Monday, June 22, 2009

Calm My Anxious Heart

I recently finished reading Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow and it has got me thinking and praying a lot about contentment and accepting my portion in life. It has been especially helpful in reminding me to be grateful for what the Lord has provided for me and to stop comparing myself to others. Here are some quotes from the book that I enjoyed:

"Prescription for Contentment:
-Never allow yourself to complain about anything-not even the weather.
-Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
-Never compare your lot with another's.
-Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
-Never dwell on tomorrow-remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours."

"Just as a cup of tea gets stronger when we give it time to steep, so we become more content when we spend time in God's Word and allow it to steep into our lives, transforming us to be like Him."

"God is the blessed controller of all things,
the king over all kings and the master of all masters."
-1 Timothy 6:15

"Lord, you have assigned me my portion
and my cup; you have made my lot secure."
-Psalm 16:5

Here is a quote from Elisabeth Elliot on Psalm 16:5:

"I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things that happen to us that do not belong to our lovingly assigned "portion." ("This belongs to it, that does not")? Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty? Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are canceled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter. A quiet heart is content with what God gives."

"Contentment is accepting God's sovereign control over all of life's circumstances."

"You will never really enjoy other people, you will never have stable emotions, you will never lead a life of godly contentment, you will never conquer jealousy and love others as you should until you thank God for making you the way He did." -Reverend James Hufstetler

"They took away what should have been my eyes
(But I remembered Milton's Paradise)
They took away what should have been my ears
(Beethoven came and wiped away my tears)
They took away what should have been my tongue
(But I had talked with God when I was young)
He would not let them take away my soul
Possessing that, I still possess the whole."
-Helen Keller

"When does a woman become an adult? Perhaps it's when she stops comparing her life to other women's. When she stops waiting for "Mr. Right." When she stops wishing she'd married someone else or that her children were at an easier stage. We grow up when we see our life and our role from God's perspective; when we thank God for the role He assigned us and begin to see our cup as a gift instead of a cross; when each morning we ask, "God, how can I glorify You today in my given role?"

"If we want to be women of contentment, we must choose to accept our portion, our assigned roles from God. We must make the choice to dwell on the positive aspects of our role in life. If we don't we'll be discontent, always wanting something different from what we've been given."

"This is the blessed life-not anxious to see far in front, nor eager to choose the path, but quietly following behind the Shepherd, one step at a time. The Shepherd was always out in front of the sheep. He was down in front. Any attack upon them had to take him into account. Now God is down in front. He is in the tomorrows. It is tomorrow that fills men with dread. God is there already. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass Him before they can get to us." -F.B. Meyer

I highly recommend this book for anyone who struggles with discontentment, anxiety, or worry. It has really given me a lot to think about and has challenged me in many ways.

Help me to realize that you are in control and
that all circumstances are in your hands.
Help me to be grateful for all that you have given me.
Help me to lean on you and not worry about tomorrow.
Help me to know and to believe that you are
my provider and that you will take care of me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Simplifying in the Bathroom

I've been thinking a lot lately about simplifying my beauty routine and implementing more simple, natural products. I went through my bathroom and got rid of all my old lotions and products that I don't use. I put my daily used products in a basket on the counter which includes deodorant, witch hazel (used as an astringent), Sprunch spray, and cotton balls. Also I have been wearing my hair wavy ever since I got back from Guatemala because it is so much easier to fix that way. God gave me wavy hair and I'm going to embrace it! (At least for now.) I also like the idea of making my own beauty products so that I can control what is being absorbed into my skin so I bought a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Almond Castile Soap which is made with all organic ingredients. The ingredient list is as follows: Water, Saponified Organic Coconut and Organic Olive Oils, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Natural Bitter Almond Frangrance, Citric Acid, and Vitamin E.

I plan on using this for body wash and hand soap for sure. I will also try it as a shampoo, toothpaste, and laundry detergent to see how well it works. I am super excited to have one product that is so versatile! I am having fun using less and simplifying. We will see how it all goes!

