Dina Martin’s – Learning To Lean

Dina Martin’s Learning To Lean
Dina Martin is the wife of Alan Martin, pastor of Believer’s Fellowship in Fredricktown, Missouri.

  • Tue, 09 May 2017 23:13:00 +0000: When the Problem is the Answer - Liberty in Limitation
    During Anna's first year of life, we knew something was wrong.    

    It's been said, that sometimes knowing the problem, is getting near the answer.

    In my case, accepting that there was a problem - was my answer.  It was time to go on in my walk with God.

    One of the first lessons of letting go, that went deeper for me, was having Anna.  Her special needs bought me to places, that left me speechless - without having any answers.  This was good for me.

      I needed to be quiet, 
    because He had some things to tell me. 

    Words only have power, when the plow has prepared the soil for the seed.  If at any one point, we resent the "plow"... we will lose the lessons that pain was sent to teach us.

    I do believe children are a blessing to do this for us all.  

    Not just special needs children - all children!   Why?  

    They anchor us to earth and are daily reminders of our need for Heaven's help!  

    Children will bring us to the place where having answers is not nearly as important as taking the next step by faith.  And I do believe that some of the greatest lessons our own children learned came simply from watching us...not merely seeing us fall, but more importantly watching us get back up...

    ....Not from seeing what was done to us, but from observing how we responded to it.

    Life is too short!

    Receive whatever comes...as a gift; this will allow limitations to liberate you - from the inside out.

    “It is God to whom and with whom we travel, and while He is the end of our journey, He is also at every stopping place.” — Elisabeth Elliot

  • Sat, 04 Mar 2017 16:30:00 +0000: Default or Devotion - Liberty in Limitation

    We can easily default to an acquired habit and let our base line of operation rule, instead of being RULED by His spirit. 

    This is why it is so important to renew our hearts and minds, and not live by “automatic” settings. It might seem easier to live by this mode of operation, but we will miss out on so much when we do. There have been several ways which default has replaced devotion in my own life. 

    One way has been when Convenience comes before CHRIST. We are tempted to allow those issues that we COUNT dear to us (like "MY" time) lead us...instead of simple consecration to Christ (HIS time always). His yoke is where we want to be ("Calvary" take me away). It's a yoke that fits and will always take us where He calls us to go.  Calgon only leads to having to clean the bathtub when you're done.

    Hannah Whitall Smith expresses what this is like...
    “I have noticed that wherever there has been a faithful following of the Lord in a consecrated soul, several things have inevitably followed, sooner or later. Meekness and quietness of spirit become in time the characteristics of the daily life. A submissive acceptance of the will of God as it comes in the hourly events of each day; pliability in the hands of God to do or to suffer all the good pleasure of His will; sweetness under provocation; calmness in the midst of turmoil and bustle; yieldingness to the wishes of others, and an insensibility to slights and affronts; absence of worry or anxiety; deliverance from care and fear;---all these, and many similar graces, are invariably found to be the natural outward development of that inward life which is hid with Christ in God.”

    Another default is Doing rather than Being. Our agenda and plans can give us a false sense of security when all the externals are taken care of. It's easy to find fulfillment in the doing, rather than in the Being. Character before Charts. Charts are a great idea for keeping records and bringing order to a home, BUT they can be done totally void of heart. If our curriculum does not first include the heart issues of our children and ourselves, then all we are doing is providing Head knowledge. We are simply teaching our children how to live externally acceptable lives before men, without any fear of God. The reason the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, is because it is dealing with His all seeing eyes on all that we are in the hidden places. 

    Knowledge might take them far in the world, but KNOWING HIM will prepare them for eternity. He sees the hidden things of the heart. Devotion may lead us to change up the charts, and deal with hearts.

    Last but not least, Limiting Him.

    It's one thing to be limited, 
    its another to limit. 

    The one who is giving or taking, is the one who has control. In a subtle way we can seek to control even while being limited, by discontentment or jumping over set boundaries. 

    Devotion here looks like 
    contentment rather than control.

    “It is not the multitude of hard duties, it is not constraint and contention that advance us in our Christian course. On the contrary it is the yielding of our wills without choice, to tread cheerfully every day in the path in which Providence leads us, to seek nothing, to be discouraged by nothing, to see our duty in the present moment, to trust all else without reserve to the will and power of God. ~Fenelon

  • Sun, 26 Feb 2017 13:46:00 +0000: Hidden Places of Hard - Liberty in Limitation

    It has been one of those weeks, months...where it seems that the wave of needs, company, and commitments take you up so high

    ...that you wonder where your feet will land when “normal” returns. 

