Coveting, comparing, and Christ

It’s been a LONG time since I have fought the sin of covetousness or have felt sucked in and drug down by comparing. I have other issues but those haven’t seemed to crop up in awhile. I figured I just didn’t struggle in that way, that I was simply “content” with the things God gave me. It’s hard not to be, he has given us so much.

And then it happened.

We were invited to a birthday party for my new friends daughter. And my new friend was a gracious host. She doesn’t live in a huge house but her home is very beautiful. Her decorating taste was very appealing to my eyes. Fresh paint, clean carpet, gleaming hardwoods, beautiful fabrics and accessories. Not over the top but tasteful. Everything was in its proper place, inside and out.

The order, cleanliness, and tastefulness of her home surfaced that old familiar temptation to covet and compare.

Our home is beautiful. I love our home and am so grateful God has entrusted it to us. It’s interesting though how something as simple as someone else’s clean, pretty home potentially can create feelings of inadequacy , or discontent, or wanting more in your own home. I found myself with this “decorating itch” that HAD to be scratched. And scratch I did! I started making a list of what we needed; new area rug, new bedding, more flowers, (because flowers are cheery and bright!) new paint, recover a few things, etc etc. I went to Hobby Lobby, TJmaxx, Walmart, and Home Depot. And then there was all the time spent online,….scrolling.

And more scrolling.

But I was struggling. Not only could I not justify spending the money, I was convicted over the amount of time the whole process of decorating was taking up. This itch was becoming an idol. And my gracious, glorious God will have none before Him.

In His mercy, the Lord kept putting truth before me.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭6:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I know that a pristine house is not only unrealistic for our family (Today, thanks to Jake, we have dead animal limbs strewed about our yard) but it’s also not going to be the thing that makes me happy. I think that is the core lie that Satan wants us to believe. That this will bring forever happy feelings. This will satisfy me. This will be the thing that does the trick. But I know in my heart that’s not true. I know it is impossible for me to find true joy in the material earthly things. I may find temporary happiness but it’s just that. Temporary. Fleeting. Lasting joy is found in the Lord and being surrendered to Him. My deepest joys have been found in reading and obeying His Word, in honoring Him in my marriage and parenting, in gathering with the body of Christ, in serving children in foster care,…… but buying new throw pillows? No. That joy lasts all of 24 hours and then they become rocks to jump on to escape hot lava and I’m torn between wigging out on my kids and being caught up in the nostalgia.

Today we sang Forever Reign and I had to ask myself if I meant what I was singing.

“I’m running to Your love. The riches of Your love, will always be enough. Nothing compares to Your embrace. Light of the world forever reign….. my heart will sing, no other name, Jesus.”

If I’m honest, for the last week, that hasn’t been true for me. I have desired an immaculate and well decorated home over Jesus. This past week I have desired what the world deems rich over the riches of Christ love. But the conviction of those lyrics, confessing my misplaced worship, and the power of the Holy Spirit have rightly aligned my heart to His again. I know this is not the last time I’ll fight this battle. Fortunately, I only bought a few fake flowers that were on sale! :-/ But I truly am grateful that, even in my struggle, I’m aware of this truth. “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Christ and His Kingdom are the only lasting treasures.

“But seek first the Kingdom of God…” Matthew 6:33a ESV

It’s time to go

The kids and I have been in Florida for 9 days now. It’s been a really wonderful, relaxing, WARM, 🙂 trip.

We enjoyed the wedding celebration of a long time friend of mine, Devin, to Tony who did not disappoint my expectations. Very sweet, genuine guy. Their ceremony was beautiful. And the reception was a real treat. I must say, as this was our first experience with Micaila and Ryann being flower girls, it was sheer delight for me, watching them accomplish their task and then dance the night away.
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Mr and Mrs Hass, eee!!
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blessings 1,2,3

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They were owning that dance floor. Had so much fun watching them.

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As did he 🙂

We have enjoyed the time with friends and family.

We went to the zoo with Linda and had the most gorgeous zoo perfect weather. They had the sweetest baby elephant and probably the coolest part of the day was leaving the elephant exhibit and my 4 year old Ryann saying “Roll tide elephants”. Jason you are doing a great job! 😉

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I just love this sweet boy and all his exposed chunk!

