Friday, November 23, 2012

Your Praise Will Go on and on.....

Not just for a day or 30 days.....forever and ever His love endures and I AM GRATEFUL!!!!

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100:4-5

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Appropriate Greeting

My oldest son, Joseph, is on the autism spectrum.  We spend quite a large amount of time working on "kind words", "appropriate greetings", and "nice voices".  It is often an exhausting process, but necessary and rewarding for all of us.  I think people this year need to be trained and taught about appropriate greetings.  Quite often during this time of year.....people lose their mind.  They act CRAZY and are rude, selfish and hateful.  Ironic that it happens during the time of year that we are supposed to be practicing gratitude, love and peace on earth, goodwill to men.  Today I would like to challenge us all to practice what the Word says. Ephesians 5:18-20 tells us, " filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

So, if you are a "Black Friday" shopper this is a GREAT opportunity to practice this verse.  As you have to cook a meal for more people than you usually serve...practice this verse.  Sending out a list of Christmas cards as long as your arm....practice this verse.  Another company party or neighborhood get-together....practice THIS verse.

Be blessed today as you actively display your gratitude and continue to practice appropriate greetings.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Be Thankful"

Yesterday's sermon was on I Thes. 5:18  "in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  As a part of our "If" series, this sermon was so powerful.  Today I want to share on the teaching of gratitude.  I've been sharing daily (well when I can) things I'm grateful for, but now I have a totally new appreciation for true gratitude.  Let me say that I am grateful for the move of the Holy Spirit and His ability to teach His children.  Praise be to God for using Tim Moore (our pastor) to bring the TRUTH to us.

1.  "Be thankful"- Eucharistate (in the Greek).  As a present and active verb this is to be linear, continual and intentional as opposed to a one time action of gratitude.  So we were reminded that EVERY time we share the eucharist (or Lord's meal) we are sharing a Thanksgiving meal together as a family of God.  The application question here...Am I intentional about gratitude???

2.  "In every circumstance"- En Panti (Greek).  Everything...ALL things (check out Rom. 8:28 and II Cor. 1).  Application-we CAN be thankful in all circumstances.  No pain or hurt is wasted IF given to God to redeem.

3.  "for this is the will of God"- Thelema Theou (Greek).  This is the actual desire of God.  God has deep desires for His children.  Living a life of complete gratitude is God's desire/plan for us.  

4. "for those who belong to Christ"- En Kristo (Greek).  Eph. 1:3 in Christ, as His child, I have ALL spiritual blessings in HIM!  I can take off my heaviness, rest in my Lord and the simplicity of the GOSPEL!!!

I Pet. 3:18 "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;"  The entire gospel in one verse.  I need to SLOW DOWN, stop pursuing the American "dream" and live a life of gratitude.  My life was designed to be a perpetual display of gratitude for God's love and mercy.  Oh God, make me a display of your splendor!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Few Days in the Life....

So I'm a few days behind in this "thankful thing".  Not that I haven't been experiencing or practicing gratitude.  I just don't always have the moments to steal away to my laptop and capture what God has been doing in my midst that day.  Thank you friends and readers for your grace as you read my long(er) posts.

Day 14: Philippians 1:3-5, "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now."  

I am so thankful for the many wonderful, diverse, uplifting and even challenging relationships in which God has placed me.  Over the years I have had some VERY dear friendships that have dissolved.  It's been one of the most painful and heart crushing things I've experienced.  However, it has brought a depth to my life and an authenticity to my current relationships.  I love the last part of this verse, it isn't about a partnership, a friendship that is self-serving, it's about the gospel.  God has changed my heart AND my vision over the last decade to really understand or GET what friendship is about.  Those friendships that feed me, bless me, encourage me, challenge me, uplift me, ALSO bring honor to Jesus.  Having pure out fun with people is a gift.  Yet, even in the midst of laughter, fun, silliness I LOVE that my true friends can bring me back to Jesus at the foot of the cross, or worshiping at His throne.  So, this day I will celebrate the GOSPEL, and having a true friend and BEING a true friend.  Jesus......change my heart to make me more like you.

Day 15: Psalm 103:1 is our thanksgiving verse for today, "Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name."

I will celebrate the many and complete ways that my soul can praise the Lord!  There is music that speaks to me in powerful ways.  I praise the Lord through journaling, blogging, laughing, talking, mothering, teaching....oh the many ways that I can glorify and magnify the name of Jesus.  I am grateful for the name of Jesus CHRIST!!!

Day 16: Jonah 2:9 is your thanksgiving verse for today: "But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to You.  As I think today of thankfulness in regards to this verse the word SACRIFICE pops out to me.  How can my sacrifice bring you praise?  What do I have to sacrifice?  What does sacrifice look like for me?  Is my heart willing to be willing?  God, today I will revel in the fact that through the Holy Spirit I can give up any form of entitlement or rights that I think I have.  The Lord gives me the strength to shout out gratefulness in the midst of confusion, strife and pain.    

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jesus Saves!!!!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

That's what I celebrate today, day 13 of my "30 days of gratitude".  I have been rescued from an eternity of desperate separation from my creator and God!!!  Jesus saved me from sin, hell and death.  He saved me from myself.  Oh, how grateful I am for the gift of life, love and redemption.  More than just a "cop out", a fantasy or an excuse, Jesus is REAL, alive and my Savior!  I am different because I daily choose to submit my will, care and life to the loving embrace of Jesus.  I'm not perfect, but I'm forgiven and I'm learning to walk daily in the newness of who Jesus is making me.  Praise be to GOD!!

