Friday, December 16, 2011

That's what He came for...

I've been recently feeling overwhelmed with prayer requests. Not that the thought of praying for all these people leaves me overwhelmed, I've just been feeling bogged down by all the needs, sadness, worry & stress going on around me. A few mornings ago I knelt down to pray and started just lifting names up to the Lord, one by one. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I thought "Father, what an awful time of year to have such BIG prayers. It's Christmas time, a time for fun & fellowship & Joy & celebrating YOU!" And then he responded...

"That's what I came here for."

If you're feeling sad, anxious, lonely, mourning, or hopeless this season, please know one thing- that's the reason he came here. He didn't come so we could have candy canes & Santa Clause & fudge & gingerbread houses. He didn't come with a promise of a life filled with joy. He came to break your chains, to have a relationship with you, so he could walk beside you in your sadness, carry your heavy burdens, take away your worries, and give us hope. If your head can't find joy in any of the celebrations this seasons, I pray your heart can rejoice in knowing that our Saviour loved you enough to leave the glories of Heaven for this sin-filled earth for you- and he is still reaching down for you this Christmas season.


“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Luke 1:68-75

Friday, November 11, 2011

Not to Be Out-done.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, let the sea roar and all it contains. Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the forest and trees will sing for joy before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. Psalm 96:11-13.

Recently my husband and I were blessed with the opportunity to attend a Chris Tomlin & Louie Giglio concert. If you have never heard of either, you are missing out. Chris Tomlin is an amazing Christian singer/songwriter and Louie Giglio is a highly anointed, on fire speaker/pastor/man of God. He has a passion for science & God's creations, and it is eye opening to hear him describe God's nature that is all around us, which most of us take for granted daily.

During this concert Louie showed video clips of different stars & constellations. They were beautiful & amazing, but did you know they make noise all the way up there? Louie combined the sounds of several different stars, even added the music a whale makes; low groaning, clicking & whistling. It was fascinating to hear all these noises orchestrated together to make one beautiful song. I felt like I was getting a glimpse of what God hears up in Heaven when he listens to his creation that never ceases praising him. It was beautiful.

And then as I was reminded of the bible verse in Luke 19 when the Pharisees told Jesus to 'get a grip' on his disciples that were shouting his praises. Jesus replied "I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones cry out." Luke 19:40.

At that moment during the concert, as I was listening to God's creation do what he created it to do; sing beautiful praises to his Holy name, something in my Spirit rose up. Over and over again my spirit spoke to my heart and said "Do not be out-done by a rock. Do not be-outdone by a rock. DO NOT BE OUT-DONE BY A ROCK!".

I had never thought about it that way before, but most days of my life I was letting myself be out done by a rock. Those little pebbles we walk all over were doing a better job of praising God than I was. In Matthew 6:26 Jesus tells us we are not to worry, because He provides for the birds of the air and how much more valuable are we to him than they? Oh how he longs for us to praise him even more than the birds of the air, the majestic mountains, and those little rocks at our feet. And I'm not just talking about the way I sing praises to God, although I do love to belt my little off-tune voice out while singing praises to Jeus in the privacy of my kitchen, r shower, or car. Everything I do, just like the rocks, should bring praise to god. I am talking about living a life that worships God.

I can recall one day a few months ago when I was right in the middle of disciplining my children and God spoke to me 'worship me with your discipline'. Wow, how I wasn't expecting that one. But what a difference it makes if I'm using even my discipline to worship God. I can't worship God with an angry, frustrated heart, and that doesn't lead to good discipline either. God desires that I train my children, but in a way that brings him Glory and gives them a glimpse of his love.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for the beautiful world you have surrounded me with. You put more detail and thought into a single rock than I can even fathom, and you deserve every ounce of praise your creation sings to you. Please grow this desire in my heart to out-do all of creation. I know how much more it pleases you to see your children praise you, your children whom you created in your image. I desire to live a life that is pleasing to you, and to never, ever be outdone by a rock. When I feel too busy to pray, too tired to serve you, too discouraged to care, or too frustrated to try, help me remember that you created me for so much more; you created me for you.
In Jesus name,
Amen

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Bigger the Better?

I was recently having a conversation with a close friend about our decision to have large families. We are both expecting our 5th child, and both dreading the comments or glares we will be facing as our bellies start growing. None of my 5 children were really 'planned' although in my heart of hearts I wanted all 5 of them or else, obviously, I would have learned my lesson. My husband just didn't learn his lesson the first time, or the second, or the third. Poor guy. ;) He did say early on in our marriage he so badly wanted at least one little boy to carry on his last name. Bless his heart I took him seriously and gave him 4 and possibly 5 new little Irick men.

It seems with each additional child we add to our family (and this is the last, permanent measures will be taken this time although it's nunya business) our house feels a little smaller, the messes get a little bigger, my waist gets a little thicker and our wallet gets a little thinner. Sleep becomes a distant memory and my mind gets a little foggier. So why would someone opt for a large family? You may disagree with some of these, but these are my personal top ten favorite things about my big family.

1. The more kids you have, the more necessary it becomes for Daddy to pitch in, and one of the best blessings in life is a helpful husband.

2. I learn something new about myself with each kid. Each child shows me a new part of both my strength and weaknesses. Even the kids seem to grow as our family grows- they learn more patience, more compassion, and more helpfulness.

3. We are a true 'team' (seriously, if this one is a boy we will have an entire basketball team!). My kids have 4 other built-in supporters, friends, and encourager's to help them navigate through this crazy world. If they can't find any other good, solid christian friends, they will always have each other.

4. Chances are, we simply won't have the money to spoil all 5 kids. It just won't even be an option. They are no stranger to used clothing, and to save money I opt out of batter-operated toys because I just can't afford all those batteries. We also rarely eat out- the boys knows that's a special treat, and it's much healthier for us that way. I hope they grow to have an appreciation for what they do have, to be happy without other things, and to respect the fact that you have to work hard for the things you really want.

5. The world wants you to have 2.5 kids. The Bible says to be in the world but not of the world. I talk to my kids a lot about us not doing what everyone else in the world does, and having a big family is just another (very cool way) that we are separate from most of the world.

6. Yes, money is tight. It doesn't make sense for me to work outside the home with the cost of child care. But, we get to see how God does math. He has come through for us in awesome ways, He has always blessed our financial faithfulness and trust in Him. If we had money to spare we might not rely, trust, and depend on him to provide for us the way that we do now.

7. Being a mother to a big family is humbling. Sometimes you have to admit defeat, ask for help, or simply raise your hands in the air & say "I surrender! I surrender to the mess, the noise & the chaos!"

8. I have gotten to see how tough I can be, but most importantly how weak I really am, how selfish and stubborn I can be, and how big and awesome God's grace & strength is in me.


9. I am convinced that no matter if you have one kid or 10 kids, you feel overwhelmed at times. If I was a mother of only 2 or 3 kids I would have bad days, defeated days, days where I struggle as a mother. Sure, it gets a little harder with each additional kid, but God gives me just enough strength to make it through each day, the same way he does for all mother's out there.

10. Big families are an inconvenience and uncomfortable. Smaller families are more practical, less expensive, easier to do things and go places with. I am convinced I serve a God who prefers me to be just a little uncomfortable. I seem to grow more, seek more, and trust more that way.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Unanswered" Prayers

Do you ever wish you could say 'yes' to your kids more? Somedays I feel like I'm always saying no. No, you may not eat ice cream for dinner. No, you may not stay up late. No, you may not walk down to the park by yourself. No, you may not wear your underware outside your shorts to school. No, no, no! But, that's my job. I often tell my kids "Sorry, it's not my job to make you happy, it's my job to keep you safe." I'm growing people here, and I have to nurture, protect, direct & guide them, and this job comes with a whole lot of "no's". It always seems so much easier to just say "Yes! Fine! Have it your way- anything to stop this tantrum!" But we all know that's not looking at the bigger picture. It's not loving or responsible to always give into the whims of my children. Sure, it's fun to say yes every now and then. I love how happy with me my kids are when I let them splurge from time to time, but someday they will look back and thank me for saying 'no' so many times.

My husband and I are currently in a season of praying & waiting on the Lord with a specific situation (I don't want to worry you; our marraige is solid, we are all healthy, we have food on the table). We are just stuck wondering how he will work this situation out, and when. It's very frusterating, waiting on God knowing that he is all-powerful and able to fix this situation at the very moment he speaks his will. And Lord knows that I would praise him, give him all the glory, testify to his name as soon as this mountain is moved. So Why, God? Why must we wait?

This morning God woke me up with this thought: "I love you enough to tell you no." Oh, what a scary thought. Here I have been waiting for a miracle, expecting God to come down here and show off in a big way, and it's hit me that he may do nothing. We can lay our case before the Lord, knowing he is able to fix whatever problems we face, yet our prayers can seemingly go unanswered. But we must realize that there is a reason that God chooses to tell his children 'no'.

I know that as a child of God, everything he brings me to has one purpose: to draw me closer to him. When God chooses to tell us 'no', it is his way of showing us how much he loves us. He loves us enough to risk the fact that we just might throw a temper-tantrum, question him, get angry with him, or even turn away form him. But ultimately, He knows what is best for me, and what is best for me is to walk closer with him every day and sometimes that means he has to tell us no.

