Help Yourself to Some Book Suggestions

I know that I will always have something I can improve about myself.

I spend a lot of time trying to improve and work toward who I want to be. In doing my Reading Challenge for the year, I have read even more books than normally that have aided me in changing my attitude, marriage, lifestyle, habits, and even accepting who I am so I don’t have to manically run after improvements.

As I was looking back over the books I have read this year I was realizing that I have kept a lot of these books close to the chest because I learned some very personal things and I am not quite ready to share everything I have learned and am trying to implement in my life. I am not ready to shed all my layers and be completely naked before you all on the internet, even though I try hard to be very vulnerable on this blog.

If I do not believe in the help offered by a book, I won’t finish it. In the self-help category I start out pretty skeptical. Yet, this year I have already read 15 books that I would put in this category, and I loved the majority of them. Finding those 15, however, took starting and qutting quite a few others. Because of this I figured it might be helpful to some of you out there who are tired of trying to weed through books with your own busy schedules if I could share what made these books stand out amidst the others of their type.

Additionally, I want to provide a starting point for you if you are looking for something in your own life. Self-help is very specific, and the idea of having a book be the answer is pretty ridiculous, but when we are living an open and honest life with ourselves we can usually find a book that can be of great help in walking us through and processing with us a specific area of life that we need in a certain season.

This Momentary Marriage

To begin with this review I will take you back to 2015. Last year I read a marriage book of his that absolutely changed my marriage. I have never finished a marriage book prior to This Momentary Marriage.

As a young person getting married, I definitely feel like my marriage is different than anyone else’s I observed growing up. We tell each other everything, and we are honest with each other. We don’t need these books that talk about such normal issues. We will never argue about those things, or if we do we will argue and solve it. Those things that wreck other people’s marriages are just because they are missing the love we have.

Well, this book didn’t even try to tell me what a normal marriage book would talk about. In the very beginning of this book, John Piper shares a letter from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his fiancée while he was in prison in Germany for attempting to assassinate Hitler. The beginning of this book was very clear: Jesus Christ is the most important thing. End of story. This will wreck your life if you let it. I cannot say enough good things about this book and the way it made me see my marriage with God’s eyes instead of my own.

This book was nothing like the other marriage books out there.

It doesn’t approach marriage at all like other people and books. Not only did it help me take off all those blinders and rose colored glasses and blindfolds I had put on to keep from seeing my marriage as normal, it raised my expectations and standards for myself way higher. This is a must read for anyone in the world who has a heart that might love ever. CLICK HERE to read my full review of This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence.

A Time to Grieve

When this year began I was depressed and just couldn’t climb out of it. I was so sad all the time, and just felt lost. I knew that I wasn’t grieving in a healthy way, and I knew that I needed to let myself grieve and be sad for things I had never grieved. So, I took the time to walk through a book called A Time to Grieve. The book worked well for me in two ways. First, I was able to grieve with the questions and process. I took extra time to journal as much as I could about the questions presented and really take time to be sad.

The book is written for people who want to help others grieve, so I was also able to take a step back and think about others. How I could take my own pain and grieving and become more empathetic. For me this was a huge deal because I do not have a great deal of empathy stored up in myself.

Not Your Regular Stages of Grief / Step Program

I would recommend this book for anyone seeking to comfort others, to learn more about the grieving process in a way that is not formulaic. The book is written in more of a relational way than a step by step definition of the grief process, which I really enjoyed.

Desiring God –> When I Don’t Desire God –> When the Darkness Will Not Lift

Because I loved the John Piper book so much last year, I decided to read another one this year. Piper is known for his book Desiring God which is what his website domain is as well. I meant to read that one, I really did, but at the beginning of this year I just wasn’t desiring God. I was mad and depressed and in culture shock and grief stricken.

As I was looking at Desiring God, I found a follow up he had written called When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy. That sounded a lot more like where I was at. But then I found a third follow up. John Piper took the last chapter in When I Don’t Desire God, and made it into a book, When the Darkness Will Not Lift. That was perfect.

This book was amazing at letting me be depressed. I really was able to just sit before God and grieve and be sad for days and months. When the healing came it was not fast and it was not pleasant, but I was able to sit in the promises of God that He will not put me to shame, and that He is my refuge. In the middle of the darkness, He is my refuge. In the middle of depression, He is my comfort. Even when I don’t feel comforted, He is my Tower.