Let's celebrate together with Travis Cottrell's "Jesus Saves"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Declaring Your Name

Day 12:  "We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near." Psalm 75:1

Oh that I would declare Your name.  My heart's cry is that our family would be a vessel, salt and light, a beacon to declare your name is NEAR!!!  Today I'm grateful for the opportunity to home educate/disciple.  Now this is a really odd day to be grateful for that.  See, we ALL ended up in tears today.  There were harsh words, tears, yelling, crying, you name it.  Not a stellar day in the lives of the Flint family.  Yet, I'm grateful that we get to wake up tomorrow and try it all again.  Lord, your wondrous works....the trees, the stars, the birds, the wind, they all declare YOU!!!  My five snot-nosed, coughing, sick kids...declare YOU.  I'm so blessed and I thank you for reminding me today that you are NEAR.  

Practice makes.....

I'm not going to be perfect.  However, I am redeemed.  The beautiful mess of my life has been atoned for by the blood of Jesus Christ and I'm ever so grateful.

Day 11: Hebrews 12:28-29 today, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'"  A kingdom that cannot be shaken.  Oh what a great reminder for my heart today.  I still struggle with the fact that my world, this world feels, seems IS so out of control.  I personally was NOT pleased with the results of last week's election.  But God's kingdom is unshakable.  My God is a consuming fire and He will take care of me and He will consume all those that are against Him.  I KNOW the end of the story and I know that God WINS!  So today I will take heart in that and cultivate gratitude.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A week of challenge

This has been a tough week.  A week full of sickness, challenge, emotionally draining parental moments, financial worries has left me drained.  I am exhausted, discouraged and feeling anything but grateful.  I am a wreck, BUT I know that this is just a feeling.  God's Word reminds me " But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Cor. 4:7-10)  These promises are what I cling to and know that things are different than what they appear to be, and my safety and security is in Jesus!!!

So to combat my anxiety, sadness, "stinkin' thinkin'" and poor pitiful me "party" I am going to share gratitude.  Thank you for your grace as I "catch up" on my gratitude journaling.

Day 7: "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14.  Knowing that I am wonderfully made is quite a difficult thing for me to still grasp.  I look into the mirror and EVEN in spite of a 100 pound loss I see a woman that is "short. round. brown. plain.".  I think that I will always be a fat, flabby, wrinkly, graying, plain-looking woman.  Quite often it's difficult for me to find anything "extraordinary" about me.  Other people are more beautiful, talented, creative, intelligent and charismatic.  This is a character defect of mine.  I struggle with the thief known as comparison.  So this day I will celebrate that God uniquely, wonderfully and fearfully knit together ever part of who I am.  This day I will take joy in the fact that I AM the best Janelle Flint that could ever be, I'm the only Janelle Morgan Flint that could ever be and that God makes no mistakes.     

Day 8: 1 John 3:1 "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! "  I'm a woman.  I'm a wife, mother, sister, friend.  I'm a college graduate.  I'm a musician.  NONE of those are as important though as being known as a child of GOD!!!  Thank you Lord.  This day I will celebrate and meditate on God's love to adopt me as His own and to lavish His good love upon me. 

Day 9:  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 All things.  Every thing.  The "good".  The "bad".  The hard, challenging and upsetting things.  The things that make me laugh.  The things that make me cry.  The things that cause my heart to grieve so much that I can barely breathe.  ALL of these things are used by God.  This day I will be thankful that God has called me for HIS purpose and so I can rest in the fact that no hurt, no tear, no pain will be wasted.  

TODAY.....Day 10: "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer." 1 Timothy 4:4-5  This verse is hard for me.  I had to read a commentary on it to "get" it.  Now that I have a bit better understanding of this Scripture I love it even more.  I've been working hard to lose weight the last two years.  I've had to basically change my lifestyle and learn what foods are true sources of fuel for my body and which foods are just fun/pointless.  Yes God created white powered donuts, but they sure don't fuel my body like salmon and broccoli.  I am thankful though that as Scripture reminds me that food is clean.  God made food for me to eat and enjoy.  I can eat meat and not feel badly about it.  Now maybe I should feel badly about the half a bag of chips I devoured today.  ;-)

I'm learning.  I'm growing.  I'm changing and praying that God will continue to cultivate within me a heart of gratitude!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Manic Monday and Time-Out Tuesday

Yesterday was quite busy and I FINALLY went to the doc. I've been sick in some shape, form or fashion since late Sept/early Oct.  A different antibiotic, an inhaler and a cough med. Bronchitis, the official diagnosis. I digress and share with you SWEET BROWN

Ok.  Now that we've all chuckled let's get on to the gratitude.  No I must confess that yesterday AND today are certainly acts of sacrificial gratitude.  I'm in a FOUL mood.  I can't find anything good with anyone or any thing.  I'm sick, grumpy and feeling sorry for myself.  Unappreciated, unloved and generally bah-humbuggish.  


Day 5: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

Anxious about anything....God does that mean my illness?  YES!  What about Joseph's autism?  YES!!!  Finances?  Uh-huh!!!  My marriage and children?  YES I think I was clear!  What the future holds? YES JANELLE!!!  O.K. Lord, this day I will celebrate and take a moment to be grateful that in any and every situation I can rest in God's Sovereignty and trust Him that His plan will prevail.  When it doesn't feel good, sound good, look good, it IS for MY good and His glory.  I am grateful that I can take all of my requests, petitions and needs to God in prayer WITH a thankful heart.  I'm glad that the Lord continues to lovingly mold my heart into one of gracious thankfulness and not self-serving motives.  This day I'm so glad that God's perfect love casts out all fear and I don't have to be anxious.  