Oh, how easy it would be for God to just swoop down & answer my prayer in the exact way I would want. Oh, wouldn't we all just love him for doing that?! Wouldn't we praise him, thank him, adore him & want to serve him even more?! But where's the growth there? Where's the trust & the faith? That would mean God was more concerned with my happiness than he was my spiritual growth & health, and all parents know that is not true love. I hope today you find encouragement in the fact that God loves you enough to tell you no. He is far more concerned with growing you, molding you, and bringing you into a deeper realationship with him than he is about fixing your situation.

Lord,
As a parent I know how tiring it can be to tell your children no, and how much easier it would be to always give into my pleas. Help me to always be patient & faithful to you no matter how you choose to answer my prayers. You know what is best for me, and your ways are higher than my ways. So I put my trust in you, Lord. I praise you for being big enough to instantly fix any problem that may come my way, but for loving me enough to not always do that. I am your clay. In Jesus Name,
Amen

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Haiti Heart

Three weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a Mission trip to Haiti to visit and help set up a new orphanage with 6 other members of my church. I have a heart for orphans, but even more so I have a heart for moms. I wanted to love on these children in a way their mommies were not able to anymore. I couldn't imagine the desperation I would feel knowing my child would be left all alone in this world, and I wanted to bring the love and comfort to these children that their parents could not.

I have no doubt that I was called by God to go on this trip, or else there is no way I would have been able to even think about leaving a 12 month old baby behind. Don't get me wrong, I knew I would miss my 4 year olds like crazy, but they knew when Mom was coming back, they knew where I was going, and they knew what I was doing. They had a letter every night to read that I wrote for them. Henry had no idea what was going on; only that Mom was here one minute, and gone the next, and the next, and the next. I prayed that God would send down angels to surround him with peace and love while I was gone. The Wednesday night before I left, our pastor taught during bible study on spiritual warfare, and how there are angels everywhere, and that God is a supernatural God and can call angels down to surround and protect us. Talk about confirmation to my prayers.

Another reason I knew God was calling me on this trip was that He put it together in a very short amount of time for me. Just a little over a month before the trip, a sister-friend from church called and made a proposition; if she could get enough businesses to sponsor the cost of the trip for both of us, would I be willing to go? I said of course, but I didn't think she would get enough money for us both, we had to have our final answer by that evening so we could get the plane tickets. I was babysitting a house full of kids and didn't have time to meditate and pray about the trip so I simply said "God, if I'm supposed to go, then you will get the money together and I will go." Less than 6 hours later God had all the money in order, and even childcare lined up for all 5 days I would be gone. It took another 6 hours to convince my husband that this was a good idea and by the next morning my ticket was booked. I have no doubt God put it together so quickly for two reasons: 1 . Only God could get it done in a day. 2. I had no time to talk myself out of it. I heard God say "Go!" and I quickly answered "Yes!" before my brain could come up with the LONG list of reasons why I shouldn't.

I spent the next few weeks wondering what I had gotten myself into. One day I was particularly worried and anxious about the trip and I clearly felt God speaking over and over to me for about half an hour: "I have ordained this trip and I will keep you safe." Nothing like the peace of God to wash away your doubts. From that point on I felt a sense of calm about the trip. I knew I was suppose to be going, and I knew that it would somehow make me a better mother for going. I had no idea how, and I knew I wouldn't until it was all over. I just knew I was doing what God had called me to do. I was reminded of the Bible verse "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying; "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said "Here am I Lord, send me!" Isiah 6:8. What an awesome experience it is to clearly hear God's direction and follow it. I pray I hear him that clearly in everything, big and small.

The trip itself was very surreal. As we were driving, or should I say buzzing through the street of Haiti going 50mph driving on the back of a truck, I looked at my friend and said "I should probably be a little scared right now, but this whole trip just seems so surreal that I don't even have any fear here." And that's who it felt all weak, surreal. You can't even imagine the destitution and despair these people are living in, it's heartbreaking. The children in the orphanage actually have it better than most of the other children living in the tent cities since the earthquake. They get food, a bed, clothes, and clean water at least. You can feel the hopelessness all around you. I have never in my life struggled with hopelessness the way I did in Haiti. I had to pray hard that week for God to restore my Hope for that country, but more importantly to restore the Haitians hope in their own country. I'm still struggling with the questions of why God chose me to live here and those people to live there. I know I will never get an answer to that question this side of Heaven, but I do know that I intend to never waste a day or an opportunity.

The first day of our trip I was overcome with a sense of worry. I told our group that night that I had come on this trip because I felt that it would somehow make me a better mother. I now feared it would do the exact opposite. I was afraid I would go back and be angry with my kids every time they threw a fit because they were being so spoiled and selfish. They had no idea how blessed they were and yet they grumbled and complained. Our leader, Rhonda, confirmed those were very normal feelings, and yes we probably would go back feeling like we were surrounded by selfish people in a selfish world, and might feel a sense of anger towards others for it. Uh-oh, Lord, why again did you send me here?

That question was immediately answered the next day when I witnessed 2 mothers at the orphanage deciding to sign over their rights to their babies. They couldn't properly care for them and they knew their best hope was to be adopted out from the orphanage. Oh my heart just broke for those mamas. I was consumed with thankfulness that I was able to take care of my babies as I watched the sadness in their faces. God did a complete 360 on my heart at that moment. I was taken back to memeories from when my triplets were infants and I was in an anxiety attack-sleep deprived state, sitting in front of these three crying babies and saying "Lord! This isn't fair! This isn't fair to me and it's not fair to them!"I couldn't enjoy this the way a new mom was supposed to enjoy her newborn, and they weren't getting the attention and time a newborn deserves. And I never even had a choice in the matter, it was like: BAM! Welcome to Motherhood! I hung onto those 'it's not fair feelings' even as they grew older. I joked that when the boys came into the world I felt overwhelmed and I hadn't stopped feeling overwhelmed since. But Praise God, I left that heart in Haiti, and I left with a new heart. I felt overwhelmed all right, but overwhelmed with thankfulness. Although my husband and I struggle to make our ends-meet every month, we are able to provide a safe home for our children, food in their bellies, clean clothes, school, a bath every night, toys, books, games, I could go on and on. But most importantly we get to be their parents. I get to take care of them. I get to love on them, teach them, snuggle with them. I get to do their laundry, I get to cook & clean for them. God showed me what a true blessing it is to simply have the ability to be able to take care of my family. And that is why God sent me ot Haiti, I pray I never, ever forget the lesson he taught me on that Mission Trip. I went there thinking I would minister to others and left being ministered to.

Lord,
Thank you for the opportunity to go visit your children in Haiti. I pray that you fill them with your hope and peace and love. That country needs you and I pray that whole country will turn to you for direction, guidance, and hope. Father, I thank you for opening my eyes to the blessings you have given me. I thank you for my Haiti-heart, a heart of thankfulness and joy. When I start to feel overwhelmed, grumpy, tired, or frustrated in my role as mother, remind me of the blessing you have given me. Let me never waste a day here in this life you assigned me. May each day be filled with thankfulness and Joy and an eagerness to seek you, hear you, serve you and fulfill the purpose you have for me.
In Jesus Name,
Amen

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Jesus Dance

Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness.”

Psalm 147:11, “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.”

For the past couple days I have been feeling discouraged as a mother. I have been struggling with 2 of my boys and trying to figure out the best way to handle their temper tantrums and whining, in a Godly, firm, but positive way. I honestly thought they would have grown out of it by now (4 1/2) but unfortunately these 2 have their mama's strong will and most days I feel like we are making no progress. Last night in church our associate pastor preached from 2 Chronicles 20:12 and it reads: "...We do not know what to do but our eyes are on you." And that was exactly how I felt at the moment.

This morning one of my boys was particularly grumpy and I spent the better half of the morning training, correcting, and praying for my boy and myself. I was about at my wits end and praying harder then ever on God to give me wisdom on how to handle this situation. We finally had a peaceful moment after lunch while we were playing play dough and it gave me the perfect opportunity to talk to my boys about how God wants his "Jesus boys" to act. I explained that God expects a lot out of us because we are his people, and he wants us to set an example to others. I reminded him how sad it makes Jesus when we don't obey, but thankfully God always gives us a second chance to do better, and he always forgive us for our mistakes. (Can I get an amen!?)

And then as we were picking up our play-dough I could see we were about to have another issue. Again, my little boy who had spent the better half of the morning in his room, was ignoring me and not helping with the mess. I started timing him (a race usually gets his testosterone flowing and kicks him into gear), but no luck. Just as I was about to reach for the trash can to start throwing play-dough toys away, God spoke to me: "Instead of telling them how sad I am when they disobey, show them how happy I am when they do obey! Teach them of the God that rejoices in them!"

So I focused on my two boys who were helping and told them that Jesus was watching them and he was happy! I said "I think I can hear Jesus up there just laughing and giggling and dancing, I think Jesus is dancing! He is delighting in you and how helpful you are being!" And then to really hit it home, I started showing them what Jesus was doing: I leaped up in the air, spun around and shouted "Yippee! I love those boy! They are so special and sweet and they are my Jesus boys!"

