots that would look awesome with my new jeans. No, none of those things will satisfy me the way that you can and do. You are more than enough.

Please Lord, help me to remember these truths on a daily basis when I am tempted to be discontent with where I am and what I have. You have given me everything I need in your son Jesus. Amen.

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As The Towers Were Falling

On my way home last night, I was listening to the radio and happened across this testimony of a man who survived the attacks on The World Trade Center. When I arrived home, I could not get out of my car. I sat in my driveway and listened. Envisioning. I could not turn it off. This is one of the most powerful things I have ever heard.

Powerful.

Amazing.

You will not be sorry for listening to this.

Or, you can watch this version:

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Getting to the Heart of Parenting- REVISED

This week while Lucy has been in Vacation Bible School, I have been attending a parenting seminar. How did that happen? It’s a funny story.

As I drive up to the Church where Lucy will be attending VBS this week, I see a sign that reads “Parenting Seminar Today- 10-11”. I thought “How nice” and continued down the driveway. As I pulled in I saw a familiar face and this person says to me “Hey! You here for the free babysitting too?!” I giggled. I guess in a sense I was. Three hours without Lucy. Do you have any idea how clean my house will be this week?!

I have never been to this church before so I was just taking it all in. Trying to figure out where I was going and where to drop off my little girl who isn’t so little anymore.

“Would you like Mommy to stay here with you to make sure you are okay?”

“No, I will just sit next to Mia.”

“Well, Okay, I will just sit in the back in case you need me.”

She didn’t need me. Humph.

As I walked towards the back of the Church,  two elder ladies approached me:

“Will you be leaving your little one today?”

“Well, no. I’m just waiting to see how my daughter does and if she is alright then I will just come back later.”

“Are you sure? We have a Cribbery!”

“Oh, yes, but thank you so much for offering.”

They started to dismiss the children and Lucy never even looked back. I guess she will be fine. I guess I will just go home. This will be good for me… I mean her.

On my way out the door a man stopped me and asked: “Hey! Would you be interested in staying for the Parenting Seminar we are having today?”

I stopped. I thought about it.

Left Shoulder: What did you just say? You can?! What? We have plans. We are going to go clean our house. We are going to put the baby to bed and have two extra glorious hours to ourself! What do you mean, yes, you will stay?!

Right Shoulder: Well, you really don’t have anything better to do. So what, you are going to clean your house? Really? You do that everyday. What do you need free time for? Isn’t a free parenting seminar a great opportunity for you to grow as a parent and better serve your children? Free childcare. God. This will be good for you.  

 And I responded. “Uh, Well, I guess I can.”

So, I walk downstairs and hand off my little man to the little old ladies in the Cribbery.

When I came back upstairs I overheard the gentleman who had asked me to stay say to another woman: “Well, we have one young lady who is willing to stay.”

What?! Oh Lord. Ha-Ha.

“Oh, Well, if it is just me, please do not feel obligated. I can go. It is not a big deal!”

“Nonsense! Stay! Maybe some other people will trickle in!”

Left Shoulder: Yes! A Way Out!

Right Shoulder: Well, cool, one on one parent counseling! Lord knows I need it! This kind of thing is importand, Janet.

And that is how it happened.

(Did I mention the Seminar is everyday? Oh, no? lol ) 

When I was pregnant with Lucy I took a parenting class. It was and has been so helpful in training up my children. This seminar happens to be led by the same person who did the last one I took and boy, has it been amazing. So timely. Thank you Lord for ordaining this opportunity! I didn’t realize how much I had forgotten and how many holes there are in my parenting style.

You do not have to be a genius to realize that the children in todays culture are well, a bit out of control. I know mine sure aren’t perfect. Who’s to blame? You mean I am not a perfect parent? Rats.

Do you not agree with me that it is SO important to be the best parent we can be for our children?!

I urge all of you to consider taking a step towards bettering yourself as a parent. There are lots of good recourses out there but I HIGHLY recommend this Seminar if you don’t have any other ideas. It does not matter how old your children are, there is wisdom here for every single season of life. You also do not have to be a Christian to appreciate the very practical steps and advice to get your parenting back in order.

