Thursday, February 28, 2013

His Presence

O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.  Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.”  Isaiah 33:2


I had to have some time alone with Jesus.  The scriptures that had been standing out to me all week started to come together and they were answering the prayer I had just prayed that morning.  The answer was not what I had expected…nothing like I expected at all.  The answer brought me to a place where my sin was brought into the light and I felt horrible.  I was grieving over my own ugliness and I needed sometime alone with the One who gives me strength. 


I was able to get that time and it was a sweet time where the Lord encouraged me and set my feet in a new direction, the right direction.  I was blessed in His presence.  I came out of it with puffy eyes and tear stained cheeks but a brighter outlook and a smile. 


Have you spent some time in the presence of your Lord and Savior today?  Your Healer and Best Friend?  Your Rock and your Refuge?  Be blessed in His presence.  That is where you will find the strength to continue your day and the ability to give your family the love they desire. 


Follow the link below and take that moment.  Have a blessed day. 




Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” NIV 1984

So we (including our kids) are God’s workmanship/poema/masterpiece/work-of-art… Isn’t that AWESOME to think about?!!   We can wake up each day with amazing wonderment about what He has in store for us to do!!

A few weeks ago I was done with the crazy grocery shopping experience for that day and the kids and I were having fun going over the yellow bumps from the sidewalk leading down to the parking lot road.  Unbeknownst to me, one of my bags was ripping under my buggy.  It was so bumpy that I didn’t notice, but a lady walking to her car did.  She helped me get the items that had fallen through the bag on the bottom rung and smiled as she noticed my perspiration and said, “I had twins.” 

Who knows if this lady was a Christian or not, but she HELPED me and she was created in Christ Jesus to do good works… God prepared her in advance for that simple moment that could have meant a lot of frustration for me later if she hadn’t open her mouth or helped.  We were all created with this awesome opportunity AND responsibility to help other mommas.  Let’s do it in Jesus’ name.

Ask God each morning to, “Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.”  (Psalm 25:4-5)  Or whatever verse(s) you pray to start your day, ask God’s way and walk in it.  And don’t sweat it – He prepared you already so you don’t have to worry about if you are ready for what He’s going to bring to you today.  He prepared us to do good works and that is what we can do in His name for His glory.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

OMT! Oh My Teen!!

When I am at my wits end, I get scatterbrained. I can't seem to gather my thoughts or words. Thank the Lord, these times are few and far between. I have a book of prayers I lean on at these times. I having one of those times! A day in the life of raising a teenager. Join me in praying for our teens and parents of teens. Pass this prayer on to any parent of a teen you know.

Heavenly Father, in the Name of Jesus, I affirm Your Word over my child. I delight myself in You according to Psalms 37:4 knowing that You will give me the desires of my heart. I commit _______ to You and affirm Your Word over him/her from Isaiah 54:13 that tells me my children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be the peace of my children. I thank You that You deliver _______ out of rebellion into right relationship with me. Please give _______ an obedient spirit that he/she may honor me.

Father, forgive me for mistakes made out of my own unresolved hurts or selfishness, which may have caused _______ hurt. I ask full ant true repentance for the mistakes I have made in raising him/her.  Lord, please heal our broken hearts. Give us the ability to understand and forgive one another as You have forgiven us.

Father, I promise to train and teach _______ in the way that he/she may go, and when _____ is old he/she will not depart from sound doctrine and teaching, but will follow it all the days of his/her life. I refuse to provoke or irritate or belittle my _______. I will not require perfection lest he/she becomes discouraged, feeling inferior and frustrated. I forgive _______ for the wrongs he/she has done and stand in the gap until he/she begins to understand Your love and Your grace causing him/her to come out of the spirit of rebellion which is a snare of the enemy. (Ephesians 6:1-3)

Jesus, help us to know and understand that we must let You control difficult situations and always be mindful to trust You. Help us to remember always that our children have belonged to You from the beginning! We love You and thank You, In Jesus' Name, AMEN!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lighten' Up

Mom, are you too busy? Are you too focused? Are you too scheduled?

 What in the world do I mean? Isn’t it a good thing to be focused and scheduled…to a point, yes. But as I have heard said before…”too much of a good thing, can still be…well, too much.”