And guess what? That third little boy who had given this mama fits all morning started helping. And every time he put a toy in the basket I did that little Jesus dance for him. And you know what? I could feel God lift all that discouragement from me too. All my anxiety and stress at that moment was lifted as we all just danced and laughed in the fact that we serve a God who delights in us. And they can't wait to wake up from their nap so I can show them how happy God is that they took such a good nap!

Dear God,
Thank you for always coming to my rescue at just the right time. Thank you for your wisdom and encouragement as a mother. Thank you for delighting in us when we do your will, and thank you for always being there to pick us up and forgive us when we stumble. Help me to always rejoice in you, the way you rejoice in me. I want this family to be a family that makes you dance. Give my family hearts that desire to do what is pleasing to you. Make us always overflow with your joy and peace. Be ever present in this home.
In your precious name,
Amen

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Turning Worry into Worship

This is a very eventful week for us. My 4 year old triplets started back to preschool on Wednesday, and my baby, Henry turns one today. Yesterday, after I sent my boys off it hit me how quickly everyone is growing up. And I got sad. Really sad. I started crying and praying to God for my little boys telling him how thankful I am for them, how blessed I am, and how unworthy I feel at times to be their mother. I prayed for their salvation; that they would grow up to accept Jesus, to love him, to follow hard after him. And then it occurred to me, I wasn't crying so much because I was sad about my babies growing up, I was crying about who they would grow up to become.

I realized I have been thinking about their future testimonies a lot lately. I have been praying- no pleading with God to grow their hearts with a desire to love Him, follow hard after Him, and to walk a straight path all the days of their life that will bring Him glory. Just two weeks ago I started talking to Matt about rules we should set for them as they got older; who they could hang out with, where they could go, what they could listen to & watch, even thinking about what I will say to them when it comes time for the 'sex' talk (sorry boys- this mama loves you enough to embarrass you by talking about even THAT!). My heart has been so heavy & anxious for these dreaded teenage years that are quickly approaching, and we haven't even hit kindergarten yet. I want to follow them to school, parties, movies, the mall, to their friends homes. I know that most of these choices they make as teenagers have the ability to impact their futures in a big way, and I want to do whatever it takes to protect, guide, & lead these little boys on the path to Jesus. I don't just want them to be 'good' boys- I want them to grow up to be Godly boys.

But today I realized that my heart was not only heavy for my boys, it was worried for them. Flat-out-lock-them-up-until-they-are-forty-fearful for them as they grow up and start gaining independence. I know they will have to make their own decisions regarding their relationship with Jesus and it scared me. I remembered something I had read about worry being a sin because it meant you were not trusting God, and I realized that my worry was a sign that I was not trusting God with my children. Thankfully, instead of feeling condemned I felt relieved as He so sweetly reassured me that He loves them even more than I do, and he desires that they come to know him, love him, follow him even more than I do. I can't worry them into a relationship with God- that was something that was between them and God, and was in His hands. Later in the afternoon as I was reading my bible I came across this verse:

3 The God of Israel spoke,
the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
when he rules in the fear of God,
4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise
on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
that brings grass from the earth.’

5 “Is not my house right with God,
has he not made with me an everlasting covenant,
arranged and secured in every part?
Surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation
and grant me my every desire
2 Samuel 23:3-5

This passage brought me such comfort. It was as if God was saying "I've got your boys. You do your part, and I will do mine." So I decided to turn my worry into worship. I found myself excited to watch them grow up, and thanking God for what I am trusting that He will do in their precious lives. I laid down my stress and anxiety and turned it into Praise for allowing me to play a part in their testimonies.

Lord,
I trust you. Thank you for holding me and my babies in your hands. Thank you for loving them with a perfect love that is so deep and unfailing that I cannot even comprehend it. I know that you have a perfect plan for their lives. You know them even better than I do, and you desire their hearts even more than I desire you to have them. I have faith in your Word and your promises to me and I trust that you have an awesome plan for them. While it may not be the path I would choose for them, it will be the one that can lead them closer to you which in the end is the only thing that matters. Father, I promise to do my part in raising these children. I will do my best to shelter them from evil and sin, and to teach them that they are called to be separate and holy from this world. I will speak truth into them, and I will keep you at the center of our home. I will remind them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and loved by an awesomely big God every single day. I will lead by example and make sure they know how deeply I love you and desire to serve you. On days when they stumble I will teach them of your mercy and grace. Thank you for the gift of these precious boys, what an awesome calling it is to be their mother. Thank you for allowing me the freedom to not worry about them, but instead to place them lovingly and prayerfully in your hands.
In Jesus name,
Amen

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Broken Day

It's amazing in a home filled with small children how quickly the day can seem to just fall a part. Sometimes it's just one thing (i.e. a child is up all night throwing up and you pretty much throw in the towel on the next day before it's even begun). Often times it's a series of events (kids wake up in a bad mood for no apparent reason, juice spills at breakfast, dog pukes in the middle of the family room, baby spills my drink while I'm busy cleaning up dog puke, boys start fighting over toys....). You know those days; the ones where you have a lot to do, list made out, super-mom cape on and ready to tackle the day head one. And then life happens and by lunch time it seems like the day has just fallen a part, the day is BROKEN.

During bible study recently we were talking about how God desires our brokenness. He wants us to submit ourselves to his will, allow him to break our hearts so He can pick up the pieces, mold us into who He wants us to be, and then use us for his Glory. He wants us to be broken so that he can make us whole.

And then it occured to me... Maybe God desires my days to be broken days? I started seeing how much more of an opportunity God has to work in my life and my home when my days are broken. For instance, yesterday I had planned on using nap time to read my bible, pray, and have my Jesus time. But Ben had already been to sleep and woken up before Sam ever fell asleep. Sam was fighting his nap, and by the way he had been acting all morning he NEEDED that nap. I decided to use this as an opportunity of brokenness instead of an opportunity to get irritated that my day was not going according to plan. I turned the tv on for Ben, and I went to lay down with Sam. And that was where I had my prayer time yesterday; I closed my eyes and talked to Jesus all the while snuggled up next to my little boy who was too stubborn to admit he was tired (my son of course). God used my broken plan by giving me an opportunity to shower affection and attention on my son and set an example of peace and love to him.

And as the day went on I realized that when I have 'great' days, I don't rely on God as much. Yes, I praise him and thank him for an awesome day, but I don't need him and plead with him for his patience and love and mercy like I do on those broken days. It's on those broken days when I seem to be in constant prayer, when I use his strength to choose love over anger, patience over irritation, and peace over stress. It's on those days that God can really come and move in my life. Not only do I experience God more, but my children do too. What an awesome opportunity to be an example to my kids.

And while studying I found this little gem:
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.
Hosea 10:11-13

He has to break up the dirt before he can plant his seed in us! He can't move in hard, rocky dirt- it must be tilled and broken to make it soft and ready to grow fruit!

Father,
Break my days. Do whatever it takes for me to get MORE of you. If that means more messes, more tantrums, more chaos, I choose that. I choose your plan for my day and your will for my life over mine. I know that my best laid plans will crumble if they are not in line with your plans. Good days are Good, but God days are better. I want every day to be a God day, to be an opportunity to feel your presence, to practice your love and patience and joy. Be with me today, on this broken day Lord. Thank you for always being right beside me to pick up the peices, always putting it back together even better than it was before.
Amen

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Touchy Subject

My children have these little plastic plates that are divided into sections. They sort of resemble a cafeteria try, and they are great for separating their food, keeping the veggies from touching, well, anything else, or the applesauce from running all over the plate. Mainly, my boys who mix their food into crazy concoctions anyhow just think these plates are fun. However, every time I look at these plates I am reminded of how people view my Jesus.

You see, our culture today is so caught up in 'balance'. Everything in moderation. God is good, as long as he is a part of a well-balanced life. We act as though we have the ability to separate our life into one of those plastic divided plates. And most of us aren't even giving God the biggest spot, because if you make God TOO big in your life, 99% of the world won't understand. You won't fit in. So we balance God out with everything else- work here, family here, fun here, God here. That way we are all happy- we feel better about ourselves for having a 'little' bit of God in us, we still fit in with the world, and we have a sensible balance to all things in our life- the key to happy living.

The problem with only giving God a small portion of your life is that you are not allowing God to touch the other parts. God, you stay here and I will see you on Sunday, but please don't come to work with me, my co-workers wouldn't understand. And go ahead and stay out of my money, I don't have enough to tithe. And seriously, PLEASE don't touch my fun, if I let you touch my fun I couldn't watch the same movies, go to the same places and I would certainly lose some friends. Ouch. Sound familiar?