If you or someone you know is in the darkness, this book is powerful and excellent. If you are just struggling to find joy, I would recommend any of these three books. Even without having read the first two, I know they are excellent books.

More Self-Help Book Reviews on their way!

CLICK HERE to receive updates in your email so you can be ready to get the next installment of Helping Yourself to great Self Help Books.

A Prayer for Complication Free Planning

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

Lord,

When You sent your disciples to get a donkey for you to ride for the Triumphal Entry, the donkey was exactly where you said it would be and just as easy to acquire. For this coming trip to the States for Kyrie and the Liss Family, I pray You set them up for success. I ask that You continue to be the one making dates and tickets and doctors all work perfectly as planned. Keep their trip simple and free of complications so that they can focus their energy on their ministry in Lebanon until the day they leave. You are in charge, Lord, and we know that You have the Liss Family in Your secure hands. Thank You.

Amen.

1 Samuel 22:20 – 23:14


Overview

    The very sad story of Saul killing all the priests has one glimmer of hope, an escapee, Abiathar son of Ahitub, one of the sons of Ahimelech. He goes to David to warn him and inform him of all that has happened. David realizes that he has gotten all of the priests killed, and invites Abiathar to stay with him since Saul is seeking both their lives.

David receives word that the Philistines are attacking Keilah, a grain growing town. Remember that before his exile David was often the one sent out by Saul to take care of these Philistine invasions, so David jumps into action. He seeks the Lord, not once, but twice for clarity as to how to respond. God sends him to get rid of the Philistines and save Keilah. However, Saul hears that David is in Keilah and sets out to capture and kill him. David prays again, and God informs him that not only is Saul coming, but the town David just rescued from a Philistine invasion will turn him over to Saul. So David and his men flee to the wilderness and continue to move around hiding out from Saul. Hope continues as Saul seeks David but God never gives him over.

Characters

The sons of Ahimelech / the priests killed by Saul, Abiathar the son of Ahitub, David, Saul, Philistines, Keilah, the Lord, and David’s men.

Key Verse

2 “Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”

14 “And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.”

Cross References

1 Samuel 22:9-10 “Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

An excellent cross reference pointing out the difference in deference to God. When Doeg says that the Lord was sought, Saul doesn’t even blink before taking personal offense and having the priests killed. Whereas David seeks the Lord and takes what He says to heart.

Psalm 63 “A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.”

I feel this Psalm, which is a rare experience for me. David is sharing how hard it is to be on the outside of the community he has loved, to feel far from God, to have to draw upon the stores of faith and resilience inside of himself. Running around and hiding in the wilderness is physically and spiritually exhausting. Moving to and from Lebanon has felt this way for me as well. Here in the States I was attending Bible Study once a week, another one once a month, three groups for accountability and fellowship, church every weekend, and all in English-my heart language. In Lebanon we had no friends to start with, the church services were in Arabic and God did not give us peace about a specific church, and we were in a huge transition. Then we came back, but my pregnancy was exhausting and we were back and forth trying to see everyone. The community hadn’t changed but my ability to be a part of it was still not happening. When Louis and Davy left I continued the post pregnancy descent into depression. During this depression I have consistently been reading my Bible, have begun keeping a prayer journal again, and once Davy got back I got right back to reading him the Bible every night. But I am still depressed, in transition, and moving through a wilderness spiritually and physically. In addition, Satan is preying on me in this time of weakness and I have found myself believing old lies. This is a time of needing faith and resilience because I am not being filled nearly as fast as I am being drained. But, I know that this is a season and will pass. I know that my faith in God is well placed and that my time in the Word and in Prayer for others and myself is building and replenishing my stores of resilience. If you are in this type of season, you are not alone. If you have recently begun moving out of this type of season, remember to praise the Lord and give Him thanks. If you have had this type of season in the past, rejoice that you are in a different place now and take the time to fill yourself with the Word, Prayer, and Encouraging others around you. Next time you enter a wilderness period you will have even greater stores of resilience to draw upon. No matter what season you are in it is a good time to adjust your quiet time to include a focus on rejoicing in the Lord, thanking him, and seeking him intently.

