Okay…so at the beginning of Jan. I fasted all caffeine for 21 one days because I wanted to give the first of the year to the Lord…as I examined my heart to see what sufficient sacrifice I could give to the Lord…it was clear that my daily energy drink and triple shot americano would be a doozy! I knew clear well it would be a week of migraines and moodiness…I could of weaned myself…ya, but that would have been too easy. I pretty much locked myself in my house…peeling myself off the floor (okay..thats dramatic) it was more like off my bed and the coach to home school my oldest and get the older two to gymnastics. I rarely called my friends as not to unleash all the complaining and grumbling that was pent up in side of me as the toxins were not only being released and cleared from my body…they would have come out my mouth (not to say there were not moments). But, over all I desperately wanted to cheerfully give this gift to the Lord. Before the fast the Lord had begun to talk to me about my affections and where I placed my affections. All that know me well know… I loooove me sum coffee…addicted not only to the caffiene… but the cup…the entire ritual of slowly sipping coffee all morning. I really believe there is no problem in that…the problem for me was that somewhere deep inside I had believed a lie…and the lie being that I could not get up and have enough energy to take care of my four boys unless I had an energy drink or coffee…which obvious to me revealed in my heart that the Lord was not enough or sufficient. The affection I placed in coffee was not balanced with truth. Jesus is enough and His grace is sufficient. The lord began speaking to me… saying I am your portion. People would ask me how I was doing and I would say things to the effect, “five days off “the caffeine”,and the Lord is my portion.” Whenever I was tempted or struggled I would say to myself “The Lord is my portion”, and although this comforted me the revelation is was not yet complete. The 21 days have come and gone and I have had both coffee and energy drinks sometimes every other day…some days back to back. I have guarded my heart against the lie that I need anything but Him to conquer the daily activities of life in a house of four boys. A place where I have to not only balance the responsibilities of keeping house but also the weighty responsibilities of educating our boys both in academics and godly character. I have to admit even without caffeine I get tired…but, I’m learning this greater dependance on God and His faithfulness compels me on to see fruit in this area of my life. Last weekend during the worship service at church the Lord asked me to do a study on what God means when He says,”I am your portion.” I ran across this writing from Octavius Winslow in 1870, It was poignant to me and I wanted to share. It encouraged me and I’m slowly getting it at deeper levels what David meant when he cried out to God in Ps.16:5-6, ” Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside you. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Hope you enjoy!
THE LORD MY PORTION
“The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore I will hope in Him.” Lam. 3:24
It is our great privilege, beloved, that we live in a portionless world. This is both our distinctive badge and our Christian charter. When God parceled out the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel, He made an exception in the tribe of Levi, to whom He said, “You shall have no inheritance in the land, neither shall you have any part among them;” assigning as His reason, “I am your share and your inheritance.” The gospel teaching of this is obvious and significant. As the Lord’s true priesthood, this world is not our portion, nor earth our rest. It may have required some painful discipline, and no small measure of faith, on the part of the devout Levite, as he gazed upon the fertile meadows, the watered plains, and the vine-clad hills of the Promised Land, before he was made willing to relinquish it all for Him who is invisible–and it needs no little teaching and discipline of our God, and no little faith on our part, before we are led to give up the world, the creature, self, and all, for Christ–satisfied to have the Lord alone as our Portion, and heaven only as our inheritance.
But the Lord will not put His people off with anything unworthy of Him to give, or them to accept. He has set them apart for Himself, and Himself apart for them. “All believers are the Lord’s CLERGY; and as they are His portion, so He is theirs.” (Leighton.) “The Lord’s portion is His people, Israel is the lot of His inheritance.” “The Lord is my portion, says my soul.” His love to us was so great, that when He could give no greater proof of that love, He gave HIMSELF. Nothing more could have expressed the yearnings of His heart, nothing less could have satisfied the desires of ours.
And oh, what a Portion is God! All that He is and all that He has is ours! Every attribute of His being is over us, every perfection of His nature encircles us, every pulse of His heart beats for us, every glance of His eye smiles upon us. We dwell in God, and God dwells in us. It is not the world which is our portion, but HE who made, upholds and governs the world. It is not the creature who is our portion, but the Lord of angels and the Creator of men. Infinite portion! illimitable power! immeasurable grace! boundless love! all-satisfying good! all, all is ours!
And what a Portion, O my soul, is Christ! A divine Christ, a redeeming Christ, a full Christ, a sympathizing, ever-present, ever-precious, ever-loving Christ.
‘Lord, I bless You for the discipline that brought me to realize what a divine, all-satisfying Portion I have in Yourself. You took from me an earthly portion, only to enrich me with a Heavenly one. You removed from me the human prop upon which I too fondly and idolatrously leaned, that I might learn what Christ was, as my soul’s all-sufficient, all-satisfying, and everlasting Portion. I can now admire the wisdom and adore the love that blasted my gourds and emptied me from vessel to vessel, that, rising superior to the broken staff, the drooping flower, and the failing spring of creature good, I might claim my portion as a true spiritual Levite in Yourself alone.’