    Anna called me back down recently.
    It was time for a Blessed Moment 
    (our term for her Bowel Movement).  

    Those who have special needs children commonly share in this difficulty.   Side effects of their condition and/or medication, weigh heavily on their weaker frames and makes many normal aspects of life slower.

    It was not even until the next day that I realized how long it had been.  This explained the pain I saw. 

    I waited, and told her by my presence, that it had to come NOW --- because she was not leaving THERE, until it did.

    It came, and I worshiped ---and Anna again became my reality check, reminding me that sometimes it is these hard places where we understand our purpose the most.

    Our needs anchor us to this earth, 
    and from this place 
    where heaven’s hope
     graces earth’s pain, 
    we find true worship.

    My needs do not Define me – they Refine me!

    There is a big difference between the two.  

    Daily duties, opportunities to serve others, and the simple challenges, are all easy when there is order and convenience.  But how am I in the “hard spots” – when it’s uncomfortable and I don’t FEEL like worshipping.  

    The hindrances to worship are nothing more than evidence that I am looking in the wrong places, and often at the wrong faces.  

    The truth is worship can happen in every place – especially in the hidden places of hard.

    Worship in the “hard spots” proves love is no mere theory, it’s power and grace. It is a maturity that knows how to land, stand... and worship, when He is the only One looking.

    "The full acting out of the self's surrender to God therefore demands pain:  this action, to be perfect, must be done from the pure will to obey, in the absence, or in the teeth, of inclination"  
    ~C.S. Lewis

    "I've learned real beauty lies in the good that comes out of the hard." ~Jill Lynn Buteyn

  • Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:24:00 +0000: The Difference Between How and Who - Liberty in Limitation

    We can easily get caught in wondering about HOW a situation will work out.  This type of wondering will often lead us down many dead ends.  Whenever our hope is placed in HOW something will work out, it will probably lead to a hope deferred and a sick heart. 

    HOW ever, we can look at things from a different perspective and it will make all the difference for us.

    For example - move the W from the end and place it in the front and you will get

    WHO instead of HOW

    Wondering about the WHO of our situations is far better than wondering about the HOW of them.  When we are properly focused upon the WHO, it will not lead to a dead end- but a glorious life.  

    The answer to the many difficulties we face will not come from HOW our WHO will work.

    HOW HE does what 
    HE does is not 
    nearly as important 
    as WHO HE IS.

    Let's beware of getting our minds wrapped up in the wrong order of things.

    If our focus is on WHO is with us, we will not fear even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

    I wondered HOW HE would help and my mind became anxious.  I was filled with wonder over WHO my help is and my mind was filled with peace.

     "Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.” ~C.S.Lewis

    “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” ~Oswald Chambers

    "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. "
     Ps. 121:1,2
  • Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:37:00 +0000: A Mary Mind - Liberty in Limitation
    I have a quiet moment now,
    but suddenly I find
    that while I have a Mary-heart,
    I have a Martha - mind.

    The things I thought I'd finished with
    are springing back to life
    like little flames among the brush
    of daily cares and strife.

    My thoughts seem filled with "brushfires," and
    although I rush and race
    as soon as I put out one fire,
    another takes its place.

    So now I find, when I'm alone
    and peace is my desire
    my mind's a busy Martha - mind.
    tending to one more fire.

    O Lord, I know that Martha's hands
    are needed, good and kind
    But in my heart I've one request
    Grant me a Mary- mind.

    ~Reta Spears-Stewart
  • Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:04:00 +0000: What we call the process, God calls the end... - Liberty in Limitation
    And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side.…Mark 6:45-52

         We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.
         What is my dream of God’s purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process — that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.
         God’s training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get wrong when we think of the afterwards. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end.
         God’s end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present; if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.

    Wisdom From Oswald Chambers

    Rubenstein, the great musician, once said, "If I omit practice one day, I notice it; if two days, my friends notice it; if three days, the public notice it." It is the old doctrine, "Practice makes perfect." We must continue believing, continue praying, continue doing His will. Suppose along any line of art, one should cease practicing, we know what the result would be. If we would only use the same quality of common sense in our religion that we use in our everyday life, we should go on to perfection.
    The motto of David Livingstone was in these words, "I determined never to stop until I had come to the end and achieved my purpose." By unfaltering persistence and faith in God he conquered.
    Todays Stream in the Desert; Jan 19

  • Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:04:00 +0000: Paths to Himself - Liberty in Limitation
    "God does not give us everything we want,

    but He does fulfill His promises...

    leading us along the best and 

    straightest paths to Himself." 
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    The whole benefit of trial consists in silence, 

    patience, rest, and resignation. In this condition

     divine strength is found for the hard warfare,

    because God Himself fights for the soul.