Fanatical? Yes. Holy-roller. Why thank you. I serve a God that is bigger than I can comprehend, too big to be divided into just a single area of my life and He refuses to be anything other than our ENTIRE life. The first and most important commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength". (Duet. 6:5). Have you made God your foundation? Have you invited him to control your parenting, marriage, jobs, money, health, and even your fun? I guarentee that very single one of those areas will better once you do, because he knows what's best for us, and he wants that for us. And yes, most people won't understand. They may think I'm taking this too seriously but I quote the Evangelist preacher Danny Ledbetter in saying: "Do you think when I get to Heaven God is going to say "Son, You took me too seriously down there!". And the worst thing I could ever here on the day I meet my savior is "You didn't take me seriously enough, I had it all written out for you on how to serve me, how to love me, how to live for me and you ignored me." As Beth Moore puts it "If I error, let me error on the side of faith." And in Revelation 3:16 it states "So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I spit you out of my mouth." Wow. God wants us to be hot for him, or as we like to say on fire, and if we can't be hot he would rather us be cold than sitting there riding the fence, unwilling to surrender it all to Him. He either want ALL of me, or NONE of me.

Lord,
I choose to give you ALL of me. I know that by choosing to make you the foundation of my life, I am called to a life of holiness and will be seperate from the world, but I know you have called me to be in this world, not of this world- this place is not my home. It means not always doing what I want to do, but doing what I know you would want me to do. It means surrendering my pride, my wants, my needs to your plan. I also know that my path will always be blessed because of this. It means I will always have access to your strength and power to do your will. It means getting to watch you do amazing things through me and for me. And it means I will get to spend an eternity with you.
Amen

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's not about YOU, either!

Don't you love it when the Lord uses your children to speak truth to you? This weekend God did just that to me. I'm ashamed to say but I had been a little grumpy with my kids the past week and had been praying for God to restore my joy. He answered my prayer on Saturday as we were getting ready to leave for a birthday party. The party happened to start during nap time so I tried to let the boys sleep as long as possible, which in turn made us run late. As I was waking the boys up to leave I reminded them to move quickly, get dressed (it was a swim party) and ready to go as quickly as possible. My husband was at work so I was solo in this task, making it even more chaotic. As I was loading all of our things into the van, one or two of the boys were then reminding ME that we were late. "Hurry Mom! Hurry! We are LAAAATE!" I looked up at my child and said, "Excuse me! While you were napping Mommy was getting dinner ready, putting away laundry, vacuuming the living room, wrapping the present, and getting our swim stuff ready for this party. Do not tell me to hurry now. And for another thing, It's just NOT always about YOU!" To which my other son so sweetly replied: "Yeah, it's about Jesus!". I thought this was a sweet reminder, thanked my child for his reply, and on our way to the party we went.

As we were leaving the party my best friend (it was her son's birthday) followed me out to help me get all of that 'stuff' back into the car. I told her that little story simply because it ended so sweetly and I thought it was worth sharing. Her response was not at all what I expected when she said, "You realize God just threw that back in your face, right?"

As I was driving home I thought about her response, and I so gently heard God whisper "It's not about you either, AnnElise." Wow, thank you Lord for that reminder. Thank you for picking me back up every time I stumble. Thank you for being the God of second chances, of seventy chances. Thank you for being more patient with me then I could ever be with my own children. And thank you for that reminder that it's not about me, it's all about You!
Amen

The awesome part is god didn't stop with just that gentle reminder. He showered me with blessings over the rest of the weekend. I have had several remarks (mostly from strangers) like "You're a saint!" or "Those boys have a GOOD mama!" (to which I replied, "Their mama prays A LOT!"), and today a lady beside me in the drive-thru bank line said "God only gives very special people all the same gender of children." What sweet reminders to keep on keeping on from my King. He is so faithful when we surrender to him.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When I Grow Up

"Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

A few days ago my child told me "When I grow up, I want to have a big fancy pick-up truck!". I laughed and gave him the same type of answer my parents gave me when I was a child; "That sounds nice! You better do really well in school and get a good job and make lots of money to pay for that big old fancy pick-up truck!". I found myself stewing on my reponse for a while. Thankfully, the Lord gave me a re-do just a few hours later when all three of my big boys were talking about what they want to be when they grow up. If their plans work out I will be the mother of a fireman, a basketball player, and a construction worker. I told them how proud of them I would be, but what would make me even more proud is if they were doing what God wanted them to do. I told them He has a plan for their life and they first must pray and ask God what HE wants them to be when they grow up, and I let them know that I will be praying for them too. More than anything else I want them to follow God's direction and plan for their life. I was so blessed by that conversation with my boys, and I'm so excited to see the plan God has for them!

Lord,
Thank you for my boys. All four of them are SO full of energy and life and I pray that they use that energy and passion to serve you. Guide and direct them, bind their hearts to yours, I want them to fall head over heels in love with you. I pray they submit their lives, plans, and futures to you, Lord. Reveal yourself to them.

As their mother, help me not to get in your way, Lord. I lay my pride down. I want them to be succesfull in YOU, not in wordly things. Give me the wisdom to train them up to love you. Help me lead my children by example, watching a mother and father that want to follow your direction and plan for our lives. Always trusting, hoping, waiting in you.
In Jesus name,
Amen

Never underestimate the power of a praying mother!

Monday, June 13, 2011

...Who Gives me Strength

"I can do all things through Christ who Gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

The point of this blog is to show how God can use my weaknesses. How he can use what I saw as a curse and use it to bring Him Glory. And to show how He can turn my faults into blessings. We can draw so close to God by using His strength to overcome our weakness.

During our Wednesday night bible study our Pastor was teaching us about Gods strength, and how as Christians we need it for Everything. Our need for his strength versus our own strength goes beyond my needing him for patients, perseverance, energy, love. We need God's strength to even admit that we need his strength. We need God's strength to have a relationship with God, to pray, to love Him the way we should. For we cannot do anything that is worth anything in our own flesh, it all must come through Him. Which explains a lot. It explains why I don't always feel like praying or reading my bible. It explains why don't always feel like waiting for His answers or His timing and why I would rather just take matters into my own hands. When the light bulb clicked that I need God's strength in the small things in order to receive God's strength for the big things, it changed the way I pray. Even if I don't 'feel' like praying, by starting my prayers out in this way it opens up for awesome communication with God.

Lord,
I need your strength today. I need your strength and power to pray, put the words in my mouth Lord. I need your strength to love you the way I should love you. I need your strength to walk with you and to recognize your presence in my life. You made me to need you and I recognize that I cannot do anything for you without your strength and spirit inside me. Pour your spirit out on me today, Lord....

I hope this helps grow your prayer life the way it is helping to grow mine. It's amazing how much better everything is, even our prayers, when we let God control them!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Too Blessed to be Stressed

I look around and often think of how blessed I am. A beautiful home, beautiful family, we all have our health, my husband works hard and has a good job, we have cars that go, clothes on our back, food in our bellies, and our ends seem to meet every month. I don't feel worthy of all the blessings God has given me, but I am oh so grateful for each of them.

But what if suddenly it was all taken away? Everything- kids, health, family, money. Would I still feel blessed? I keep thinking of Matthew chapter 5:4-3 and wondering if I would still feel blessed if it ever REALLY stormed on me?:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will have riches in heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

We all pray for blessings and give praise to God when he answers prayers. But He longs to fill more than our earthly needs & desires. He wants to bless us with Him. He wants to feed our spirit. And sometime that blessing of constant intimacy, fellowship, and dependancy on God- sometimes that comes through intense pain.

Lord,
Do I trust you enough? Do I know you are good even when life isn't? Do I love you enough to feel blessed even if all this 'stuff' you have given me was gone? If I had nothing to hold in my hands, would I still lift them up to you? I pray that I have a heart like that. A heart that feels blessed when the rest of the world only sees a mess. When other's might ask "Where is God in this?", I will be blessed to know that you are right in the middle of every situation. To feel your presence in the midst of loneliness, your peace in chaos, your light in darkness, and an eternity secured in your Heaven; those are the kind of blessings you wants us to want. And those blessings cannot compare to any other posession you might give us. While these gifts you have lavished on me may not always be here, your love stands. Heaven stands. These are the blessings that cannot be taken away from me, and I thank you for them. The hardest and scariest prayer I will ever pray is to offer my family to you Lord. Not that you need my permission- they are more yours than mine anyways. But, I do. I put my faith and trust in you, that no matter what our future may hold you are in control. I trust that you will do with my children, my husband, and me that which will bring you the most glory. Not what brings us the most happiness Lord, but what best glorifies you. Pour your blessings out on us.
Amen

Monday, May 16, 2011

THIS is the Day!

"This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

About a week ago I found myself checking the clock. It was only 8:30am. I yawned and thought to myself "This is going to be a long day. I'm only 2 hours into the day and already I can't wait until bedtime, I'm already tired. Over 10 more hours until my help, I mean my husband comes home from work..." My mind started wondering what sort of messes, spills, tantrums etc. the day might entail with a house full of kids.