Day 6:  "Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods." Psalm 95:2-3

You are the GREAT God.  The King above all gods.  That's good news on TODAY...election day.  Today I'm grateful to be an American, and to have the right to vote and make my choice.  More importantly I'm so glad that I'm a dual citizen and my lasting residence is in HEAVEN.  God is my King and I am so grateful for THAT!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

For This I Am Grateful

Day 4: "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17

Whatever I I'm grateful for whatever I do and that is being a wife and mother.  I am so thankful that God has called me to the high privilege of being a wife and mother.  There are days I shake my fist at Him and ask...why.  Why five kids?  Why two sets of twins?  Why a husband that struggles with depression and anxiety?  Why does Joseph have autism?  It is a lot on my plate, but I'm grateful.  Loving these children is making me more like Him.  Staying with Nathan through better or worse is causing me to love like Christ.  These trials grow me, mold me, change me, break me and purify me and for THAT I'm EVER so grateful.


Several of my friends are posting "30 Days of Gratefulness" as their FB statuses daily during the month of November.  Also one of my favorite authors (Lysa TerKeurst) is posting a Scripture daily.  So I'm going to combine those ideas and include it here in my blog.  Should be a fun month....Remember the Scriptures are Lysa's choice, but the gratitude is ALL mine.  Starting a few days late, but I've had a nasty virus/flu and I am WELL below par.  If you're reading this, maybe you'll pray for me???

Day 1: "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me." Psalm 13:5-6

The Lord HAS been good to me.  Words can't express my gratitude for my salvation and I've talked about it often, so to I don't want to minimalize it or make my gratitude sound too small.  So today I will focus on His unfailing love and goodness to me.  Having five kids is often challenging.  The past few days during this illness have been extremely tough.  What I'm grateful for specifically is that Joseph (against his wishes) fixed breakfast for James and Jonathan.  He even said "You're NOT welcome", but he did it.  He made their breakfast and got them juice.  So, I'm grateful that in God's love, even in the midst of my sickness He showed me that He holds Joseph's heart and is changing it.  Although it seems slow to me, the progress is happening according to God's timing.

Day 2:  "November 2: "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34   

His enduring love.  A love that lasts through financial ruin, marriage trouble, years of obesity.  His LOVE.  This day I will celebrate His love that carried me through my breaking point and two years of journeying toward health and wholeness.  I am 100 pounds lighter than on October 31, 2010 and for THAT I'm grateful.  I'm grateful that I've learned to work hard, exercise, jog, and enjoy sweating.  I'm grateful that I'm a size 14 and not a 28.  I'm grateful that I prefer broccoli and salmon over fried chicken wings and smothered fries. 

Day 3:  "The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him." Psalm 28:7

With my song....This day I celebrate music AND the ability/gift to create it.  I am so glad to have the knowledge and talent to play the piano, flute and sing.  I am still honing my craft and have plenty of room for improvement, but my abilities have provided MANY opportunities and I'm so happy to have had them.  Music is a gift, it stirs the soul and evokes emotion.     Some of my most precious memories involve music, for this I am grateful.

I will do my best to keep up with my daily blogging.  Life around here is busy, but even that brings thankfulness.  Although feisty and often precocious, my children make life interesting.  Have a GREAT day everyone and be BLESSED as you create and receive THANKSGIVING!

BTW Lysa hasn't posted today's Scripture, so I'll be posting again later.  Stay tuned.

Friday, September 28, 2012

When There Aren't Any Words

It's been FAR too long since I've posted in this blog.  I could go on and on about all of the reasons and bore you with details about my life.  I won't.  I'll just say that this blog has not been a priority.  

That's a word for you.  Priority.  What are my priorities?  Which things in my life hold places of prominence?  Which relationships?  Which goals, dreams and hopes?  How do I organize my life?  Is my time managed wisely?  These are questions that I have been pondering for months.  The loving, gracious and patient Holy Spirit has been prompting me in these last weeks to focus in on what is important.  My version of important and His are very different.  Micah 6:8 says "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Also Phil. 4:8 reminds me that I am to "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

Admitting to you that my perspective has been skewed isn't easy.  Publicly admitting that I'm not the person I want to be or should be is humbling.  None of my relationships are getting the attention they deserve.  This home is a wreck.  Spiritually, my life is weak.  The 17 year marriage is holding on because of all the work I've invested in the past, but isn't getting current attention.  Sweet children are surviving.  The home school that meets here is barely educating.   Eating habits are sliding.  Weight is fluctuating.  Goals are not getting met.  Dreams are fading.     

"In my hurt, at my worst, when my world falls down.  Not for a moment will You forsake me.  Not for a moment will you forsake me."  The Lord is constant and His mercies are new every morning.  I don't deserve ONE of them, yet He lovingly and willingly pours them out on me moment by moment.  

Today there are words.  Today I say "Lord, with your help I will try AGAIN.".  Today I cry out "I need you to fix me and restore to me the joy of YOUR salvation.".  Today there are words that relate my pain, hurt, grief, sorrow, fear, doubt, uncertainty, joy and willingness.  Today my heart, mind and mouth unite in speaking the beauty, grace, majesty, mercy, forgiveness, holiness and justice of my Lord.  My heart desires to be a DOER of the Word and not a hearer only.  I will keep going, growing, changing, trying, living, laughing, loving, breathing, dreaming, hoping, forgiving and pursuing.  Today I will BE in the moment what I was called to be and I will walk ONE step at a time with my God.  Today.  That's all I have.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Recently there was a tragic shooting at the midnight premiere of the newest installment in the Batman series.  A little after midnight on July 20, 2012 a lone shooter busted into a theater in Aurora, CO and killed 12 people.  59 were injured and the country mourned. 

Beyond gun control debates, in spite of the hero stories, past the sadness, grief, questions there is the sovereignty of God.  I don't claim to understand it, but I, BY FAITH, can believe it.  Although THE Dark Knight rises, he (Satan) is still under the hand of God.  He is a created being.  Created BY God.  They are not in a wrestling match.  God has already won the battle.  Take heart my friends.

