IMG_2666 I'm a home school mama. (Yes, that's me in all my yoga panted, head banded, hoodied glory on a typical day.)   I have two sweet, wild, chaotic boys that I am beyond blessed to spend my days with.  Every Day. I love it.  Really, I do.   But, can I be honest, just like any other job, sometimes it is HARD WORK! These boys refine me and test me and try me.  They challenge me and make me a better person, a better mom, and a better Child of God.  They question me... about EVERYTHING... and make me really think about things.  They stretch my patience to the limits.  They make me laugh and sometimes they even make me cry, because being a mama is a tough job! Can I be honest again?  Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing it right and if it's worth all the effort.  I know I fail a lot.  I know I get a lot right too.  I hope that the scales balance and that these boys get the best I have to offer more often than not.  These challenging and amazing fellas have been trusted to me by my Father and I desperately want to do right by them and by Him, so I just keep pressing on and praying hard and leaning on God for my strength. But did I mention that it is hard work? Things that matter typically are hard work!  Things that are meaningful take a lot of effort. They are difficult because they are shaping us, growing us, and challenging us to be and do better.  They require us to lean into Him for encouragement, support, and help.  I think that is kind of the point. Do you know what I just love though? When things get tough and I get weary and begin to question myself,  it is just like my loving Father to send me a little "hang in there girl, you're on the right track" message.  He did that this morning.  (He does it a lot, but sometimes I'm too caught up in the craziness to notice.) I was sitting at my usual morning spot, reading my Bible and writing out a verse in my journal that spoke to me, Zechariah 13:9 ironically enough, when my sweet 9 year old walked in with his Bible and sat down beside me and began reading from his.  He didn't interrupt me.  I got a quick smile from this dimpled cheeked, bed headed cutie and he opened God's word and dove in.  It was just what I needed this morning to give me that boost to keep on keeping on!

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Zechariah 13:9 "And I will put this third into the fire,and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.  I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” So today, whatever it is that you are pushing through, whatever work God has called you to be faithful to; I just wanted to give you a little encouragement.  It can be tough.  It can make you weary and you may question yourself.  It is hard work and it is suppose to be. Hang in there.  You're on the right track.  Keep your eyes open for little messages of encouragement from God.  Keep on keeping on because he is refining you, growing you, stretching you, shaping you, and teaching you to lean into Him. Love and blessings, Bobbie  
image Yesterday was a hard day.  There is just so much sin and hurt in this fallen world.  There is so much pain. There is so much loss and grief and discouragement.  My heart aches for the brokenness that is so evident everywhere I look.  This whole earth is groaning and crying out for it's Savior. Do you see that too?  Do you see loved ones dealing with loss and grief?  Do you see sickness, pain, and suffering?  Do you see discouragement and hopelessness?  Do you see relationships falling apart and the scars left from that?  Maybe you are the one in the midst of all of the trials?  I've been there too. I was confronted head on with all of this hurt in so many situations yesterday with several friends and loved ones dealing with very difficult tribulations.  My heart breaks a little with each situation.  And honestly, it's easy to look around at all that is going on in this life and in this fallen world and get a little discouraged.  It's tempting to turn my eyes away from God and get overwhelmed with the way sin and hurt is wrecking so much. But, when I keep my eyes fixed firmly on my Savior, Redeemer, Comforter, Friend, Father, Deliverer, Strongtower, and Help; I can see His mighty hand at work in the midst of each situation.  He is right there.  He is in the midst going to battle for us.  He is busy working in our most difficult circumstances to soften hard hearts, reconcile broken relationships, comfort the grieving, and draw the lost to Him.  He is hard at work uniting believers, encouraging the weary, giving hope, and strengthening us.  He is pouring out grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, and love in our most desperate times.  He is wrapping His arms of protection around us. He is so good that when they enemy seeks to destroy, God is at work on our behalf to reconcile and redeem.  He uses the schemes of the enemy to draw us closer to Him and build our faith.  He is so Holy that He is moving in each trial to work it out for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory.  His Love is so great that in the midst of our hardest battles, He provides comfort, peace, and joy. As I sat this morning, reading in Psalms, I was reminded over and over again how God is with us through all that we face.  In case you are in that place, or in case you want to provide encouragement and direction for someone who is, I wanted to point out some scripture that really spoke to me today in my reading. Psalm 25:15-17    "My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish." Psalm 25:4-6     "Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." Psalm 27:1     "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 28:6-8     "Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one." Psalm 31:24     "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 32:7     "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." Psalm 33:11     "But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." He is there.  In the middle of all of the messes that we deal with, He is our hope.  I'm so thankful that He loves us that much.  We never face any situation on our own.  He goes with us, giving us strength, love, protection, power, peace, comfort, wisdom, grace and mercy through the journey.  Wow!  What a God we serve! [...]
