Hello, my name is Heidi and I'm so glad that you have dropped by. A Paige From Our Book is an imperfect mix of stories from our life, diy projects, and our family's favorite recipes. But more often you will find thoughts on growing in Christ and encouragement for the weary. Grab your favorite cuppa and and join me as I share from my life, serving an extraordinary God in the very ordinary.

Honestly: Love Because He Loves You | A Paige From Our Book

Warning: I’m going to get really honest with my feelings here. Not the nice honest that smooths everything over and is dripping with the grace expected from the wife of a guy in ministry. — No. — I’m talking REALLY honest feelings. The good news is that I don’t stay in my feelings. You’ll see if you’re brave enough to read all the way to the end.
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Here’s the thing. I have a blunt side. It’s been pushed aside to make room for grace and mercy and I’m truthfully very thankful that the Holy Spirit has grown those spiritual fruits in my life. But I’ve noticed something about myself. Sometimes I don’t communicate my hurt and my weariness out of fear of being too blunt or communicating something wrongly.  — This was a huge struggle for me early on in our marriage and it made things difficult because instead of just starting somewhere, even in the mess of my thoughts and emotions, I buried thoughts, ideas, emotions, hurt, etc until I felt like I had worked them through enough to talk about it. That isn’t all bad; delaying a conversation until one is calm and able to get at the heart of the issue. 

However, there are moments, days, sometimes weeks when I’m not able to figure those things out on my own. I don’t think my husband or close friends are surprised anymore when things bubble out of me joined at the hip with tears and frustration. It’s funny to me that here I thought I knew myself so well when I was a young single woman and yet now I think I’m just really starting to learn who I am and what I need.  —  It’s not my identity in Christ that’s in crisis. I’ve just started to learn — or maybe just relearn what I need to function well, ie: sometimes a quiet home to my introvert self, sometimes a day out to be child free, an hour of my husband’s undivided attention to just BE together, a clean house so my brain can focus {tell me I’m not the only woman who can’t focus on life when her house is a mess — seriously, just a vacuumed floor adds so much room for mental clarity in my mind}. And there are times when I just plain need to communicate what I’m feeling.   I think I’m still struggling with some fear of man on this one, but assuming I do indeed publish this, here I go anyway.
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I’ve already shared that my dad has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 17 years. As with his first cancer, this one is very rare. When I was in high school, it was melanoma in his eye. He went the bold and extreme route then and had his eye removed. By God’s grace the eye ball kept the cancer contained and he didn’t need to have chemo or radiation. Now he has a rare form of stage 4, non Hodgkin Lymphoma. It’s in his neck, under arm and bone marrow. The mass in his neck {which grows a little larger each week} is a constant reminder that but by the grace of God through various uses of modern medicine or a miraculous healing, this cancer will kill my dad. 
If that knowledge weren’t heavy enough, there is weight added when comments are made about the type of treatment my dad has decided to pursue. He’s not doing chemo. He has decided to pursue treatment with a clinic that is considered controversial by many in spite of incredible success stories. While many are supportive or at least hold their tongue if they disagree with my father’s decision, some feel it’s their right — no — duty to tell him why his choice is wrong, some with the, [I’m-gonna-hate-to-tell-you-that-we-told-you-so] attitude.
There is also a weight for us a family when it feels like the news has worn off for others and they are back to their lives, having forgotten that we’re going through a massive and life changing trial. Do we walk around every day with a rain cloud over our heads and melancholy music on in the background? No, of course not. We have to keep living to the best of our ability. But there are days when the pain of the current circumstance is particularly deep and . . . I’ll be honest. . . when few check in or express care, it hurts and we wonder if those around us have forgotten. God designed us to care for and receive care from other people. We’re the conduit of His grace to others. Am I aware of God’s grace and sovereignty over this trial of my dad’s cancer? Absolutely! But I’m a human being who still needs to feel the care and extension of grace from other human beings. 
I want to reroute this quickly, lest my honesty become a pity party. I realize that we all have busy lives. I realize that we all have times of trial and suffering in our lives and that just because our family is in the midst of a trial doesn’t mean that your family isn’t as well. There have been people in my life, who in spite of their own busyness and trials have continually reached out and I am SO grateful for them. But overwhelmingly people {in general} seem to have forgotten. They seem to be too busy with their own lives to notice that this suffering isn’t going to go away any time soon. The kind of care that our family is going to need isn’t going to go away soon. The amount of finances that we need to raise for my dad’s treatment isn’t insignificant or trite. It’s not just “extra” to help out. It is needed. Every. single. cent. 
Here is where the Lord helped me see beyond our current situation. Feeling the heaviness of being forgotten, I began to think about others that I know who have been though monumental trials recently. The Holy Spirit reminded me that though I have moved on, most likely the weight of their circumstance is still quite heavy. I began to pray for several people that the Lord brought to my mind, but I didn’t stop there. I reached out to let them know that I was thinking about them and praying for them. I didn’t do so to puff myself up, but rather to encourage them. It is so incredibly encouraging to hear that someone else is praying for you. 
I will NEVER forget a poignant moment early in our marriage. We had moved home after an incredibly difficult “first ministry” trial and were enjoying a Sunday lunch with family. My cousin Pam looked at me and told me that {during what were some of the darkest days of that hard season of my life} on more than one occasion God had woken her up in the middle of the night to pray for me. She didn’t know in those moments that over 1,000 miles away I was laying in my bed, feeling like the enemy was literally inches away from my face, ready to snuff out the breath and life from me. She didn’t know that, night after night, I would cry out to God asking Him to wake someone up to pray for me. She couldn’t know when she shared that with me how much it meant to me and how much it encouraged me even after the fact to know that God had answered my prayer. Hearing her say that she had prayed for me built up my faith and trust in God.  —  We have the opportunity to pour love and encouragement into the lives of others if we just have eyes to see and a willingness to speak. 
I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit used my own feelings of being forgotten to prompt me to reach out and care for those around me who are in the depths of their own trials. I needed the reminder that we all need care {even those who look like they have it all together} and encouragement. I had new eyes to look for others who may need my focused prayer or a reminder that I see them and haven’t forgotten about what they’re going through. We can all grow at removing the blinders that keep our focus on what is happening directly in our own lives and taking a deeper look around us.  We can all grow at asking God to give us eyes to see those who might need our prayers and encouragement; those who might need our tangible service to their needs. We might be surprised at the comfort we receive from The Father as we reach out to comfort others. As we extended care to a family down the street when the single mother had a seizure which caused her to be hospitalized, I was freshly made aware that. . .
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We are able to love others and extend care, encouragement and service to others because it is Jesus’ love at work in us! His love empowers us to love others and love them well. If we are loved by Him and His love dwells in us, should we not look around for opportunities to love others? We are privileged to experience the love of Jesus not only in His love for us, but also in being a conduit of His love to others! And love really does multiply, because the more we extend the love of Jesus to others through any number of means, the more we will want to love others. All because of the simple truth that this love doesn’t start with us. His love makes it not only possible, but utterly humbling and satisfying to love others!
Honestly: Love Because He Loves You | A Paige From Our Book