Joshua 15:21a, 24a, 32b “The cities belonging to the tribe of Judah in the extreme south, toward the boundary of Edom, were […] Ziph […]: in all, twenty-nine cities with their villages.”

I am reading Joshua to Davy right now each night. So, I am always excited to see cross references that overlap other parts of the Bible I am reading. This cross reference is meant to help understand the geography of David’s fleeing from Saul. When the Israelites entered the promised land it was split up amongst the 12 tribes and Ziph is within the territory of the tribe of Judah. This is a cross reference that might be easy to look at, shrug, and move on. You might struggle with the significance sometimes of cross references, or it may just be so much flipping around and it doesn’t connect for you. Reading the Bible is a lifelong process, you will continue to learn and grow in it all your life, so don’t be discouraged when you come across a cross reference that has no meaning to you YET. For me, this cross reference excites me because I get it, and because it is a recent thing for me to understand a cross reference like this. As I said, I am currently reading Joshua and just finished reading Exodus, so that specific background is fresh to me. I want you to be able to do this type of Bible Study on your own, and so I digress to share something that can become important in your life.

Conclusion

David must have been having some pretty mixed emotions at this point. But he clung to the Lord through it all. David’s wandering through the wilderness also reminds of Jesus’ own wanderings through the wilderness. Because so many people knew about him he had to retreat to the wilderness often to teach the multitudes who were following him. He also was being sought out for his life by the Pharisees. He had his men around him and expressed that many would be hurt because of His Name. Many are mistreated for serving the Lord, such as the priests who Saul killed, the martyrs after Jesus, and the Persecuted Church all over the world. In the midst of all of this, there is still work to be done, David still saved Keilah by fighting off the Philistines, Jesus still went to the temple to teach, Louis and I go to Lebanon to share Jesus with the refugees, and you are also called to go into your work, school, community, neighborhood, park, etc. to share the love of Jesus. David and Abiathar show us a moment of forgiveness. David just got all of Abiathar’s family killed and, instead of vengeance, Abiathar joins them and continues to inquire of the Lord for and with David.

Jesus in the Old Testament

“A mark of someone for whom God carries weight and who has experienced God’s forgiveness is the ability to honestly admit failings. When Abiathar, the son of the priest Ahimelech and the sole survivor from Nob, arrives in David’s camp, David readily admits that his own actions contributed to the massacre, and he offers Abiathar safe haven (22:22-23). By the end of this sextion, David has been joined by both the prophet Gad, who guides him (22:5), and the priest Abiathar who brought with him the priestly “ephod” (23:6), a further instrument of God’s guidance. Clearly, the Lord is providentially providing for David in the wilderness (cf. Psalm 63). Believers can be assured, even “in the wilderness,” that as they give God weight and seek his kingdom he will guide them and provide all they need (Matt. 6:31-33; cf. Phil. 4:19). For Jesus himself went through the wilderness, afflicted by the Enemy, so that all our wilderness experiences can be endured not as punishment but as the kind purposes of God to cultivate perseverance in his beloved children (Matt. 4:1-11; Rom. 5:3-5).

Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore do not be anxious, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

This has been really hard for me lately as well. I find myself very concerned about the future. This study was obviously meant for me today.

Philippians 4:19-20 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Matthew 4:1-11 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

Romans 5:1-6 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.

Next Week: 1 Samuel 23:15-29

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A Prayer of Gratitude


Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 107:1

Dear Lord,

In Your love and mercy, You have given Kyrie excellent health. Thank You for making the way for her to be in Lebanon with her family and to contribute in her own way to the Liss family ministry. Thank You for protecting her little body from infections and pain. You are blessing her life in so many ways. Thank You!

Amen.

Can You Help Me Plug In?

The past few months I have been Unplugged in the best sense of the word. God has given me direction and purpose, and I am making leaps and bounds of progress in discipline, mothering, marriage, and inner peace and healing.

Some of you have seen our Give Forward page to raise money for Kyrie Rebekah’s surgery this coming December. We have been in a soft launch phase because I am not great with technology and I wanted to make sure I knew how everything worked before I spent a lot of time pushing the fundraiser. Well, now we are ready to launch an all out fundraiser for my wonderful daughter!

Kyrie Surgery Fundraiser Main Picture

Will you join me?