Believer in Jesus! make the most of your portion. It is all-sufficient for all your need. God has, perhaps, made you poor in this world, that you might be rich in faith and an heir of that kingdom of glory, the New Jerusalem, He has prepared for you–whose foundations are precious stones, whose walls are jasper, whose gates are pearls, whose streets are pure gold, and through which softly flows the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb, in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river is the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruit, and yielding her fruit every month. All this awaits you! Hope in the Lord, hope in adversity, hope in trial, hope against hope, for God in Christ is your present and eternal Portion. “The Lord is my Portion, says my soul; therefore I will HOPE in Him.”
I was in a nostalgic moment…thinking about what Christmas meant to me. I had some time to kill waiting in 20 minutes of traffic trying to get out of the mall parking lot. I was helping my husband with ideas for things the kids could get me for Christmas, when I began to think about gifts and gift giving. A gift giver by nature (and yes it my love language) I always want to get people the perfect gift. A gift that says…I know you…I take notice of the things you like…your style or quirky personality. A gift that ultimately says I LOVE YOU and that you are important enough to me that I would take the time to really think about who you are before I would just get anything. I began to think of what the perfect gift for me would be…I couldn’t even think of anything…a gift giver type person doesn’t even think about gifts for themselves as much as they enjoy buying for others…it’s just not as much FUN;) I began to realize that there really isn’t a perfect gift that could ever satisfy the need we have to feel loved by another person. What gift ever moved my heart…like REALLY moved my heart…that was something I could put in my hand…I thought about my marriage and our courtship…I looked at my ring…I could put it in my hand but, it only represents memories and emotions that are more powerful than the tangibility of the ring itself. This tangent quickly lead me to remembering my salvation…the day I met Him…the ONE that would change everything for me. I was eighteen (thought I was going on 30 or something…too sassy for my own good)…about a hundred pounds hooked on crystal meth…living a life away from God and everything that entails. I had a grandma praying need I say more. I was in a kitchen alone leaning on the counter when I first heard His voice, “I’m going to do wonders in your life.” I replied sharply,” You are going to do wonders in my life..umm..I’m a drug addict by the way…thought you knew that being God and all.” He knew and He chose me anyway. A GREAT kind of love changed me that day and a fantastic love affair with the lover of my soul began. He is the gift that changes me daily if I embrace it. I know that I don’t fully understand the sacrifice of love that Jesus made the day He laid his life down for ALL of US. But I DO know that I came alive when I met Him…He put a dream and purpose in my heart…I knew together with God I could do anything He wanted me to do and we would do it together! So…it’s Christmas…again…and it will come around every year at the same time until I see him face to face. I could focus on not wanting to have to decorate my house…long lines EVERYWHERE…mean people in cars yelling, but you can’t hear them… and let’s not even talk about the post office…or I can take a moment every year (a kind of quiet moment…although I just realized this year I’m sharing that quiet moment with all of you) to reflect on my perfect gift…(truly all of our perfect gift) He came to me as a young girl with great shame and offered me a lifelong love affair…I accepted…and there have been some incredible bonus gifts given along the way…that include the Mister and the four little misters. I LOVE YOU ALL and hope your Christmas is FULL of remembering how we met HIM… this GREAT kind of LOVE!!!!
In case you were wondering…
This morning I got up at 7am. All my kids bags and lunches are packed and the baby bag is ready…even breakfast bars and bananas are on the table ready for breakfast. I need every advantage I can get:) The two older boys make their beds and get dressed, put their PJ’s in the dirties… all to get stickers for their behavior charts. They start eating breakfast as I get ready…I still need to dress the 2 year old and baby. With all this preparation I am still 15 minutes late getting in the car. I have to get the 5 and 4 year old to their kindergarten and pre-k classes at 9:30..practically 30 minutes away. Traffic is great and I make up time. I get to their school at 9:27…put the little ones in a double-stroller and run to their classes or staircases if you will. This is the first drama of the day my two oldest are in different classes on different sections of the school and both buildings have no elevator…no way up the stairs for a mom with a two year old and 11 month old. MERCY ME!!! First I ask my four year old to wait with the little ones at the bottom of the staircase while I run Caleb my kindergarten up to his class. We run to the other side of the school where I ask some nice looking person to watch my little people to run Colsen my pre-Ker up to his class. I take a deep breath…put both hands on my DOUBLE stroller…and run back to my mini-van and load up the little folk. I now have to get the smaller ones to our church to sign them into home group childcare so I can make it to meeting at a house back by the school at 10am. Again all green lights..THANK YOU JESUS!!! I get to the church…I start with the two year old…in all my rushing I forgot his lunch..graciously they offer to feed him from the church snacks. I drop off the baby…I had these cute shoes I was going to put on him…ya maybe next time…again I rush to my van. I have 7 minutes to get to my meeting. Well I tried… but, I get to my meeting 6 minutes late…I remember to put on the lipstick that I didn’t have time to at home. Walking to the door I ask God to help me relax and find my “Jesus place”:). It was a leadership meeting for a mentoring life group I’m a part of…I spent the next hour and a half being encouraged and excited about all that God wanted to do in our hearts and all the ladies that attend. I believe in reaching our Potential as women and pursuing our purpose in Christ…it might seem vague…but, every Christian woman in their heart is being called to greatness…all of our greatnesses vary…and everything is made beautiful in its time:)