I don’t want my honesty about my trial and suffering to negate the goodness & loving faithfulness of God. God has given grace for the trial at hand and the emotional lows. And I am incredibly thankful for Him lifting my eyes up and away from my own situation to give me pause to consider and pray for others. My desire is to spur you on to look up from your busy life and take a look around at the trials and sufferings of others. Maybe it’s a neighbor, perhaps it’s a friend you’ve lost touch with, maybe it’s that single mom who sits behind you in church or maybe it’s an acquaintance on Facebook. The trials may be varied and your role in extending care will not look the same in each case, but don’t let what seems small and/or insignificant stop you because you don’t know what that person in need has been praying for. Tell that friend that you’ve been praying for them. Text them that encouraging Scripture or song. Send a card in the mail. Bring that neighbor a meal. Dwell on the love Jesus has lavished on you and do not fear extending love to others, for His love enables us love.
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PS: If you are in a season of suffering and feel alone or think that it would be selfish to ask others to care for you — let me encourage you to reach out. Ask someone to pray for you or let a friend know that you need that hug. And pray, asking God to lay your situation on the hearts of those who can extend care. I would love for you to leave a comment and share about your trial here so that I too can pray for you.
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I’m so excited to share with you about the creative endeavor of a friend of mine. I kind of have to giggle because Hilary and I have become friends more so through social media than in person. We’re connected first of all by our love for Jesus and then because we attend sister churches in the Twin Cities metro. One of my favorite things about the body of Christ and the commonality of the Gospel, is the deep connection that comes so quickly with other believers all over the world. At any rate I consider, Hilary, my friend and one of these days we will get to sit down for some coffee and a great chat!
Minnesota State Silhouette | Three Birds Signs via apaigefromourbook.com

I love the name of Hilary’s business, Three Birds Signs, which is a reference to the 3 little “birdies” in her own nest. She makes fabulous hand crafted and hand painted signs out of reclaimed wood. Check out some of her designs! 