    ~M. Molinos

    "In the rush and noise of life,

     as you have intervals, 

    step home within yourselves and be still. 

    Wait upon God, and feel His good presence;

     this will carry you evenly

    through your day's business."

     ~William Penn

    "Oh, my friend, look not out at what stands in the way; what if it look dreadfully as a lion, is not the Lord stronger than the mountains of prey? but look in, where the law of life is written, and the will of the Lord revealed, that thou mayest know what is the Lord's will concerning thee."
    ~I. Penington

  • Tue, 01 Nov 2016 13:16:00 +0000: He can work with that... - Liberty in Limitation

    We are standing before the bathroom mirror, when I
    directed her attention to the tooth brushes....

    “Its time to brush.” and she reaches to grab one of
    the brushes and then proceeds to 
    vigorously brush her hair,
     laughing. I'm smiling. 
     She knows better,
    and I think....
    We can work with that.

    I start to look for her top, and then see it in the
    small trash can near the sink...
    She likes to put things, into containers. 
     I guess this is better
     than the floor, right?
    We can work with that.

    One of the most significant things, I have learned from
    living with a special needs child/adult is that what
    you see, may not be perfect, but you can always work
    with it. And you both get changed in the process. 
    Slow is the normal, and the greatest temptation I have, is to
    get discouraged, grow weary, or looking too hard
    and long at what is not done.

    There is nothing like seeing progress, when after
    one hundred or more times she does it and you look
    back and know, that every one of those times, were
    not to make her conform to your normal world, but to
    perfect your own heart. It gives your “heart muscles”
    exercise in whats really important, loving her and
    living in hope. A perfect heart, might look like,
    perfectly loving every step you take forward.
    Smiling when she is clever with
    the tooth brush and slam dunking
     clothes in trash cans.:)
    The goal is not what I see now, 
    but what I'm becoming,
    because of the process.

    If I ever despise the process, 
    then we both lose ground.

    This process produces something more than what you
    have accomplished or achieved, because it could evade
    you tomorrow.  It's there, and then it's not, with these 
    special ones. So these little steps are celebrated, 
    for this day. And tomorrow, well,
     that has not come yet!:)

    Hope anchors my soul, and reminds me, 
    especially when progress is slow, 
    that it is not what I see, but WHO I see, as I take
    the next step....He can work with that

    "God is patient with the process. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry." Oswald Chambers

    One does not surrender a life in an instant.  That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a life time." Elisabeth Elliot

    The above picture was when we welcomed Anna into our world.  That was 27 years ago.

  • Sun, 09 Oct 2016 11:25:00 +0000: Cover for Courage - Liberty in Limitation

    And behold, there arose a great storm in the east, so that the boat was covered with waves; but He Himself (Jesus) was asleep.”

    Matthew records Jesus' 
    response to his disciples, 
    panic of perishing.

    “Why are you timid, you men of little faith?”

    Timid (def.) showing a lack of courage or confidence; easily frightened. Fearful.

    Anna tends to cover her head with a blanket when she wants to go to sleep. I've read this about children with Angelman's Syndrome.  It appears this is done because they are so easily stimulated by what they see. The Cover blocks out the distractions and helps them rest.

    The disciples were being overly stimulated by the storm and the storm had internalized itself into a panic! All they could see and feel was how it was affecting them! Jesus was being covered by it, and slept.

    Faith is the ability to be covered 
    (by storms or circumstances), 
    yet have courage.

    How does this come to a people who are so easily stimulated by too much activity, like Anna and I. 🙂

    I must admit that Anna's way of dealing with it, is a very appealing way to ME.

    BUT the disciples and I 
    needed to see our lack of courage 
    in believing, 
    while Anna lives in trust
    and just wants to REST.

    So, for me to Cover for Courage 
    means to not try to HIDE 
    from the storm, 

    but to  Abide in Him 

    who is 

    Courage when Covered.

    And this will grant me the 
    ability to REST,
    as I wait 
    for the storms
    to pass.

    So while Anna finds sleep 
    by a simple cover, 
    I seek simple devotion, 
    and find courage to rest, 
    trusting in His control.

    "Courage is fear that has said its prayers ~unknown

    "Whatever enlarges hope will also exalt courage."~Samuel Johnson

  • Tue, 04 Oct 2016 11:14:00 +0000: She wins, I Weep - Liberty in Limitation

    Yes, we have our days, Anna and I.  Our battles come and I remind myself that they are rare. I don't like my response to her STANDS that say, in her non verbal way, “I'm not giving this up easy” It draws out the fight in me, and I don't like that. I weep over it.

