Some people might think it’s a silly way to live. ‘Just pick the life you want and live it’, they think. But, for us, as His children. we’d rather wait on Him and live the L…
It’s been a stress filled year. With Lance’s job being made redundant, me working at Home Depot and us not knowing what God has in store, we have made decisions based on feelings and not necessarily on facts. Because of the uncertainty I didn’t put my garden in: a decision I now regret. I did decide to get the replacement shoulder surgery because our insurance was about to be over and I needed to do it or have a more complex surgery later. (On that note, God provided in an amazing way. My $4,000 deductible was miraculously met by an online writer friend.) Now I spend my time in intense recovery. So the Man is doing all farm chores himself. Not easy. Not fair. Stressful while he works a full time job. What we hold to is that while we can’t see it clearly, God’s plans is still in effect for our lives.
‘God is striding ahead of you. He is right there with you. He won’t let you down. He won’t leave you. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED. DON’T WORRY.’ Deuteronomy 31:8 . (easier read then lived) The Message. So, God has laid out the path before us, we will follow it, but first, we have to step on it – and of course before that can happen, we have to clear the way of all the others.
There’s a chance we might end up back in Australia. There’s a chance he will get an offer for a job back at Microsoft (which is what he wants), there’s a chance we will buy a ten acre property complete with greenhouses and mature fruit trees and out buildings in a sort of disarray. Chances rain all around us. Different paths with different end results. It’s confusing, stressful and can be a bit life stalling.
So we do what we know. What we know is that we need to sell this house. The property layout doesn’t meet our needs and the nightly climb to the master bedroom is something we both could do without . So, while we wait on God to show us THE path, we do what we can. We prepare the house for sale, less clutter, clean up the pastures, sell the animals. We get dirty, we clean up. And we look and wait for His direction.
Some people might think it’s a silly way to live. ‘Just pick the life you want and live it’, they think. But, for us, as His children. we’d rather wait on Him and live the LIFE HE WANTS. Being in the center of His will is much better than living in our own desire. Although most times our own desires is in His will.
In the meantime we work. And, to borrow the words of the famous poet: “I took the road less traveled by, and that made all the difference.” Robert Frost.
Waking Sleeping Beauty
Linda Mae Baldwin
Asleep for 100 years because of a spell cast by a wicked jealous fairy, and awakened by the somewhat sacrificial (she had been asleep for a hundred years, no telling what her hygiene was), kiss of a handsome Prince, Sleeping Beauty is a tale that has touched hearts and invaded young girl’s dreams for years.
Although we do not know Sleeping Beauty’s state of slumber, did she dream? She was alive, heart beating, lungs breathing, just sleeping.
Before we are born again into Christ’s kingdom, we are in a sort of state of slumber. Our body doesn’t sleep, our spirit does. We are born separated from God. Blame it on our first ancestors in the garden, falling for the serpent’s great lie. (Genesis 3:4-6 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they realized they were naked)
Today, there seems to an even more pervasive spell of sorts permeating our society as God and Jesus are taken out of public venues. Not only is it difficult to approach people about Jesus because they don’t know him, it’s just as difficult to talk to those who have a form of religiosity and hold to myths, and legends, and aren’t willing to break with tradition to embrace the one true King – Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15 3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.)
Sleeping Beauty snoozed for one hundred years and it could not just be any ordinary Prince to break the spell over the kingdom. No, this prince had to be, “a man of pure heart who must fall in love with her,” who would bring her back to life, (Or awaken her.) So it is with Jesus.
Before our spirit wakes with the kiss of the Holy Spirit, we walk through a sort of half-life controlled by our own desires. We give no thought to God or Jesus until an event takes place, and our spirit is touched by the Holy Spirit. We see clearly, what we’ve been missing. We understand that the only way back to a right relationship with God is to accept the gift of the sacrifice of his perfect son, who paid for what we owed….death. He didn’t wait for us to get perfect to be in a right relationship with him, He sent his one and only Son to take on the whole sin of the world, for us. (Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.)