Aren’t they awesome?! I know. I want one of each too! You can see custom options and different designs on her Facebook pageSo here is how you can get your hands on some of the Three Birds creativity. If you are local to the Twin Cities metro area, Hilary will have a booth at the Chanhassen Retail and Vendor Fair at the Chanhassen Rec. Center on Saturday, November 22nd from 9am to noon.  It looks like it might be a great opportunity to get some Christmas shopping done and support local entrepreneurs. 
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For those of you who aren’t local, Three Birds Signs has an Etsy shop too. Some of their signs can be customized per request and each and every sign is unique! 

**Whether you are local or somewhere across the country, you need to know that if you hope to order something for Christmas, you will need to do so by this Saturday, November 15th.** 

I don’t know about you, but I love having unique pieces in my home!! I can’t wait to see what new ideas Three Birds Signs comes up with in the future. In fact, I have a sneak peak on something they’re currently working on over there in the Three Birds nest…

Peace, Love, Joy | Three Birds Signs via apaigefromourbook.com

I LOVE these! 

So. Hilary, has agreed to do something special for you,  MY readers. She is going to give one lucky reader a festive, red JOY sign! How awesome is that?!

JOY | Three Birds Signs via apaigefromourbook.com

Simply log in to rafflecopter below and follow the brief prompts for your chance to win this lovely Christmas sign from Hilary and Three Birds Signs. Thank you, Hilary!
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*You must be at least 18 years old to enter. You must be a resident of the USA to enter. The giveaway will go from November 11, 2014 until November 14, 2014. A winner will be chosen by random.org and will be notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen. 
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White Chicken Chili | A Paige From Our BookClick above for a printable version of this recipe.

On this first wintery storm day of the cold season here in Minnesota, I realized it was the perfect day for some of our favorite white chili.  This White {chicken} Chili recipe is incredibly easy and takes 45 minutes {at the most} to make. We like it a host of different ways: with parsley and sour cream, or shredded Mexican cheese, or maybe simply with warm bread straight out of the oven. And of course my husband’s favorite way to enjoy any chili or soup is with a mess of crushed crackers. I love that you could easily make this a vegetarian chili by adding more vegetables and even some additional varieties of beans. Regardless of how you like it, this recipe is sure to be family approved!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups cooked rotisserie chicken or 3 poached chicken breasts**, shredded
2 cans Great Northern or Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz sweet corn
4 oz green chiles
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
32 oz chicken broth
Kosher salt (to taste)            
Cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 lime, juice (to taste)

Directions:
In a large pot, over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil until translucent.
Once the onion is translucent, add shredded chicken, beans, corn, green chilies, cumin and oregano. Stir ingredients until completely combined. Add chicken broth and give one final stir.
Raise heat to bring to a boil. Turn heat to low to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the broth to reduce. Add salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.
Simmer until ready to serve.
Serve with your favorite chili toppings and warm bread or crackers.

**Poached Chicken:
In a medium to large sauce pan, bring water to a boil.
Add chicken breasts or tenderloins and reduce heat to low. Add a dash of whatever spices (or other favorite flavorings) related to your dish. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave chicken in poaching water until ready to use.

Enjoy this quick and yummy meal on a cold, blustery night. Stay warm out there, Minnesota!
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The other day I started taking a class at my local gym today and it kicked my {very out-of-shape} behind. It’s an hour long class, and while I’ll admit it didn’t seem that long, when we got just past the half way mark, I thought I might either pass out or lose my breakfast. For those brief moments I wanted to throw in the towel, but my friend who has been taking the class longer than I encouraged me to keep going. And I’m so glad she did. Once I pressed in and got past that rough spot, it got better. The workout wasn’t easier, but my body adjusted, the nausea and light headed feeling went away and the burn felt good. 
It got me thinking as I recovered this afternoon. It’s the same when we’re spiritually out of shape. Difficult circumstances can cause us to turn inward and we spiritually veg. Our spiritual muscles begin to atrophy.
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 We stop going to God’s Word to feed ourselves what is good and healthy for our soul and instead we gorge ourselves on what makes our flesh feel good {e.g. , television, novels, sports, video games, social media}. I’ve been there recently. Along with the news of my dad’s cancer, it seemed that other burdens and difficult circumstances were continuously coming from every direction. The weight was so heavy on me that I could no longer multi task. I could only focus on one thing at a time. There is something to be said about taking life one day at a time, but this was more a situation of the fact that my mind couldn’t handle planning ahead or work out appointments to coincide. Looking back I see that I was also inside my own head a lot. I wasn’t necessarily fretting or dealing with anxiety, I just didn’t want to deal with any of it. I wanted it all to go away or better yet, for me to go away and let someone else handle all of the details and organization. I wasn’t in the Word and I wasn’t praying much because I felt I lacked coherent thought. 
My change came when I gathered with some close friends and other ministry leaders’ wives for soul care and prayer. A dear friend shared about how she was convicted to pray more for the Holy Spirit to fill her each day. The Spirit after all is the comforter, the giver of wisdom and our helper. After being prayed for that day and being encouraged to pray for more of the Holy Spirit, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The clarity of mind didn’t come right away, but I felt like I could press in to the circumstances around me and {though still slowly} accomplish what was on my plate. I had been functioning in my own strength, rather than using my spiritual muscles, ie: going to the Word, asking the Holy Spirit for help and preaching the Gospel to myself.
There are a lot of different scenarios and situations that may require us to press in and do the hard thing rather than throw in the towel. 