I tend to be an eclectic personality. I like to schedule activities, but I also like to be spontaneous. I like to plan our homeschool lessons, but leave a little wiggle room for an extra activity. I like to have a clean house, but I want to be realistic…I have kids with toys, shoes, and “stuff”.

The other day I was starting to get a little OCD (obsessive compulsive). I was becoming so scheduled that that I was leaving little room for the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart and rearrange plans. Well, I guess the Lord decided to give me a little nudge in the right direction…so all of my plans for the day started to unravel rather quickly.

We were supposed to meet up with friends at the museum, they canceled. We were supposed to start school that morning by 10 a.m., but it was already 11. On top of that, my youngest Doodlebug had just had a potty training accident on the floor…which he accidentally stepped in and tracked down the hallway and to the living room. Let’s just say that God had my full attention by this time. I needed a…

TIME OUT! I needed to readjust. I needed to slow down. I needed to breathe. I made a decision to let God take control of my day. I decided to let go of my own plan and embrace HIS.

So, away went all the school stuff and lesson plans, and outside we went. The kids and I played “The Great Googly Moogly”, we had pretend track races, we played “Duck Duck Goose”, and finally we lay down in the grass and found pictures in the clouds. My oldest Doodlebug exclaimed, “This is the…BEST DAY EVER!”

“Thank you God for rearranging my day. You know I was tempted to flip out and get frustrated…and take it out on everyone in the house. But thank you for your playful, yet divine interruption.”

Have you ever had a day like that? When things started to get out of control quickly. Have you considered that things were never really in your control to begin with? Consider the following verse: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

You know what the funny thing is: I did in fact end up accomplishing all of my goals for that day…just not in the order I had planned. I pray I remember this day the next time things start to get crazy on me (which I am sure will be soon). Mom, will you join me in releasing each day to the one who holds us and our days in His hands?

Challenge: Next time you are tempted to freak out, stop and pray for God’s Word and his Holy Spirit to minister to your heart. Allow the Creator of our days to take control of your day.


Lord God, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your grace, for when we are weak, you are strong. Thank you for having a perfect plan for our lives. When we start to get unraveled, please remind us of your peace, your sovereignty. May we know that you are in control, and find joy in your presence.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Training, Training, and then MORE Training - Part 2

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. - Isaiah 54:13

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 
-2 Timothy 3:16-17

Yesterday, we talked about the importance of sharing scripture with our kids and how to do it through music. The above scriptures remind us that there will be great peace as we raise competent kids, and that if we don't give up they will follow the "path" of the Lord when they grow up. 

Many times I am exhausted and want to give up, and that is why it is so important to bring scripture into every arena of parenting. The Lord reminds me that my labor is NOT in vain and there will be fruit and a harvest if I do not give up. 

And let us not grow weary of doing good,
 for in due season we will reap,
 if we do not give up.
-Galations 6:9

As my kids struggle (or as I do!!), I always try to bring it back to characters we have studied in the Word. Asking them who they relate with most, those obeying the Lord or those struggling to follow. It reminds them, and me, that the Bible is relevant for today and that it is relatable. 

Our family goal is each morning & night to read a Bible story. This doesn't always happen but that is what we are striving towards! I am reminded of His love and forgiveness as I read through His love story, the Bible. How much I need truth in my life daily. The importance that my kids see I place on His Word.

There is so much power in each story in the Bible. Characters that remind us of ourself and the need for a savior. As we pull out scripture, Bible devotions, sing songs of truth...the Lord uses it all to convict and comfort the hearts, of our family, as we try to walk alongside Him in this life. Each week our kids, together, get to pick out one new Bible story at our local Christian bookstore. They love it and so do I. It gets them excited about learning about new Bible characters. 

It's wild how the Lord will use a children's book, song, or lesson to remind us how much HE loves us and that love HE wants us to show our kids.

What do devotions look like in your family? 

What value do you place on Bible reading, memorizing, and sharing?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Training, Training, and then MORE Training - Part 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night. 

-Psalm 1:1-2 

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. - Joshua 1:8

The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

 - Proverbs 20:7

Over the past couple of weeks I have heard my 3 year old sing a Bible tune over and over again....

"God you are strong,
and I'm safe in your arms.
I'll be brave all day long."