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Linda and the girls feeding the sting rays

I’ve gotten to spend quality time with my best friend Kaitlyn. We talk nearly every day on the phone but nothing beats couch time with her. She is one of Gods (unexpected) gifts in my life. Beautiful inside and out and a Christian woman that I really look up to. I can not tell you how instrumental she is in my daily life and how much I value her genuine, authentic Faith. And icing on that cake, an evening with Harry Potter and a sweet potato for a snack. A perfect evening with you Kait. I know, we’re so lame cool. I even fell asleep. Turns out you’re rubbing off on me Nicole!

I can never have too much time with my parents. They have been graciously sharing their condo space with us- 950 square feet, give or take a few. And even in such a humble living area, it’s not that small when your parents are as awesome as them. They are such a blessing to me. Never have they made me feel that I’m wearing out my welcome. They have been here for me when I need a break or when I need prayer. They love us abundantly and unconditionally. You guys seriously rock!

I always enjoy worshipping at Lutz. You guys are the real deal. Every one of you, Dad, Delio, Steve, the band, the choir, and the members of the Lutz Body I love you. Thank you for always reminding me that I am loved there. Your hugs, concern for my family, and prayers mean the world to me. Y’all will always be home. 🙂

And I don’t mean to leave anyone else out. But if I kept going on I’d be here all night. Every moment I had with every individual was wonderful.

When you have really awesome visits like this it certainly makes it more difficult to leave.

I MISS JASON. Babe. Seriously. I miss you!!!

But I haven’t felt ready to go home. I have been surrounded by so much family and support since Micaila’s diagnosis and even through the difficulty I wasn’t alone. (Well of course, we’re never alone right?) Interestingly my not wanting to go home has little to do with Micaila (and her HSP which I will update you on later) and more to do with me.

Satan knows my weakness. He knows exactly where to get me. People keep telling me “you are handling this thing with Micaila so well!” And I am. What I’m not handling well is an entirely different matter. I truly haven’t felt this kind of spiritual warfare in years. It’s almost as if satan sees my reaction to Micaila and decided “well if I can’t get her there I will poke around over here. Play with her mind, her thoughts, her emotions.” He knows what to do and how to do it. He saw me taking steps in the right direction, sensed my desire and sincerity in making changes in my thoughts and actions.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

So he decided to amp it up. Plant more lies and deceit.

And I continue to fight back. Fully aware that the only way I’ll come out of this dark cloud he’s trying to hang over me is by the power of God.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11, 12 NIV)

So what does going home have anything to do with this? Well, I really dislike being alone. And you-know-who knows this! I’m here, with my parents, my siblings, my in-laws, my best friend, and all kinds of other Christian relationships that I literally could fill every.waking.moment. visiting people and being encouraged through out this emotional battle.

But then I wonder. Is it possible God wants me to rely on Him to come out of this victoriously? By Him and His power alone. Uh, yeah! I think that’s a pretty safe assumption.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NLT)

Now I’m not saying I’m there, yet, but I certainly want to adopt that same mindset Paul had. And have confidence in what Gods Word tells us.

In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. (Hebrews 12:4-11 MSG)

Can I get an amen!! How wonderful Gods Word is!!

And while satan wants me to believe his lies, lies like “you’re gonna be so alone.” My sweet Savior is already working on my behalf to counter that.

While I wrestled with doing what’s right and doing what I wanted to do, the Holy Spirit was moving on someone else’s heart.

I opened up to Nicole about where I was at spiritually and emotionally. And don’t you love it when you can clearly see the Holy Spirit overflow from one person on to yourself. Like you just are so glad that they are in your life and that they made themselves available to be used by Him. And now their sensitivity to you and the Spirit is touching your life. God is good y’all! Have I said that yet?

He is so good!

And then just to really affirm me, the Lord orchestrates another phone call from Caroline. Nicole’s best friend. That she has been gracious enough to share with me. I can learn a thing or two from these godly woman. Thank you for calling. I love you gals!

I didn’t even have to get home for the Lord to start revealing to me that He loves me, He will take care of me, He will never leave me, and He has placed people in my life, in Georgia, that want to love me right where I’m at and encourage me in my faith. All I had to do was lay it down at His feet. Put aside my fears and quit thinking about my darn self!

And heres something else to really kick myself in gear. I got to thinking and I figure, usually when it comes to attacking its done by someone-to someone that they see as a threat. And if satan sees me as a threat well then I will take that as a compliment and continue to pursue God even harder. So take that devil!