Mid Summer Garden

I planted a garden yesterday at my Grandparents house. I planted peas, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, and poppy flowers. This is only my second attempt at gardening, but I'm very optimistic since it's under the supervision of my grandmother who can just about grow anything! I will update y'all about it soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Casa Para Ninos

Well it has been a week since I got back from Guatemala and I'm ready to tell you all about it! :) I mentioned in an earlier post that I had some reservations about this trip and although it wasn't the same experience as my Mexico 2007 trip, it was good.

We stayed at an orphanage just outside of Guatemala City called Casa Para Ninos. The facility houses over 400 children ages birth to 20 or so. We took a tour of the grounds the first day and then got to play with the littler kids for a few hours after school. It was really fun to be able to practice my Spanish and goof around with the kiddos! We were asked not to post any pictures of the children so I won't be able to show you their cute little faces. That night the founder of Casa told us some of the girls stories and backgrounds and it was absolutely heartbreaking to hear that most of them had been sexually abused by fathers and uncles. He brought in several girls and told us each of their circumstances. It really was a powerful experience that I will never forget it.

The second day we painted and paneled in the older boys dorms in the morning and then did some Vacation Bible School with the older boys in the afternoon. They had a lot of fun doing relays and crafts with us. After VBS some of us went over to the the baby room and got to hold them for a little while. This was probably my favorite part of the whole trip! The little girl that I held fell asleep immediately and my heart pretty much melted. :) It was good to just sit and look into their sweet little faces. On the third day we drove into Antigua after lunch and went shopping at the market which was so much fun! I got out 100 Q at the ATM thinking that it was around 25 or 30 American Dollars, but it was only 12! The markets were cheap enough that it didn't matter though. :)

On our last work day we finished up the painting and did another day of VBS with the older boys and then began to pack for the trip home! It was a very quick trip and I feel like we didn't accomplish a whole lot, but it was nice to be able to see the facility and see how well they are taking care of the children. It was also good to be able to play with the children and clean up the dorms for them as well. I'm glad I was a part of it. As I mentioned in an earlier post God laid James 1:27 on my heart all week because I was a little frustrated at traveling all that way and not having much time to do a whole lot. Here is the verse:
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before, God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." -James 1:27
I think God was telling me that although I didn't feel I was accomplishing a whole lot, taking care of the needy and loving them is what being a Christian is all about. It was definitely an interesting trip, but God has strengthened me through it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Goals

Do not use credit card
Have $1500 in savings by Sept
Pay more than minimum on all Student Loan payments
Begin reading my yearly bible plan again
Pray for clarity in my relationship and in my job search
Seek contentment and joy in the Lord
Get 8-9 hours of sleep per night
Wake up by 9:30 on my days off
Spend more time reading
Spend more time with family

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back in the States!

I am back from my trip to Guatemala. It was very interesting and I am still trying to sort through how I was affected and how I feel about it all. I only took disposable cameras so it will be a couple of days before I can get those up along with a full report. Until then here is the verse that God continued to lay upon my heart throughout the week.

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before, God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." -James 1:27

Monday, June 1, 2009

Guatemala 2009

I am going on a mission trip to Guatemala next week and I hardly feel prepared. We are working with boys ages 6-19 who live in an orphanage. I know that things are planned for us to do and God will definitely use this experience to every ones benefit, however I am frustrated because I feel sending a check for the amount this trip is costing would benefit them so much more than me flying over there to play soccer with them for a few hours. I know I am oversimplifying what we will be doing, but I'm just frustrated because I don't think we are doing enough. I know that God has a plan for me and for this trip and I am trying to just pray through it all and allow Him to work through me. This is going to be a real challenge for me because it has always been my dream to work in an orphanage with lots of little kids (as in like 2-5 year olds) and also I guess I always envisioned working with girls as well. It will be hard knowing that they have that age group of children in the next room and I'm not allowed to play with them! God has a plan for me I know and I am excited to see what adventures and challenges next week will bring. I will definitely post about my trip when I return. Please pray that God's will would be done.

"For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey
Him and the power to do what pleases Him."
-Philippians 2:13
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