This world is fallen, broken, hurting.  I have hope.  He resides in my heart.  He guides me.  He holds me EVEN when I am hurting. 

I just want to share some of that hope with you today....

Friday, June 29, 2012

Why I'm Not.....

*This post is very personal and possibly too graphic in nature for some.  Just so you know...I warned you!!*

This post by a friend of mine on Facebook really got me to thinking.  I have been feeling some very strong things for quite some time, but have honestly been too afraid of what people would think of me to post them.  So, in MY blog, my corner of the world I'm going to share MY thoughts, MY feelings, MY opinions and everyone I pray can at least respect me for that. 

Here is the link that my friend shared on her FB page  I also have another link I would invite you to read  I respect both of these ladies and their opinions.  However, the real issue in my mind, is that God's Word plainly says that lust is wrong.  It says that adultery is wrong.  It warns of the downfalls of sexual sins, promiscuity, fornication.  The Bible also gives us instruction on pure, exciting, God honoring love. 

MANY people I know, love and care for have read this book.  They have read the entire series.  Devouring it's pages and hardly able to focus on life until the books were complete.  Well...they did finish the books so they could get to the theater in time to see "Magic Mike".  "Magic Mike" a fine piece of cinema?  Please ladies, we all know you aren't going for the story line, acting or cinematography.  Could it be that you are going because the men are amazingly beautiful and you want to look at them?  Guess what???  They aren't YOUR men.

I'm not going to participte in either one of these "crazes" because it doesn't bring honor to God, to my husband or to myself.  There isn't ANYTHING good that can come from introducing these words or images into my psyche.  True intimacy with God and with others can only be achieved through purity of heart, soul and mind.  Would I like it if Nathan went to a movie about female strippers???  Absolutely not!!!  America is consumed with pornography and we've justified, analyzed, reconciled, and explained it away into a state of being "norm".  It's not normal. 

I no longer choose to read "romance" novels.  Although the Notebook is one of my favorite books and that movie still brings tears to my eyes, there was a time when watching it brought nothing but conflict and sadness.  You see, honestly I lived many years of my life with a divided heart, a conflicted mind, a life of duplicity.  My reality, as is the reality of most people I know, isn't like the lives of those in movies.  Real, true, lasting integrity, honesty, intimacy, trust takes cultivating, developing, working for and towards.  In my life watching these kinds of "chick flicks", reading "romance" novels and sitting around in huddles of women talking about our sex lives doesn't promote a healthy marriage.  Please HEAR me.  I have done ALL of these things.  I am fully aware of my sin. I am fully aware of the hurt and pain I've caused myself AND Nathan.  I want to be a different lady. 

My heart's cry is to bring joy to my Savior. Phil. 4:8 says "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  Also Psalm 19:14 says "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."  These Scriptures sum it up for me.  I can't be thinking about what's right as I am filling my mind with that which is contrary to God's Word.  He is holy.  He is pure.  He sent his only son, Jesus, to die for me (and you) and to actively, willingly participate in these activities, cannot bring Him joy. 

It's the old saying that my mom used to say "would you do that if Jesus were sitting next to you"?  Well ladies....would you invite Jesus to sit next to you at Magic Mike?  You could share popcorn and talk about what a good job he did creating those beautiful men and how talented they were at stripping???  What about reading "50 Shades" instead of the Bible or finishing your "quiet time" so you could get in a few pages of your new read before the kids wake up??? 

God sent Jesus that we might have a more abundant life!!!  I'm so grateful that his Word is truth and that I can hold onto it, even when everything and everyone else around me fails.  My heart and flesh will fail, but He will never fail me.  I am far from perfect.  I sin. I think horrible things.  I do horrible things.  I grieve the Spirit.  I however, do not make sin a practice.  Praise be to God for his unfailing love and convicting Holy Spirit. 

If you made it to this point in the post, I hope you know that you are loved, cared for, and prayed for by me.  I am not going to write you off if you've read the book or seen the movie.  This is MY post.  I just wanted to share me heart, because I love you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When There are No Words

Today there are no words. My heart is devastated and my soul is weary. I find myself here in these words. Tears bring no comfort, but His Word is my only solace. Praise be to God for His incomprable gift. Jesus, the risen Son of God, you alone can bring something good out of this pain.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Big Yellow Sign

So today as I was traveling to Randall Glen Farms with my four children (minus Joseph) for a home school co-op field trip, I encountered an unusual road sign.                                
I'm not sure how this sign makes me feel.  There are times I feel as if I wear this sign.  Every outburst, every tantrum, every food jag, every conversation dealing with a vocal tic, every tear....can often be summed up by this sign. 

Lately I feel as if my life is completely consumed with and by autism.  At this point in the journey of my life I'm not able to view autism as just a part of who Joseph is or a gift or even a part of a loving, Sovereign God's plan.  Today I'm over it.  Today I'm sad.  Today I'm fearful and disappointed.  Today I want something more, something different, something ELSE for Joseph and for our family. 

I'm weary and tired of feeling as if I have to justify every action, every detail forgotten, every inappropriate action or conversation.  My soul longs for rest and my mother's heart is broken, absolutely broken.  I grieve for Joseph.  I grieve for myself.  I grieve for his siblings, the true, intimate, lasting relationship he won't be able to navigate/cultivate, the life I think he should have.  I grieve.  I question.  I fail to understand or find joy.  I fail.....

Such powerful emotion after almost seven years.  Joseph was diagnosed when he was four and today it feels as if I am hearing that word for the first time. 