Maybe…

your marriage is at a difficult place and it seems like your spouse won’t ever change…

your child is in a season of rebellion and at the moment your correction isn’t bearing fruit…

there is a friendship or family relationship that needs restoration, but the wound is deep…

the guilt and shame of a pattern of sin are keeping you from the Father…

Whatever the case may be, let me encourage you. Press in through the difficulty.  Feel the good “burn” of working your spiritual muscles. Experience the good pain of spiritual growth. Just as with physical workouts, the pain of stretching those muscles will remain for a short period of time, but as you press in, it will get easier and your confidence with grow. You will begin to see the fruit of your efforts combined with the grace of God. 
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We know that the Heavenly Father disciplines those He loves. Sometimes this is through correction and specific consequences. Other times this discipline is through training. Training to become disciplined. Training is often hard, but when we press in, we reap benefits that are often greater than we could have ever imagined. The apostle Paul puts it best…
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As I pray for God’s help in lifting my physically drooping hands and weak knees today, I am praying that by God’s grace, you will choose to press in to your difficulty so that you may bear the fruit of righteousness.
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PS: Don’t miss that in both my physical workout and my spiritual workout, I had friends to encourage me. God has given us fellowship with one another for this purpose… Two are better than one… For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! {Eccl. 4:9-10} If you are currently going it alone, find a friend to bring into your situation, so that when you are weak and ready to give up, they can lift your drooping hands and encourage you to go on.

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She woke me up with a burning concern in her heart.

“Mom, I just really don’t want to go to hell.”

We’ve had this discussion several times before. The condemnation of her sin from the week presses on her like a vice grip. 

She knows the Gospel. She knows that she is a sinner. That no matter how hard she tries to be good, it will always fall short. She knows that her sin has separated her from God. 

She knows that she needs a Rescuer; a Savior; a Mediator between her and the wrath of a Holy God. 

She knows, but is she confident that she is rescued? Saved? Reconciled? 

I don’t know the answer to those questions. But I know she is in His grip. 

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I see God’s grace working, stirring. That she is even aware of her sin is God’s grace. 

And I pray. 

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I pray that God’s grip of grace and wondrous love won’t let her go.
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When we are faithless and let go of our grip on the Savior, He is still with us. He is still working in us. Still calling to us to come and find our assurance, joy and satisfaction in Him.  Make this your prayer when the lies of condemnation from the enemy are close at hand:
Are you struggling with condemnation today, Christian? Are you lacking confidence; assurance of your standing before Christ? Do you feel your weary hands losing grip in clinging to the Savior? 

Let this be your encouragement today.

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A quick note from Heidi…
The day I intended to get this post from my mom up on the blog, our world turned upside down when my dad discovered a swelling and hardness on the left side of his neck. In the days since, we have found out that he has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. There are still several unanswered questions, but we are hopeful and trusting The Healer who sovereignly gives trials and hard circumstances for our good, growing our dependence on Him and for His glory.  While I am encouraged, I am exhausted and making new adjustments to allow more room for appointments and additional rest. My parents and family have felt your prayers and we covet them moving forward. Thank you!
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And now please welcome, Linda!
It has been my desire to write since I was in high school but the opportunity was a long time in coming.  Now I’m thankful to have been invited to contribute to A Paige From Our Book. As Heidi said I’m her mom which has been one of the greatest blessing of my life. We share a close relationship unlike many mothers and daughters. I count this as a treasure more precious than health, wealth or any material blessing. This blessing goes much deeper in that we also share in the mercy of saving grace through our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Our family dairy farm. Rural, Minnesota.

