Posts Tagged With: Gabe

Day 3 of my Spiritual Stay-cation

Well folks, the time “off” has been helping. I can honestly say that I am doing better today. Yesterday afternoon when I went to go pick up Gabe from Good News Club at school I stopped by the grocery store to pick up another two dozen eggs to replace the ones that went missing. And hey! I was in luck and they had the 18 packs that I really wanted the day before. SCORE! So I bought two, because ya know, with Christmas baking and all I would need more right?

Then when we got back home I had the kids start picking up their toys and cleaning the house while I worked on the dishes in the kitchen and got the counters almost completely cleared back off again. Hallelujah! I had some broken Christmas tree ornaments drying on one counter so I went to hang them up on the tree and I didn’t even cry when the whole tree fell over!!! I *almost* lost it, but I didn’t! YAY! That’s a sure sign that my stress levels are going down! Time with God alone really does help! Amazing!

Gabe and I decided that we should just have egg sandwiches for dinner so that we would have more time to clean the house up, that and we had lots of eggs now! Then Sean called, he had stopped on his way home and bought two dozen eggs! I about fell on the floor laughing (for real)! Now we had FIVE dozen eggs! Thank You Lord… I think. Looks like I’ll be making a LOT of divinity this year for Christmas. 🙂

Last night we decided to let the cat sleep on the end of the bed, big mistake! She scratched and scratched all night long until Sean finally kicked her out of our room, then Anna woke up at 4 AM! Why???? But you know what, it was OK, because I had taken several naps during the day while I was camped out on the couch writing so it didn’t bother me a bit and I was still able to get up at 5 bright and chipper and ready to praise the Lord. And I’ve been going strong ever since.

I have to admit that I haven’t really spent so much time in the word today as yesterday, but instead I’ve been working on getting a new blog site together. The original one at www.TamarMinistries.net wasn’t able to provide a “subscribe” feature and this new one does! I’ve been praying about that since MAY! Hallelujah! So all day today I’ve been working on moving things over and getting settled into my new home here at http://www.tamarknochel.wordpress.com

God has really been showing me a lot lately how He’s been setting all these things into place for me so that when His timing is right everything will line up and the promises He has made will come to fruition. In His timing and in His way. And I trust that. I don’t want anything that isn’t in His timing and His way, because then it’s at best still only second best. And I want His BEST for me and my family, I want His dream for us. I want His goal for us. I want His blessings and favor for us, no matter what they look like. I know that He loves me and I trust that any decision He makes will be made completely out of love for me. Period.

Have you been wondering what my Spiritual Stay-cation has looked like? Day 1 looked like shopping with my friend Kelly, Day 2 looked like sitting on the couch the whole time Gabe was at school, Day 3 has looked like sitting on the computer all day, all three days have been cutting out absolutely all things that don’t entail feeding my family (which I have made as minimalistic as possible). I called off Bible study today and Monday night, and volunteering at the school too. I have made myself and my stress-level a priority, if something starts to frustrate me I stop it and walk away. I have turned the ringer off of my phone, it’s still on and I’m checking it periodically, but it’s amazing to me how the lack of those message tones has been so amazingly peaceful! I’ve come to realize that they’re like little voices saying “Pay attention to ME! I need your immediate attention!” No, they DON’T need my immediate attention, my family and my God need my immediate attention everyone else will just have to wait until I get around to answering your messages! God bless a silent phone! Basically I have set these seven days aside as a Sabbath rest week. My own little vacation with God on the mountain of Shalom peace. Lord, thank You for strongly suggesting that I do this, I can’t thank You enough for the rest I have been finding in letting these things go by the wayside for a time! I pray that next Monday come slowly! I am really enjoying this private time with You!!! I LOVE YOU LORD!!!!

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True Success

My son is anxious right now. He has a test tomorrow in Math that he is just dreading. It’s a time test on multiplying sevens. Blech! Now, you need to know that this little man is in the gifted program for both math AND reading so it’s not like he doesn’t know what he’s doing, because he does! And if you quiz him on his sevens facts orally, he does a great job. Hand him a piece of paper and a pen and do the same thing, again does a great job. Start a timer, anxiety shoots through the roof and EVERYTHING suddenly flies out the window! The poor kid, truly is anxious about nothing… but not in the good way.

As a parent, this has been absolutely infuriating to me. I tell ya, this year has been a serious learning experience for me as it has been for him. Maybe because it’s bringing hard memories back to me from my childhood of sitting with my mom for what seemed like HOURS going over flash cards to practice for my own dreaded time tests. I loathed those flash cards. But whatever the reason, it has certainly made me question God on what exactly He’s trying to teach us all through this time testing period. I’ve figured out that it’s something that He tried teaching me when I was younger and doing time tests and it’s something that He’s trying to teach Gabe and I both together now.