Maybe I need a road sign that says "Hurting, Sad and Overwhelmed Momma Area"?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Celebrating 17

Today is my 17th wedding anniversary.

For the last 17 years God has allowed me the privilege of learning to be more like Him, by learning to love Nathan unconditionally and serving him.  Today more than ever, I am convinced that marriage is the earthly representation of God's covenant love for us.  My marriage to Nathan is more than a name change.  It's more than a contract or a relationship.  It's a covenant.  It's a vow.  It's truly "Until death do us part".  My heart is acutely aware of the importance of the words I spoke to Nathan in front of God and the company of witnesses 17 years ago today. 

We have overcome so much these last years.  Truly without the loving mercy of my Heavenly Father, I would be another statistic.  My marriage would have ended in divorce and my children would be forced to play the custody game.  We have overcome some serious issues and have worked HARD to salvage our marriage.  Counseling, Celebrate Recovery, prayer, personal work, accountability have all been part of our journey.  I have an AMAZING marriage.  Nathan and I can communicate about anything.  We often hurt each other's feelings, but we keep short tabs.  Hurts, tears and frustrations are talked about immediately and problems dealt with promptly.  There are still unmet expectations, but most of the time we set our boundaries and learn to respectfully love each other.  God is our primary love.  I love God more than Nathan.  Here on earth I don't want to be apart from Nathan longer than is necessary, but ultimately my heart longs to be with Jesus. 

There are things about Nathan that still frustrate me after 17 years.  I know that I have many character flaws that drive Nathan crazy.  Yet, we still hang in there.  I will NEVER be able to change him.  I can however help him to grow and change in Christ.  I can pray for him and over him, serve him, submit to him, respect him, honor him, LOVE him.  I keep looking for the good in Nathan and that's what I keep finding, even after all this time.

This weekend was relaxing.  We had great food, great conversation, lots of sleep (nice to wake up at 9 instead of 5:30am) and time to work together on the house.  It was the perfect gift and I'm grateful. 

Nathan will never read this blog.  He hates the Internet.  He only uses it for eBay, YouTube and diesel forums.  This blog is for me.  It is a place that I can let myself and the world know just how much I love Nathan Roy Flint and how grateful I am to share my life with him.  To God be the glory! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Law Vs. Covenant

So yesterday I had the pleasure of voting.  Two of my children came to the polls with me and actually helped me read the amendment that I specifically went to vote in favor of that day.  My daughter helped me fill in the circle darkly and we talked again about how important it was to exercise our American right, freedom and privilege to vote.  The amendment passed and in the state of NC marriage is defined as one man and one woman.  This is important to me for MANY reasons.

However, this post is not at all about this law.  It isn't about the hatred that I saw spewed on Facebook today.  It isn't about how my heart breaks when people are unkind, downright mean and judgemental.  This post isn't to discuss how it appears to me that some Christians don't have a respect for God's Word, law or authority, but value THEIR rights and freedoms above all.  We could debate, talk, discuss and hash all of these points intelligently or harshly on any given day. 

THIS post is about a covenant.  God defines marriage as a covenant.  It's an earthly representation of the love between God and us.  The groom woos and pursues his bride.  He sacrifices ultimately for her.  He gives himself to save her.  It's the greatest love story ever told.  I was reminded of this covenant love today in a video that I simply must share.  I am aware that all "one man, one woman" marriages as defined by law in the state of NC are NOT this kind of marriage.  I would be foolish to think so.  I just want to share this video as a representation of my heart so people can understand the value of covenant in my life and in the lives of many others.  I thought it was worth protecting yesterday by casting my vote.

Please know that I have gay friends.  I have gay friends with domestic partners.  I love them.  I talk to them.  I don't shun them or try to keep my kids away from them.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  This is mine.  I pray that you are touched, blessed and encouraged by this post and this video.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Unsettled and Undone

The prophet Isaiah said in Chapter 6 verse 4 "Woe is me, for I am ruined!" I can relate. Lately I have been experiencing a holy unsettling. A time of correction, rebuke, and challenge from the Word and from other books that I've been reading. I have been studying the Sermon on the Mount again in Kay Arthur's "Lord I'm Torn Between Two Masters". Coming face to face with unconfessed sins in my life isn't easy. Meditating on any practices repeated patterns that might separate me from God is a difficult and humbling process. I praise God for the assurance of salvation and the reminder of the power of GRACE!. I have been delivered from so much and I have so much gratitude within my heart. Being holy isn't possible within my own power but living a life that is pleasing to God is COMPLETELY possible through Jesus Christ.

Also there have been some authors that have deeply touched me lately. This was a post on the blog of author/speaker Lysa TerKeurst from 2009. I first came across it in her book "Made to Crave" and I tell it almost "did me in".

Unsettle me.

These are the two words rattling about in my brain today. I almost wish it was a more glamorous prayer. Surely more eloquent words could be found for what I’m feeling led to pursue during this new year.
But these are the words- this is the prayer for my 2009.
The funny thing is I’ve spent my whole existence trying to find a place to settle down. People to settle down with. And a spirit about me worthy of all this settled down-ness.
All of this is good. A contented heart, thankful for its blessings is a good way to settle.
But there are areas of my life that have also settled that mock my desires to be godly woman. Compromises if you will.

Attitudes that I’ve wrapped in the lie, “Well, that’s just how I am. And if that’s all the bad that’s in me, I’m doing pretty good.”