Luckly the Lord didn't let me wallow for too long, and instantly my heart snapped my mind back into shape. I remembered the verse and song we all love to sing "This is the day the Lord has made!" I began praying and rejoicing over my day:

Lord,
Thank you for this beautiful day! Help me see each new day as a gift and an opportunity to grow closer to you. Instead of thinking about all the work that lays ahead, fill my heart with excitement and expectation as I seek you in everything I do. Thank you for allowing me to stay home with my kids (and a few others!), guide me in my mission field as I minister to these babies by loving and nurtering them them through you. Lord, be with me today and give me THIS day, my daily bread (my daily strength). This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL Rejoice and be glad in it!
Amen

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you Mother's out there! I was thinking over the past few days about how much my life has changed as a mother, I thought I would share some of them with you!
1. 7am now feels like I've slept in.
2. I've been on more playdates then actual dates in the past two years.
3. I care more about my kids looking nice than I do myself.
4. And somewhere along the way I quite caring what my kids look like, as long as their clothes are clean & their teeth are brushed, who cares if they match?!
5. I used to care what husband wore. As long as his clothes are clean and his teeth are brushed, I'm happy.
6. Dog obedience school? HA! Who cares if the dog is trained, do they make child obedience school? Speaking of, has anyone fed the dog lately....?
7. My husband has never, ever looked sexier to me than when he is vacuuming. Or doing dishes. Or changing a diaper...
8. My kids say "blech" and act dramatically disgusted when I kiss that hunk of vacuuming man I mentioned above.
9. I used to be a light sleeper. Now instead of waking up the minute the baby cries, my brain just incorperates it into my dream until my husband nudges me awake!
10. And finally, I have come to really, really appreciate my own mother, her sleepless nights, her sacrifices, and the person she taught me to be:
-My mom showed me what it looks like to love your enemies
-She taught me that when things get tough you don't give up. You simply pray harder and keep moving forward.
-She taught me to be happy with what I have been given
-She taught me to love the beauty of nature and being outside- and that even girls can get muddy & go fishing & camping.
-She never, ever pushed me to be the best, only to try my best.
-She always thought whatever I did was the best.
-She taught me not to complain.
-She taught me to be respectful to others, especially teachers & employers. Even if you disagree you say 'yes ma'am' and bite your toungue. Period.
-She always made holidays and birthdays over-the-top fun & special.
-She was a girlscout leader, sunday school teacher, room-mother, always there for her children kind of mom, and if there were more Mom's like her I'm certain we'd have less problems in this world.



Dear Lord,
Thank you for the blessing of motherhood. What an honor it is to be the mother of these four amazing and beautiful boys. Thank you for allowing me to help mold, teach, and lead these boys to be the men you created them to be. Thank you for making each day fun & special & exciting around here. And thank you for my mother, who helped mold me into who I am today. I want to life up all mother's to you today, Lord, that you give us the strength & joy & peace is takes to do this awesome job you have called us to.
Amen

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Everyday Easter

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witness, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition for sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Hebrews 12:1-3

I'm so glad God is so very patient with me, because he sure has his work cut out for him with this daughter. I am a work in progress to say the least. I am ashamed to admit it but on the very weekend that we were celebrating Christ dying on the cross, I decided to have a little pity party for myself. My husband (who works very hard for our family and deserves a little nap after his 60 hour work weeks), fell asleep right in the middle of the living room (a feat in itself in a home with four small children might I add!.) My mind immediately went to "Well that's not fair! I was up with the baby early, then up before him with the big boys. I've been packing all week plus I cooked a big Easter meal today and did all the clean up and I'M TIRED TOO! Nobody around here cares if I get enough sleep and, well, THIS ISN'T FAIR!"

Thankfully, the Lord stopped me in my tracks, right then and there. Before I had time to let myself wallow and whine any longer, I immediately heard him:

"REALLY?! SERIOUSLY?! Not FAIR? There was NOTHING FAIR about the cross."

And that was it, pity party over. Self in check.

Ever thought about that? That Jesus not once said "Father- this isn't fair! I don't want to go through this tortue & humiliation & pain for these people. These are their sins, not mine. And most of them don't even love me!" He did it because he loved us more than we can even imagine!

Lord,
Thank you for Easter. What an awesome reminder of your awesome, unselfish, undying love for us. Help me remember the cross every single day. Help me remember that my daily annoyances and small troubles in NO WAY constitute a bad attitude. Help me remember that the sacrifices I make daily in NO WAY compare to the sacrifice you made for me, before I even loved you. Lord, thank you for the reminder that I must surrender to you DAILY. I must live in an attitude of Thanksgiving to you, for the more I focus on your goodness the less I am able to focus on my troubles, and am able to rise above my circumstances to a place of living in your joy and peace. Thank you for your constant work and progress with me. Thank you for the cross.
Amen

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Clean Hands, Messy House

For the past two years God has been dealing with my heart on the issues of a clean home. Anyone with children knows it is impossible to keep your house tidy, unless you want to spend every minute of every day doing some sort of housework. I explained it to my husband (who is a wheel allignment tech.) that it would be like someone going behind him and re-alligning each wheel just as he had finished it and moved onto the next; he would be working in circles all day long. I think he finally got my frusteration when I pointed that out to him.

But that's what I did. For two long years, I worked in circles trying to keep my home clean. I honestly thought it was one of the reasons I stayed home, to keep house.

First and foremost, a clean home is so peaceful. In order to keep my stress level down I needed to keep my home clean & tidy. It was one thing that I could (try to) control around here and I poured all my energy into keeping up with the housework.

Not only did I find peace in a clean home, but I also took pride in my home and keeping it clean & decorated nicely. Since I do not have a career I found a lot of self-worth in my home. I liked that surprised looked on people's faces when they enter into a home full of boys to find that it, surprisingly, had not caved in ontop of itself, but it was clean too!

And then I realize two things; my peace cannot and should not come from anything other than God. God's peace is not conditional, it means I get to be peaceful no matter the circumstance, clean home or not! I also never realized that taking pride in my home was a sin, but it was. The Bible warns us over and over again about pride. It says in Proverbs 16:18 that pride comes before destruction, and again in Ezekial 7 it says "They took pride in their beautiful jewelry and used it to make their detestable idols. They made it into vile images; therefore I will make it a thing unclean for them." meaning what they took pride in became their idol,they put it before God and so it became a sin. Especially on those occasions where I chose to do housework rather than spending time with God. I kept putting off my quite time with the Lord because I was incapable of resting when there was so much to do around me!

And let's just say I wasn't much fun to be around if my house was messy. I became very anxious, frusterated, stressed & grumpy. I didn't have any joy in hosting & entertaining beacause instead of enjoying my company, I only saw the messes that were left behind and all the work that was left for me to do.

Finally I had enough of working in circles and having a peace that was contingent upon a clean & orderly home. I looked around me and realized that some of the most joyous, peaceful and hospitable women had less than perfect homes- I wanted that freedom! So I started praying to God to change my heart, to give me peace amidst the mess, and slowly but surely he did.

And then one day God speak to me that cooking & cleaning were the LEAST important things I do as a Mom. I don't stay home with my kids to keep the house clean, prepare meals for everyone and make sure everything around here is orderly. I stay home to be with my kids, to be the one that teaches & guides & loves on them all day long.

Suddenly it all clicked. Instead of taking pride in my home, I should be using it as something to bring God glory. After all, it is as a gift he has given my family. It should be our place of laughter, shelter, love. In Romans 12:19 it says we are to practice hospitality. I think if Jesus had been a woman it might read "practice hospitality at all times... if your house is clean & ready for guests.", but much to my dismay, it doesn't. While God wants us to care & respect for the gifts he has given us, he doesn't care if my home isn't spotless. I refuse to believe that God expects me to keep a spick-and-span home. If he did, he would not have made children so darn messy! And if Jesus doesn't care if my home is less than perfect, then why should I? And more importantly, why should I care what OTHERS think about it? I should only be looking to God for approval, peace, & Joy! And God would rather me have clean hands and a messy home than the other way round.

Lord,
Thank you for your peace. It is constant and unconditional and you are able to pour it over me no matter the circumstance. Help me to view my home as a blessing to be used to do your work, rather than a burden full of housework to be done. I know you want me to care for my family and that cooking & cleaning is a part of that, but a very small part. Help me remember that the most important thing I can do for my family is to draw near to you, to spend time with you, to keep you as my focus. Thank you for my children and my family, and my home, messes and all. I love you Lord!
Amen

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I am Weak but He is Strong

Can I just be honest here and say that I had to re-read my own blog post "Put God in, Get Good Out" yesterday? I had a really grumpy day. It's funny b/c my morning prayer was awesome- I was so full of love & joy and I kept singing the song "This is the Day the Lord has Made!" Amazing how quickly life can to steal away our joy if we let it. Nothing major happened, I've just got a lot of things going on right now with selling & buying a home, packing, repairs, phone calls, appointments, children, messes, cooking, laundry, life. You get it. So by dinner time when one of my kids skipped nap which resulted in a tempermental four year old, I was a grump.

No, I wasn't overly angry, I didn't lose my temper or control like I might have in the past, but I was most definitely NOT walking in the joy that Jesus intended for me to have as a mother. I didn't even WANT to have that joy, I wasn't in the mood. I just wanted to give into my desire to be in a bad mood, be short with my kids, and be grumpy.

And then I came across this verse:
"But he said to me, "My Grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Suddenly my grumpiness didn't seem like such a horrible thing after all. It was an opportunity for me to surrender myself to God (again) & let him take over, my weakness was an opportunity for him to show his strength.

