Friday, November 30, 2012

Ideal or Idol?

I carefully mention her…In fact I have a love/hate relationship with her.   What do you do with a girl like that?  I mean it isn’t a mistake God wanted us to know about her.
You know who I’m talking about…yes, Lemuel’s mom.  Also known as: The Proverbs 31 Women.  What didn’t she do?  How did she do it?  If she were living in my era, would she hang out with me or turn her nose up at me in disgust?
Then I have to consider do I see her as the ideal or do I make her an idol?
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Proverbs 31 was written by King Lemuel.  Many moms like myself, avoid this chapter feeling discouraged and shamed for not “measuring up.”  While there are other moms who have not only memorized verses 10 – 31, but have placed these verses on their frig and made it their life’s goal.
Whether you have made The Proverbs 31 Mom your ideal or idol, I think an important consideration is to recognize we are NOT her.  God designed us to love and serve Him as an individual not as a carbon copy of someone else. Our lives were chosen to live in the 20th Century.  With modern conveniences, we won’t necessarily need to bring our food from afar, worry about our families being cold, or selling the garments we made from the linen we wove.
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Our goal is to be who God created us to be.  We are to care for those God has placed in our homes.  We don’t need to compare ourselves (or our children) to another mom or to King Lemuel’s mom. 
It is believed by many commentators that King Lemuel is actually King Solomon.  If this is true, than the Proverbs 31 mom is none other than, Bathsheba.  Do you see God’s grace in this possibility?  Do you now recognize that even the Proverbs 31 mom wasn’t perfect?  She probably didn’t always know what the family would have for dinner.  She may have had a short fuse on occasion.
Bathsheba was blessed by a son who enjoyed a forgiven mom.  A mom who was characterized by those things he recorded in Proverbs 31.  This wasn’t a perfect mom, but a mom who was well loved and appreciated. 
Let’s not make Bathsheba an idol. Rather what is recorded about her is ideal. I challenge you to read through Proverbs 31: 10 – 31 and find two things you admire most about her.  My prayer for you is your children will one day “rise up and call you blessed!”  In fact, I bet they will think of YOU as ideal!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him. - 
Psalm 28:7 

It always happens. Never fails, every family trip we go on. Doesn't matter where we are or what we are doing, who we are with or how long we have been gone. It happens. A melt down. Yep. Everyone is exhausted and ready to get home. Parents are tired from driving and lack of normalcy and the kids are so off schedule that they are fighting or giving you a run for your money.

So we started a NEW family tradition last night as we sat at our Chick-fil-A table in Jacksonville scarfing down our meal.  We were trying to hurry so we could get kids in their pajamas and jump back on I-95.


We reminisced about our trip. Yep. We went around the fast food table and asked each other what our favorite part of our Thanksgiving weekend was. It was so refreshing. The kids shared the simple sweet things we had forgotten. This activity helped bring out smiles in us all and reminded us of the good times we had had, even though we were all mentally and emotionally at a place of exhaustion. I watched as the heaviness of our meal was lifted and we laughed and praised the Lord for all the blessings HE allowed us to experience as we visited family and friends in north Florida.

I told my husband this is one tradition we will continue because it made us each smile and give thanks for those great memories made. *NOTE* My husband and I also didn't eat and decided to get something for us after the kids were asleep in the car...this allowed for us to manage the kids better too! 

What do your family road trips typically look like?

What are some things you have learned help relieve stress when you are exhausted?

Feel free to share suggestions below!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where we at with God?

I was reading my devotional (had to read two to get caught up) and thought – “Where am I at in my journey with God at this point in my life?”  I remember feeling so connected to God before I was married and had kids.  The Lord is still with me – He will never leave us nor forsake us—but how close to Him am I putting myself now-a-days? 