I dare you, dear soul of mine, to notice the stark evidence of a spirit that is tainted and a heart that must be placed under the microscope of God’s word.
Yes, indeed, unsettle me Lord.
Unearth that remnant of unforgiveness.
Shake loose that justification for compromise.
Reveal that broken shard of pride.
Expose that tendency to distrust.
Unsettle me in the best kind of way. For when I allow your touch to reach the deepest parts of me- dark and dingy and hidden away too long- suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul.
I can delight in forgiveness and love more deeply.
I can discover my gentle responses and find softer ways for my words to land.
I can recognize the beauty of humility and crave the intimacy with God it unleashes.
I can rest assured though harsh winds blow, I will be held.
Goodbye to my remnants, my justification, shards, and tendencies. This is not who I am- nor who I was created to be.

Goodbye to shallow love, sharp words, self focus, and suspicious fears. I am an unsettled woman who no longer wishes to take part in your distractions or distructions.

Welcome deeper love, softer words, unleashed intimacy, and the certainty I am held.

Welcome my unsettled heart.

Welcome 2009.

This is my second reading of Lysa's book and I didn't read the chapter that included this entry on my first time through. I was reading this while in the tub (about the only quiet place I have these days) and I was crying so hard I almost dropped the book.

Jen Hatmaker is another author that seems to have a private portal into my thoughts. I am currently on my second reading of "7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess". Oh my stars. WOW! Hello there 2X4 upside the head. I've been struggling for quite sometime about the excess in my personal life and in the life of my family. After reading this book I've been inspired, challenged and encouraged. I'm praying about how God would have me become more aware of His presence and ways to eliminate excess and the trite that might stand in the way of my Heavenly calling. It's relationship. It's service. It's obedience. It's holiness. It's integrity. It's transparency. It's humility. I'm being called to pursue these things and not the next great recipe, clothing style, gadget, trinket, opportunity, experience, home school curriculum, ministry, etc.

Loving God, loving people. That pretty much sums it up for me.

I'm an undone woman. I'll never be the same and the beautiful thing is that I don't want to be that "old" woman EVER again. I'm through with "Egypt". I'm turning North and I'm on the move to the promised land. Thank you Holy Spirit for your loving, gentle, yet persistent agitations. I am grateful to be undone and done with this world!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Missing My Man

So I'm officially missing my man!!!

Saturday was a blur.  We just wanted to know he had arrived safely. 

Sunday was miserable!!!  It was cold, rainy and dreary.  I managed to get all six of us to church.  We barely made it in time.  I felt like it was quite an accomplishment.  We held on until LIFE group time.  Yet....there wasn't any LIFE group this week.  We were all disappointed but understand that miscommunications happen.  My mom and dad invited us over for the evening.  It was pleasant.  My phone conversation that evening left me feeling very sad.  Nathan AND Jamie both got very seasick on Sunday.  My heart broke for them and I wished that I could have helped Nathan somehow, with anything.  I went to bed still feeling conflicted.

Monday was a nice day.  The weather was glorious and we had a little trip out for ice cream.  We did school AND chores.  It was a "red letter" day.  I felt on top of the world!!! 

And then there was Tuesday.....It started well enough.  I had a challenging yet invigortaing workout with Leslie.  I felt ALIVE.  Sarah and Elah came to play/watch the kiddos.  It was a blessing.  Lots of hugs and crafts later.  The kids were happy.  She allowed me some extra time to go to the grocery store.  I had agreed to bring dinner to some friends whose daughter was recently in a car accident.  I ONLY committed to a Tuesday because I would already be in Blk. Mtn. and I thought it would be a good use of my gas to deliver the meal before Celebrate Recovery.  Sarah was trying to be kind so she "kidnapped" Jesse and JoyAnn for the afternoon.  I didn't realize until late though JUST how much I depend on those two.  As I was trying to time the finishing meal preparations, dress the toddlers AND get ready myself it was apparent that I was in OVER my head.  A quick rescue call to my brother Tyler.  He was super.  Joseph helped as much as he could, but dressing babies and changing diapers certainly aren't his specialty.  Dinner delivered...almost to church and BAM as I was backing out of the driveway I plowed into the mailbox of the house across the street from where I delivered dinner.  Sheesh.  No time to stop.  Get to the church, make an apology phone call.  Is this day gonna end????  A general funk was in the air at CR.  It was a mildly uncomfortable night.  So glad Tuesday was over.

Ahhhh...but hump day!  Yes, it could get worse.  Help from Mimi and Grandpa this time.  THANK GOD I have such good in-laws.  Grandpa took the older three to therapy (for Joseph) and Mimi accompanied me to the appt. for the toddlers.  We came home and they let me salvage my emotions with a quick jog/walk.  It was nice.  After they left for church though the evening took a turn for the worse.  I snuck out thanks to Tyler and attended my FIT class at Mtn. View.  I had already fed the kids and told JoyAnn I would pay her a dollar if she would bathe the bubbies.  When I came home they were asleep and being held.  Ahhhhh peace at last.  However, Jesse screamed upon my entry woke up the bubs and they screamed for the next hour.  They wanted to be held as I needed to fix my dinner.  They were so inconsolable.  Calming themselves down was not an option.  They were over stimulated, over taxed, over tired.  So an 8 o'clock bedtime turned in 9:00 for them, 9:15 for Joseph and 10:00 for Jesse and JoyAnn.  There were some loose ends left to tie up before they could bed down for the night.  Most of us got to talk to Nathan and it was decided by all that families were meant to be complete and daddies shouldn't be away this long if humanly possible...ehehehehehe!!!

It's all downhill from here.  Tomorrow will be Jesse's gymnastics and then the Crockett family is going to rescue ME by having all five kiddos to their place for dinner/movie.  I will have two+ hours of peace!!!  Friday will be home school co-op and then home to wait for Daddy!!!  It's been hard, but we've made it!  I certainly have a new appreciation for military wives, missionaries, pastor's wives, ANY wives of men that travel on the job.  I'm grateful for almost EVERY day of our lives Daddy comes home.  This well oiled machine just doesn't run so well without him.  Daddy is our oil.  We love you Nathan.  Hurry home!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Green Eyed Monster

Today is the kind of post that I hate writing, but know that I must.  These are the kind of posts that show you that things in my world aren't always so pretty. 

