The Goal Is Heaven

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I have a specific sin struggle. It is a daily battle to not entertain the sin I struggle with. I have boundaries set up so I don’t play with it. There are things I can not do to make sure I do not give sin an opportunity.  Things have been going pretty well for the past two years. I had some falls in that time but, for the most part, I would say I was on the upswing…until recently.

I fell.  I fell down. Hard. I was lower than I had ever been. I had entertained sin in a way that I had not done before. The guilt I felt was tremendous. I asked the Lord to forgive me but still felt dirty. I kept apologizing to Him. I stayed (in my minds eye) in sackcloth and ashes. I knew I was forgiven yet, I needed a touch from Him to know that I was okay.

I kept waiting for the spanking, the punishment, the reprimand. I was praying but I didn’t know what to say execept for how sorry I was and that I knew I knew better. I had my quiet time that evening. No lightening strike.  I was desperate, needy, for a touch from the Lord.  I didn’t care if it was a scolding or love.  I needed to know He was still there and that He still cared.  I longed so to hear from him, any interaction would do for me. The next morning, I had my quiet time. (My quiet time consists of reading a few devotionals and 1 chapter of scripture a day). The first devotional I read was dew on dusty ground. I still have trouble describing the experience.  He wasn’t angry; He understood.  There was no scolding; only love. No spanking but a loving hand to hold me close with.

I did not received what I expected (which is the definition of mercy). He told me to keep my focus on heaven for that is the goal. What I struggle with is real.  The lack of remedy for it is real. But those things are smoke screens to what is important.

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John 8:11 Jesus Doesn’t Condemn Me So I Need To Stop Condemning Myself

download-1I stopped praying to conceive.  I removed my name from my own prayer list (which is pretty pathetic). The sense of urgency left as soon as I gave away all of my baby items. With the exception of maternity clothes, crib (which has been broken down and out of sight for a two years now), and a few homemade blankets and crib set, every baby item I had is gone.

It wasn’t that I stopped believing that God would do but I stopped hanging my daydreams on it because the longing distracted me from the present.

There is something else also.  I mentioned in a blog post some time ago that I struggled with a particular sin. At one point towards the end of last year I became what is termed “sin sick”.  I was willingly and actively sinning and it was destroying me. I felt horrible but didn’t think stopping would help since I have stopped before only to end up right back at it again. The time between my boughts with this particular sin has increased which is a good thing but it only makes the fall into it again that much worse; like a dog returning to his vomit  (Proverbs 26:11).

The shame and condemtation that I felt was so great, I didn’t know how to fully come out from under it.  I repented and turned away from it (again) but the nagging thought that I would only end up back where I started from again ate away at any strength I gained when I turned away from that sin and back to Christ.

All of this was happening when I was trying to figure out why I wasn’t conceiving. Then, I remembered something from Beth Moore’s book Believing God.  She spoke of sanctifying yourself. A group of ladies she did the study with wore something blue on their wrists as a reminder to obstain from whatever their particular struggle was in order to sanctify themselves. I attached myself to that hoping that as I obstained from this sin and became sanctified that I would conceive. I did well for the first 30 days. I was so determined to conceive that I kept that in the forefront of my mind and turning away from sin wasn’t difficult but it did not result in a baby.  The second month was harder and I fell. I just knew my punishment was that I would not conceive that month because I fell to that same sin again. I did not conceive. The same cycle happened again the following month.

I dispared.

I repented again.

I felt so hopeless. I cried out to God in my spirit and asked Him for help.  He said, clear as day, to read John 8. The first part of this chapter is the story of the woman caught in adultery. I read up to verse 11.  Verse 11 stopped me in my tracks.

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,[i] “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?[j] Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and[k] sin no more.”

Jesus doesn’t condemn me?  Jesus doesn’t condemn me?!? Jesus doesn’t condemn me! Jesus doesn’t condemn me!!!

God’s word got ahold of me and as I let it sink in into the marrow of my bones, I felt the weight of sin being removed from me. Jesus doesn’t condemn me and He has given me the freedom not to sin. Jesus doesn’t condemn me so I need to stop condemning myself.

(Originally penned 2013)

 

Sin In My Life

My own sin humbles me every day.