Since age 12 I’ve had a variety of jobs.  I’ve gained something from each of them that has prepared me for the next season of life. Some of my learning was more on-the-job like marrying a dairy and crop farmer 38+ years ago or homeschooling our three children for 7 years. Thus my children grew up hearing me say, ‘make yourself useful’; or ‘whatever strengths God has given you aren’t  for your own personal gain or fame, it’s meant to be invested to help and encourage others.’ I’m most happy to say, my children and now my grandchildren are living out this truth. And speaking of grandchildren I have 6 I can hold and 2 I’m waiting to hold in heaven. They brighten my day, wear me out and help me see with the fresh eyes of child-like faith. 
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This pic is a few years old and now two grandchildren short.

 I don’t consider myself a ‘creative’ person, but I write from personal experience and observation. It is my hope that what I contribute here will be useful and encouraging to you.
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As I type, two people that I love very much are going through heart wrenching circumstances. A dear friend is at her doctor’s office having blood work done  as she is in the midst of a miscarriage and my very own father is waiting for the news confirming that he has cancer for the second time in 17 years. I am driven through with grief on many levels as two dear loved ones keenly feel loss. Loss of a child whose little heart was beating and body being knit together by the Creator God; loss of hopes and dreams and loss of the confidence of what tomorrow holds. Now we all think we know and function in the understanding that we don’t ultimately know what the future holds, but we really tend to think we do. We make plans, we dream and hope about life down the road, we stress about the demands of next week. We go to sleep confident of what will happen tomorrow. While we must make plans and it’s good to have dreams about the future, it isn’t until the unexpected happens that our reality is shaped by the truth that we have no control over the future and that we don’t know what tomorrow holds.
When we are filled with anxiety and worry about the coming day, week and future time, we are reminded in Matthew 6:34 to not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worry for itself, but we don’t give it much thought when things are going fine. Yesterday in a sermon by a guest preacher at our church, this analogy was given {I am paraphrasing}: 
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The same is true for our functional view of the Gospel. We don’t really give much thought to our thoughts and beliefs about who God is when everything is going well. The secondary sources of light of the Gospel from our church, our close friends and little blips we read on social media help give light to our path and all seems well. When the darkness of excruciating circumstances and a trial filled path overtakes us, it is then that we either cling to the truth of who we know God to be and the truth that our deepest need has been met in the sacrifices of Jesus at the cross or we find ourselves swallowed up by the darkness with no light to cling to.
But we don’t HAVE to wander in darkness even in the midst of dark trials. We can hold fast to the hope of the Gospel. Joe Thorn put’s it this way in his book entitled, Note To Self:
“Jesus is enough. Do you believe that? Can you say, with the author of Hebrews, that you can be content with whatever you have because God said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” {Heb. 13:5}? This is a promise made to us in Jesus. Jesus is enough, but that kind of satisfaction is only experienced when we understand our greatest needs to be redemption and restoration. God in Christ has reconciled us to himself, is renewing our minds, and promises to raise us from the dead, and we will dwell in righteousness and peace forever. If you have this, what more do you need?”
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Today I am especially thankful to cling to the Gospel and I am thankful to my loved ones walking these newly dark roads are also clinging to the Gospel. The road is still dark, but the darkness doesn’t swallow us up because the Gospel gives light to the path, allowing us to take the next step in faith that there will be enough light for tomorrows steps. The Gospel allows us to say with faith, “I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow and all of the future.”
Praying that the light of the Gospel is shining brightly in your life today whether you are on a dark road or one with lots of secondary light.
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It wasn’t my intention to take a break from writing. It wasn’t even that my inspiration went away or that I ran into writer’s block. Life just got in the way. 
Journal & pen | apaigefromourbook.com

© Depositphotos.com/unruhelena1

No, not really. As life has gotten busier with my husband working to get a new ministry off the ground while he’s still working a full time job and serving with other ministries in our church, I’ve had to remind myself that writing, blogging and other subsequent creativity that I may crave is good, but not my J-O-B. My job is to manage our family life, maintain our home, and to be a present, involved mom to our 3 children. While my mind has been going on various topics and my fingers have been itching to write, it hasn’t been the priority and frankly it needs to stay at the bottom of my priority list for the time being. At the end of a busy day when I finally have uninterrupted time to theoretically sit down and write, my mind is mush and all I can handle is a 30 minute sitcom or laughter-wrought tears with Jimmy Fallon.  
It’s okay. 
             This is my current season of life. 
                                                      This is how I can best serve my husband right now.
                                                                                                               This is what my job currently demands of me.

