Anxiety About Past Sins & Blog Hop

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No matter what you’ve done in the past, God wants you to worship Him wholeheartedly today and enjoy life to the full.  It’s possible!

When I stand on a sandy beach looking out over the watery expanse of the ocean, hearing the thunder of the waves, I am awed.  Every time, I think, “What a magnificent creation!  What a marvelous Creator who holds these waters in the palm of His hand!

Instinctively, I begin to sing “How Great Thou Art.” No one hears me as the wind rushes my words to the Lord alone.

One otherwise beautiful spring day, however, it was not thoughts of God’s grandeur that filled my mind as I surveyed the mighty waters stretching to the horizon.  My own sin had my attention this time.

I thought of one particular sin that I knew had grieved my Creator.  And there I sat with Bible in hand and the ocean before me, trying to come back into His presence.

That week I had been memorizing Micah 7:18-20.  Verse 19 came back like a song:  “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (NIV).

As I confessed my sin to the Lord, in faith I believed that it had sunk to the deepest depths.  I then remembered what Corrie ten Boom used to say, that after God hurls our sins into the ocean, He puts up a sign that reads, “No fishing.”

A sin I could have allowed to haunt me was gone altogether. What freedom, what peace, what joy!

My faith in God’s total forgiveness was tested only a few weeks later.  I was traveling with some friends to a weekend conference.  When we neared the seaside town where I’d been the previous month, I panicked.  I realized, This is where I had left my sin!

But the fear passed quickly as I realized my sin was nowhere to be found—it was gone for good.  Not buried at sea with the grim possibility of being someday washed ashore, but totally forgotten by God through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Since that experience, I often think of the promise of Micah 7:19 and thank God for the joy of being cleansed completely, being made pure and new.

Renee Sanford About Renée Sanford

Renée has been married to her high school sweetheart, David, for 30 years. They are the parents of three grown and married children and two teens and blessed with six grandkids. Renée has a passion for encouraging mothers at every stage—in an article, at a conference, or over a cup of coffee or tea. Renée is the co-author (with David) of How to Read Your Bible and the notes for the Living Faith Bible.

 

Welcome to Be Inspired By Others Thursday Blog Hop.
Now let’s link up in community.

 If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to visit some great posts from bloggers around the web. As always, I’m thankful for those of you who linked up here last week. I loved reading all of your posts. Thank you for taking the time to say hello.

Come inspire us by linking up your wonderful posts here so we all can be inspired. All family-friendly posts such as, marriage, motherhood, crafts, recipes, homeschooling, organization, and more are welcome. If you decide to join the fun by linking up with us, I request that you add Home Educator Mom’s button to your posts or site so others can join us as well. You can find the html code in the sidebar, or “save as” copy, and paste the button below on your blog.

Link-up-icon-3

If you have a Giveaway, check out my big list of Sites to List Your Giveaways. I personally use this list myself so the links should work.

Hop on over here to see my list of Blog Hops / Link-up Parties to add your link and join others.



Anxiety When I Don’t Understand God & Blog Hop

 

Anxiety-When-I-don't-unders

 

This side of heaven, life often doesn’t make sense. The best thing to do is stop and listen.

Sometimes our family will be sitting at the dinner table discussing plans for the upcoming weekend.  “No one told me about that!” someone will protest.

“Where have you been?” we reply.  “We’ve been talking about that event all week!”

On many occasions, I’ve asked my oldest son to complete a task or have given him directions on where to find a missing item.  Although I speak the words aloud, his channel finder is tuned elsewhere and he often doesn’t hear a thing I’m saying.

Before we left for a week away from our children, my husband and I looked our then 16-month-old baby in the eyes and told him we were leaving, but we would be back soon.  His young brain couldn’t translate the words into usable meanings. So, in spite of my warnings, he woke up confused and irritated to find someone besides Mommy or Daddy looking over his crib.  But you can’t say I didn’t warn him!

Jesus told the disciples all about His coming suffering, death, and resurrection, but they didn’t get it.  But you can’t say He didn’t warn them.

Hours after His resurrection, Jesus walked along the road to Emmaus with two friends and explained the Scriptures in a way they had never comprehended before.  The suffering, death, and resurrection of the Messiah shone from every passage and fell into place like an intricately planned pattern.  God had not been silent before that day—they simply had not understood the words before.

The disciples had more than the Scriptures, which came into sharp focus on hindsight.  They had Jesus with them—the One who revealed the glory and will of God daily.  They heard with their own ears His very direct and pointed explanation of what was to come, but their hearts could not absorb it.

We beg God to explain His plan, but many times, He already has.  Perhaps our minds are distracted with the worries of the world.  Perhaps we don’t know the Scripture and thus don’t know the heart of God—a knowledge we need in order to comprehend and trust His ways.  Perhaps we haven’t come to spiritual maturity—just as our baby boy was too young to comprehend what our older children readily understand.  Or perhaps the understanding is beyond our reach.  God could tell us plainly, but our ears would hear only the foreign language of heaven; our hearts and minds would not understand its meaning.