My Pastor preached a couple of weeks ago and said that when we go before the Lord to confess our sins, we aren’t to unspecifically ask for forgiveness.  We are to go before the Lord and be very specific of where we sinned.

Once my Pastor preached that part about confessing specifically what your sins are, I was obedient.  To further my state of humility, I started to lay prostrate before of the Lord.  I felt completely humbled and thoroughly embarrassed to confess anything to Him.  I truly felt the burden of my sin and after I confessed, asked for forgiveness, and repented, I truly felt free of my sin; forgiven immediately.  Because I couldn’t stand to lay before the Lord in that sin state, it helped me not sin throughout the day.  Alas, like everything else in my life, I got lax.  I went back to doing what was easy and familiar to me. I stared making unspecific confessions and saying them while laying in my bed  before going off to sleep or in the morning before taking off in our van.

It isn’t until now, less than 24 hours after committing a sin that I struggle with, that I find myself once again in the position of taking that long trip from standing to kneeling/laying in front of the Lord.

The sin I struggle with is lust of the flesh.  It presents itself in my thought life.  If I don’t win the battle there, it takes shape in the physical.  I get tired of going to the Lord with this same old crap!  I want to get better, to be better!  Sometimes I don’t even realize I am sinning in my thought life until it has gone too far.  But that’s sin isn’t it.  It will ALWAYS take you further than you want to go.

So now, with great humility, embarrassment, and shame, I go before the Lord to confess, ask for forgiveness and repent.  I hope this time I last longer (for lack of a better way of say this) between sin episodes.

The System Is Against Fathers!

It is not uncommon for acceptance, humility, and clarity to come to me while I am driving.  While I was out driving to and fro today, I thought about a young woman and her situation.  I found myself trying to mentally defend the child support/custody system.  That is when my moment came.

There is no defense for this system!

Giving the benefit of the doubt, I can only assume that the original thought behind child support enforcement was to stop non-custodial parents (namely fathers) from financially neglecting their children.  That enforcement is still in place today, however, in my personal, humble, but correct opinion, the fathers of today are not what they were when the enforcement became law.  Yes, there are still plenty of fathers out there that, if they could, would have absolutely nothing to do with their children.  Absolutely.  I agree that those sperm donors are still in existence.  They just want to stick and move.  They have no conscious, morality, or sense of obligation to even desire a relationship with their offspring at any point of their life.  For those sperm donors, the system was designed for and should thereby be kept in place.  Those are not the fathers I am referring to.

I am referring to the fathers of today.  The fathers that want to do for their children.  The fathers that want to be involved in their child’s life.  The fathers that want to have a genuine father-child relationship.  The fathers that regardless of what their relationship is with the child’s mother, desires not to forsake their child.  The fathers that do or desire to contribute to the fullness and richness of their child’s life.

These fathers, the fathers of today, are more prevalent than they were when the system was instituted.  These fathers were probably around when the system began but they weren’t single fathers.  These fathers of yesterday married the mother of their child often while she was still pregnant.  Today, these fathers, and mothers, are choosing not to marry simply because they have a child together.  I, for one, think that is a wise decision.

Here’s the problem…well here is one problem.  They system has not caught up with the fathers of today!

Today, the system treats a sperm donor and a father the same way.  Today, it doesn’t matter how consistently good a father has been at being involved physically and/or financially in his child’s life because at the end of the day, he gets shafted.  Also, the mother’s of today are not the mother’s of yesterday.  The mother’s of yesterday said, it doesn’t matter if he does anything or not for this baby (financially speaking), I will take care of my child.  Today’s mother’s (aka baby mama’s) want to fill out child support paper work as soon as the two lines appear on the stick!  Mother’s of today use the child as leverage to getting the father to do what they want, how they want, and when they want.  Granted, the custodial parent (mother) will know more about the child because the child lives under their roof and they see them all the time.  However, that knowledge does not give any mother the right to regulate how, when, where, and why a father is involved in his child’s life!

Not all Mommies are like this just like not all men are sperm donors.  I think it is proportionate growth.  As the father’s of today increase, so do the number of “baby mama’s”.  As the number of sperm donors increase, so do the mother’s of yesterday.  It seems like the father’s of today choose the wrong women to have a baby with and today’s mother’s of yesterday choose the wrong men to let inside of them.