This weekend at church we took communion and I confessed to the Lord that I wanted to go deeper in my relationship with Him.  As it is, some days I just read the Scripture verses assigned to that day’s devotional script and other days I do the whole thing, but there are other days I let slumber overtake me and I miss out completely!  I SO want to get “lost” in the Bible, reading (like eating a good meal kind of reading), filling up and having something to pour out for others.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”…

“Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.”  Psalm 119: 105 & 107


I also wonder, since you’re a mom too, where are you at in your journey with the Lord?  Have you walked each day totally immersed in the Word and being so filled that others just want to rub shoulders with you to get some Jesus in them?  Hallelujah, and amen!  Good job at setting your priorities in order and not slacking!  Now for the rest of us, let’s make it a point to get back to our “first love” or the One that should be first – each day and with fervent passion for God.

Lord God, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth, You are SOOOO worthy of our attention – please show us when it is that You’d like us to come, seek, sit and listen to You.  Help us to not take the slumber route, but to read Your Word and pray, delighting ourselves in You.  We commit to receiving the wisdom and revelation from Your Word that You offer to us.  Thank You for doing so, in Jesus name. Amen.

Some good reads on this topic:  Daniel 6, 1 Corinthians 4:2, Proverbs 4:20-26,

all of Proverbs for that matter!

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Good Morning Lord"

As the alarm clock beeps each morning in my daughter's room I hear her stir.  Bailee is always the first one awake every school day.  She wakes her brother, Samuel and they both find their way to my room and climb into bed with my husband and I for a few precious moments together before we are off busy about our daily business. The first thing I say out loud  is; "Good morning Lord." Sometimes when you are overwhelmed with all the needs and requests you want to bring before the Lord, the best thing to do is begin praying His word back to Him. When you practice this, both personally and with your family, you begin to see your day differently. Of course this practice applies all the time not just when you wake up. However, doing this type of prayer first thing upon waking helps start the day  feeding the spirit instead of the flesh.  Below are a couple passages of  scriptures I often pray at the start of the day.  My hope in sharing these with you is that you will be inspired. Inspired to be a woman after God's own heart.

At the end of his life, King David penned a prayer that echo's my heart's desire, not just for myself but for my husband and children. Specifically in verses 8-10.

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
 Show me the way I should go, for I lift up my soul.  
Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you.   
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;  
May your good Spirit lead me on level ground." 
Psalm 143:8-10 

Another scripture is  found in the Gospel of Matthew the 6 chapter verses 9-13; Jesus speaking.

"This, then, is how you should pray:
"'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'" 

 My encouragement and prayer over you today is Philippians 4:4-9.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do  not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers (sisters), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Oh how I love God's Word! No words can compare!



Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Heart of Gratefulness

Give thanks in all circumstances;
 for this is the will of God 
in Christ Jesus for you. 
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!-Psalm 100:3-4

O give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known His doings among the peoples! - 1 Chronicles 16:8

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His rightness and justice, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. - Psalm 7:17

Thanksgiving was a few days ago, but what can you praise Jesus for today? 

Do you find yourself having a grateful heart most days?

Put a reminder on your 'fridge, phone, or counter to praise the Lord daily. This will challenge you to find things to thank God for. Allow the above scriptures to remind you of that! 

Don't allow THANKSGIVING to be only one day per year but something you do everyday!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


And He said, "My presence 
shall go with you, 
and I will give you rest."
 -Exodus 33:14

This past Tuesday was a crazy day for me when the Lord gave me a great new stress reliever idea. Now when I share it you will immediately think it's very elementary but for me it was an eye opener and it costs ABSOLUTELY nothing. Yep it's free! It allows you to enjoy creation and breathe in fresh air while simultaneously being refreshed from the stresses of parenting. SO, what is it???

A CAR RIDE with the kids. WINDOWS down. WORSHIP playing. FRESH air.

Yep it's that simple. That ride can change the direction of your day. Those days of frustration and your kids are driving you bonkers drop everything and get out in the fresh air. Turn up the praise and worship and allow His Spirit to refresh you. 

If you don't have a car, or no gas in the tank, then grab the stroller and take a walk. As you walk, praise Him for His amazing creation you see all around. It will do wonders for both you and the kids.

What do you do to relieve stress? 