There are motions and facial expressions that he does with it as well. He learned it at church and it blesses my heart each time I hear him sing it. His song sings aloud of the power of God and HIS peace. It reminds me daily how our kids are like sponges when they are young. They absorb it all. And they may even surprise you and sing right at the moment you need a little TRUTH revealed :)

A sweet friend gave us the Steve Green, "Hide 'Em In Your Heart" CD that is ALL scripture put to music. I love it. Many times I have heard my oldest singing scripture, we learned from that CD months earlier, because the tunes are so catchy :) It must bless the heart of God to hear us, His kids, reciting scripture out loud to others as well! 

What have you incorporated into your daily schedule to ensure your kids are meditating on & memorizing scripture?

Is the music genre you typically listen to, one that embraces TRUTH? If not, remember those little "sponges" are riding in the car right next to you, ready to recite the lines of that song with the "great beat."

Friday, February 22, 2013

That was Easy!

I love Staples new advertisement slogan, “That was easy!”  Don’t you just wish we could say the same for parenting?

Convinced “Easy” parenting moments often seem random at best, I thought I would encourage you with some words of encouragement that have made my parenting a little more “easy” in the past couple of weeks.

John 14: 16 – 17, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another helper, that He may abide with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him, nor knows Him, but you will know Him, for He dwells with you and will be with you.”

I Corinthians 10:23,  “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial.  Everything is permissible but not everything is constructive.”

I Corinthians 10: 24, “Nobody should seek his own good – but the good of others.”

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My challenge today is that you find three verses you can hang on to and apply to your parenting.  My prayer is these verses will make your parenting a little more “easy.”

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Time to Remember

I found myself complaining a lot the last few weeks while hanging out in my place of waiting.  In a state of complete disgust with my own sin and ungratefulness I cried out to God, “Help me.  I am so sorry.  Forgive me.”  And A Time to Remember is where He led me.  I read old journal entries, blogs, and all the scriptures that God has used to encourage and bless me over the last year.  And wow, He has done so much in me and for me.  I am so grateful. 
About 13 months ago I found myself thrust into a new and very different season of life.  It was unexpected and most certainly not welcome.  It was the beginning of a season of life where God became so much, much more to me.  I was truly seeing, deeply feeling, and barely comprehending just how much my God loved me.  It is a time I never want to forget but one I wish I didn’t have to remember. 
I don’t think anyone wants to go back to those places of heart wrenching pain and remember but in those places if we look with eyes wide open we will always see God.  We will see His helping hand, His healing touch, His soft whispers of encouragement, and His beauty. 
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8
It’s those moments that we want to remember.  Satan in all his craftiness will always try to take us back into the past and remind us of all the yuck.  Whether the yuck is something you have done or something that has been done to you, Satan will do his best to get you to camp there.  But you do not have to.   
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:5
As a child of the Most High God you are full of that Light that has not been overcome by the darkness.  We can look the yuck right in the eye and say, “Thank you for reminding me of all my Jesus has brought me through.  I am blessed to call Him my Lord and my Savior.  I will praise Him all of my days.” 

Oh, Father, help me to always take time to remember all you have done.  May I never forget or get to wrapped up in the here and now.  Give me the strength and ability to look with eyes wide open at the things of my past that may be painful.  Show yourself to me in those moments.  Give me wisdom in sharing what You have done for me and my family with my children so they too can be encouraged in You.  I pray they will pass on to future generations the message and the blessing of just how great You are.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Teenage Times!

Teenage Times! They are great.....Right? If you're not raising them yet, raising them now, already have raised them or even remembering when you were a teenager, there are many mixed emotions. Maybe wonder, anxiety, fear or even regret continue to play with your heart and mind. Take heart...To the rescue again He comes!! John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you. Peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." This beautiful, restful peace Christ speaks of, is available for us today. We just have to accept it and receive it as He freely offers it to us. 

Let us enjoy the presence of our Lord in our lives and our children's lives regardless of our circumstances. Psalm 139:16b says "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them ever came to be". These days, are the everyday we live, and the everyday our children live. Godly moms, this means that everyday God has written for them includes you and visa versa .  Let us treasure them before they pass by. God wants us to enjoy and live life to its fullest. Let us take His yoke upon us. He knows our day before it is! Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest". 

My prayer for all of us today is, we take Him at His word and trust in His sovereignty over our lives and our children's lives. We thank Him for the rest He gives. Amen

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Road to Damascus

The Road to Damascus
(I felt led to repost this. I hope someone as blessed by it as I am.)