    And the beautiful thing is....this special child of mine, looks to see
    if I'm alright, because she picks up on my tension and sees my
    tears. Our commitment of love does not fail us.
    It does what struggles in the middle of life do...expose and
    and reminds me, that it does not have to be worked out all in one day.

    I must not allow this battle, that leaves me weary at times, to give up on our need for change. Anna never met a “rut” that she didn't love!  And when her “rut” runs into my reality ---at the wrong time ---things get complicated within my heart. Who needs change most? We both do! As we grow older together, I'm realizing what I could “let pass” when she was younger...needs to be let go of now.

    Some ruts go down deep, and so do the emotions that are formed in them. The greatest temptation I face, is to focus on the rut, because when I do...I'm no help to her, and unknowingly...I join her in it! It might not look like hers, but its a pit of a different kind. Self-PITy.

    The morning comes, and so does a new hope.
    Its okay, that we are not finished yet, and I find as we try to
    rise up out of her rut, my Heavenly Father is perfecting my
    heart in love. Embracing the pain and struggle of learning,
    digs more room in my heart, for a greater capacity to DO
    this special assignment.

    Bitter becomes sweet, especially if we guard our hearts
    from resentment. The picture is bigger than
    our eyes might suggest.

    Self-pity is a death that has no resurrection, a sinkhole from which no rescuing hand can drag you because you have chosen to sink" ~Elizabeth Elliot

    “An evidence that our will has been broken is
    that we begin to thank God for that which once seemed
    so bitter, knowing that His time is good and that,
    in His time and in His way, He is able to
    make the most bitter waters sweet.” ~Nancy Leigh DeMoss,
    A Place of Quiet Rest 

  • Tue, 20 Sep 2016 15:58:00 +0000: Make Weakness A Wonder - Liberty in Limitation
    Lord make weakness a wonder of 
    what Your power can do
    From within this earthen vessel let 
    Thy glorious strength  shine through
    Out of dim understanding 
    Your illumination bring
    From my own daily struggle 
    an undaunted faith to cling

    Let not vain pride or prejudice, 
    resist Thy perfect will
    conform us unto brokenness 
    till all is quiet still
    Where preference or privilege 
    would turn our heart away
    Let grace and mercy birth 
    through love a resolve to obey

    Prevent the lie of flesh 
    a place its weakness to excuse
    let grace abound where 
    sin once reigned, 
    no more the lie to use
    Where former powers of darkness 
    controlled our selfish way
    let Thy own truth and Spirit now 
    Your glorious fruit display

    Deliver us from ignorance 
    through neglect of Thy Word
    till wisdom born through godly fear 
    lays hold of all we've heard
    Let us not ever carnal be,  
    mere babes in Christ remain
    Lest want of godly diligence 
    receives Thy grace in vain

    How long despite the Spirit’s Power, 
    we on ourselves relying
    will we be those confessing Christ 
    while yet His power denying
    Lord as we see Your image clear 
    tis all we long to be
    Transform weakness to wonder
     from glory to glory

  • Sat, 30 Jul 2016 13:42:00 +0000: Vision Becomes Reality - Liberty in Limitation
    My Utmost For His Highest 
    Oswald Chambers  
    We always have a vision of something before it actually becomes real to us. When we realize that the vision is real, but is not yet real in us, Satan comes to us with his temptations, and we are inclined to say that there is no point in even trying to continue. Instead of the vision becoming real to us, we have entered into a valley of humiliation.
    Life is not as idle ore,
    But iron dug from central gloom,
    And battered by the shocks of doom
    To shape and use.

    God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision. It is in the valley that so many of us give up and faint. Every God-given vision will become real if we will only have patience. Just think of the enormous amount of free time God has! He is never in a hurry. Yet we are always in such a frantic hurry. While still in the light of the glory of the vision, we go right out to do things, but the vision is not yet real in us. God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the point where He can trust us with the reality of the vision. Ever since God gave us the vision, He has been at work. He is getting us into the shape of the goal He has for us, and yet over and over again we try to escape from the Sculptor’s hand in an effort to batter ourselves into the shape of our own goal.
    The vision that God gives is not some unattainable castle in the sky, but a vision of what God wants you to be down here. Allow the Potter to put you on His wheel and whirl you around as He desires. Then as surely as God is God, and you are you, you will turn out as an exact likeness of the vision. But don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had a vision from God, you may try as you will to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never allow it.

    (One of my favorite entries by him)

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