Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Best Birthday Gift

This past week I couldn’t help but look back on my twenties.   I got bombarded with discouragement, a terrible gift to receive on your birthday.  The idea of being almost thirty put me in a almost thirty life crisis.

I looked back on the last ten years and wondered, where did the time go?  What have I done?  I have no career and no significant recognition to show for the past decade.  A degree with no credential, semi finished masters [oh yes, I almost forgot].  I’ve been a retail worker, tutor, wanna –be party planner.  The endeavors I’ve chased that all fell short of my own expectations.  A semi successful craft blog and a failed attempt at being a fitness coach.

You feeling as down as I was?!  I sat there Monday night feeling defeated.   Randy hugged me as I whimpered and threw myself an epic birthday pity party.  I told him I love being a stay at home mom, I love my life, but I felt as if everything I’ve attempted to do has just fallen short.  

WORTH
My goodness I can’t believe I sat there and listened to all these lies from the devil.  I poured out my heart to God the next day and He told me, why are you measuring yourself to the standards of this world?  Awards, credentials, plaques, fame, money.  Is that where you find your worth?  Is your worth found in these physical things, in how people view you? 

He may not have been speaking audibly, but I heard him loud and clear.  In case I had any doubt He also wanted to show me.  Chapter 7 of Tuesday mornings devotional reminded me that I am not defined by my idea of success.   My worth is found in Him and I am who He says I am… redeemed, beautifully and fearfully made, a loved wife and mom, proud home maker, faithful friend, hard worker, blessed. 

If that were not enough of a pick me up, I got the most fitting gift.  Randy had no idea I was feeling discouraged when he bought this card, but it spoke directly to my struggle.  My amazing husband is the one physical person whose opinion I value most and the words in this card were the best birthday present I could have gotten.   Yes, I cried knowing the words in this card is how he thinks of me. 

PATIENCE
Yes all the things I have tried to do have fallen short, but He reminded me of Esther’s story and what her uncle told her, for you are in your position for such a time as this.  I may not be saving a whole nation, but God was telling me I am doing exactly what I am suppose to do.  I am exactly where I am need to be.   I’m in training and as long as I stay faithful and obedient I know one day I’ll be able to teach it and preach it. 

God reminded me to have patience.  Abraham was 100 when his dream of a son was fulfilled.  Joseph worked 13 years before he earned the right to marry Rachel.  Moses waited 30 years before going back to Egypt to set the Israelite's free.  Joseph was enslaved and imprisoned before he became second in command.  David was told he would be king as a teen but first he had to kill Goliath. 

Story after story reminded me to be patient.  There will be victories and times when I feel like a failure.  Each moment will be an opportunity to learn.  Maybe just probably, the things I’ve chased haven’t flourished because He has something a little different for me, maybe something bigger that what I even dreamed of. 

TRUST
God was asking me Do you trust me?  Do you trust me that I want what is the ABSOLUTE very best for you?  Will you follow the way I lead you even when it doesn’t look like the road you want to take?  Will you listen even though it means having to wait, doing some hard things?   Will you give up in times like these when you feel defeated.  Do you trust me? 

I do.  The last ten years has brought me to this moment.  Each season has prepared me for such a time as this.   I know one day I'll have that published book or be able to lead that women's Bible study.  But for now I'll stand strong in who I am, I'll be patient and trust God. 
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Sunday, May 8, 2016

What I Would Have Told New Mom Me

Happy Mother's Day Mamas!  I look back on these five years and feel so thankful that God picked me to be the mom of my littles.  What an adventure it has been!  If there were things I could have told new mom me it would be this:


GROW UP
What you will come to understand is mommy hood is as much about you growing up as it is the kids growing up.  Why?  Because you cannot give someone something you do not have.   If you want them to know who God is, you have to know Him first.  They will hear the stories and the words you share from the Bible, but know the reality of it's truth in the way that you live your life.  

God will show you that if you want your kids to have confidence, discipline, patience, gentleness, kindness, gratitude you must have it first.   They aren’t listening to what you want them to be, but modeling who you are.  They are always watching and learning.  They see how you love.  They see how you forgive others.  They will learn how to ask for forgiveness from you.  You'll be the one to show them that when mommy makes a mistake she will say sorry with no ifs no but.

MENTOR
From here until forever you will hear anyone and everyone give you advice on the “best” way to be a mom… What I want you to know is, YOU know the best.  God has given you that very precious little child who is like NO ONE else in this world.  He knows that YOU have everything that child needs to grow up.  You will know her like no one else does, you will know her strengths and weaknesses.  You see her struggles and you will know how to help her as long as you stay close to Him.  You have the right balance of love and discipline to raise her up. 

But there will be times when you will feel lost, guilty, overwhelmed, feeling as though you aren’t enough or doing enough.  Go to her.  Your mentor.  That one mom who has raised her kids who are now mighty men of faith.  She fought similar battles as you, she knows your struggle.  Instead of listening to all the voices and wandering through the internet, let her pour her wisdom on you.  She may not understand what it looks like to raise a kid in these times, but she understands what it means to be a mom and a wife who draws her strength and knowledge from the Lord.  Learn from her example.  Have confidence.   