It was a weird experience when my spirit woke. My husband and I had been in ministry for a few years. I was leader extraordinaire. I memorized scripture and prayed quite righteously. Then, we had an old-fashioned tent revival with a charismatic evangelist who spoke about the second coming, when Jesus would return for His church, and how those left behind would suffer a bitter life. I was scared. I talked to my husband about how uneasy I had been through the sermons. It was a chaos of fear, tears, sadness and hope inside me. The last night he told a story about a preacher’s wife who was very involved in ministry. One night they had watched a movie about the rapture, and the preacher had turned to her and said, “Isn’t that great? I can’t wait for that day.” However, his wife could only say she was scared. It was then they knew she had never given her heart to Jesus. She had said all the right words and done good things but the Holy Spirit had never kissed her spirit. That night she did. That preacher was he and the wife was his own. It was also my story. I had not fully given my heart to Him and that night, when I did, it was as if I woke up. I felt like a new person. Sure it was difficult to stand before the church and say, “hey, I’ve been fooling you these past couple of years, but don’t worry, I’ve been fooling myself too.”
The Bible says we are joint heirs with Christ so that means we are now, princesses. Awesome! Awesome the princess must have said when she awoke to see her prince. And, so too, it can be for you.
Linda Mae Baldwin
There have been four times in my life when I wallowed in the following scripture.
I soaked it in, rubbed my tear stained face in it, buried my toes in it and squeezed handfuls in my clenched fists. And, here I am, again, today.
THIS IS INDEED MY LIFE VERSE. “Though the cherry trees don’t blossom (WELL, OUR PLUM TREE’S GRAFT IS DEAD, SO WE HAVE A HALF DEAD TREE) and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten, and the wheat fields stunted,Though the sheep pens are sheepless (WE REHOMED LUCY, EDMUND AND WINSTON YESTERDAY) and the cattle barns empty I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.(BUT NOT PHYSICAL CARTWHEELS JUST EMOTIONAL ONES) …
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, (AND IT WILL)
I take heart and gain strength. (EVERY DAY I GO TO MY VERY PHYSICAL JOB AND DEFY THE ODDS OF WORKING WITH A MULTI-TORN ROTATOR CUFF AND A KNEE NEEDING REPLACING) yet, I still run like a deer. (MAYBE A DEER WITH A SHORT TENDON). I feel like I’m king (QUEEN) of the mountain. (BECAUSE I AM THE QUEEN OF MY KING WHO LOVES ME NO MATTER WHAT…Lance Baldwin.. AND FOR THE ONE TRUE KING WHO RULES ALL…JESUS….) Habbakuck
With Lance still looking for work after his company reorganized and got rid of his position, my life things are in a relative state of chaos so my prayer life has increased. Sad that it takes a crisis to drive me closer to Jesus. But, that’s the way of this flawed human. It’s no doubt why certain songs resonate with me, songs about slipping away from Him but something happens (usually tragic) and we’re back in his presence again. Like these: Back Street Driver, Change THIS heart, That was THEN, this is NOW.
Too many times I depend on myself, which is scary, or, worse yet, I put the burden of a content life on those around me, especially my husband. How wrong is that? He is just as flawed as me! And, certainly it is unfair to put him in that position. Nope….my life should be lived squarely The Middle of His heart. When this doesn’t happen, history proves that sooner or later, I’ll end up depressed, angry, or bitter. Certainly I will not be relishing the full and abundant live Jesus promised in John 10:10 “ I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” The Message Version.
You can’t get away from flawed humans. You are born to them. You are one. Your siblings will be them. Your Aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, friends, every single person you contact will be a member of the flawed human club. It is carried in us from our first parents, Adam and Eve.
