Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Good to Remember

Recently in one of my "sure we're going to be stuck here forever moments" my daughter reminded me about the last house we lived in. When we lived up in the mountains, we started out our first year in a trailer park...ugh! I hated it. I was happy to have our own place, but....then our landlord bought a house around the corner (read, a totally different world) and offered it to us. We moved, eventually. However, it literally took months from the first time we walked the property in September, until we were able to move in, in February. How many times was a I sure we'd be stuck forever in the trailer park.

Having seen God's provision, and His timing, knowing that His timing is not mine and His ways are not mine, why should I be surprised if our upcoming move were any different. We really haven't been waiting that long. We first saw the apartment (or the remains once it was gutted) in July...this is only October...and it's so close to being ready for us.

We were there yesterday, and it's rather amazing, one of my gripes has been I "knew" by the time we moved in, I'd miss the view of all the brilliant fall colors. God gave me a glimpse of it yesterday and against the grayness of the day, the splashes of color were phenomenal. God is so good. And I'm so ungrateful and forgetful.

The waiting isn't one bit easier today than it was the day before yesterday, but somehow my attitude seems a little bit better. I know it's coming, God has always been faithful and it is the enemy that wants me to be discouraged, to give up, to act when God has clearly said Wait, to be rash and impulsive and do something to "help" the situation along.

This morning, I read this, ""There is immense power in stillness." "All things come to him who knows how to trust and be silent." "It is your business to be peaceful and safe in God in every situation."

I'm praying that each day I will continue to grow a little more in these areas, how about you.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Christian?

I've been thinking about this for awhile. America calls itself a nation of Christians...but I think we're really a nation of Deists. That is, I think that most people believe in God. I'm not as convinced that the nation as a whole believes in Jesus Christ and His teachings.

James 2:19 comes to mind, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble.

When you witness, post, comment, design your website, do you talk about God so not to offend? Or do you talk about Jesus and what He's done for you?

I listened to a sermon from Mid-Coast Country Chapel this morning, from the book of Mark. Pastor Cull spoke of the demon possessed man, and how he had no training, he simply went about and told people what Jesus had done for him. Why do we make it so difficult? It was pretty convicting for me. I'm a great one to say God, but less likely to use the Savior's name...my reason, I grew up hearing the Lord's name taken in vain, regularly. I even thought the Savior had a middle initial. It's always been hard for me but you know, the Lord can help me overcome that, for His glory, too.

I'm growing in conviction, that if I say I'm a Christian, not only should I be living the things Christ taught more faithfully, caring less about the world around me, or even some of our modern American churches and focus on what the Savior taught...so when someone looks at me, and they see something different (which I pray they will) and they ask, I can say, I am this way, because Jesus loves me, and He loves you too.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gratitude

I was laying on the couch this afternoon and realized that I have much to be grateful for and lately instead of giving God glory, I've been grumbling...a ton.

So, here I am to share some praises of things God has done lately in our lives:

*my son decided he wants to do spelling...he is but he doesn't know it, because it doesn't look like a separate subject. God provided, through a friend, a traditional spelling workbook. We're going to give it a go and see if this helps with his reading.

*He has delayed our move by about a month. I still don't understand it, but I have to believe He has a purpose in it.

*I have felt lousy lately, lots of muscle tension and discomfort...yesterday it wasn't so bad, which allowed me to go to a homeschool get together and enjoy myself...oh, and if we'd just moved or were in the process of moving, we probably wouldn't have been able to go.

*This one is a praise in advance. A friend recently shared something she'd gone through, similar to symptoms I'm currently experiencing...her doctors diagnosis was different from mine...however, with her diagnosis in the back of my mind, I'm trying a different home remedy that would never have occurred to me...my praise in advance is this is going to be the solution I've been praying for over the last 6 to 8 weeks.

*the house we're moving to, I've already shared, has to be God's provision, because there is no human explaination or way that it could possibly happen.

*we didn't get snow yesterday or the day before when other parts of the state and neighboring state did.

*we have plenty of good food to eat

*we have heat in our home

*we've witnessed God working a miracle in a close friends family over the last year

*my daughter wants to stay home and continue to learn to be a keeper-at-home, in preparation for someday becoming a wife and mother

We have so very much to be thankful for, and so many days all I do is grumble about what we don't have or what isn't happening, or what I can't do....I'm so grateful the Lord is long-suffering in His patience with me.

What about you, have you stopped to count your blessings?