You see, we all have a very high ability to succeed easily in what we’re good at. So when we struggle with something, it automatically frustrates us. The more we struggle, the more frustrated we get, the less we succeed (because we’re frustrated) until we just give up and stop trying all together. Obviously this is NOT the ideal outcome for us, with math facts or anything else in life. Since Gabe started Kindergarten, we have stressed that as long as he is doing his best and trying hard we are happy. I had come across a study where they tested two groups of students. One group was only praised for their achievement and success while the other group was only praised for their efforts toward success. After several months of this the testers noticed that in the group that was praised for success, when they were presented with an opportunity to choose to do something harder than their own ability, or to do an activity that was under their ability level, they would almost always choose the activity under their ability level… because they knew they would succeed and receive praise for their success. However, the group that was praised for their efforts, almost one hundred percent of the time would choose the more difficult option. Why? Because they knew that as long as they tried their hardest they would receive praise. They pushed THEMSELVES harder to succeed, they didn’t need their teachers or parents to do it for them. They also, consequently received better marks because they weren’t giving up as often either.

This is the strategy our children have been raised with. We expect the BEST performance from them and they most generally meet those expectations. However, if they are not able to achieve those expectations immediately, because let’s face it no one is perfect, the last thing we do is tell them we’re disappointed or upset with them. Because we know what the result from that becomes. Discouragement and true failure, giving up.

The truth is, Gabe cares more about how he succeeds than any of us do, because it’s HIS success! He’s always wanted to get straight A’s and be the best, and honestly deep down, who doesn’t want to be the best or do their best in something? This is the first time in all his schooling that he has ever really struggled with achieving the success he desires and expects from himself. And by golly I am going to do everything in my power, from prayer to practice, to make sure that he doesn’t give up! Success doesn’t matter, only BEST EFFORT. However, I have found that my own best efforts generally produce success on their own. Not always of course, but usually.

A message from God to me about my own performance in life (which I too have been struggling and frustrated with lately), and I believe we all could hear this message! “What I am asking is that you maintain your high achievement expectations (which I fully support and applaud you for!), but that you no longer call attention to your own lack of success in your own eyes. You have the ability to completely crush your own morale and cause yourself to give up altogether. Trust Me. I know that you want nothing more than to please Me, your Beloved teacher. I ask that you please be mindful of the words that you use with yourself concerning your test results. Words can be like bricks, you can throw them and maim or you can lay them down carefully and build with them. All we can ask and expect of you is to do your best. And then let ME do the rest… and I will. I always do!”

And you know, He DOES! Just look at the paralyzed man on the mat in Matthew 9!

1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”  3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”  4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.

Jesus asked that poor man to do the ONE thing he absolutely could not do! I mean you have to wonder if the thought crossed his mind, “Ummmm, Jesus, that’s why my friends brought me here, because I CAN’T walk, I’m paralyzed remember.” But in spite of that very glaringly obvious fact, he still got up and walked! He put forth what little effort he could, and then Jesus did all the rest! And the man got up and went home. I read a church sign the other day that was perfect for this illustration. “Failure isn’t falling down, it’s not getting back up again.” True failure isn’t falling, true failure isn’t getting an “F” on a test, true failure isn’t missing the goal, true failure is not putting forth your best effort to move towards that goal. And if that’s really the God’s honest truth, which is what I ALWAYS strive to bring you, then true success is putting forth your best effort irregardless of the end result that it brings.

OH HALLELUJAH!!!! PRAISE THE LORD! We don’t have to  BE perfect!!!!! We just have to keep striving for the expectation of perfection in love through Christ.

Fun fact, check this out:

Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Now tell me this, if faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, and make NOTHING impossible for us… and love is GREATER than faith… WHAT can love do?????

Love can make our best efforts equal success. Love can make our darkness into light. Love can change hearts and minds and attitudes. Love can make us patient, when we’re not. Love can make us humble, when we’re not. Love can lift us up when all we want is to stay down. Love can, when we can’t. Hallelujah! Can I get an AMEN!?!

Want to praise about this one? I do! Francesca Battistelli wrote “Free to be Me” after she backed into a lawyers car in a parking lot.

It helped me realize that although we’ve got a couple dents in our fenders, a couple rips in our jeans. We’re still trying to fit the pieces together, and PERFECTION IS OUR ENEMY. Because on our own we’re so clumsy, but on HIS shoulders, we’re FREE TO BE WHO WE ARE! We’re free to be who HE made us to be, imperfect beings in a now imperfect world trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got until we get to go home.

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God Intended it for Good

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

The morning after Gabe chipped his teeth at recess, I called and left a message at the school to let them know that he wouldn’t be in that day because we were going to take the day off to rest and recover from the excitement of the day before. I let them know that their prayers were being answered and that God is taking care of Gabe. His new teeth looked almost better than the first ones did and that the thing we needed to be praying for now was that his two front teeth do not fall out! Now when I left the message I was thinking that only the school secretary that prayed with him would hear it and maybe the other ladies in the office. Little did I know what God had planned for that message! The ladies in the office did all hear it, but so did the principal and he called me to let me know that they were so sorry that Gabe had gotten hurt, they were glad to hear that he was feeling better and that the principal himself was praying for him. He just “happened” to call at the same time that my house started filling up with people bringing over soft foods for Gabe to eat (no solid foods for TWO Weeks for a nine-year old boy is NOT cool). There were 2 Bible study sisters, one of their daughters, and 3 kids when another Bible study sister called on the phone (immediately after the principal) with some news. It was a mad house around here! Women chatting loudly as to be heard over the literally screaming children, ahhhhhh….. my dream come true! I love when my house is filled with LIFE and laughter.