When uncertainty rocks your world or your cries to God seem unanswered—stop to listen.  Listen with the ears of your spirit to the voice of the Holy Spirit in His Word.  Perhaps He has answered you plainly already.  If not, remember our limited understanding is only temporary.  Like the disciples, the day will come when we will all exclaim, “Of course!  Why didn’t I understand it before?”

Renee Sanford About Renée Sanford

Renée has been married to her high school sweetheart, David, for 30 years. They are the parents of three grown and married children and two teens and blessed with six grandkids. Renée has a passion for encouraging mothers at every stage—in an article, at a conference, or over a cup of coffee or tea. Renée is the co-author (with David) of How to Read Your Bible and the notes for the Living Faith Bible.

 

Now let’s link up in community:

 If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to visit some great posts from bloggers around the web. As always, I really appreciate those of you who linked up here last week. I loved reading all of your posts. Thank you for taking the time to say hello.

Come inspire us by linking up your wonderful posts here so we all can be inspired. All family-friendly posts such as, marriage, motherhood, crafts, recipes, homeschooling, organization, and more are welcome. If you decide to join the fun by linking up with us, I request that you add Home Educator Mom’s button to your posts or site so others can join us as well. You can find the html code in the sidebar, or “save as” copy, and paste the button below on your blog.

Link-up-icon-3

If you have a Giveaway, check out my big list of Sites to List Your Giveaways. I personally use this list myself so the links should work.

Hop on over here to see my list of Blog Hops / Link-up Parties to add your link and join others.

 


Anxiety Over the Storms of Life

Betty Tran liked this post

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I can experience God’s peace only when I remind myself that He genuinely cares for me.

Shortly before our first son reached his first birthday, we had to take him to the hospital for surgery. The time had come for a skilled surgeon to separate two of our son’s fingers that were fused together.

While the surgery was important, it certainly wasn’t life-threatening. As is standard procedure, our son could not eat or drink anything after midnight. After the anesthesia, we had to let him be wheeled into surgery without us.

As a parent, I was concerned for his safety, but I had full confidence in the doctors and nurses committed to his care. What plagued my heart more was the thought of my son’s anxiety over the strange things happening to him. Surely he would feel confused and afraid. Why were Mommy and Daddy not feeding him? Why were they leaving him in a strange place with strange people?  Would his little mind question the security of our love?

A small child in a big hospital bed may wonder, “Doesn’t my Mommy and Daddy love me?” when yet another nurse comes to poke his arm or take her blood. Similarly, we may interpret painful things in our own lives as indications that God does not care about us.  We may think, Perhaps He doesn’t love us, after all.  Even the men who knew Jesus the best, in the face of one of their greatest fears, cried out, “Teacher, don’t you care…?” (Mark 4:38).

Mark 4:35-41 shows us the scene of an evening on the Lake of Galilee. After a long day with the crowds, Jesus’ disciples are fishing.  The Master is exhausted from the hours of preaching and meeting the needs of the people. He lies on a cushion and falls asleep in the back of the boat.

Suddenly, a storm rises up from the lake, and even the most seasoned fishermen among them are afraid. They grew up on this lake and they know the violent potential of the waves and the wind roaring about them.  It was not a fanciful fear—water was already filling the boat.

In their panic, they shook Jesus awake. Their cry for help revealed the agony in their hearts: “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?” (NLT).  Not, “Help us—You can save us.” Not, “Do something!” But, “Don’t you care?”  In the raging storm, they wondered aloud whether Jesus genuinely cared whether they lived or died.

Jesus speaks, but not to them.  He commands the wind and the waves—“Be still!”—and they obey.  A great calm and an eerie silence frames Jesus’ two short questions to his men: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  The storm had been real—their clothes and hair still dripped from the wet beating.  That storm was far less real, however, than the man they had seen heal the sick and drive out demons.

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Like the disciples, we all face storms in our lives—storms and dangers that are incredibly vivid and real.  The water is rising in the boat, the bills are due, the accident happened, the pink slip isn’t a joke, the medical test is positive.  What will we cry out to the Lord?  We cannot see or hear Him; it may feel like He’s sleeping at the back of the boat.  Unlike the disciples, we know that Jesus died and rose from the dead. Yet do we believe, today, that He cares for us?

We don’t know how the storms will end or whether our small boat will make it across to the other side.  All our greatest fears may indeed come true. But sometime, somewhere, we must answer Jesus’ probing questions: “Why are you afraid?  Don’t you trust me?”

Our son had not lived long enough to know that we longed to do everything to care for him.  He cried before he went into surgery and he cried when he came out.  What a difference seven years later when we took our son to the emergency room for stitches after he crashed his bike.  Not only was he calm and trusting, but he knew I was there and would take care of him.

In our heart of hearts, do we trust that Jesus is our compassionate, committed Rescuer?   If He is not concerned, I will slip into the waves and be lost for sure. But if He cares, I can endure and experience His incredible peace anew.

Renee Sanford About Renée Sanford

Renée has been married to her high school sweetheart, David, for 30 years. They are the parents of three grown and married children and two teens and blessed with six grandkids. Renée has a passion for encouraging mothers at every stage—in an article, at a conference, or over a cup of coffee or tea. Renée is the co-author (with David) of How to Read Your Bible and the notes for the Living Faith Bible.