PERFECTION
Be teachable and be humble because the pressure of perfection will make you crazy.  Be honest with your shortcomings and use these moments as opportunities for change.  Never stop learning and striving to be the woman God wants you to be.  Pick up and read every book you can and learn from those who have come before you.  When frustration arises because you aren't getting the result you envisioned, keep planting.  Try something different, something new, plant a different seed.  

Know that over the years you will fail.  Fail miserably at times, but that is okay!  Let it be okay.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Get up and move on.  You don’t have to be a perfect mom to be a good mom.  You are a good mom.  Always remember that God’s grace is sufficient and He is there where you fall short.  Better yet he has surrounded you with people who love you and are there to walk this mommy hood journey with you! What a blessing it will be.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Don't be afraid to share your insecurities and get encouragement.  The people around you are there for YOU. 

MARRIAGE
Most importantly new mom I want you to stop and look at your husband.  I know this baby has a lot of needs but don’t ever lost sight of your marriage.  I cannot express what a precious gift a healthy marriage is to those growing little ones.  They are standing on the stability that you are building.  Make him as much a priority as everything else in your life.  After all he is your first baby.  

Take heart new mom, you have a great responsibility but you aren't alone.  God is always with you and so are those loved ones.  From here until forever, you will always be a mom and even when those littles grow up, take comfort in knowing they will always need you.   




Thursday, May 5, 2016

My Behavior May Be Wrong But It's Not My Fault

Last time I was here I told you about getting rid of my stinkin’ thinkin’ thanks to realizing that the battle was not in my circumstance, but in my mind.  Thanks Joyce and Battlefield of the Mind!  The section that hit me like a ton if bricks was the Wilderness Mentality.  Thoughts that leave me stuck in the same place, the dessert, alone hosting my own pity party that no one wants to come to.

Number six was such a reality check I snapped a photo.  Ha!  My behavior may be wrong but it’s not my fault.  Ouch!  

Why?  Because I am queen of excuses and justification.  I may be gossiping and talking bad about someone but it's not my fault, they did me wrong!  It's not my fault I treat [fill in the blank] that way, he or she doesn't treat me right!  It's not my fault I'm yelling and being mean, the kids are acting crazy.  It's not my fault I am like this, you don't know what I have been through.  

It’s always everyone else fault and not my own.  The worst part is, because of the it’s not my fault, apologies are always half-hearted and have a big but.  They sound a lot like I’m sorry BUT if you didn’t, they didn’t, this didn’t…

Knowing this truth has now left me no excuse for my bad behavior and God brought up a time to remind me just what it looks like.   The time I was being the rotten apple.

It started out to be the perfect day.  Randy decided decide to take us apple picking, spur of the moment [one off my bucket list].  I was over the moon.  We rushed to get ready.  He got ready and I….. got the kids ready, got myself ready, I'm dealing with wild ready kids, I’m packing snacks, I’m getting water, I’m loading the car.  Before I know it, my jumbled/busy/stressed mind worked itself up to a me me me pity party.  Why do I have to do all the work and he just gets to take of himself?!

Ironically, it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the bunch.  That rotten apple was my attitude, my mood, my pouty ungrateful self.  My attitude was putting a cloud over a good day.  I may have been a stink butt, but it’s not my fault…. No one was helping me and I had to stress myself out and do it all! 

Randy talked me down, I got my marbles together and apologized for my bad attitude over petty little things.  I apologized for not communicating my need for help.  

The day ended up being lovely

And delicious. 

In this situation I know God was telling me,“but it’s not my fault” excuse happens more than you think.  You almost let it ruin that great day.  It keeps you from giving a whole hearted apology because you are too busy looking at the other persons fault.  You know the truth, so no excuses for the rotten behavior. 


I may have had to get everything together that day and was so focused on me that I failed to see and be grateful for Randy.  He wanted to take us out for an adventure.  He was going to drive us there and back, pay for the trip, help with the kids when we got there.  This was a time to enjoy our family time and I was missing it!  

I thought about my rotten behavior that day [and times before] and a flood of verses came to mind….

Philippians 2:14
Do everything without grumbling or complaining.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with your own being, for the Lord and not for men.
Yes!  Serving my family not for their praises but because it makes God happy.

Ephesians 4:31
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

And one of my personal favorites
Proverb 17:15
A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm.

I learned that day that YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING RIGHT but if you have the wrong attitude, the wrong heart, it was all for nothing.  I decided then that I want to be able to feel emotions without having to get crazy and act upon them.  To communicate better.  I wish I could say I am perfect and don't do this anymore, it still happens.  But now I can recognize it and apologies have become more sincere and less bitter.  Communication of feelings is sounding a little less crazy and a little more like talking. 

There is nothing like the... it’s not my fault it’s my emotions, the other person, the problems, the stresses, the busy, society to keep us in the wilderness. 

REFLECTION

1. Allow God to search your heart and show you times when you have used the but it’s not my fault       excuse.
2. Without looking at the faults of the other person, examine how your behavior may be wrong.
3. Ask God to show you how to change your own personal behavior.  

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