Then I go to lunch with a couple of my closest friends…one beautiful hour to fully listen to my friends speak without interruptions. We even have a few minutes to run into the GAP for a little retail therapy before picking our kids up at 1pm. I get my little people in the car and realize I have 30 minutes before I have to be back at the school for Caleb’s Kindergarten orientation. He’s in one of those programs where I home school Mon, Wed, Fri and he goes to school Tue and Thur. So I pop into Old Navy to make an exchange. By the time I get Hudson and Davis in their car seats for the fifth time that day I see major signs of no nap meltdown happening. I get to the school at 1:45…think to myself there’s no point in bringing the stroller in, we all have to go up there to his class. I put Davis (the 11 month old) on my hip and brace Hudson’s the 2 year olds) hand tightly and say under my breath..(we can do this!…I think I can!…I think I can!:)
This is Texas and it’s hot!! I get up there…I’m not glowing..I’m flat out sweating!!! I seat down on one of those made for little people chairs with Davis on my lap and Hudson sitting on the chair next to me…a chair that is actually made for him:) The teachers start talking and Hudson is all over the place…talking to himself in loud toddler jibberish…one of my friends takes the baby and a teacher brings Hudson some blocks. Soon Davis has his eyes on the blocks and Hudson is bringing arm fulls of blocks to the baby…I wish I can say I heard anything the teacher said…but, all I heard is Blah..blah..bl..bl.blahhhhhh…as I thought in my head..WHAT WERE YOU THINKING bringing them all with you!!!
Finally it’s over and I think… I’ll just call one of my friends later and have them tell me what was just said. And… as I was thinking that thought Hudson took off… around the corner and down the stairs…LOVELY…I still have to go to the other building and get Colsen. Caleb gets his bag and holds Hudson’s hand and we head over to Colsen’s class. I ask the teacher how he did as I am bending over with the baby on my hip packing up his bag…she says…”ya, he did good but he was having some troubles wiping after he went number two when he informed me that he didn’t wear underwear to school today.” When I replied, ” I lay out their clothes for them and they dress themselves…this usually doesn’t happen.” She smiles and says, “You might just want to wash those shorts really good:)” I stand up and find hudson eating the other children snacks off the classroom tables. I try to grab his hand and he throws himself on the ground…a nice lady gives him a piece of banana..(I’d like to think it’s motherly camaraderie but, I think she was just feeling sorry for me.) I have to bend down pick him up and place him on my other hip. I walk down the stairs with two children on each hip trying to balance and not fall. I left the building carrying 50 extra pounds in this crazy heat all the way to my van…literally streams of sweat are running down my forehead. I get them all situated and blast the AC. When I ask Colsen about the underwear…he notified me that he just didn’t have the time to put on his underwear…just his shorts….funny…. he had enough time to watch TV before we got in the car. I head to the nearest Starbucks…I don’t care that it it almost three in the afternoon….I need a caffeinated treat and you know what… a scone too! I take a moment and shed a couple of frustrated tears….because crying a little makes me feel better. I think about the other day when my husband was playing guitar for a Sunday night service and I had forty minutes before I could check them into the church nursery. So, I headed of to TJ Max. Yes.. with ALL of them…it was only thirty minutes. I started by browsing the purses, I let the boys pick out their favorite colors so I could look at the ones I really wanted to see. Then I went through the shoes and then passed by the night wear section where I saw two older woman staring at me through pink lace bras and panties. One had her hand over her mouth like I can’t believe you are going shopping with ALL of those kids. The other one had her face all contorted in awe that I would take on such a task. I glanced away only to look back and catch them STILL staring at me…I shrugged my shoulder right at them….like what… I can’t shop for cute clothes because I have four kids…YES, I have four kids…please STOP STARING!!!! So… I was thinking about these woman as I was crying in the Starbucks parking lot. I wonder how many ways they could have contorted their face in awe if they were a fly on the wall of my life today. I would then have to say to them…Ladies of TJ Max…my mother always told me that you shouldn’t make looks on your face like that…it might just get stuck that way!!!!
Thankful I had some great Misty Edwards worship playing in the van and was able to find my “Jesus place” on the way home.
I glanced in the rear view mirror to say YOU ARE A GOOD MOM!……AND GOSH DARN IT…PEOPLE LIKE YOU:)!!!!!!!