The term “road to Damascus” has been defined as an important turning point in a person’s life where a great change occurs. It is derived from Acts 9, the conversion of Saul to Paul on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians.

We as moms have a road in mind for our children, but I’m sure it does not include the one to Damascus. The Lord exhorts us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” - Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

We would like to believe this in the literal context. If we train our children they will not sin. Ha! But God, being omniscient (knowing all) teaches us how to protect and keep our children close to Him. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NKJV

I have tried in my almost 15 years of being a single mom to be diligent in this training of my daughter. As the teenage years approached and my daughter’s obedience to me and the Lord departed, I held on to God’s promise in Proverbs 22:6. God is faithful!! My daughter has repented of her sins and again lives for the Lord! Hallelujah!! We recently shared this scripture:

“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” - 2 Timothy 3:14-15 NLT

So, even though I did not have the “Road to Damascus” in mind for her, I am so glad she had that important turning point in a person’s life where a great change occurs.

Challenge: Be diligent learning the word and applying in your life so that His commands “shall be in your heart.” Then, you can “teach them diligently to your children.” Be careful not to exasperate them. What can you teach them today?

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Voted For...

President Obama? Mitt Romney? A third party? I am…. A Democrat? A Republican? An Independent?

Oh, don’t you wish I would tell you my political persuasions! There is so much heated debated on both sides of the spectrum, but there are two things you can be sure of: (1) God is in control. (2) We need to pray for our leaders.

Each day we should glorify the Lord in our actions. Christianity, as you already know, is so much more than a Sunday thing. So as we celebrate this President’s Day, let us all take the time as a family to pray for the President and the authorities of our country. Trust me, it will make an impact on your kids. They may not remember who you voted for and why, but they will remember praying for our leaders if you make it a regular practice in your home.

“Also, seek the peace and the prosperity of the city to which I have carried you to exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you will too.” Jeremiah 29:7

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good.” Titus 3:1


Heavenly Father,

Thank you that you are good and in you there is no darkness at all. We lift up our lives to you, and we pray that our rulers and authorities will submit to you. We pray that you would take hold of their hearts and their minds so that they will be willing to do every good work that you have planned for them. Help them to shun what is evil and to love what is good. Give them wisdom to choose what is right and true according to your Word. May we be a nation that draws close to you. Help us to set a model of prayer in our families that our children will in turn continue with their families.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Changes in Life Cause Me to Rely on Him

Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one 
who trusts in you.
 - Psalm 84:12

We found it! Yep a house in Naples after many many hours online looking at places...we finally found it. The place we will call home for the next 12 months as we rent along the west coast of Florida. It's very exciting and very scary at the same time. After much prayer, the Lord finally lead us to the neighborhood of Naples Park. 

As we signed the lease on Friday, so many questions went through my mind as we drove back from Naples...
-where will all our stuff fit? 
-will we make friends?
-will we continue homeschool, go public, or do private?
-will I still see my parents a lot even though we live 2 hours away?

All of these WORRIES consumed my mind. Sitting down tonight to type my mind is brought back to the thought that ...the Lord will be with us WHEREVER we live and will hold our hands as we step into this new adventure. I need to lean into faith and let go of my fear. My God loves me and has the best plan for my life. Christ will be my best friend until I make new friends. HE will guide my feet as I walk into schooling decisions for next year. The Lord will help me treasure every moment I spend with my parents as they visit each weekend and serve in the children's ministry @ Calvary Chapel Naples. 

Anxiety can paralyze. I don't want to live in fear but soar in faith. I know the Lord is going to do something great, and I must trust and obey. Many more blogs to come with new and exciting news as we take on this new adventure in Naples. 

Praying HE allows me to live in faith not fear.

Are you living in faith or fear?

Ask Jesus to hold your hand as you step out of the boat and follow His calling :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How Am I Doing?

Plans fail for lack of counsel, 
but with many advisers they succeed. 
- Proverbs 15:22

Recently my husband's job schedule and location has changed. He is now working from home 6 days a week and it has been an eye opener to say the least. He has a small office set up in the corner of our room and gets to hear EVERYTHING that goes on in or house on any given day. 

Having my husband, James, at home more has been such an awesome thing. He is an extra set of eyes and ears that can shed light on those things I am doing well and the areas I need improvement on. I so value and cherish his opinion. Many times in my frustration as I vent to him, he gives me great counsel. 