In any relationship it is not up to ANYONE else to make us happy. It is OUR duty, with the filling of the Holy Spirit to live our lives as unto Christ. It took me a while to understand that Lance Baldwin was not here in our relationship to make my every wish and dream come true. He isn’t to fill me with joy, or entertain me, it’s not his job to know my thoughts or whims, or fix my sadness. He is supposed to love me as Christ loves the church..enough that he would give his life for me…and he does. As head of our family he provides for us, he does make me happy and he does entertain me, but that’s because in our relationship, it’s how we roll. I think too many women, Believers, are under the false assumption, as I was that her beloved is to love her as Christ loves the church, and that includes reading her mind. Buying her flowers, taking her to concerts, or __________, whatever it is that makes her feel happy. Instead, a woman should be finding her joy in her Lord, and those other things, those’ make today happy things’, will follow. Or they won’t. But when they don’t, she won’t get angry, or hurt or bitter, because it is CHRIST in her that makes life good, not her circumstance.
A few years ago I wrote an article about divorce. Divorce, The Unpardonable Sin? I was touched by women who were flayed by the church when they sought divorce. Some of these women needed to get away from danger and needed to have freedom, but they were being counseled to stay in the abusive situation. I think that’s absurd and gives permission for flawed men to take advantage of a doctrine that is not completely understood. Some pastors hold onto that one scripture, “God hates divorce.” And they wield it like a weapon against the already battered woman. There’s very little grace, mercy love or Jesus involved. But, I digress. I’m getting feedback that my article is giving permission of sorts for young women to quit on thier marriages. Well first of all WHOA, SLOW THE ROLL! My words are written, with good intentions, by a flawed human. They should NOT in any way take place of HIS WORD or be used as any sort of authority. Secondly, to these women, or anyone going that very wrong route of using flawed humans words and not His holy word, I ask that you take a hard look inward because this is where the problem lies.
It’s sobering to realize thier husbands are flawed, and perhaps not living up to the expectations they had of who thier husband would be. Along with bills, and kids and aging, turns out marriage is not as fun, or romantic, or as good as they thought it would be. Husbands changed, maybe physically, maybe emotionally, things are hard. In fact, it looks like life is heading to the ‘worse’ of the ‘for better or worse’, piece of thier vows and, perhaps, ‘for better until it’s worse,’ or, ‘for better or until something better comes along,” should actually have been thier vows. But, it’s no reason to quit.
Ruth Graham was often fond of saying, “If two people agree on everything one of them is unnecessary.” And, it’s true. Arguments will come and go, sometimes it seems we might be in a never ending season of discord. This is why I urge women to look inward. What is it that you’re lacking? Why are you so unhappy? Why is your husband suddenly your foe. Why do you think you’re marriage is unhealthy? If we listen too often to the unhappy voices of people who have failed in marriage, or who hate men, or watch too much reality tv, too much Oprah, too much Dr. Phil, you’re filling your soul with only things that agree with you. Instead you must immerse yourself in Him. Do not fall prey to the trash on TV. Or the friends who urge you to fail. Hey, are you married to a yeller? Me, too! Am I in a taxing relationship? Not even close. Does your husband say mean things to you? Pray for him. Do you say mean things to him? Pray for yourself.Is your husband married to the exact same women he said, “I do,” to? Hmmmm. Probably not. Mine isn’t. There’s more of me. There’s all the stuff that drive him nuts, but I can’t seem to get a hold of..like stacking books, and piles of magazines….is he in an abusive relationship? Hardly. I adore him. We both hold to the adage, “A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers. (Ruth Graham).
Our culture today says if it’s too hard give up and start over. But, God says that a covenant last forever. It’s time to roll up your sleeves, pray for tough skin and a soft heart, and talk with your man. Remember why you two got married in the first place. Before the bitterness, and ridiculously high expectations, and Christ like qualities you placed on your flawed human husband came on. It’s up to you. Only you can change you. Only you can spend time in His word. Only you can pray and battle for your family. Of course, this only works if you’re willing to put in the work. But it is work. And, already you may have found some better ‘way.’