Money (child support) does not solve any problems!  First of all, the child will always be in need of something.  Secondly, the empty space that the $ystem is trying to fill is the disconnect that is caused by the child being raised by one parent in one household while the other parent is on the outside looking in.  The space will not be filled that way!  The child needs both parents involvement physically, emotionally, and mentally even more than financially.  Money is not a cure-all!  There is no child support check big enough to “fix” anything.

However, the system is the system.  It does what it says its going to do.  It enforces child support.  It starts as soon as the paper work is submitted and it doesn’t end until death (heaven forbid) of the child or parent, or the child turns 18 (or, in my state, 19 if the child is enrolled in college).  If a momma gets pissed off and decided to fill out the papers, it’s done.  It doesn’t matter what the father did or didn’t do up to this point.  The system isn’t designed for him.  It’s designed for sperm donors, which in turn means it’s designed for the mother’s benefit.

The mother could have acted a plum fool.  She will still get everything she sought out to get even if she was benevolent.  The father could have been belligerent and cruel.  He will still leave mediation or the court room with whatever he would have left with if he didn’t act that way.  The mother could be living in a halfway house with no plan on what to do when she has to leave and she will still be granted custody.  The father could have a home with empty bedrooms and he will still have to fight just to have bi-weekly visitation.

The consequences of sin are far-reaching.  You don’t even realize how far its arm is until the years start to pass.

The system sucks.

My advice?  Don’t get involved in it.  If you are already involved?  Don’t get involved with it again.

Sometimes, You Have To Sit In Your Consequences

Sin will always take you further then you want to go.  Consequences come.  They may tarry but they do come.  Sowing and reaping (Gal. 6: 7-8) works both ways.  If you are going to live your life walking in the will of God, you will suffer for Christ’s sake (Phil. 1:28-30).  There will be times where you don’t know what’s going on and why it feels like everything is being thrown at you.  It is then that you are suffering for Christ’s sake.  (1Peter 2:19-21) If you put yourself outside the will of God and choose a path contrary to God’s will, you will suffer consequences even after you repent and do right by Him.  It sounds daunting.  One might say, “what’s the point”?  The point is, being on the Lord’s side is ALWAYS better than being on the side of the enemy.  (If you side for yourself, you are siding with the enemy.  Anything contrary to God is the enemy.)  Your suffering (whatever form it takes) will come early, at the onset of the situation you are facing but the end is so sweet.

Those that choose not to walk in the will of God and do anything they can to pad their circumstances so that they don’t feel any negative consequence of their actions, will feel those consequences later and they will NOT be any easier to deal with!  Those that decide to do their own thing and think about the Lord later, those that say things like “I prayed on it” as a caveat to do what they want anyway, and all in between will see their consequences.  They may not feel them immediately. They may not even know they are experiencing consequences of their earlier actions but they are there.

I had a chance to share my testimony with my goddaughter, Zhea, recently about how I treated my younger siblings growing up.  Zhea was not looking out for Maya (her sister, my other goddaughter) the way she should have.  I was so pleased to be able to share my testimony with her.  I was very mean to my siblings growing up.  I would turn off and on in a heartbeat.  When I wanted them around, I was all smiles.  When I was finished playing around with them, I would turn cold and mean.  I can look back and see that they were afraid of me growing up.  It should have NEVER been like that!  My parents knew I was sometimey but I don’t think they ever knew how mean I was behind their backs.  I would take every frustration I was feeling about my pre-teen/teenage life out on them.  It wasn’t until I was in college that I saw the error of my ways even though I felt the consequences of all of my malice towards my siblings in my peer circle.

I shared with Zhea, that it may be fun now to toy with your sister but it won’t be fun later when you don’t know why no one wants to sit next to you at lunch, ask you to dance at your school dance, or invite you to hang out at the mall.  I hope she took heed to what I said.  I pray that the Lord brings it back to her mind the next time she thinks to act unkindly towards her sister, or when she starts to experience the consequences of her actions.

 

 

 

How you are at home is how you are outside of the home.