MaggieRaye

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Into The Woods

I remember when I came home...that is when I dropped out of the world and my professional career and came home to be mom, full time. It was a HUGE leap of faith. I had a nine year old and an infant. Things were rough and I never knew where or how provision would be made for us, but it always was.

For the last ten years, there have been easier times and harder ones. The last year seems to be the hardest I can remember. In May, I took two trips away from our current home to find a new place to live, and new chapter in life to start. Both times I came home thinking about the Maine woods, nature studies and living a simpler life. I was praying for direction and vision and felt as if it were falling on deaf ears...after all the idea of hiking the Appalachian trail hardly seems reasonable or even feasible at this point in my life all things considered. But then, ten years ago, quitting my job and staying home with my infant son hardly seemed reasonable.

All spring and summer I've been reading books about the great outdoors. Some of them first person accounts, some informational guides. I can't get enough. And each time I'm just about done, someone will ask if I've read....and of course I haven't, so the fire is continually fueled.

I have just come through a really dry spell, where I felt as if my prayers were falling on deaf ears again. Lord, I need to know what you want me to do, now that we think we know where we're going. Though, you keep delaying our move, which I just don't understand.

This morning during my devotions, the woods, family camp, simpler living it all kept flooding my mind. As I tried to empty it and redirect my thoughts to my home and my son and my daughter.

Then, it was as if a switch had been turned on...sometimes I'm a little slow to see...and I read this:

"God does give us impressions, but not that we should act on them as impressions. If the impression be from God, He will Himself give sufficient evidence to establish it beyond the possibility of doubt."

and

"Where God's finger points, there God's hand will make the way."

and

"Do not say in thine heart what thou wilt or wilt not do, but wait upon God until He makes known His way. So long as that way is hidden it is clear that there is no need for action and that He accounts Himself responsible for all the results of keeping thee where thou art."

and

"For God through ways we have not known, Will lead His own."

All of these from todays Streams in the Desert reading.

Last night a friend emailed me some photos, and many were scenic views of the Maine woods. I felt so peaceful looking through them. We're moving into the middle of 100 acres very soon.

I still don't know exactly what the Lord is doing, but what I know this morning is that my prayers have not fallen on deaf ears...I just wasn't listening to the answer...and if I was, I was doubting what I was hearing...a weak, out of shape, middle aged Momma, who is a girly-girl at heart....in the Maine woods. It's almost as unthinkable as the career driven, type-A personality me, giving it up to come home and be a stay at home Momma.

All I can say is that wherever He leads, I want to follow so that He will be glorified. Can you share a comment about somewhere unexpected the Lord has led and you've followed.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Friday, October 15, 2010

Profile Pix

I have to post about my profile picture.

You know every picture tells a story and it's worth 1,000 words, at least, so I can't help but share a little bit about this one.

I love family. I love my family. I love the history that I've been given. It is so full of amazing stories. I hope that someday, my story will be amazing to those who come after me...though there are times when I wonder.

This picture is of one of the most influential single mothers in my life. She was not a widow, she was a single mother, in the days when it simply wasn't done. It is my great-grandmother. The little boy on the hay stack is my grandfather.

This is one of those pictures that I wish I could figure out how to enlarge so it would take up a whole livingroom wall. I've tried, it looses the clarity.

Have you read the book That Camden Summer? I can't recommend it, because I know some of you are very selective in your reading choices. I can tell you it's one of my favorite novels because the heroine, Roberta comes home to Camden, divorced in the early 1900's...her life runs parallel in many ways to my great-grandmother, who would have been her real life counterpart.

What Is God Doing?

Several months ago, I became aware that somewhere along the way, during our last three moves, I'd lost my joy. I figured it probably went the way of the free time I thought I'd have once we started homeschooling. I started looking for it, asking people if they had any ideas...

Before I go any further, I know that some of my readers are going to be offended...I'm sorry, there is just no avoiding it. The first thing that comes to mind is the Scripture that says that those who love the law, nothing shall offend them, but we are all humans. I get offended. It is not my intent to offend, know that.

What I discovered is that some of the people who've been the most helpful in helping me, are not Christians. One dear friend, who is not a Christian, has strongly encouraged me to hold fast to what I believe. She never seems to be offended when I give God the glory for what is going on in my life. I am so grateful. Another friend, who is well versed in many faiths and religions, always points me back to Scripture verses, that are divinely appropriate when we talk through struggles. At the same time, it has been brothers and sisters in Christ who've been my harshest judges during some of this. Ironically, my grandmother use to say what goes around comes around, and given that I too have harshly judged, I'm probably just getting some of my own back. It makes me want to be much more cautious in the future about making snap judgments.