In Praise of Long-Haul Love

Betty Tran liked this post

Long-Haul-Love by Renee Sanford

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: …Renée told me, “I first contemplated long-haul love when my first daughter was a toddler. Our first three children are grown and married with children of their own, and our two youngest children now are teenagers. My husband and I are reaping the rewards of grandchildren and facing the storms of guiding two teens into adulthood.” I hope you enjoy her article!

 

It was going to be a short night as it was, so I felt like crying the second time the three-year-old tried to crawl in bed with us. The baby had been up earlier, too. How does the saying go? “Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now!”

I remember my mother used to tease that she prayed for patience and God sent her my little brother—a child with endless curiosity and energy and little need for sleep. So I don’t ask for patience. I know it isn’t given—it’s earned.

Instant patience is a contradiction—and an impossibility. Because patience is not a fast-acting pill to pop when situations get tight and my temper stretches thin. It’s more than just not yelling at the kids.

What is patience? Where does it come from? And what does patience have to do with love?

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Patience comes with perspective. It is love committed to the long-haul.

I am one of those perhaps strange and rare women who would keep having children simply to experience the thrill of childbirth. Those hours of physical pain and emotional intimacy as my husband and I push and coax a new person into the world are rewarded by euphoric delight as I meet my new child. She seems to gaze at me with recognition, and then nuzzles eagerly at my breast. I relish those quiet moments when everyone has gone home and I am left alone to curl up around my new baby.

I love children. Between birthing four, fostering two and adopting one—I’ve had a houseful of them. They are a gift, a reward, a joy, a bouquet of blessings.

For just as after every wedding comes a marriage, so after every birth comes a life. A life that came forth from the love and union of two people—a life that will continue to demand everything from them. Drawing at least l8 years from our time and energy. Drawing a lifetime from our hearts.

Then how can I rave about parenthood to that young couple knowing…the sleepless nights that will leave them ragged…the isolation from a winter’s worth of colds and ear infections…the constant struggle to control not just the two-year-old’s temper but their own unanticipated anger? What about the ten-year-olds sullenness and the teenager’s withdrawal? How do I keep parenting when I know I’ve blown it so many times?


Because of long-haul love. Love that is not patiently passive, but love that is as patient as God is—willing to wait for the rewards of love. Rewards even beyond those first steps, first words, sloppy kisses and angelic sleeping faces.

My little boy wraps his small arms around my neck, looks intently into my eyes, and declares, “I love YOU, Mommy,” with the emphasis on the YOU. My heart is rewarded. Perhaps I am doing something right after all. Yet what I really want is to hear those words from a young man with whom I have developed a real relationship.

Fast forward twenty years and my son still says, “I love you.” He also tells me he wants to let me into his life—his hurts, heart, his story. I realize I have not parented perfectly, but I am experiencing the reward of long-haul love. And I look forward to hearing them from a middle-aged man who himself has walked the privileged road of parenthood. Pictures of tomorrow’s hopes give me strength to choose love today.

When I manage to discipline my children calmly, it’s not because I’ve counted to 10 first, but because I’m doing it with one eye down the road 10 and 20 years. I’m committed to seeing them through. Any particular situation isn’t the end of the line, it’s only one in thousands. That’s why love is patient. It’s not a Band-Aid but a commitment.

That’s why I continue to say, “Go for it! It’s worth it!” to hesitant young couples and “you’ll make it!” to weary parents of newborn. So much lies ahead for these little ones.

I remember tucking my oldest daughter into bed and realizing, “Elizabeth isn’t a little girl anymore. She’s already halfway to driving and dating. She stays awake nearly as late as I do at night and is blossoming into a young lady before my eyes.”

I snuggled beside her in bed for a minute, more conscious than ever that her legs stretched almost as far toward the end of the bed as mine did! We laughed about her baby days and joked about whom she might marry when she grows up tomorrow. Neither of us knew that, just a few years around the corner, she would find me aggravating and set off on her adult life ready and able—but coolly distant for several years.

Last week I returned from a week visiting Elizabeth and her husband and children. I soaked up mom and daughter talking time. I immersed myself in hugs and kisses and snuggles from her children—and watched her parent with love and patience.

Yes, Love will still be around when it’s finally happened. When sleepless nights are but a vague memory. When the four-year-old is finally potty trained. When the stacking cups and big wheels are replaced by basketballs and scooters and 10-speed bikes. When the opportunities and choices in raising a toddler become the challenge and adventures of guiding a teen. When my children are parenting their own children.

At every stage, I will pray, “Lord, give me love for the long-haul.”

 

Renee Sanford About Renée Sanford

Renée has been married to her high school sweetheart, David, for 30 years. They are the parents of three grown and married children and two teens and blessed with six grandkids. Renée has a passion for encouraging mothers at every stage—in an article, at a conference, or over a cup of coffee or tea. Renée is the co-author (with David) of How to Read Your Bible and the notes for the Living Faith Bible.
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