Contributor, Linda Strandquist | apaigefromourbook.com

So, while I press the pause button on my own writing, I’d like to introduce you to someone. I’m adding a contributor to my blog! Meet Linda Strandquist. Linda is a mom to three grown children, grammy to 6 grandchildren  and has been writing encouraging thoughts, articles and poetry for years. She is a huge source of encouragement for me and I get to call her, Mom, too. Please make her feel welcome with your comments.

Check back soon to learn more about Linda and hear from her!
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This post came to me one night in the midst of my prayers. It’s about me. It’s about you. It’s about all of us eventually, somewhere along our journey to know our Creator/Father/King and trust Him more.
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Treasure Hunt: What Are You Seeking? | apaigefromourbook.com© Depositphotos.com/coolfonk

Dear sad and burdened soul, why do you keep running? Why do you seem to so desperately want to outrun the loving arms of your Father? As you run, you are gripping this picture of the treasure you hold in highest esteem. Your attention is so fixed on this picture of your treasure that you can no longer see the path you are running on. You are no longer looking up to where your true treasure lies. People are shouting to you from the side of the path to look up. Look up! But you’re afraid that if you look up you will drop the picture of your treasure or worse yet, the Father will take your treasure from you. 

What you can’t see is that your Father has many treasures that He is waiting to give you, but your arms are already full, clinging to your idea of the treasure you want most. The Father has told you that if you make Him your treasure, He will add all these things to you. He has already given you the greatest treasure you could ever receive in His one and only Son. You want that treasure to be enough, but you’re afraid to trust. You’re afraid that if you let go of that picture and open your arms to the true treasure, there won’t be anything else added to you. You will surely be the only child of the Father who He chooses not to give other lesser treasures than Himself. 
Treasure Hunt: What Are You Seeking? | apaigefromourbook.com

© Depositphotos.com/darknula

In your quest to cling to the picture of your treasure, you have fallen into a pit that the enemy placed in the path. You didn’t see the pit because your gaze was fixed on your treasure and you can’t get out of the pit because you won’t let go of that picture so that you might cling to the ropes being lowered to rescue you. You are now lonely and in despair. Friends who have been standing by with ropes to pull you up out of the pit are beginning to grow weary and some have walked away. You desperately want them to remain and comfort you with words about how much the Father wants to give you your treasure. You want their reassurance that your treasure is a good one and one that you will indeed receive. 
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Now comes One, dear soul, to tell you that the time has come to either let go of the picture of your treasure and be saved or hold on to it and die. You can’t hold on to that treasure and to the Father at the same time. You much choose. You must choose to trust that your Father is good & loving and that He has many good things for your life, or you will choose to doubt Him and remain in the pit of despair convinced that you and you alone are able to choose the treasure that suits you best. He’s calling for you. He’s waiting patiently to hold you close in His loving arms and reassure you of His undying love for you. He has sent His other children to encourage you to look up, to warn you about the devices of the enemy and now He sends this One; this Spirit to convict you and bring you back to Him, if you are willing. You are afraid it will hurt. You are afraid others will scorn you. 
The Father’s calling to you. Please don’t turn away. He promises that His correction hurts for a season, but produces beautiful fruit of righteousness. He promises that He only corrects those that are His real children. Sad and burdened soul, aren’t you tired of eating the pig’s rejects? Don’t you recall the wonderful food at the table of your Father? Run home to Him.  Your Father. He’s waiting for you. He calling for you. He’s waiting to embrace you.
What is the treasure you hold so dear? Is it a lesser treasure that has gotten in the way of you delighting in the greatest Treasure? We so often drop our gaze from our beautiful Savior; the Greatest Treasure and fix our eyes on a counterfeit treasure. The lesser treasure may be good and even beneficial for us, but it becomes counterfeit when it steals our gaze, our focus and eventually our joy. Our joy can only remain true when our delight and our pleasure is in, Jesus, the Greatest Treasure. 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. 
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Jesus shed his blood to give you the only treasure that will never lose it’s value, it will never fall apart, it can never be taken from you. He took the wrath of God so that through him you might receive the treasure of eternal life and reconciliation with God. There is no greater treasure than that. Your debt has been paid and you are now granted Christ’s righteousness. If you are in Christ, it’s not only as if you had never sinned, you are seen as if you had always obeyed. I pray that this knowledge brings you ultimate joy and pleasure; that Jesus would be your Greatest Treasure. If you realize Jesus isn’t your greatest treasure, know that He can be. You can repent of holding counterfeit treasures in His place and ask for forgiveness. You must let go of your counterfeit treasure and cling to Jesus instead. It will take daily reminders and daily looking at what Christ did for you at the cross. There is so much grace waiting for you there, because the Father is waiting for you there.
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You’ve had that day that makes you want to just give up.