This morning at 2:45 am Nathan left our little house here in SwannaNOWHERE, NC and headed on a fishing trip to the Keys.  I believe they will be spending the week in Marathon and also visiting Key West.  "They" consists of Vince Anderson, Jamie Dunham and Nathan Flint.  With a van full of fishing and diving equipment these men will be driving straight all day and into the night.  Although a wonderful opportunity, for us truly a once in a lifetime experience, I'm struggling.  You see I'm left here in podunkville with my five fighting kids.  Yes even at 2:30 this morning two of them managed to get into an argument.  Oh and here's the "double whammy"....a dear friend of mine Angie Barker usually helps me throughout the week.  She is unable to be here due to a family illness and an emergency trip to Atwood Kansas.  Now hear me, I'm not jealous of that in anyway, I'm just aware that this week has the potential to be a little overwhelming.  I'm praying for all of those traveling.  I'm praying for safety, protection, fun, relaxation, connection and peace.

Here's the rub.  My ten year old son Joseph said it pretty accurately "It makes me sad that we weren't invited."  That's how I'm feeling.  No one every says "Oh Janelle, please come away with me to the Bahamas."  Mom's don't get "honored" by their "employers"....hahahahahaha!!!  Even as I type this I'm so conflicted.  Jealousy is ugly.  How can genuine happiness and excitement reside in the same space as envy, pity, self-absorption, jealousy, anger and fear?  The real answer....they can't.  I have to make a choice.  Which feelings will "win out".  I can't be led by my heart.  I have to lead it AND I have to renew my mind. with God's Word. 

So this week as I "keep the home fires burning" I'll fill my mind and heart with Truth and prepare myself for Nathan's arrival.  I will be genuinely happy for him as he tells of his adventures fishing, walking, diving, eating, driving and soaking up the sunshine.  Prayerfully as he asks me of my week I'll be able to gently relay to him the details of our "adventures" without sounding pitiful, jealous or needy.  I pray that I can get some cleaning done and make his "castle" worth coming home to and maybe, JUST maybe, we can all be awaiting his arrival peacefully, quietly and without argument. 

You know some day when I hear "well done my good and faithful servant" none of this will matter.  Until then, I'm a work in progress.  Sanctification isn't easy, but as my trainer says when I'm learning a new exercise and my muscles are burning and crying, begging me to stop, "Isn't that de-lish????", it's ooooohhhhh so good.  Have a blessed weekend.

Monday, March 19, 2012

So Much to be Thankful for

So today I am grateful for my birthday.  36 years of life I've been blessed with and so excited for another year.  This year I want to experience an abundant life as described in John 10:10.  This is going to be a year to dream, change, grow and become.  A chance to learn, embrace, release and discern.  37 is going to be an opportunity to lose and win, to commit, forgive and be forgiven, and laugh, love and LIVE!!!

My sweet LIFE group celebrated all of the March birthdays last night by having a cookout.  After a nice walk/jog/hike in Montreat I was greeted by the laughter and sounds of fellowship.  Literally at times my LIFE group has been my lifeline.  Sharing things with them over the last few months and years has been a joy.  Jan made a red velvet cake.  Yes I did have a little piece and a cup of coffee.  It was wonderful.  I think one of the most liberating  things along this journey is to know that food doesn't control me.  I control it!!!  I can CHOOSE whether or not to eat something.  That is a great feeling.

So I'm going to be surrounded by food today.  A birthday lunch, more cake (which tonight I will say "no" to) and of course dinner.  Today my choices might be a little harder, but that's ok.  I know if I stop, think, pray and ask for help I can make the RIGHT decision.  This is empowering.  Now I don't always get this right, but I make more right choices than wrong choices these days.  For THAT I'm so grateful. 

I'm at another stand still in my weight loss.  I keep going from 62-65 pounds down and back up and back down.  I've got to kick it up on the cardio and figure out what's going on food wise.  I'm praying for revelation and motivation to make it through these next few pounds.  I am nine pounds from the goal I had set for myself for this day.  I'm not gonna give up though, I'm just gonna work HARDER!!!

Also, I'm so thankful for my family.  My sister in law Nathalie was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago.  She has had the tumor removed, her lymph nodes were clean, but she starts chemo very soon. Praise God for early detection and a positive prognosis.  On May 12th prayerfully a large portion of our family will be participating in a 5K walk/run alongside Nathalie.  I think the older three kids are going to walk with her.  I think Tammy and myself will be jogging and Philip as well (although I'm sure I'll eat his dust).  It's gonna be a lot of fun and a gift that Nathalie will be healthy enough to do this event.  That's one of the best birthday gifts I could EVER have received.

Ok.  Enough of this.  I've got to get ready for lunch.  Have a GREAT day! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Very Merry Unbirthday to Me

So my 37th birthday is Monday, March 19th.  I love birthdays and hate them all at the same time.  The IDEA of birthdays is romantic, wonderful, glorious.  The thought of being celebrated, showered with love and gifts and being able to focus on all of the things you've done/accomplished up to this point in your life and look forward to another year of blessings and life brings a smile to my face.  What I HATE about birthdays is they never quite turn out as planned.  Birthdays as a small child were wonderful.  My mom and dad did a super job celebrating.  It seemed though somewhere around 15 they got a little less than "stellar".  I've had some birthdays that were an "epic fail" and some that were wonderful since that time. 