As I plug back in to the technological world of social media, blogging, and email newsletters, will you join me to make this fundraiser a success?

First, and most importantly, I need prayer warriors who can get on their knees and seek God.

I will be posting prayer updates each week with a short prayer for you to say for Kyrie and all of us as we come back to the States for this surgery.

We need prayer for things like ease of transition traveling to the States and back, for the dates to work well with Davy’s first year of school, family time that can be deep and loving rather than distracted by the surgery, and of course no complications.

If you are willing to join our prayer team, please CLICK HERE! You will receive a specific update to your email address every time I post a prayer request. If you already receive the Mommy Book Blog in your inbox, you are already signed up!

Feet on the Street

The next thing we need is for people in the States to help us out with sharing the need. We are creating a bulletin insert sized pamphlet, a poster, and prayer cards. We would love to send you a packet to distribute. If you are interested in distributing a packet or organizing a fundraiser for us please hit reply or leave a message. You can also join our facebook group to connect with us and combine prayers for Kyrie.

Finally, we need about $5,500 more into our Give Forward fund. If you can give even a few dollars to help us out, CLICK HERE.

Our family has been so blessed over the years to be surrounded by such a great team of loving support and we know that you are going to help make this an easy and peaceful time. We are going to be able to solve an issue before it can ever become a problem for our little girl, and you are already helping us by thinking about us and praying for us. Thank you so much!

1 Samuel 22:6-19


Overview

Saul continues to be paranoid and violent. He knows that David has fled and it is discovered that he is hiding out with the men we discussed last week. He becomes furious that no one told him and begins to believe that everyone is in on the great conspiracy against Saul. Doeg the Edomite who saw David seek help from Ahimelech speaks up and shares that he saw the priests of Nob help David, give him supplies and the sword of Goliath. Therefore, Saul calls all the priests of Nob. Quite honestly they share that they had no idea David was on the run seeing as he has always been loyal, is the son-in-law of Saul, and he did not share that he was on the run. Saul has all the priests and their families and livestock all killed by Doeg the Edomite because the guards refuse to kill priests retaining some fear of the Lord.

Characters

King Saul, David / son of Jesse, the men with David, Saul’s servants / people of Benjamin, Doeg the Edomite, Ahimelech son of Ahitub, Goliath, Ahitub’s household men – 85 people, God, and Ahitub’s family line of women and children as well.

Key Verse

Verse 17 & 18 “And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out heir hand to strike the priests of the Lord. Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod.””

Cross References

2 Kings 10:21, 23-28 “And Jehu sent throughout all Israel, and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. And they entered the house of Baal, and the house of Baal was filled from one end to the other…Then Jehu went into the house of Baal with Jehonadab the son of Rechab, and he said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search, and see that there is no servant of the LORD here among you, but only the worshipers of Baal.” Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside and said, “The man who allows any of those whom I give into your hands to escape shall forfeit his life.” So as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guard and to the officers, “Go in and strike them down; let not a man escape.” So when they put them to the sword, the guard and the officers cast them out and went into the inner room of the house of Baal, and they brought out the pillar that was in the house of Baal and burned it. And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day. Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel.”

Another story of wiping out priests, but this time priests to Satan.

2 Chronicles 12:1-2, 5-10, 12 “When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem…Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand Shishak.'” Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is righteous.” When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.” So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made, and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house…And when he humbled himself the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to make a complete destruction. Moreover, conditions were good in Judah.”

Another king who turned from God. But this is a story of finding humility and turning back to God.

1 Samuel 2:31 “Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.”

The word of the Lord to Eli the priest in the beginning of this book.

Conclusion

With the candidates for office in the States starting to be bigger news, it is important for me to remember that God is in charge of choosing who rules and he gives them their authority. They don’t have anything that hasn’t come from God whether they choose Him or not. He is in charge. As in the stories above, none of those leaders were fully following God, but God was able to use them in the way He planned things. This is humbling as well as hopeful.