Weary mom, don't give up. | apaigefromourbook.com© Depositphotos.com/RomanovaTatjana

You crawl out of bed still exhausted from the day before and set to care for the children with barely a glance at yourself in the mirror. There is the thought that a shower later might actually happen if everything goes just right, but at this point it remains a mere hope. The children are clamoring for their breakfast so all thoughts about personal hygiene must be set aside. You glance at a devotional calendar on your counter while you pour cereal and milk, hoping that it’s reminder of the Gospel will stay with you during your day. While your littles finish their breakfast, you work to get beds made and the clean dishes in the dishwasher that ran during the night, unloaded. Before you know it, the kids are done eating and two of them are fighting over a Happy Meal toy. You stop your tasks to temper the situation and hopefully bring young eyes to see the Gospel in their own need for reconciliation. Now your other child has opened the door to the backyard and is outside in their underwear. Honestly, a part of you just doesn’t care whether they’re wearing clothes or not, but the idea of slathering a body’s worth of sunscreen on them has you giving it a second thought. 

Shorts, shirts, sandals, sunscreen & shades and they’re all ready to play outside. Somehow that took near an hour of your life and you know you only have limited time to throw a load in the wash, wipe down the bathroom, pick up the living room, load up the dishwasher with breakfast dishes and sweep up cheerio remains {all the while praying that no-one outside dies} before you have to start preparing lunch. Yes, you feel the guilt that you aren’t that mom who stands guard in her yard while her precious youngins play, instead taking opportunity to bring some order to your house, but after all you don’t want to be a helicopter parent, plus the windows and back door are open allowing you to hear and interject correction and mediation. 


Bathroom clean? Check. Living room de-cluttered? Check. Dishwasher loaded? Check. Floors swept? Check. Load in clothes washer? Darn it. You knew you forgot something. You head downstairs to throw it in quick before the kids come in for lunch, but oh yeah. The washer still has a load of towels in it from yesterday and the dryer is holding your husband’s work clothes that need to be re-heated and hung up. UGH.  You turn the dryer on again and turn the washer setting to a quick cycle on hot to get rid of any smell in the towels. Smelly towels. . . yummy. Before you can shut the lid, the back door slams and your middle child is crying because their older sibling won’t share the swing. Seriously? There are two. Just swing on the other one. You send the middle child outside again, explaining that they can seek reconciliation with their sibling by themselves. The screen door slams again and you chuckle and sigh. Walking into the kitchen you hope to get lunch prepared before another argument breaks out, but you hear the distinct sound of cheerios hitting the floor. It appears that your youngest has helped themselves to a late morning snack by grabbing handfuls of their favorite cereal out of the plastic storage container, but more is covering the floor than is making it into their mouth. 
Weary mom, don't give up. | apaigefromourbook.com

You take said child to another room to talk about taking food without asking and disobeying instruction {this isn’t the first time this has happened} and administer the proper correction. You bring the repentant child back to the cereal on the floor and instruct them to pick it up and throw it in the garbage, but you forgot to put away the plastic storage container on your way to the basement to hang up your husband’s work clothes. Your older children have now come inside in search of lunch {you’re pretty sure that food is a constant  thought in the minds and stomachs of your children} and one comes downstairs using dramatic waving of the arms and indiscernible grunts. You remind your school age child to use their words and they frantically tell you that your youngest has taken the plastic storage container of cereal and dumped it’s contents in. the. garbage can. “Good thing it’s just the generic brand”, you think. Right, because that makes it better. You take your youngest back to the other room for more correction since they are definitely old enough to know better. 
Lunch. You just want to get it made and have your littles consume it without another mishap, fight, or any other kind of issue needing correction, but you’re dealing with children after all, so it’s three instructions to sit on their bottom, 2 reminders that they do indeed need to eat all of their cheese, a curt word to the child slurping up their milk and spitting it back onto the table and 25 minutes later before you can call it Quiet/Nap Time. 
Weary mom, don't give up. | apaigefromourbook.com