And that's what this blog is all about. I'm not here to give advice, to preach, to be showy. This is my testimony. My opportunity to confess my weakness, and show the awesome life-transforming and heart-changing power of God. Thank you Lord, for all of my weaknesses, without them I would never know your awesome power. I would never get to fully experience your Grace, your mercy, and your ability to work through me!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stinky Feet

A few days ago I had a particularly poopy day. Literally- I had cleaned up more poopy messes & accidents that day than I have since the boys were back in potty-training days. To be quite honest, it was a little frusterating to be cleaning up potty messes from my 'big boys' who have been potty trained for two years now. It also made our move to a larger home with more than one bathroom all the more exciting, as they will no longer have the 'I couldn't wait in line any longer so I accidentally went on the floor' excuse.

And come to think of it, we have had ALOT of messes around here lately. Just last night two boys spilled milk at dinner, and then my husband spilled the ENTIRE gallon. Yes, the whole gallon. Big mess.

And of course the day to day "a lot of people live in this house and you can tell" little life-messes, (crumbs on the floor, dog rolls in the dirt & brings it all inside, soap is more fun when it's dumped in the bath tub, let's play "moving" day & pack up all our clothes but not un-pack them) types of messes.

Okay- exhausted yet? I am! But do you know what God has been whispering to me lately, through all these messes?

"Wash their feet"

Now, he's telling me this for one of two reasons: a.) they like to wear their tennis shoes around the house sock-less and it has caused some odor issues around here, or b.) he wants me to see that I'm not cleaning up after my family, I'm cleaning up after Him- his creations, his blessings, his children.

And here's my current favorite bible verse:

"Now that I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you should also wash one another's feet. I have set an exmpale that you should do as I have done for you."
John 13:14-15

I'm going to make a big plaque to hang up on the wall with this verse on it, with each of my children's foot prints below to remind me that I'm not picking up after messy kids, I'm not a maid, a slave, a cook, or a babysitter. I'm a foot-washer!

The most awesome thing about being a foot-washer is that it is something I am doing for God. And getting to wash the feet of God is an honor, not a burden. It seems every time I get annoyed or tired at another spill, a sink full of dishes, or endless piles of laundry I can hear his voice "wash their feet, wash their feet!". And then I remember what I'm REALLY doing here, and then I find joy (His joy!) in serving my family.

Yes, there is a whole world of needy people out there who need some good foot-washing. But God wants me to start right here with my husband and my children. A few weeks ago I announced to my husband that I would no longer be making his sandwiches every night for his lunch the next day. If he wants to eat anything other than a Hot Pocket or a can of soup then he can come in here and pack his own lunch. He is a grown-up, after all. But then I heard God telling me "He's got stinky feet too! Wash his feet, pack his lunch, surprise him & sort the recyclables, find ways to serve him for ME!" Why is that so hard for us, as women, to want to serve our husbands? Maybe it's because I know he may not be as eager to return the favor by doing that sink full of dishes, or maybe it's because I take care of children all day and I feel like I shouldn't have to pick-up after the only other grown up in this house. And it doesn't help that we live in a society where it's okay to 'need a break' it's okay to gossip about our husband's annoying habits, it's okay to get irritated with your kids. We're only human, right? It's normal and it happens to all of us. But we are supposed to be serving a God that wants us to put ourselves aside (in fact, he wants us to DIE to our old-self!) and wash feet! And if I am doing it through Him, he shows me that there is actually joy to be found in washing these stinky little feet!

Oh, and Lord- I get your message now. Thank you for the increase in messes & spills around here lately, it gave me an opportunity to see them through your eyes, and to remember to always be a foot-washer to my family. But, I think I get it. I promise I won't forget, you can stop with all the spills. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Heart is Spoken For

Sorry folks, if you are reading this in search of some profound advice, I got nothin' today! God's right in the middle of 'messin with me' and although I'm anxious to share some new revelations, I don't think it's quite time. I'm excited about what he's doing in my life, once again, and I'll be sharing soon I hope!

I just wanted to share my heart today. The recent tragedy in Japan has reminded me once again how short life is, how hard life is, but how sweet my savior is. I wanted to share some of the things he has done for me lately.

If Jesus had done nothing aside from preparing a way and a place for me in Heaven I would still be blessed beyond what I deserve. He would still be worthy of my praises. But he goes beyond that! Not only does he offer me eternity, but he offers me his friendship, his love, his presence here on earth until I see him face to face.

About a year and a half ago when I really decided to follow God whole-heartedly, I felt a sense of loneliness. I was lacking some really, really close friends that were also strong Christians and it bothered me. I remember whining to God about it and telling him I felt lonely. Nothing has changed since that prayer several months ago, but I just realized recently that I don't feel that loneliness anymore. Who do you supposed filled that void? Jesus is my best friend. And he is the best friend you could ever have, because he will never, ever, let you down.

I also realized that the more in love with Jesus I am, the more in love with my husband I am. You see, if I look to my husband for happiness and security, and if I expect him to be my knight in shining armor ALL the time, he will eventually dissapoint me. He will do (or not do) something that makes me mad, say (or not say) something that makes me sad, or act in a way I disagree with. He is human, and so am I. We will always have our disagreements. But when I keep my eyes focused on Jesus, the less important our disagreements seem. The more content I am with just having Jesus, the more content and happier I am in my marriage. In fact, the more I love Jesus, the more I love all others. I realized we are all human, we ALL fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), we are all human and we will always dissapoint one another. But he has called us to forgive and to love one another, the way he loves us, and that kind of love can only come through loving him, and letting him love through me.

Yesterday at bible study we received an invitation to walk with the Lord. Yes, an actual folded up bright yellow peice of paper that said "An Invitation to Follow Jesus" When: Immediately Where: Wherever He goes What to Bring: Nothing, leave it all behind Why: You will never be in the dark. RSVP: Only after counting the cost.

Friend, I want to invite you to Follow Jesus. There is a difference between believing in God, and actually accepting him as your personal savior. If you believe you are a child of God, does your life reflect that? Does your heart reflect that? If someone were to ask you the question: "What is God doing in your life?" what would your answer be? Aside from all the blessings he's poured out on all of us, what is he REALLY doing in your life? Are you giving him the things he's asked of you? Are you allowing him to change and mold your heart? Do you feel his presence in your life?

If the answer is no, then I urge you to accept your invitation. He will show you things about yourself that you didn't even realize were there. He will fix things that you didn't know needed fixing. He will give you a peace and a joy that the rest of the world is so desperate for. I get so annoyed at the LG logo, because life is not always good. Life is hard, but GOD IS GOOD!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Put God in, Get Good Out

A very dear friend & sister in Christ has inspired me to write this post, so for those of you who follow Asley J.'s blog, this may look like I'm copying. If you don't follow her, check it out: www.worthwhilesacrifices.blogspot.com. Funny how God's timing finds people going through the same thing at the same time.

Recently I have begun re-evaluating my parenting. I didn't like some of the behaviors I saw in my kids, and I knew deep down in my heart their temper & frustration was a reflection of me. I know a lot of this behavior is normal in kids, but I also knew that I wasn't always doing my best to show them how to control their tempers either. The most humbling thing I have ever (and quite certain will ever do) was to admit that I did not know everything when it came to parenting my kids. In fact, I knew very little. God, how could it be that you trusted me with such a huge, important job and I was failing? I was much, much too prideful to admit that. But God can only use you if you allow him to break you, so I did. About a month or so ago I gave up, hit my knees & asked God to do my parenting.

Now don't get me wrong, I did a lot of things 'right' in my parenting. I was firm & consistent. My kids knew when Mom meant business, they knew how they were supposed to act. Most of what I practiced was right, and I tried my hardest to do everything out of love, because I knew that not disciplining at all was not loving. The problem was I didn't really know how to discipline out of love. I knew how to discipline out of anger, or frustration or just being annoyed at their behavior, but I didn't really know how to do it out of love. I also thought that I would eventually gain control over my kids if I was consistent & firm enough with my children. STOP. Re-read that last sentence, it was important, and it was the biggest pitfall of my parenting: The problem was, I also thought that I would eventually gain control over my kids if I was consistent & firm enough with my children.

After four years of this parenting style I realized that I hadn't yet, nor would I ever be able to control my kids. And my inability to control their behavior was what was causing so much of my own frustration & anger. But why would I want to control them? I won't always be around and they will have to rely on their own character to know right from wrong. And, God made them unique & different, with different quirks & personalities. I needed to stop trying to control their actions & start trying to guide them.

And then I realized one thing that will forever change the way I parent my children:

Disciplining out of love is putting more importance on the future character of your child than on their present behavior.

I don't know about you, but when God spoke that to me it was HUGE. I was so caught up in trying to control their behavior at the moment, I was missing these GIANT opportunities to shape their character and mold them into the person they will grow to become. And suddenly the grown up version of Charlie, Sam, Ben, and even baby Henry was so heavy on my heart. I just wanted them to grow up to be loving little boys, that loved Jesus, loved others, loved one another. Of course, I'm not saying their current behavior is not important, I was just shown how these two go hand in hand. How we handle their current behavior has a huge impact on who they will become.

So I stopped 'disciplining' my children and started Loving them. I started being patient and kind, caring about who they will become, caring about the way they treat others & me, and caring about what they say & do, trying to guide them & teach them to always make the right decisions, and to make them out of love.