Have you ever gone on a "ride" to get recharged for the day?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Contentment

This is Black Friday, recorded as the largest retail sales day of the year.
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I don’t know how you are spending  “Black Friday” or the days leading up to it. You possibly have been checking the sales flyers as they arrive on your doorstep or have watched ads or maybe have gone early to wait for the doors of the store to open.
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It is often amusing to watch what measures we Americans go through to make a purchase. I must be honest when I tell you I was more than a bit surprised to see a news piece about a family who had chosen to “camp” (that’s right, four man tent) outside their chosen destination for a complete week to be the first in line.  Yes, you read correct, this family was in line for ONE WEEK? 
Yesterday as we visited with our children for Thanksgiving and knowing I needed to submit a post, I asked the children what we had done as parents that they are thankful for.  I love their hearts as they spoke up about a plethora of things for which they are grateful.
One particular comment intrigued me from our 20-year-old college student.  He said, “You didn’t give me a car.”  He was immediately questioned about this statement. To some it may have seemed to add insult to injury when he said, “No, I mean it! Even if they had the money, they wouldn’t have bought us a car.”
It’s true; we have never bought our children a car.  When looking at our families needs, we decided that we would not purchase cars for the children. Not the decision all families have made, just one we thought right for the Anderson bunch.
Our children will bombard us with lists of “wants” especially between now and Christmas. As parents when our children ask for things, we will have to decide do they “need” this item,
A friend was telling me about a precious family that has adopted a beautiful 7-year-old little girl from a country in Africa.  She knew such poverty before she entered this family.  My friend had met the child earlier this year when she had been in America with her forever family only a few months.  She saw the little girl last week, she was running around with her list for Santa, asking her mom for her password so she could order her gifts.  My friend said to me, “Seven months ago she didn’t know where her meal for the day was coming from, today she is shopping on the internet expecting toys to show up on her doorstep.”
Philippians 4: 11 is beautifully written in the following versions and paraphrases: 
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little.
Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.
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 I love the definition for contentment as: 
contented with one's lot, with one's means, though the slenderest.”
Moms, lets do our part to teach our children contentment.  It’s super tough when other children show our children their toys and other parents mention their purchases.  It isn’t for us to judge, we aren’t in the other family’s financial situation, nor do we need to make our family’s conviction anothers.
Our place as parents is to teach them contentment.  As Paul may have written, “with cars or without a meal, I have learned to be content.” Lets teach our children contentment.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I Am Thankful For:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Thessalonians 5:16-18

Happy Thanksgiving.  My children have graciously allowed me to share with you their lists of thanks.  I hope you enjoy them. 

Alexis, 10 years old

     1.  I am thankful for my family.
     2.  I am thankful to go visit my dad.
     3.  I am thankful for the almighty God that loves me.
     4.  I am thankful for Jesus who died on the cross.
     5.  I am thankful for Po.
     6.  I am thankful for Nana, Auntie Maggie, P.J., Tanner, and Tyler.
     7.  I am thankful for Grandma and Papa to let us live in their house.
Boston, 9 years old
I am thankful for: Dad, Mom, Xavier, Alexis, Quincie, trees, life, earth, love, peace, friendship, hamster (Po), family, rain, sun, Christmas, snow, fall, summer, animals, food, dogs, medicine, homes, yard, clothes, and my body.

My family is awesome especially Xavier.  Xavier is the funniest in my family. 


Xavier, 7 years old

      1.  I am thankful for my family, my brother, my sisters, my mommy, and my daddy.
      2.  I am thankful for God.
      3.  I am thankful that mom gets us food so we can survive.
      4.  I am thankful for the world cause without it I would have no place to live.
      5.  I am thankful for Jesus cause he died for our sins.
      6.  I am thankful for Emmie, Ella, Aunt Jenni, Uncle Al, Grandma, and Grandpa.
      7.  I am thankful for trees cause their leaves help us breathe.
      8.  I am thankful for books because they help us learn.
      9.  I am thankful for our hamster, Po.
Quicie, 6 years old 

  1. I am thankful for my hamster.
  2. I am thankful for my family.
  3. I am thankful for my Daddy.
  4. I am thankful for my sister.
  5. I am thankful for my brothers.
  6. I am thankful for my health. 