Yikes. I have work to do.

Here is a link if you would like to purchase the CD or DVD. You can always listen to it in your car, Lord knows we drive enough!

http://paultripp.com/parenting

Below is an interview with Paul Tripp, the Pastor who teaches the Seminar. I think it is a good overview if you are interested.

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Filed under Baby #2: Abram, Fun & Random Things, God Things, Lucy

a little thing I found…

I recently came across this little website. It is perfect for me. I think it could be perfect for you too. You should check it out. It is called Flourish.

According to the Author, Flourish was created to become a “community where we encourage and learn from one another… a community of women who love each other and love the Lord”. Who doesn’t need that? We need one another. We always need encouragement. We always need God’s word. This site combines them beautifully.

One of the Authors of Flourish I have been following for a while; her Blog is called: The Anderson Crew. You may have checked it out before as it has been on my side-bar for quite sometime. She has a pretty fascinating family dynamic. She is a really gifted photographer and she loves her children.

I don’t know her personally so this is just my opinion.

Check it out wont ya’?

 

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Baby Price #2: 16 Weeks

Well Darling, you are finally starting to allow me to enjoy life again. The nausea is slowly dissipating… I feel better with each day. I am still randomly vomiting but unlike my first pregnancy vomiting actually makes me feel better so I don’t really mind!

Thank you also for allowing me to eat healthy foods again. I really appreciate the gesture. I’m still kind of getting grossed out by vegetables (mainly broccoli) but at least im not craving fast food!! Horay!

You are getting big. Technically you are only the size of an apple but I have a distinctive baby belly that I am pretty sure didn’t show up with Lucy until around 4 1/2-5 mo. I still have only gained a total of 1lb but now that I am allowed to eat more (thanks again) that will probably change by my next appointment.

I really like chocolate and vanilla ice cream mixed together and slightly melted.

My Ultrasound is on March 16 so hopefully we will find out what kind of child you will be. Your sister wants you to be a girl, your Daddy wants you to be a boy. I honestly don’t care what you are. I might cry if you are a boy just because I really want Ryan (your Dad) to have a son. Either way I will be happy that you are healthy and a good sleeper. Right?

Just so you know, among the males and females on your Dad’s side of the family there are seven of each (officially) so you are the tie breaker. No pressure or anything.

I have to tell you also that I am a little nervous about having another child. Growing up I have ALWAYS wanted a massive amount of children. 10. I grew up a little and agreed with your Dad that four would be a good amount. Now I am not so sure.  #1- Birthing you. #2- Lack of sleep. #3- Nursing (love/hate). #4-Sleep training. #5- I’m afraid I wont be a good mother to the both of you equally. I’m afraid that one of you will feel left out or less loved. I’m afraid that Lucy will be jealous and resent you and resent her father and I for bringing another child into the family. I’m afraid you will feel like you are not part of the family.

I know all of these things are probably normal concerns and silly concerns. I know that God will help me every step of the way, like he has and is right now. I know that there is so much love in this family that you and your sister couldn’t possibly feel anything but love from the both of us equally. I know that after I birth you I will eventually get sleep and eventually stop nursing and you will be big and I will miss those things . We already love you and we don’t know anything about you. I hope you’re not ugly. Just kidding.

Oh, and one more interesting factoid. My midwife told me that after you have a Cesarean you should wait two years until you start trying to have another baby (no one ever told me that). Well, we had been trying for you for 8 months and I got pregnant almost exactly two years after I gave birth to Lucy. Isn’t that amazing?! I like to think that God was keeping me from getting pregnant because He was protecting my body from any harm that could come to it from getting pregnant too soon.