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You quickly push out of your mind the grandiose ideas you had earlier of vacuuming and completing 3 to four loads of laundry during QT and pray you can finish hanging up your husband’s work clothes and get the load of towels dried, folded and put away after you eat your breakfast/lunch. While you are devouring your bowl of granola your oldest child comes out to tell you that the youngest has come out of their room and is playing in a small puddle of water in your room that they created from a neglected water bottle. Deal with small child, wipe up floor and remind oldest child to go back to reading books quietly in their room.  What were you doing? Oh yes, eating. You take your dishes to the sink and head down to the basement to finish hanging up clothes and finally get the towels in the dryer.  In the middle of this task  you hear another child yelling, “Mama — I went poop!   Mo–om, I went poop!   silence. . .  Mo–om, I went poop!  Mama, Mama, I went poop!   Mom, I went poooop!”  You bring the hanging clothes upstairs and force a kind whisper to the yelling child that you will be right with them after you hang your husband’s clothes in the closet. 
Butt wiped and child back in their room, you go back downstairs to put another load of clothes in the washer, telling yourself that in the interest of not rewashing any loads tomorrow, this will be the last load of clothes to be washed today. Well, you got 1 new load of clothes washed today. Hey, it’s better than none!  Finally you sit down in a quiet house. You could vacuum, but chances are the noise would disrupt the rest of QT, so instead you work on paying bills and returning emails that are several days old. The dog decides that instead of letting you know he needs to go out, that he’ll relieve himself in the corner of the living room. You set aside the emails, let the dog out and clean up the poop while trying to remind yourself why you have a dog.  
Weary mom, don't give up. | apaigefromourbook.com

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Weary mom, don't give up. | apaigefromourbook.com© Depositphotos.com/RobHainer

Your emails are finished and you’re delving into a book you promised a friend you would read with them when your non-sleeping children decide that QT must be over for them. They ask you what’s for dinner and if they can have a snack. Dinner? Oh right, that meal you feed them before bed. What are you going to make for dinner?!  You get them a quick snack and turn on a movie so the house stays on the quiet side while your younger child remains sleeping. Dinner. You have to come up with a plan for dinner. You remember your husband has meetings after work and won’t be home until late. Sigh.  At least that means dinner can be an easier fare since it’s just the kids and you. You wake your youngest child so they will still be able to fall asleep at bedtime, put them in front of the TV with their siblings and get to work prepping dinner.

By the time dinner is finished and the kids are in bed, you feel depleted and just want to veg. You have little more to give and if you look around at the state of your house, you might just cry. What is the point of trying to put it in order when it will just be destroyed again tomorrow? You feel like you’re drowning in the sea of trying to manage a home while raising young {mess creators} children. The day of greater balance on the scale of mess to cleanliness seems a million years away and the idea of a time when your children will either not make messes or clean them up without being asked is nearly laughable to you. You’ve had that day that makes you want to just give up. And right now you might do just that.  << GIVE. UP. >>


Does this resonate with you? Have you had a day like this recently? This has been my reality a lot lately; I think it has something to do with summer and either a struggling routine or the lack of a routine. But let me encourage you with the encouragement I have received from the Holy Spirit. Don’t give up! Life isn’t measured by how clean our homes our kept or by how much we accomplish start to finish in our day. Our job as moms is to pour the Gospel into our children, through our words and our gracious example. When we respond to our children with grace and patience despite their childishness or sin, we show them the love and grace our Heavenly Father has for us. Romans 2 tells us that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. We have been granted much grace in Jesus’ death on the cross to suffer the wrath of a holy God in our place.  I don’t know about you, but I know that I can grow in responding to my children with grace during days like the fictional one above.

Our job is also to train and raise up children who will become responsible, contributing members of society. We don’t realize it, but much of that training comes from the mishaps, the arguments and the correction of disobedience. We also exemplify perseverance to our children when we don’t throw in the towel after an extra busy day. We often want the satisfaction of seeing our work completed at the end of the day, but our main job is such that we won’t see it’s fruit; it’s “finished” work for many years. 

One last thought and encouragement. I’m learning that our day is much more successful if I don’t get overloaded with my to-do list. 1 load of laundry is fine for a day, if I see it through completely.  Don’t overlook the little moments throughout the day. Trips to the park, or the library or just 30 minutes  here and there of tickling and horsing around with my kids makes the summer much more enjoyable. The smiles and gut laughter my son gives me when I tickle him every day before his nap make that one of my most cherished moments each day. 

Weary mom, don't give up. | apaigefromourbook.com

Don’t give up. The days go by so fast and soon our children will be grown and gone. Our homes will be clean, but the love and laughter from our children will only come by to visit. Instead of finding your validation in a clean house and to-do list completely checked off, find value in the adorable faces that look up into yours as they hug you and exclaim, “You’re the best mom in the whole world!”  Why? Because you are their mom.
Hugs for you weary mom; I’m praying for you today. We’re in this together!
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