When we said our vows, we didn’t promise to never disappoint one another. That would be silly. He’s flawed, I’m flawed. Disappointment will abound. Marriage is hard. Life is hard. But, each of us controls our own relationship with God. And, that makes all the difference.
Remember that “It’s CHRIST in you, not YOU in other circumstances.” Elizabeth Elliott
this is from my homestead blog, but it pertains to LIFE..so here ya go…:)
Except for Christmas, winter is not my favorite season. I think we must be on day 427 in a row of rain and gray skies. The back pasture has flooded at least twice. The pig sty looks like,well, a pig sty. The damp coolness plays and pokes at my joints and muscles, and my hair is in constant need of a hat. Winter and I do not get along.
When you don’t get along with something you can either live in misery and complain about the situation, which admittedly I do from time to time, or you can look for the good. the old making lemonade out of lemons idea.
Snow on Baldwin Acres
This winter scene is pretty. Snow makes the scenery a little more beautiful. This is our raised garden and small orchard area. This doesn’t fit into my winter blah scenario because it is lovely, lasts only…
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WHERE HE LEADS, I WILL FOLLOW…..
I’ve been a stay at home mom and then a stay at home wife for the last 15 years. I would refer to myself as a trophy wife, but I’m not as shiny and cold as a statue. I am, however, able to refer to myself as a kept woman. My husband does a fine job of that. We meld together to support and encourage one another, but it was our choice early on in our marriage to follow the biblical mandate for marriage …where the wife is the help mate, created second after the man, not to be less than he, but to complement him, and to be his companion.
HE AND I ARE LIVING AN ADVENTURE…TOGETHER
For some this is so confusing. They assume because I’m my husband’s help mate, it makes me less than. This is so far from reality I couldn’t even give an adequate measurement. To be his help mate has meant this:
- When he felt the Lord leading him to become a Pastor, we prayed about it, talked about it, discussed it and when it was time to leave the Marine Corps to pursue this venture, I was supportive and not whiny.
- When the kids were in school and I had started college, he got called to a church out of state. The idea was I would finish college at the new place, but then kids and work and church life took over, so that got put on the back burner..but I had peace in what I was doing.
- When he developed debilitating headaches, I encouraged him to seek help. He isn’t one to go the doctor preferring instead to let things work themselves out, but it was obvious this wasn’t going away. And we worked through the treatment together. We prayed about it together, and together we found a remedy. It’s together we continue the ongoing treatment to make sure these headaches don’t take over again.
- It means being there when he needs me and being away when he needs it.
- It means praying for him and our children and our family.
- It means trusting him. It means we know we complement one another and we understand each has unique God given roles.
He, of course affords me the same things. But, mostly, we are individually who God has called us to be. We are, individually, accountable to Him, and thus, when we are then accountable to one another, it’s much easier. I am free to be the woman God made me to be with all the gifts, talents and flaws, made me to be and loved by a man who continually puts me and his family before him.
There’s a story going around now written by a man who says his wife divorced him because he left the dirty glass by the dishwasher. He said he realizes now it was so important to her that he should have done it then. It’s a respect thing. This piece of writing is getting passed around Facebook and many of my friends re-post with a resounding, AMEN, and when I comment – with a different take, people aren’t so understanding.
While they agree with him, I think when we begin to keep track of who does what for who in a ‘I love you more because I did ____”, we start to expect payback. The things I did to help my husband lead our family in a godly way, weren’t done to get anything, except to fulfill my role. I didn’t think, “I did that so he should do this,”…no, we’re a team, working together. When spouses start expecting payback, or depend on their spouse to make them happy, complete or fulfilled, the relationship will be strained. Each must be in tune with God, that is where our hope, joy, love etc, must come from. No human can do that. Because we’re all flawed. But serving your spouse without thought to payback is refreshingly freeing and wholly biblical. It’s the way we should live our lives. Selflessly.