This morning, I realized that I've had a small victory in a personal area recently. So, I'm not a total failure. There is hope. And if I can have one small victory, in that area, then others may follow.

I realized that truly, I have everything in life I've ever really wanted. Well, almost everything. Sometimes, especially when it doesn't look just the way I wanted it to or thought it would, I can't see the blessings. They are there.

This morning I read the following Scripture and thought it was worthy of sharing, because truly, I think, I'm on the brink of finding my joy again. I can almost feel it.

"God uses most for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken (the devotional went on to list broken people and items that the Lord used)the sacrifices He accepts are broken and contrite hearts."

I certainly feel broken and contrite lately. Maybe in that, I will find my joy once again.

Then in another reading I read the following Scriptures and decided to claim them through this season of searching.

Psalm 109:22, 24-27
"For I am poor and needy and my heart is wounded within me....My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness. I've become also a reproach unto them, when they look upon me, they shake their heads. Help me, O LORD, my God; O save me according to thy mercy. That they may know that this is thy hand that thou LORD has done it."

Psalm 126:2-3
"...then said they among the heathen, the LORD hat done great things for them. The LORD hat done great things for us; wherewith we are glad."

You know, maybe the Lord is allowing this time of being broken, and the coming joy to be observed closely by unbelieving friends and loved ones, so that when things do turn around, they will see that truly it was Him and not me that made it all happen.

Think about it, I have nothing to speak of in a worldly sense...no money, no real resources, and yet, we're about to move into a home (a newly renovated space) in the middle of 100 acres, an impossible dream about to come to fruition...if God can do that, what else might He be preparing to do in the days ahead. Waiting to see is so hard. May I remember with each thing to be grateful and to give all the glory back to Him.

Yes, I think I'm on the verge of finding my joy, again.

Share a comment about what impossible things God is making possible in your life.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Quote to Share

Recently we borrowed the movie Despereaux from the Library. I so enjoyed it that I watched it twice. Then, I decided we needed to read the book. I read it, and now my daughter is reading it allowed to my son. I love the book!

I love this quote from the book,
"Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform."

When was the last time you refused to conform? Was your fate interesting?

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Setting Standards

I've long struggled with validation from outside myself...I didn't realize that until a long time friend pointed it out to me recently, quite bluntly. It was good really.

I've begun to look at things people say to me and my reactions to them differently in light of this revelation. Ultimately it's between me and God.

Here's a for instance. Anyone who knew me three years ago and hasn't seen me in that time is usually stunned. One lady said, "Where's the other half of you?" because I've lost about 90 pounds. One friend saw me recently and said, "Wow! You look amazing. You seem so young!" Another dear person said, "You're too thin, you need to increase your carbs...thin is not becoming at your age, it makes you look older." Well, needless to say, when I'm seeking outside myself...my feelings about me could do a 180 in 30 seconds or less...and they have. So the question is how important are my looks and these other people's opinions. I like to look as good as I can at any given point, it's vanity. But the thing is, what's really important is I'm healthy. I was not healthy. I've worked hard to be healthier and I'm not done yet.

So, it shouldn't be a surprise, that when a more conservative friend was recently surprised by a movie I own, I began to question...how do I set a movie standard for my family? I can't defer to my husband...that has long been my excuse for many areas where I lack standards...I don't have a husband to defer to...it was a great excuse, but it's just not working for me anymore.

So what is my standard? I'm formulating. I talked, not to a lot of people, because we already know where that would get me, but to just one or two trusted friends. Friends, who when I look at their children, their lives, I see fruit. Their concern is training up Godly children of character. Their concern is, Does it please God? But there is also, some allowance for both humanity and personal difference, strengths and weaknesses of character. My standards aren't going to work for you and you may find you even disagree with them, for better or worse.

I've been through a long growing and pruning season...maybe it was pruning and then growing...I'm not sure. But through it there has been loss, but there has also been gain. Today I found myself counting the blessing of friends, some Christians, some not. As I seek to set standards, I'm thinking about how my life will reflect Christ to them. It hasn't always been that great a reflection, sadly. My standards in some areas are much weaker and in others much stronger. I'm continually being refined.

I found myself looking at standards a little differently than I always have, thinking less about what a church or a person will say or think and more about how it impacts my personal walk with the Lord...and yes, for those of you who know me and are curious...the standard "chickflick" fare is probably going to have to go, because all those movies do is breed discontentment in my heart. It looks like I'll be watching a lot of documentaries in the days to come...of course, in our new place, with so much room to roam outside, maybe we'll even find a new standard that eliminates the tv from our daily routine altogether.