Sometimes it is hard to swallow but I know it is what the Lord wants me to hear. My pride will peak up and then once I have a moment to think about it, I realize the Holy Spirit is using him to convict my heart.  James is looking out for my best interest and wants me to shine bright for Christ...especially in my role as a mommy. 

Do you have someone, a family member or friend, who observes your parenting style? If so, have they ever encouraged you to change some "old habits?" How did you receive their counsel?

Have you ever asked for counsel from a seasoned mommy? It is such a gift when we ask those who have walked before us ...for insight on those areas we struggle in.

Pray and ask the Lord to reveal any areas in your role as a mommy that need correcting. Then, BUCKLE UP, and be ready to watch Him mold you into the best mommy possible :)

For lack of guidance a nation falls, 
but many advisers make victory sure. 
- Proverbs 11:14

Friday, February 15, 2013

God is Big! God is Strong! God is Smart!

One of our favorite songs we used to sing with our children (complete with motions) was,
“My God is SO Big! So strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!”
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   I asked Greg to pray I would be strong and courageous this week.  I had prayed this myself before I opened my devotional that morning.  The devotion was (ironically Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified…the Lord will be with you wherever you go!”)  How sweet was God to respond with His Word to my request.
   However, the devotional pointed out that before God had asked Joshua to be strong and courageous, He already knew what His people would face.  He had already shown His faithfulness to Moses to encourage Joshua that he could trust God, he need only to “be strong and courageous.”
   Greg did pray for me that morning.  He gave me another verse I would need to cling to. Psalm 147: 5 says  “Great is our Lord and abundant in strength.”  Greg personally paraphrased this to say, “God is Big, God is Strong, and God is Smart!” 
   As I look forward to being with my Dad in the next week as he recovers in rehab and then on to care for my father in law as he struggles with Parkinson’s I have to believe there is One who can more than adequately care for these two men.   God has shown Himself to be faithful to me in so many ways.  And what a sweet thought to know He knows what I will be facing in the days to come.
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   As you look at the beautiful sets of eyes that look to you and call you “Mom” realize you can trust our Father to be Big enough, Strong enough and Smart enough to show you how to parent each of their individual needs.  I challenge you to sing “My God is so Big!” (You can find the song and the motions on YouTube!) Enjoy planting the truth of God’s Word in your child’s heart and enjoy living the truth everyday!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Start With Me

Recently, I had a 3-4 week stretch where I was just looking for distraction in the evenings and I started watching a TV series. There was nothing wrong with the series but there was something wrong with me. I would watch 2, 3, maybe 4 episodes and stay up too late. I thought the distraction would help me feel better but it only increased my stress and it didn't really distract.

I was still reading my Bible and doing studies, still reading books on Christian living. But the TV was distracting me all right distracting me from hearing from God. Because of that I started to feel lonely and distant from God. Through this God showed me that when I am alone TV is not okay for me. It is sin because it is putting a wedge between God and me.

“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”  Matthew 5:30

Here is where I am taking Jesus seriously when he says to cut off the right arm if it causes you to sin. I am cutting off the TV when I am alone.  My personality is one that leans toward distraction and laziness.  I knew that this was a weakness for me yet I fell into it anyway.  I thought I could have self-control in this area in my life but once again I proved I could not.  So in this area of my life I will call it what it is… sin and cut it off. 

This was an area where I thought I could have self-control.  By itself it is not sin but because I couldn’t have self-control it became sin in my life.  I increased my stress with a lack of sleep and caused a communication barrier with the One who keeps me from falling to pieces.  I started to notice an increase in my children’s fighting and picking at each other and I felt very incapable of dealing with it.  So instead, I yelled and was impatient.  I was not slow to anger and rich in love. 

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  Psalm 145:8

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”  James 1:19

When I really started seeking God on what to do about my children this is what he gave me.  “Start with you.”  I didn’t know what to do about my kids but God was right I had to get rid of this plank in my own eye before I was ready to help them work on the speck of sawdust in their eye. 

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5

So, mom, I ask, is there sin in your life that may not be sin for others but it is for you?  Do you need to cut something off to keep you from sinning?  Do you need to turn and run from someone or something?  Is God pleading with you in your frustration with your children and with others to “Start with you”?