When I took Gabe to school a couple of hours later to pick up his homework and say “Hi” to his friends, his teacher let me know that she had heard the message too! The kids in his class were pretty shaken up by his accident, so she had her assistant play the message on speaker phone to all the kids in Gabe’s classroom. Now I have to point out that the me you read on this website is the me I really am. I am like this all the time. As in, I talk up God and what He’s doing. I see Him working in ways that most people don’t see or understand, and I call it as I see it. So when I leave a message on the absence report line at school sharing an update on how my son is doing I’m going to share about the prayers being answered, and how God kept him from being hurt more than he was. It was amazing, his lip didn’t even get swollen! How in the world do you partially chip one front tooth and practically break another front tooth in half vertically and NOT bust your lip open, bruise your cheek or even get a concussion? I mean really!?! How does that happen if you don’t have a guardian angel watching over you assigned directly from the throne room of God? To be completely honest with you, considering what all came from this incident I am reluctant to give the Enemy any credit for what happened. Why? Because too many amazing things came from it to be anything but straight from God.

Anyway, as I was standing there listening to his teacher tell me about how she could see and feel the tension in the room leave as those kids listened to how God was answering their prayers and that He is taking care of their friend. I even used the word relax in my message and when I said it, it was as if they took it as permission to relax and stop worrying. There are kids in that room that have never stepped foot into a church before or heard God spoken of in that way before… until my son was injured. (Luke 12:3 What you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.) You know what God whispered to me while I was praising Him later about bring used in such a powerful way? He told me that after hearing that message some of the kids in Gabe’s class prayed for the very first time!!! Now I’m sorry, but I have a really hard time giving satan credit for that! I am actually going to go so far as to confess to you that I believe that it was under direct orders from God himself that the “accident” occurred. I’m sure there are some of you out there absolutely squirming in your seats right now wanting to disagree with me. But look at the facts people! Look at what all happened BECAUSE he got hurt. Not in spite of it, because of it. There are so many people praying for my son, that is one of God’s main goals for us in life, to PRAY. To reach out to The light from our darkness. But adults weren’t the only ones reaching out to God for help through this, children, Gabe’s friends were praying for the FIRST times in their lives! I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed for those children asking God to draw them into an intimate relationship with Himself. And He did that through my son!

The night after Gabe broke his teeth, he got up from the couch and his teeth chomped together accidentally, causing him great pain. He ran into his room sobbing and upset. I followed him and asked him what had happened and all he would say was “I don’t want fake teeth! I don’t want fake teeth!” I reminded him that only half of one tooth was fake and a small chip of the other. But that didn’t really help him either. So I took him next door into the bathroom and made him smile into the mirror. I said, “Gabe I want you to look at your teeth, really look at them. Now I want you to think about everything that God did because you broke your teeth. Because you broke your teeth, some of your friends talked to God for the very first time in their whole lives! People all over the place have been praying for YOU and your mouth, which is drawing them closer to God all because you broke your teeth. Because you broke your teeth your friends got to hear about how God takes care of us, and how much He loves us, they may never hear that again. These teeth are BEAUTIFUL! I want you to remember all those things every time you look at your teeth in the mirror. Every night and every morning when you brush these fake teeth I want you to remember how God used YOU and your pain to teach LOTS of other people about how much He loves them! Don’t you DARE be ashamed of these teeth! Not ever! They are too precious for that.” No matter how pain comes into your lives, please please please know that God does NOT allow (or cause) pain in our lives simply for the sake of having us experience pain. He loves us too much for that. Pain is in our lives to mold us into the vessel that God wants us to be. We ARE always in the potters hands, there isn’t a moment when we’re not. There are times in our lives when He is turning us on His wheel and applying soothing water and light pressure to form us in a certain way. But then there are other times in our lives when He picks up a tool that was created to “wreak havoc” and carve out a beautiful pattern or design into the clay of our flesh. The tool may be the one doing the “damage” but ultimately, it’s the potter’s hands holding the tool to do the work that He created him to do. Carving the pattern according to His will, not the tool’s. Personally I find it comforting to know that no matter what is going on in my life, GOD is the one in complete control. That God has the Enemy in His hand, in complete control of him the WHOLE time. At no point am I at the Enemy’s mercy, but at God’s mercy.

Isaiah 57:1-2 The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

John 9:1-5 “As He went along, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the words of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the words of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “…because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

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