image Yesterday I told you how much I love the book of Esther.  Today I began the book of Job.  Can I be honest?  It's one of those books that I've always struggled with.  I just don't really understand it.  I'm not a big fan of reading about how my good and loving God allows one of His finest men to go through such an awful time. I mean, God himself, tells Satan that there is no one on earth like Job who is blameless, upright, fears God, and shuns evil.  This guy got up every morning and offered a sin offering to God for his children just in case they had sinned or cursed God the day before.  Every day.  He was that good. I'm not that good.  Not even close. But God still allowed the enemy to attack Job. I just really struggle with that.  Maybe because I know I can't really compare to Job. I understand that God is righteous and holy.  I also understand that every one, no matter how good they seem, can't stand before our righteous God.  He is so holy that even our most honorable and good acts are like filthy rags in front of Him. But he also loves His children with a fierce love.  He is graceful and merciful.  He is good. I think that's where I get a little stuck when I read Job.  I have a hard time reconciling those characteristics of God. I know that the book of Job kind of rubs me the wrong way, so I really prayed for understanding this morning as I read it.  When I got to parts of the life of Job that trip me up, I paused to pray again. This time, as I read through the first half of the book of Job, I noticed something that I've never really seen before and suddenly things shifted in my thought process. I want to share this thought with you in case maybe you struggle to reconcile the holy, righteous, blameless God in the beginning of Job with the God of love, mercy, goodness, and grace that we enjoy reading about. It's just a thought.  It by no means, makes this awesome and powerful and incomprehensible God understandable, but it does point out a truth that really spoke to me today. Job 9:32-35   “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot." Poor Job lived during the Old Testament times.  Before Jesus.  He feared God and honored God.  He accepted God's blessings as well as God's curse because He understood that God is God. He is awesome.  He is mighty.  He knew he had no way to stand before a holy and righteous and just God and ask for anything. Our sins separate us from Him.  Even our most righteous acts fail in comparison.  He is righteous.  He is just.  He is holy.  Job was pretty awesome, but he knew he couldn't even begin to hold his head up in front of God. On our own, we really can't either. BUT JESUS We have something that Job didn't have.  Job didn't have an intercessor to come between he and God to arbitrate on His behalf.  He sure wanted one.  Look at that verse again.  He didn't have the blood of Jesus covering His sin, making him pure and blameless before God.  He didn't have Jesus, friend of sinners, to lay his hand upon him and reconcile him with the Father like we do.  He didn't have anyone to bridge the gap between him and the Father. No wonder Job begged for his life to just be over.  He loved God and knew of His majesty and understood that there was nothing he could say or do to deserve God's grace and mercy, just like there really isn't anything we can do or say on our own. The difference is Jesus. Once we trust in Him for salvation, we can stand pure and righteous before God.  It doesn't matter how filthy we were before, or how good.  Christ's blood covers us.  He creates the bridge between us and God. God is good and if you know the story of Job, you know God blessed his ending much more than his beginning.  He restored Job and all he had and blessed him greatly.  But Job went through such a time of despair and hurt and pain.  Although he knew God was there and with him in his trial and he never cursed him, he didn't have the same comfort that we can have.  He  knew, just like us, he didn't deserve God's goodness at all and he accepted his trails because he understood how he compared to God. We may have trials too.  God doesn't promise us an easy life just because we've trusted Christ as our savior.  Trials still come.  Maybe you're there.  Maybe you're feeling a little like Job.  I've been there.  I've felt like my world is crashing down and I've been brought low. BUT JESUS! One thing that we have that poor, old Job never had is the hope, comfort, and friend that we have in Jesus.  He's on our side.  He stands before the Father and pleads our case.  He makes us righteous and pure because his sinless blood is on our account.  He stands in the gap for us, while Job had no one to do that.  No wonder he was in such a place of despair! I'm so comforted by this truth.  It brings me so much peace to know that when things get hard, I don't have to be in that place of total and utter despair like Job.  I may not always have an easy time.  Let's be real here, life just gets hard sometimes.  After all, the book of Job tells us that Satan is in this earth just roaming through it and going back and forth in it.  He's a trouble maker. But, we have the hope that our Jesus is working on our behalf to arbitrate between us and God.  He's bridging the gap.  He has made a way for us to stand in front our righteous and just Father and receive love and goodness, mercy and grace, poured out in abundance. Because of Jesus, we can have a hope that Job never had. Love and blessings, Bobbie