I knew that when I was supposed to be pregnant I would be and though I sometimes would get anxious and frustrated because I wasn’t, I knew that God had a reason and I just had to trust Him. Sometimes you never will find out a reason why God does what He does but I like to think that He let me know the reason for this one. God hand-picked you for me. He knew the perfect timing and when the time was right he planted you in my womb. We may not know a single thing about you but He already does. Your days are numbered and He has a good plan for you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

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becoming a better wife by “putting off” old behaviors

First I would like to say that I know and understand that not everyone shares the same values and beliefs that I have. I am in no way trying to force my faith or view of anything on anyone. I believe in freedom of speech and I believe that what I believe is right and true. This does not mean that I judge you, criticise you, gossip or look down on you for having your own thoughts or opinions.  I write about my experiences and my life and I do it in hopes to bring joy to others, inspire others and possibly challenge others. This post would be more of a challenge to others.

I write to a very mixed audience and it is hard sometimes to appeal to all audiences. I ask that you read what I have to write with an open mind and open heart. Not because I am trying to change you but because this is how I live my life, and it works for us.  Even if you do not share my beliefs, you have to admit that the principles are good ones and you would probably benefit from trying it out in one way or another. =0P

So, on to my planned post for the day…

Colossians 3:5-14

This passage challenges us to set aside the poor behaviors that always get in the way of a healthy marriage and put on a “new” character (specifically the character of Christ since that is who we should be striving to be like).

As I am reading this passage I am thinking about one specific trait that is the hardest for me to let go, and another godly trait that is hardest for me to “put on”. I call these “put off” and “put on”. You put off a negative behavior and you put on a positive one. It is like trying to quit smoking… you can try, but it is easier if you have something to replace that habit.

Basically what this verse is saying is that once you have committed your life to Christ, to live as a Christian, you are no longer a slave to the world or a slave to sin and the struggles you face. You are alive and have freedom because you trust in Christ and have placed your trust in him. Therefore the sins or the “struggles” that you once were enslaved to or apart of have no hold on you any longer. The passage is asking you to get rid of the “old self” which was you before you “became a Christian”  and put on a “new self”, a positive character, follow Christ’s example. There is more to it… but this is the main point that as I am reading I am trying to think about. It is a brief and rough explanation but I just wanted to give you the gist of the passage incase while you are reading it you have no idea what it is saying. Sometimes the Bible can be like that. I find that the more I read it the more I understand it.

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Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:5-14

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Now this verse is not marriage specific, it is appropriate for all seasons of life. I just happen to be thinking about my marriage and how I can apply this verse to my life in a specific area. I know that there are certain people or situations outside of my marriage where I can and should resolve to change but for the sake of this post I am only going to talk about my marriage.

So, what is my “put off”? Well, I guess I am going to have to say lust. Lust (any strong desire; to have a strong desire) in my case would be evident in our relationship like this: I want my house to be prefect, pretty, unique and well decorated. Not a bad desire right? Not really. But, when that desire is so strong that I start to complain about little messes, things I don’t have, things that don’t match, things I want to make our house better, it starts to put a strain on our relationship and causes that little desire to become a big problem.

What is my “put on”? Honestly I could stand to put on every positive trait that is listed but I will pick one that will compliment my put off. Patience. Oh how patience is so important in every area of my life. I ask for patience on the daily because I am not patient. Patience is the ability to endure provocation, annoyance, misfortune or pain with calm and strength. The ability to tolerate delay. Thanks dictionary.com! Well, that is pretty plain and simple if you ask me. God has given me everything I have ever wanted or needed and guess what, I didn’t get it right away, I had to be patient and wait. The dirty sink… it was cleaned. Maybe not when I wanted it done but it is clean now.

So really I think the next step for me would be to confess to Ryan how I recognize that I am failing in this area and ask him to forgive me (really I need to confess this to God first). Just because he is not currently mad about it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ask his forgiveness. He deserves it. Then I am going to ask him to help me to be more patient. I am going to ask him specific ways and areas I can work on it and allow him to call me out if my desires are causing me to sin against him, my family or our friends.

My desire is to always be striving to be a better wife and a better person (I know “person” is vague but I am too many things to list). I know that I can’t do that on my own and I am glad that I have help. Help through my faith in Jesus and help from my amazing husband, family and friends. Wont you join me in this pursuit to put off our sinful earthly desires and behaviors and put on the positive character of Christ.

❤ y’all

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What is Christmas all about?

And in context…

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place whileQuirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:1-20

 

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