First, I had to ask God to change my heart. I had been so focused on the negative, overwhelming behavior of 3 wild boys that I was letting it steal the joy that God intended me to have in them. So, I stopped focusing on their bad behavior & started praising them for their good. Instead of disciplining them for every little offense I merely encourage them to do what is right & expected of them, and when they do right, I tell them how proud of them Mommy, Daddy & Jesus are! I asked God to help me love these boys the way he does- to see them as the ultimate blessing that they are. And he did! I now never miss up an opportunity to show them love & let them know how special they are, to cuddle, praise, snuggle, kiss & play with these boys.

We also learned the ten commandments. I wrote them on flash cards they decorated & memorized them, putting special importance on loving God, loving your parents, and loving others. That way these were God's rules, not ours! We also talk about love, ALOT! I often say "Are you being loving right now?", or "What's the love thing to do?". The times when I found myself having to discipline my child I asked myself "What would Jesus do in this situation? If he were here right now, how would he handle this precious child? I searched my heart and found that more often than not he would 'love' them out of a situation. He would encourage rather then discipline. He would guide rather than spank. When the boys are really having a rough time, really acting out and melting down, I hold them tight & tell them how much I love them. Then I will pray with them "God, please help Ben to be sweet. He's having such a hard time right now and it's making Mommy sad because I know how sweet & special you made him. Please help him to do the right thing!".

You see, I realized that there is a difference between rewarding bad behavior and encouraging good behavior. I honestly thought that if I let them "get away" with these meltdowns without being punished, it was the same as encouraging them. But I soon realized that just because I wasn't disciplining them for acting out did NOT mean that I couldn't teach them what was expected of them. Now don't get me wrong, many or our old rules & punishments still apply (can't sit down nicely to eat? Dinner plate, gone! Splashing in the tub? You're out! Won't go to sleep? Can't pick up toys? Mommy gets to keep them! I even still spank occasionally for certain things) but the funny thing is, the more I love them through their really frustrated times, the less I find myself having to correct them for other smaller offenses. The boys seem to be playing better with one another, more fun to be around, and try even harder to please Mom & Dad. I can't tell you if they have changed because I have changed, or maybe I am just seeing them the way Jesus sees them, therefore I am finding more joy in them. Either way, the change is for the better.

Quite honestly if you would have told me two or three years ago that THIS would be my new parenting approach, I wouldn't have believed you. I was tough, and expected my kids to respect & obey. I would have thought this sounded like a big softie, and that these kids just need a spanking, seriously. But, this technique was only leading to frustration on both ends. I saw a Minute Maid commercial that sums up what was lacking in my parenting technique. The slogan was "put good in, get good out". Aha!

Lord, help me to love, guide, direct & teach my children the way you intended me to. I know that I can be a pretty good parent on my own, but what good is good if it's not of God? I want you to be the central focus of my parenting, I want to parent my kids the way you would parent them. Help me to put GOD in to get good out!"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Peace or Perfection

A few weeks ago I found myself in one of those "life is going faster than I can move" situations. I needed to be 3 places at once (in the kitchen baking a wedding cake, at the hospital for my grandma's last days, and here at home taking care of the daily grind & loving on my family). I also missed two good "work" days when the boys missed preschool thanks to all the snow. Needless to say, housework wasn't even on the list. Anyone with kids knows that unless you are constantly staying on top of housework, your house comes apart very quickly. Do you ever feel like someone just picked your house up, turned it over, gave it a good shake & set it back down? That's what I felt like. I was surrounded by messes, dishes, laundry, bills & things to do but I didn't have time to get to any of them. As I was rushing around between children & cakes I mumbled under my breath: "I just feel so out of control here, Lord!" Then I heard that beautiful, small still voice inside me respond:

"Child, you are NOT in control, I AM!"

Oh thank you, thank you, thank you Lord! I wanted to jump & skip around the house (although I didn't for fear of tripping over a the pile of laundry or a kid!). Thank you for reminding me that you are in the middle of EVERY mess! What freedom I felt when I remembered that He is in control, not me! I tend to be a control-freak, but those times when I try hardest to have control over things are the times when I fail so miserably. What an awesome reminder that I need to just step aside & let God do the work around here. When I do that, he always gives me the strength, peace, energy, & joy to get through even the most stressful times. Help me strive for your peace instead of my perfection, Lord.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Greatest of These is Love

A few months back the boys came home from Sunday School with a memorization project. (Corinthians 13:4-8). I had heard it before, infact it was read at our wedding. I hadn't really paid it much attention though until I started learning it with my children, breaking it down bit by bit so their young minds could memorize the verses. I taped a copy of it in our kitchen to remind myself to practice memorizing it with the boys. It just so happened to be taped right above the corner in the kitchen I generally use as the time-out spot. It turned out to be the perfect place to keep that verse! One day I was not so patiently or kindly repreminding one of the boys as I was sticking him in time-out. I looked up and saw that bible verse taped to the wall and I literally stopped dead in my tracks. I could hear God speaking to me in a major way- "Is this loving? Are you being kind and patient, slow to anger?". I was so stunned at how provoked & selfish I was being, by giving into my own anger. Of course God wants us to discipline our children, but he wants it done out of love! One thing that has transformed the way I mother is the thought that I am the first glimpse of God my children will get. They are too young to comprehend what God is, but they sure understand when Mommy is being loving and when she isn't. I have to let God love them through me to set a Godly example for my boys. I have kept this verse taped on the wall far beyond the Sunday school memorization time, as a reminder to myself on what it means to love my children. I hope you read it and meditate on how God wants us to love others, especially the precious children he has given us.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps not records of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Today my Grandma passed away at the age of 88. She lived a wonderfully full & long life, and it's so bittersweet at that age. On one hand death is never easy, you're never ready to say goodbye. I am also so sad for my Mother; my Grandma was her biggest fan, and I know my Mom will miss her so dearly. On the other hand, she lived to see her children's children have children. She was responsive & mentally 'with it' up until the last day of her life. She loved the Lord and I know she is rejoicing in heaven right now. And at 88 years old, so many of her loved ones have gone before her, and she is dancing on streets of gold with them as I write. I can't help but be excited for her, she got to kiss the face of God today!

I don't know how people handle death without a deep & intimate relationship with the Lord. I could just feel him all over the place for the last few days. What a comfort it was to know that He had prepared a place for her, and she was ready to go meet her maker. Her sadness has all been wiped away. She has been given a new body, a perfect body. She no longer needs her wheelchair or her glasses. She has her smile back that the stroke took away a few years back. She loved to lead line dance classes at the senior center back in her 'prime', and I can just see her leading line dances to praise songs up in heaven!

This experience has also made me realize how truly short life is. Even after 88 "long" years here on this earth, it was still just a breath, just a vapor in the grand scheme of things. Our whole lives are simply leading up to the day when we will leave this earth. What a peaceful feeling it is to know that I know that I KNOW that I will be in heaven someday! And as I was thinking this I looked around and thought- all this means NOTHING! Money, my home, my car, even my earthly body- it's all just here for a while, given to us to 'borrow' until we finally make it home. It certainly gave me a new perspective on life.

Lord, help me to stop focusing on things of this earth, and to keep my eyes fixed on you. Help me to love others, to lead others to you. Help me to quit worrying about money, I can't take it with me and you will always provide for my needs. Help me to stop obsessing over my body not looking the way I want it to look. I want to feel good & be healthy, but what does it matter what it looks like? The body I get to spend eternity in will be PERFECT! Help me to quit stressing over a messy house, someday this house will no longer be standing- but Heaven will stand forever! Help me to quit worrying what others think of me, all that matters is your opinion of me! I want to spend whatever time I have left on this earth letting your love shine through me.

I want to leave you with the 23rd Psalm. It was my Grandma's favorite. I had the honor to read it to her several times in the past few days.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures:
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul:

He leads me in the path of righteousness for his namesake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.
His rod & his staff, they comfort me.
He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.
He anoints my head with oil, my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Amen.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Keeping My Focus

Motherhood is a funny thing for me. One day I'll think "Man, I'm pretty darn good at this!", and the next day I'll see someone elses children sitting nicely in church, picking their toys up WITHOUT being asked, being super polite, or playing & sharing so nicely, and I'll think: "man, I must not have a CLUE what I'm doing here!". Today was that day. During my prayer time I simply said:

"Lord, I have no idea what I'm doing here."

And do you know what his response was?

"Focus on ME".

Oh what a beautiful response to my statement. I always get myself in trouble when I compare my kids to other kids. They are, after all, three 4 year old boys- baby is excluded here, nothing much expected out of him yet. It's not fair to them for me to compare them to other children, especially other girls, or homes with big sisters or brothers to help 'lead' them. They have tons and TONS of energy, it's like a non-stop slumber party here! Somehow their teacher can get them to focus at school but it seems impossible at home. Honestly, I'm doing good to get them to keep their clothes on at home (okay that is an exaggeration but a year ago that was the truth!). And it's not fair to myself either. I shouldn't be putting that pressure on myself, every situation is different and my kids will never behave quite like anyone elses. Of course, I shouldn't discount the fact that other Mom's can offer great advice, ideas, and wisdom to help me sharpen my skills, but our differences are what make the world go round. God gave me a house full of boys because apparently he thinks I can handle it, with his help of course! As a matter of fact, it's the willing heart of a parent that tries their very best that impresses God as much (if not more) than the perfection of SuperMom.