Instead of getting angry because your spouse doesn’t do something you want, or does something you don’t like, try praying about it and then calmly communicating with them. Don’t make a list, even a mental one, of how disappointed you are in your spouse for their failures. Look instead to the many successes. Ask yourself how you can make things easier, better, calmer. Are you selfish? Do you spend a lot of time wishing you were away from the family, from your husband? Have you talked to God about that because it’s not the way the marriage is supposed to be.
When my husband got a call that they had reorganized his company and his position had been eliminated, I was shocked. This is a man who meets his sales numbers, has received numerous company awards and has millions of dollars projected in his pipeline. How could they get rid of him? And, then I got angry. How dare they dismiss him like this. Obviously his former manager has no business sense. But, once they anger dissipated, I found myself praying for him, for his former boss, and for his future position.
Our adult children have been our biggest champions, calling to check on us, offering help, networking for us and praying with us. They remind us that God has this under control and there’s no reason to fear. Because of those encouraging words, we remembered the time my husband had lost three jobs in one year. But, we never missed one paycheck. Maybe things won’t work that way this time, maybe they will. But my prayer is that God will bless him with a job that is perfect for him. Something that fits well, and with good managers. And seeking how I can be helpful during this time. Because that is my job. Help mate..I’m not less than, I’m not an after thought, I’m not unimportant, or irrelevant. I am created by God and I am happily the wife of a man who seeks to serve God and love his family. Selflessly we serve one another. Together we are united and serving our one true king, Jesus.
“God says…Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43 the Message
This is the first bible reading for 2016 for me and how wonderful it is! I’m so ready to embrace every piece of it!
Forget about what’s happened. Forget what? What’s happened!
Don’t keep going over old history. Forget about childhood things that still might haunt you. Forget about hurt inflicted on you throughout your life. Forget about the times you’ve failed at it…failed at work, failed at discipline, f]failed at relationships, failed at FILL IN THE BLANK. Forget about when you thought God said go here and you did and things didn’t work out, or you didn’t go and now you live in regret. Leave history where it belongs, in the past!
Be Alert! Be praying, be listening, be watching, be waiting. What is God doing around you? What is God doing IN you? Be Alert to situations, be alert to people. Where can you help? How can you pray? What can you do? Pray and listen. Be Alert.
Be Present! Be THERE. Be HERE. In your conversations be THERE. In your prayers, be THERE. Don’t be distracted by the world, or your worries. What is God doing NOW? What is God saying to YOU? How can you help your child? Husband? Wife? Friend? Grandchild? When you’re there – be THERE. Engage in conversation. Listen, ask, talk. Everything doesn’t have to be a chore or a lecture. Laugh. But to laugh you have to be present. You have to have been listening. You have to look at people, hear people, and love people. Be Present, wherever He puts you, be THERE.
Why? Why forget? Why let history go. Why be Alert? Why be Present? Because He is about to do a BRAND-NEW thing. I can’t even imagine what that would be. But I’m excited to see it. I’m excited to live it. He is God. I am me, believer saved only by His incredible grace. What is it He is going to do in me, around me, through me?
What BRAND-NEW thing is He going to do in YOU, around YOU, through YOU? Are you ready?
Where we once wandered in the deserts of our souls, He will provide roads. Where we once thirsted and suffered dry arid circumstance, He will make rivers. I’m ready to walk, ready to swim, ready to drink. How about you?
2016: Forget. Let history go. Be Alert. Be Present. Be ready to hike on new roads and explore new waterways. Be His. And, He is already making the way for you and me.
Blessings on you this new year full of fresh and incredible possibilities.
xo Linda Mae
Poop is disgusting, No one wants to mess with poop. But poop can be a great indicator of ours and our animals health. So checking poop is a necessary part of animal husbandry. Ick.