image My favorite book of the Bible is Esther.  I love the drama.  I love the story.  At the risk of sounding trite, Esther is a fantastic script with a twisting and turning plot, rich characters, deceit, love, betrayal, an underdog overcoming great odds, and a beautiful story of grace and mercy.  It's a script that could only be written and directed by our mighty God, and produced in real life through his awesome power. I love this biography of a young orphan girl, raised by her cousin, suddenly thrust into the palace with the chance to be a queen.  She must hide her identity because her people are looked down on.  She finds favor with everyone, including the king, and is made queen.  In the mean time,  her uncle saves the king's life by uncovering a conspiracy to murder him.  Simultaneously, the King's main advisor is planning genocide for the queen's people but he doesn't even know the queen is one of them.  It's scandalous and the intensity is palpable! In the face of her death and the death of her entire race, Queen Esther is warned by her cousin that she has two options.  She can choose to stand by, try to protect herself, say nothing, and allow her faithful God to send another deliverer for the Jews.  Or, she can rise to the occasion, and risk her own life for the chance to save her people.  It's a nail biter! All this intensity leads up to one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible.  I'm a sucker for a good plot, and when reading about these events in Esther's life, I'm always on the edge of my seat. "...and who knows but that you have come to the royal position for such a time as this?"  Esther 4:14b Wow!  What a thought for Esther to ponder.  Her cousin Mordecai reminds her that God has been in charge of this scene from the opening act.  He loves His people and will deliver them with or without her. But, Esther has the choice.  Will she just watch as God raises up a deliver from another place, or will she bravely step up and accept her divine calling.  After all, it's quite possible that this one moment is the entire reason that God allowed her to become Queen.  Every detail, every event, has been leading up to this climactic choice. Isn't it amazing when you sit back and really think about it.  This is a true account from the Bible.  It's not a script or a work of fiction.  God actually called this beautiful, young orphan girl into a royal position and gave her the awesome opportunity to provide deliverance for her entire race from complete genocide. Now, maybe God isn't calling you to something quite that intense.  Maybe it's a smaller step of faith and obedience  in marriage, your career, or your ministry.  Who knows, maybe He is calling you to something monumental.  Regardless of the fork in the road that you are standing at, God does give us opportunities for Esther moments in our lives.  He brings us to a crossroads of sorts and allows us to choose which path to follow.  We can meekly sit back and allow God to find another person to fill the role that He has called us to. Or we can boldly step out in faith and obedience. We can choose to let our Esther moment become the defining scene of our story where we choose to follow God's call regardless of the risk.  We can choose to bravely accept His plan and His will for our lives. My prayer today is that we will each come to our Esther moments with purpose. We will gladly accept the challenge to follow where He leads.  We will step into our calling, whatever it may be, without hesitation because we trust that it has been His plan all along. Esther did. Imagine that moment I described earlier.  The ultimatum is given by Esther's cousin.  She is forced with a heavy decision.  She can let God use her or watch someone else fill her divine calling. Now picture yourself there instead.  The ultimatum is given to you.  You stand at your own personal fork in the road.  You know that God has called you for such a time as this.  Sister, boldly step into your role.  Take courage, because God has a plan for you just as He did for Esther. Embrace your Esther moment. Love and blessings, Bobbie
Don't judge me today because I'm just keeping it real.  I'm pretty sure that the m&m's and the caramel that I just ate for lunch were totally a coping mechanism.  Comfort in an uncomfortable place.  Chocolate and caramel can do that for a girl. Have you ever been in that place where you just feel a little out of your element?  Maybe you doubt your abilities.  Maybe you doubt you can do what you know you've been called and created to do.  Maybe you feel inadequate.  Maybe you are feeling a little insecure.  And just maybe you are more than a little tempted to comfort yourself with chocolate and caramel too! You know what though?  That didn't really work.  As a matter of fact, I'm a little hacked off at my self for eating that candy, especially since I've got skinny jeans laid out to wear this evening. The thing that finally allowed me to get outside of my own head was a sweet and gentle reminder from God, my Father, saying that HE HAS GOT MY BACK.  I am exactly where He wants me and I am exactly who He has called me to be.  He has a specific purpose and a plan for me.  He's lined up every detail of who I am because He wants to use it.  He will equip me for all that He has called me to.  If He has called me to it, He promises to walk me through it.   I just need to quit the worrying. And so do you.  He takes that burden for each and every one of His children.  When we are walking in His ways, He promises to stand beside us and strengthen us for what He has called us to.  He doesn't want us to stay bound in insecurity and feelings of inadequacy.  He wants to free us from that bondage and fill us with strength, boldness, and courage. Man, that lifts my wavering heart and I hope it lifts yours too! Deuteronomy 31:8 "The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Love and blessings, Bobbie