Lord, help me keep my eyes on you. These are your children, after all. You made them full of energy & spunk & passion, and I know someday that will be such an asset to them. Help Matt and I keep you as the center of our home, and raise children that are growing to know you & love you, so they can use their energy to serve you! And help me to put my energy into doing things for you, not worrying about what we look like to others.
I love you Lord!
Amen

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TGIG!

I've decided to make every Friday "Thank God it's GOD" Days!

About a year ago I did a life-changing study by Beth Moore called "Believing God". One part of the study was to write down your weekly God stops. God stops are things that many people would experience and just think it was a coincidence, their lucky day, or they may not even notice them at all. Beth encouraged us to look for God in these things, and the results are awesome. I have found that the more you seek God, the more you see God! If you dont' feel his presence it's not because He's not there, it's because you're not looking! Here are a few of my God stops for this week:

- The guy at WalMart that handed me Henry's sock, Henry had apparently lost it in the back of the store. The guy carried it around with him in case he spotted a sockless baby, he saw us at the front of the store and it was ours! Thanks God- matchless socks are just annoying :)

- Matt took two sickdays last week, which means we won't be getting paid for his usual 20 hours of OT which is almost half the paycheck! Thank you Jesus, the week get that paycheck is a week that we somehow have no bills, mortgage or payments due- so we'll still have enough to cover gas & groceries for the week. Thank you Jehova-Jireh!

-We also got an extra 100.00 check in the mail this week, for an insurance audit they did on our account, apparently we over paid for prescriptions. Thanks God- that will help cover those sick days too!

-I was organizing our storage room and while cleaning up all the Christmas wrapping paper & supplies, I found a card with 25.00 in it, plus a 20.00 Kroger check good for a free turkey- with no expiration date! I can get several meals out of cooking & freeazing a 20.00 turkey (turkey tetrazzini, turkey noodle soup, turkey sandwiches). What a fun surprise! I'm going to use that 25.00 to get my haircut too!

-I clean an office bldg. in downtown Wichita, and I'm always the only one there. The only scary part is taking the trash out so I'm always careful to look around for people walking the streets when I do this. Last weekend someone walked by the trash can just as the door shut behind me. Had that person walked by while I was still putting the trash in the dumpster I might have been in danger. Thank you lord for keeping me safe!

-I took all four boys to WalMart and God gave me the first parking spot in the row, PLUS the big over-sized family cart was right next to it. How convenient, thank you!

Please share any cool "God Stops" you have below! I think the more you look for God stops, the more he gives you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The List

You know the old saying "God never gives us more than we can handle"or "God never gives us more than HE can handle". I think we've all clung to these phrases from time to time. Recently on the radio I heard a new twist on this quote:

"God never gives us more than we can handle, although sometimes (especially as women), we tend to give oursleves more than we can handle."

How true. Think of all the things on your To-Do list. How many of those do you think God intended for you to do? How many are actually getting in the way of doing things for God, or being with God? God revealed to me once that not giving him my time was a sign of not trusting him. There are many days I would make the excuse "God knows my heart, He knows I think of him constantly, He gives busy Mom's an 'out' of prayer some days." But what I was really saying was "God, although I trust you with my family and my money and my future, I don't trust you with my time. I don't believe that if I take 10 or 15 minutes to be with you that I will be able to get everything done." What an awful thing to say to the one who is in control of everything, who died for ME! And He wants so bad to spend time with us. When I put it into perspective of how much of my time He is worth, I should be spending the whole day with Him!

I saw a quote on facebook a while back that read "The person that is too busy to pray is much busier than God intended them to be." Oh how convicting this was for me! I realized all the things that I was doing that I thought were serving my family were getting in the way of serving the Lord. I knew God was calling me to give up some things for him but I hung onto them out of my own selfishness and lack of trust. Finally, I recently surrendered it to God (it was my cake decorating for those that are curious!) and He has blessed that beyond measure! The very day after making a public post that the bakery was "closing" he opened doors for me & showed me how He would continue to provide- He is faithful!

We did an exercise at bible study recently that transformed the way this compulsive list-maker makes lists & allots my time.

Write down your list of things to do. Every phone call, house chore, errand or project that needs to get done that day. When you have cleared your mind stop & pray over it. Mine is usually something like this "Dear God, help me not to get so busy today I forget about you. Help me to put you at the top of this list. You already know what is facing me today, so please give me strength & energy to accomplish what needs to get done. I give you complete authority (like he needed it!) to change, re-arrange, add, or delete to this list so I may do what is pleasing to you."

Now, if you have time make a second list of the things you have been worrying about lately. He already knows all those too, but go ahead and write them down! Now stop, and pray over them. Simply go one by one and say "Lord, what would you have me do about this?" Then be still and listen! I LOVE this exercise, what an awesome way to hear from the Lord!

I'm not sure why it is so hard for us to give things to God, even after He has proven himself faithful. Is there anything you need to give up that is getting in God's way? I promise you that if you surrender what He is calling you to, He will bless that tenfold!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Heart Transplant!

"Father's, do not embitter your children, or they will become discoruaged." Colossians 3:21

Trying to correctly & consistently discipline a child time and time again for the same actions is exhausting, especially when that child is being, well, childish and lashing out at you. I find it so hard to keep my cool after the third of fourth consecutive occurance. I know this is normal behavior whether they are forgetting, testing, or just lacking self control at the moment. And I also know that it's important I keep consistently, effecitevely & patiently disciplining them. But, pair these episodes with a never-ending list of housework, laundry, cooking, & to-dos, it's overwhelming. I often stumble, get angry at feeling so disrespected, and lose my temper with my children. I'm not making excuses for my actions, I'm just simply stating my heart that is in desperate need of change. And you know what I love about my Savior? He is in the heart-changing business! I have been begging God to change my heart for thew past few years, and I can tell you I have come a long way since I began to lean on him. However, in the past month I have given up even more of myself to the Lord. I have surrendered a few 'habits' that I knew I was supposed to let go of, but I didn't either out of pure selfishness, or lack of trust. And you know what? He has blessed that beyond measure. My heart has been more joyful the past few weeks that I can ever imagine. My goal for 2011 is to continue to cut the 'fat' from my life and focus on on being a Godly mother. I have started waking up every morning and spending time on my knees, face pressed to the floor in prayer. It usually sounds something like this:



Dear Lord,

I need you today. Please pour your spirit out on me. Help me to train these children so they will grow to love you & know you. Give me wisdom & patience. I cannot do this on my own. Be with me today, and be with my husband. And please, give my children hearts that know right from wrong, help them to grow to love & treat their Mommy & Daddy with respect. I want to be a Godly Mother, I want my children to see You in me. I love you Lord!

In Jesus Precious Name,

Amen!



It's amazing how spending this time with my maker can completely transform my day. I love to read my Bible & spend time studying the Word, but knowing that even if I only have 2 or 20 minutes to spend with him each morning can still make a difference in the way I treat my children is amazing! He is so good! I just want to encourage Mom's to pray for yourselves, and your husbands, pray for your children & pray for other Mom's, because we all need it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Welcome!

Recently at church our pastor gave us the opportunity to share & ask prayer for our 2011 resolutions. I felt that tightness in my chest, beating of my heart & redness of my cheeks that is God prompting me to speak. I poured my heart out to my beloved church family, asking for prayers as I am struggling as a Mom. I struggle with my temper &anger, a need to be 'super mom', and a feeling of condemnation and guilt that I am probably going to screw these kids up for the rest of their lives (the usual Mom stuff!). In 2011 my resolution is to keep God as the central focus of my mothering. Housework, laundry, hobbies, cooking, exercise- all come second to the most important task I have been assigned- raising children that will grow to love & resepct others & the Lord. I want my children to be able to see God in me!

My testimony was so well-recieved, it seems so many other Christians mom's need to hear someone say "Hey, this is hard- HELP!" And so the idea for my blog was born. I want this to be a place where I can share my heart and my struggles and my desire to grow near to God and raise children who love the Lord. There are two types of blogs I have read: some are from wonderful Christian Mom's, but sometimes made it look too easy. They either left me feeling discoruaged for not being as sweet & loving as they were, or it made me strive even harder to be 'Super Mom'. The other type of blog I have read are from Mom's who very honestly & openly share their trials in motherhood, but they lack a love & a desire to be a Godly wife & mother. Mom's need a place where we can support. encourage, uplift & pray for one another & escape the gossip & judging we sometimes face, and I hope this blog will encourage that.

So here I am, at the start of a journey and I am so excited to see how God will use it. My heart & purpose for this blog is for God to get all the glory. I don't know how anyone, but especially Mom's go a day without the Lord. They must be much, much stronger than I. I cannot go a day without him (believe me, I have tried & I fail miserably!). I love him, and if you don't know him I pray that by reading my blog you will see how awesome He is. So please, walk with me, grow with me, cry with me, laugh with me, and pray with me as I navigate the hardest & most important job I will ever have: Mom.