Single mom's, if you're having trouble establishing standards for your family, if you have standards that others don't understand (good or bad), take heart and hang in there. Do the best that you can for yourself and your children...remember that through Christ you can do all things, including setting standards (I'm preaching to a mirror here, because I need this lesson myself) and those standards are between you and the Lord, for your good and His glory, you won't always succeed, but neither will you always fail. There was a time when I was sure based on other peoples opinions that my children would turn out much differently than they have thus far. They aren't perfect, and they aren't finished, but they aren't as bad as I was sure they'd be either. I find that most days I actually like the individual's I see them growing into.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Prayer Request

I use to ask for prayer requests often on my old blog. I thought on this one, I would do more posting for encouragement. Then I realized that if you're a single mom, reading this, knowing some of my struggles might encourage you to know you're not alone.

So here are some things we're struggling with that could use your prayres:
1) What should my daughter (almost 19) do, during this season of waiting
2) That I would find contentment within the calling God has given me and the ministry He has provided - I've very restless this time of year and feel the drive to be "doing" something that those in the world around me will deem "important".
3) Our upcoming move. We're about two weeks away from our 4th (and hopefully final) move in the last two years. Pray for plenty of help, and safety for all those who have any part in the process.

The enemy wants to see us fail, the onslaught of attacks in the last six months have been intense at times. There have been days I've been ready to give it all up and go the way of the world. In my heart, I know that is not what is the best for me or for my children. So I continue to try to follow where the Lord has been leading.

What about you? Can you share a prayer request? Do you have some wisdom in one of these areas? Please feel free to leave a comment and share!

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Blessing of Friends

My daughter recently quoted, "Friends are the family you choose for yourself." I've thought about it, a lot. I think God has blessed my life with an amazing extended family of friends. Some of them know me better than my own family, in many ways. Others are still new. I started blogging back in 2005. I made some friends along the way. I know we need to exercise caution in the cyberworld. God has been gracious and merciful and protective. He's surrounded me, and blessed me with a number of ladies, some single mothers others married mothers who are supportive of single mothers.

Today, I received a small package, and a big blessing in the mail. It was from one of my homeschooling friends that I met through blogging. She saw a piece of fabric, thought of me, and couldn't not buy it and send it to me. The thing is, God had His hand in it because that piece of fabric was so perfectly and typically "me". And she's never met me.

And God knew that I needed that blessing today. I've been struggling lately, swimming upstream...mostly because I haven't the courage to get out of the water, find my feet, stand up and walk along the shore. I need to and I need to do it with all the grace and dignity I can find, and I need to not care what others think.

Look around you today and see where God is working in your life, because He's there. Sometimes it's not that He's moved away from us, but that we've moved away from Him. I think when I start walking again, I'm going to see even more beautiful blessings in my life.

Do you have a blessing to share? Leave a comment.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Streams in the Desert - October 3

I read this today, and I know God's timing is perfect, but I so wish I had been inspired with this a week or so ago.

"Learn also to wait on God for the unfolding of His will. Let God form your plans about everything in your mind and heart and then let Him execute them. Do not possess any wisdom of your own. For many times His execution will seem so contradictory to the plan He gave. He will seem to work against Himself. Simply listen, obey and trust God, even when it seems highest folly so to do. He will to the end make "all things work together" but so many times in the first appearances of the outworking of His plans, 'In His own world, He is content to play a losing game,' So if you would know His voice, never consider results or possible effects. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark, He Himself will be glorious light in you. And there will spring up rapidly in your heart an acquaintanceship and a fellowship with God which will be overpowering in itself to hold you and Him together eve in the severest testings and under most terrible pressure."

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Learning

The Lord has me in an interesting place in life, where I'm doing more learning than teaching.

This summer I spent a great deal of time learning beside my son and the neighborhood children about the insects and flowers in our neighborhood. The Lord has been teaching me (for years it seems) to "Be still" and to "Wait". And recently I learned it is true, when a woman says she'll call she does, in what seems like a reasonable amount of time (at least to me) but when a man says he'll call (and he does) it doesn't mean it's going to be within my time frame.

I'm learning that when God give's a vision and a direction, just because you think you know where you're going, it doesn't mean you know the roads that He is going to take to get you there. Trusting is so hard, and yet I have no reason not to trust. The Lord has always been faithful, even when I have not.

Is there something you are still learning? Leave a comment and share!

Blessings, MaggieRaye