My family

My family
Child of God, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Aunt, and friend

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wise words from the Skin Horse

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us."
1 Thessalonians 2:8

Be authentic. Be yourself. There is no greater witness than a person who is open and vulnerable about their love for God and their struggles. I don't know about you, but I can't relate to perfect people. Yet there are loads of Christians running around today who want you to think they are perfect. People who act like they don't have problems are one of the major stumbling blocks to their friends and family becoming Christians. I like the bumper sticker that says, "Christians aren't perfect, they're just forgiven."
I think the old Skin Horse gave the Velveteen Rabbit some pretty outstanding advice about being an authentic person. Maybe this advice is good for you, as well....

"The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs on his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery feder, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become REAL."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

WOW! I can't take the credit for this insightful devotion. It came to me this morning in my email from a daily devotional site that I signed up for. But, man oh man is it a powerful one or what? People want real. It's the "real" in us that God wants us to share and to be apart of our own personal testimonies to people. It can be a scary thing to be vulnerable and to show all our flaws, but if we keep in mind that God made us, flaws and all, in a beautiful way, then we can be better witnesses to the world!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Limitless Power in Prayer

We live in a world of power-hungry people. Did you know that we have some pretty amazing power already? Most people will say something like "I'll be praying for you" when someone is going through a tough time. Unfortunately,it has sort of become a cliche' saying. However, being a born again believer, I know now that there is some pretty awesome and amazing power in prayer. Imagine being able to dial GOD directly, and get him every time! No voicemail, no receptionist giving him the message. ("...but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer." Psalm 66:19)
We can believe and KNOW that our prayers are being heard if we are children of God. We can pray for those whose prayers wouldn't be heard otherwise. We can trust that God will answer our prayers, in HIS timing and in HIS will. This is where faith and ultimate trust come into play again. Matthew 21:22 tells us that "if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." We just need to know WHAT to ask for. We cannot assume that we know, by ourselves, what we want or even need in this life. We are made of the flesh, and therefore think with our flesh. We must first pray for God's will to be done, and not our own, giving him total control over our lives. We must be faithful to God and faithful to prayer. After all, how can we expect to have a close relationship with anyone, let alone God, if we are not first talking and spending time with HIM on a daily basis?
Romans 12:12
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I thought I'd keep it pretty simple today. Simplicity in itself is such a beautiful thing. Although relationships can be complicated, the core of a relationship is love, and love is so simple. Love is unconditional. Period. The word tells us that we are to 100% rely on God's love. God's love is perfect, and although we are not, loving others as Christ loves us is not only what we are called as Christians to do, but it is truly a gift. Today, I want to focus on what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my health, and the health of my family.

I am thankful for a patient, hard-working, sincere, passionate husband who loves me unconditionally, even when I do not deserve it.

I am thankful for Christian brothers and sisters who hold me accountable, and remind me daily of God's love.

I am thankful for God's provisions. HE never ceases to amaze me how every single need is met.

I am thankful for the freedom to express my faith. I know that there are those in the world who are persecuted beyond my wildest fears for keeping their faith, and I never want to take for granted my ability to worship a GOD who loves me in complete freedom and peace.

I could go on and on, but God knows how my heart swells for HIM. Thank you Lord, thank you!
1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Trial of Faith

This devotion comes from "My Utmost for HIS Highest" book, and really struck me today. I love simply opening a devotional and seeing where God has lead me. I love the idea and the reality of faith, and so for me this devotional was so powerful! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

"Without faith it is impossible to please HIM..." (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith in active opposition to common sense is mistaken enthusiasm and narrow-mindedness, and common sense in opposition to faith demonstrates a mistaken reliance on reason as the basis for truth. The life of faith brings the two of these into the proper relationship. Common sense and faith are as different from each other as the natural life is from the spiritual, and as impulsiveness is from inspiration. Nothing that Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, but is revelation sense, and is complete, whereas common sense falls short.Yet faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life. "We know that all things work together for good..." (Romans 8:28) so that no matter what happens, the transforming power of God's providence transforms perfect faith into reality. Faith always works in a personal way, because the purpose of God is to see that perfect faith is made real in HIS children.
For every detail of common sense in life, there is a truth God has revealed by which we can prove in our practical experience what we believe God to be. Faith is a tremendously active principle that always puts Jesus Christ first. The life of faith says, "Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I'm going to step out boldly, trusting in Your Word." Turning intellectual faith into our personal possession is always a fight, not just sometimes. God brings us into particular circumstances to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make the object of our faith very real to us. Until we know Jesus, God is merely a concept, and we can't have faith in Him. But once we hear Jesus say, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9) we immediately have something that is real, and our faith is limitless. Faith is the entire person in the right relationship with God through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A week of firsts

This week has been a week of firsts for us Haefs'. Mostly for Anna, but I just thought I'd share a few little stories....

Anna ate her first cracker today. Since she has not gotten any teeth yet, it was pretty funny to watch her gummin' it up. It reminded me that our lives begin and end the same....Gummin' up our food, and having someone cheer us on! LOL! She has also been letting go of whatever it is she pulls up on. I counted up to 6 the other day, which means she's really getting her balance down, and it's only a matter of time before she's walking! I can hardly believe it!

Now, let's talk about miss Kayla. The past few nights have been a little rough around here. She's decided that she doesn't want to go to bed....period. She's always been my hearty little sleeper (12 hours at night, and 3 hour naps) which has been WONDERFUL. However, for whatever reason, the past 3 nights, she hasn't fallen asleep till almost 11! This has certainly been an added stress, as David and have both battled with a head cold, and our nights are so very precious for getting rest. Instead, we've been going into her room every 15 min or so, only to find her out of her bed reading books or playing in her kitchen. And it's so stinkin' hard to be mad at her when she's so cute! She just gazes up at us and says "I no wanna take a nap all day!" That is her definition of what going to bed is. I've also gotten such a clear insight as to just how early us gals have the whole manipulation thing down pact. She tries her darnedest to come up with every possible reason as to why she shouldn't "take a nap all day." She wants water, she has to go potty, she's hungry, she wants to give Anna a hug, she wants to play with the cat.....the list goes on and on. "cute" as this all is, please pray for guidance for us (especially me, as I am the one putting her to bed most nights.)

My sweet hubby did something adorable today....
As anyone knows who's been married for a time, the definition of love in a marriage is so much more then Hollywood makes it out to be. My David showed me in high regards that he loved me very much today. He has been so busy with work and school, and even preparing for finals this week, and on top of all of that, he's been sick. I went to my MOPS meeting today, and when I came home, he had CLEANED the entire kitchen. Now, he used to do this sort of thing all of the time, that is, before he started school full time in April. Since then, I have pretty much taken on the brunt of the house duties, which is fine. I was so touched that he cleaned the kitchen, not because it was a HUGE deal, but because I knew he did it to bless me and because he loved me.....
I love that man!

I hope you all are having a blessed and rewarding week as well.....