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” 

John 1:16

I pray that on this Thanksgiving Day that each one of you has a blessed day where you remember all God has given you and all that you have to be thankful for. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In-Law Survival Guide PART 2

Then he said to them all: 
“Whoever wants to be my disciple 
must deny themselves 
and take up their cross daily 
and follow me." 
-Luke 9:23

(Continued from yesterday's blog, excerpt from the book Becoming the Woman of His Dreams by Sharon Jaynes)

CREATE A LIST. Look for the good qualities in your in-laws and be sure to acknowledge them. Perhaps it is that they raised an incredible son.

LET IT ROLL. There are scores of jokes about the tension between mothers-in-law and sons-in-law, but studies show that the most difficult relationship is the one between the mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. Betsey's mother-in-law asked, "How are Bill's allergies?" "He doesn't have allergies," Betsey replied. "I raised him and I know he has allergies!" the mom proclaimed. Just listen and then let comments roll off your back. 

PREPARE FOR HOLIDAYS. Ask your husband how he would like to spend the holidays and consider alternating with traditions from your family. 

PRAY. Ask God to show you if you are seeking your parents' approval above that of your husband.

How are things with your in-laws?

Is there any of the above that resonates with you? Why?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In-Law Survival Guide PART 1

Then he said to them all: 
“Whoever wants to be my disciple 
must deny themselves 
and take up their cross daily 
and follow me." 
-Luke 9:23

I read the excerpt below from "Becoming the Woman of His dreams" by Sharon Jaynes, a book I am currently studying. I thought it would be helpful for those moms who struggle with in-law relationships. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and this could be helpful as we remember many little eyes are watching and listening to how we treat difficult family members. They watch and will imitate someday the decisions we make today.

One way to avoid a crisis of any kind is to be prepared. Let's look at some key ways to prepare your heart and home for extended family gatherings. 

HAVE A PLAN. If you decide ahead of time that you are going to visit your parents once a month or once a quarter, then everyone knows what to expect. This will alleviate the "you never come to see us" routine. If your parents know you are going to call once a week, it will alleviate the "you never call" lament.

TAKE A WALK. If you are spending extended time with in-laws and feel tensions beginning to rise, take a walk, run an errand, or simply go outside and water the plants. A bit of fresh air can give a new perspective. 

DESTROY THE LIST. One of the most destructive in-law tendencies is to make a list of offenses and then air them when the family gathering is over. Try not to make a list of grievances and hurtful comments, and avoid having a play-by-play review session of offenses, irritating habits, or disagreeable comments.

To be continued.....Part 2 tomorrow

How is your relationship with your in-laws?

Is there any of the above that resonates with you? Why?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Your Next Five...Friends!

James 1: 17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows."

Last week I told you I had all intentions on taking Julie Andrews place on Broadway.

I have now decided an audition is just not right. Instead, I will sing, “My Favorite Things” to the top of my lungs, not for man's approval but as a Praise Fest to the Lord!

My next five things to be thankful for are; friends! Five friends (or groups of friends)who have loved and ministered to me during a host of different times and seasons of my life.

1.    My childhood best friend.  This friend endured my playing with Barbies and baby dolls while she was playing her banjo and looking for a game of flag football.  I saw her as my role model because she was beautiful and smart and I so love her family.  What I most appreciate about this friend is she told me about Jesus and prayed with me to receive Christ.
   2.    My best friend.  She has walked with me through every stage of pregnancy, ministry, moves and life.
   3.    The women I serve with at Church.  It’s always more fun to serve with someone you laugh with than to serve without relationship.
   4.    The Angel.  She is certainly sent directly from the Lord.  She makes life easy and fun.  She hears what I am not saying and validates who I am.
5.    The peps.  The friends who understand. Who let me be me. Those who are flexible and respect me and my schedule.

It is hard to stop the praise with just five (even when it represents so many.) 
I encourage you to praise privately in your time with Lord, but never neglect to praise publicly.   Allow your children to see your enthusiasm for the hand of the Lord.  Whether you have taken the Thanksgiving Challenge from last week or the beautiful "Gratitude Journal" as a part of your tradition, always allow your children to hear you say "Thank you!" to the Lord.

My question today is who are the five people you are thankful for?  Have you told them lately that you are thankful for them? Do your children know you are thankful for your friends? Most importantly tell the Lord Jesus you are thankful for them!