Jesus in the Old Testament

“Saul’s small-to-nonexistent concern for God, by contrast, leads only to paranoia, even on the throne. One never sees life’s circumstances rightly when one’s view of God is too small. Defective theological vision can lead to alienation and sin.”*

Romans 1:19-32 “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

“The fate of those who, like Saul, refuse “to acknowledge God” is alienation and sin. As Paul warns in Romans 1:28-32, God gives up such persons “to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done,” to be filled with “envy, murder, [and] strife,” to become “foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless,” and to approve (like Saul) those who (like Doeg) commit crimes worthy of death.”*

“The hope and promise of the gospel, by contrast, is a renewed mind capable of discerning the will of God and, by grace, obeying it (Rom. 12:2). For we are not who we once were. We have been adopted into God’s family, utterly by grace. We have been given a new identity as children of God.”*

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.

Next Week: 1 Samuel 22:20—23:14

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

Why I Unplugged for Two Months!

081716_1251_WhyIUnplugg1.jpg

Besides the 1 Samuel Blog Bible Study, I haven’t posted since June 16th! That post was about the amazing book I read 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by one of my favorite bloggers, Crystal Paine. So, why did I stop posting anything but Bible? I took the past two months to cleanse my brain and focus my energy into preparing for a new season of discipline. A Life edit as prescribed on day 15 of the 21 Days. It was lifegiving to simplify my life in this way.

When we began the summer, Louis and I sat down with the calendar and looked at the whole summer. We knew it was going to be hard with teams to organize, interns coming, preparing to send Davy to school, and visa trips. We would sit again at the beginning of each month to plan out the month. We felt prepared at the end of each of those meetings together. But then almost every week I was past done. I was frustrated with my feeling of weakness. I felt wiped out. I wanted to quit.

I can’t make it! I would shout to the heavens.

I wanted to take back all of that planning we had done. I wanted to give up on nearly every responsibility and relationship I have going in my life right now. I just couldn’t live up to it all!

Simultaneously, I felt God calling me deeper with Him, into waters that would involve even more discipline. “God, don’t You see how I am failing at this discipline thing? How can you expect me to do what You are telling me to do? I can’t even do the simplest part of this plan!” I exclaimed. I felt like I was falling on my face before Him, being vulnerable, giving Him my weakness.

His response was not what I expected.

I didn’t receive an “Oh, my poor little princess, you are right, you are overworked. It’s okay, you don’t have to do what I asked.”

Nope.

Instead, I heard God say, “Child, you are a Princess. You are an heir to my kingdom. That means there is work to be done. I am here with you, and I will equip you.” Words that I have heard many people share in testimonies for years. Words that have always sounded good when they were for someone else. But to hear them meant for me… Well, now they were real words. And I didn’t like them. I didn’t want God to step in beside me and help me out. I didn’t want to keep going. I wanted to stop and rest and have bonbons! (Still don’t know what a bonbon is, but isn’t that the highlight of being a stay at home mom?!) God coming and giving me strength meant I had to keep going. Like the Israelites complaining about food and water, it turned out the food and water wasn’t what I wanted.

I wanted an excuse to return to everything being exactly the same every day, even if it meant I was a slave.

Well, realizing something like that about myself made me want to change my heart, so I have taken the last two months to adjust my attitude. I was convicted. So I stopped and had a heart restart. I have gone through the steps from the 21 More Days to a Disciplined Life ebook several times, and one of the sessions I made my goal a new attitude, then taking a page from One More Step (book review coming) and life with Louis Liss, I prayed even bigger. I prayed for happiness. Happiness in the midst of the chaos and weakness and failure. It was a big prayer, but if God is going to get me through the giant tasks He is calling me into, I believe He can heal this other part of me that refuses to be happy, too.

Even with a clean house, well-behaved kids, and my husband doing everything I ask, I will NOT have PEACE if I am not doing what God has called me to do.

I return to this blog a new person. I have had reconciliation, purpose, and happiness reignited in my life. Actually the happiness part might be brand new in my life since childhood! So, I am happy to share with you that I am moving forward renewed!

This last picture is a selfie we took on our most recent visa trip. It captures us in this season, imperfect, but happy to be a family surrounded by God’s work (in this picture the ocean, which Kyrie couldn’t look away from for every selfie we tried). Happy to have wonderful people like you out there who pray for us and love us. Happy to be on God’s path, the safest and most secure path available.

Look forward to some new posts coming in the weeks ahead. Posts about life in Lebanon, how the summer has gone, parenting, books I have been reading, and more! PLUS, join us in our fundraiser for Kyrie’s surgery in December.