Now, I'm fully aware that I shouldn't put so much emphasis on one day, one 24-hour period in my life and in the lives of others.  However, I almost feel trapped in my mindset.  This places Nathan in a prediciment.  He must feel pushed and forced to come up with the "perfect gift".  How unfair of me.  So....I'm hoping that Monday will come and go uneventfully and that I'll be ok with it :-).  That's me, being honest.  Doesn't always look so pretty, huh?  Oh's part of my sanctification journey.  Thanks for sharing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Making Sense of it All

There has been a lot that has happened in our little community lately.  There is a local college that has had to lay off many staff and are downsizing programs.  This has directly affected many families and friends of ours.  There was a pretty severe incident at our local middle school.  A teacher and two administrators were directly involved, subsequently released or resigned and countless children and other staff are holding pain, stress and concern regarding these actions.  One of these administrators has been a personal friend since 1988.  A 14 year old high school freshman was killed in a car accident recently and her 5th grade riding companion was severely injured.  I knew the driver of the truck.  I am praying for her fervently.  The young girl was in Joseph's preschool class.  A reminder of the fragility of life.  I am filled with emotions of fear, concern, sadness, feelings of betrayal, confusion, doubt and maybe even a little bitterness.   

I'm trying to make sense of it all and sometimes it's harder than others.  I am grateful to serve a BIG God who is Sovereign and has it all under control.  I am learning valuable lessons daily to trust, wait and hope in Him. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Praise God for Gift Cards

All I can say is "Praise God for gift cards".  Date night tonight is being brought to you courtesy of Mom and Dad Morgan and their Christmas gift of gift cards.  I think it will be dinner at Applebee's and coffee at Starbucks.  What a blessing because we have $0.12 in our Entertainment budget category until the 15th.  Isn't God good?!!!??  I also think a nice conversation at Barnes and Noble while looking at books will be fun.  We might be birthday shopping for Jesse and JoyAnn.  It's hard to believe they will be eight years old on the 21st of this month.  We had saved some money up for the birthday gifts/festivities. 

Making every moment count.  Making every penny count.  Making every bite count.  I'm learning to live in the moment and think consciously, thoughtfully, purposefully. Ok...enough of my ramblings.  I'm headed out the door with kids in tow to home school co-op.  Praise God for the freedom to home educate :-)

Have a great weekend,


Thursday, March 8, 2012

True Connection

So I have given up Facebook for the Lenten season.  I must admit that it sounds more simiple than it is.  It might even sound a little vain or silly to some.  However, for me it is a REAL sacrifice.  I don't use social media to network for jobs or to jockey for position.  I don't use it to meet people or to "hook up" as some people might.  I don't even use it to further my own agenda, promote myself or my "causes".  I use it to connect. 

I am a stay at home mom who home educates her older three and is currently potty training her two, two-year olds.  Even though I am not "talking" to these people I feel connected to them.  It also gives me a venue to be heard, validated and respected.  At least that's what  I FEEL is happening through my posts/communique on FB.  I must admit that I use it to see what people are doing in their lives.  Quite often I just "lurk" or "stalk" people.  I have placed to much value and enjoyment on finding out what other people are doing, thinking, experiencing.  It was as if I found my identity in living through these other people.  Seeing that I had received a message or a comment made me smile.  I was almost giddy.  Since I got my Android powered phone (Christmas 2010) I would check FB probably 20 times a day. 

So after I got over the initial shock of not being on FB constantly I have actually learned to like it.  I must admit that last night I got onto FB to check my messages because my sis-in-law was diagnosed with cancer last week and I knew that my brother was using FB as a venue to update everyone on her condition/surgery results etc.  I also had received an email from a friend that said she sent me a FB message.  So I checked it briefly but myself on "offline" status so I wouldn't be tempted to chat with people.  I also checked my page because someone had said they left some info for me there.  The entire deal lasted less than five minutes.  It was NICE.

I am prayerfully considering giving up FB alltogether.  I want connection, don't ge me WRONG.  I crave connection.  However, I'm finding it other ways these days.  I started a new exercise class on Wednesday nights.  It is small, but has some godly women that I am enjoying getting to commune with.  I am calling people more often.  I'm texting and sending emails.  I'm blogging again...YEAH.  I actually have written letters and helped my children write letters and thank you cards.  Since Ash Wednesday we've memorized a portion of Scripture that has challenged us all.  Face to face coffee talks with my husband at 5:30 am have left my heart filled and my "love tank" overflowing.  I've communed with God and myself as I have walked/hiked and run the trails in Montreat.  The quiet has touched me deeply.  Taking the time to write in my journal has forced me to view my life through the lens of reality and personal reflection, perception and honesty.  These past few days have been filled with integrity, honesty, connection and I've LOVED it!!!  I've had lunch with friends, dates with my husband, times of prayer and sharing.  It's been glorious.  As I've studied God's Word (specifically Hebrews 11) I've shared honestly with my Bible study/LIFE group.  What a joy to be connected to those people. 

Although Lent is a time of somber introspection and "giving up" things I feel as if I've gained MUCH more than I've given away.  I'm so blessed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Feeling a Little Ignored?

So I'm sorry to have not blogged in so long.  I have been spending most of my time on my other blog My Journey From Fat to Fit.  Right now a lot of my time is being spent on this journey to health and wholeness.  If you haven't visited my other blog, please feel free to stop by and leave a comment.  I would appreciate it!

However, there is more to life than losing weight.  I miss my times here of sharing, being transparent and connecting.  Many of you who read this I know personally.  Many of you are nameless faces, but I am grateful that you stop by every now and then. 

I am going to commit to blog more, to share more, to be real.   Thanks as always for being patient with me.  I'm a work in progress.

So here's to a fabulous Spring.  It's right around the corner :-)