Sunday, March 31, 2013

Remembering the Reason We Celebrate

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 

3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.

 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 

6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 

10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Today is Easter. We celebrate one of the greatest days in all of creation. A day that changed the projection of our path and gave us great hope for a future with Him. 

Many years ago, the first believers woke up this morning saddened that their friend, savior and Lord was gone only to find out that He had indeed rose from the grave, was alive, and delivered great encouragement to those who were downcast. 

Unfortunately many times this day boils down to cooking, eating and family time. Which none of those things, in itself are bad. They are actually great things to look forward to, but too often on HOLYdays we loose focus on the true meaning and get wrapped up in food and its' preparation. Our whole day can go by and as we curl up in our beds, remember that we lost sight of what the celebration of the day was about. 

Last night I, myself, was prepping food for our family Easter celebration dinner. But I don't want it to be my focus, even though I LOVE food. I want Christ and the resurrection to be where my eyes and heart are zoned into. 

How can I do this practically?

*Look for ways throughout your day to talk about Jesus, His life, and what the first Easter might have been like. (Set a timer on your phone to remind you :)

*Around the dinner table talk about how Christ has had an impact on your life. Remember who HE is and why we are celebrating. 

*Read the resurrection story to your kids, maybe have them act it out. (Resurrection Eggs are awesome for this)

*Praise God for all the great gifts (including everlasting life) that He has given you.

Remember JESUS this EASTER SEASON as you celebrate! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mommy Friends

Do not let any unwholesome talk 
come out of your mouths, 
but only what is helpful 
for building others up 
according to their needs, 
that it may benefit 
those who listen.
- Ephesians 4:29

This week definitely had some great highs and some crazy lows. We traveled over to my moms house, on the other coast, for a small baby shower my mom and sister were throwing me. It was wonderful! It was a 5 day vacation that was filled with many sweet memories.

But if you have ever traveled ALONE with your kids, you know it is so exhausting and at times stressful. I was reminded how the single moms do it day-in and day-out without help. 

Yesterday had been a full day with attending a sweet birthday party for my son's friend, long 2 hour road trip back home, and two boys who were very tired.

As I got into town a sweet friend of mine called just to encourage me. She reminded me that I was the "perfect" mom for my boys and how God has great things in store for my struggling kids. What a cold glass of water that was to my dry and weary soul. I know the Lord had her call me to lift up my head. 

Our words have so much power not only to our kids but also with those the Lord places around us. When you feel the prompting of His Spirit to call another mom and edify them - do it- and watch how Christ will use your heart to do a work in that mom. 

Look for ways to encourage that tired and weary mommy today. Do you have a friend in need of a "cold glass of water?" Write a quick note or text. Call and leave them a message. Email and uplift. Be a vessel in the hands of the Lord today. 

So grateful my friend used her words to give me life. She pushed pause on her busy and full day to seek me out. If you are in need of "Mommy" friends to encourage you through this season....pray....HE hears and will provide. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

"More than That!"

     I remember when Michelle was in the second grade and she came home in a “huff.”  One of her classmates was acting like she was something special.  Michelle crossed her arms with her little blond curls bouncing and explained that the classmate thinks “she’s all that!”
     After a particularly hard week, the following verses have really ministered to me.

Romans 8: 31 – 34 ESV
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[a] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
     In consideration of not only my week but the celebration of Easter, I loved dissecting these verses. I was reminded no one can really be against me if God is for me.
     I saw the generosity in the Lord’s gift of His Son.  The Lord’s Christ not only died but was raised back to life. These verses further describe the gift of Jesus’ resurrection is that now He lives to intercede on our behalf.
Google Image
     James MacDonald suggested the visual of The Lord Jesus Christ on His knees praying for ME and YOU!!  The English Standard Version uses the three words, “more than that” so we clearly see the graciousness of our Heavenly Father.
     Moms, Jesus has done so much more than we can fully understand.  We have God, who is for us. We have a Savior that died for us, was raised for us and now lives to intercede for us.  As my week of frustration and disappointed mounted.  I tried to pray and cry out to the Lord for help and direction. Just as James MacDonald suggested, I kept finding myself thinking of Christ praying for me, and asking Him to intercede for me!
     Jesus in His humility would never be described as Michelle described her classmates.  He doesn’t think He is “all that.” However, Paul in Romans 8 did make mention of all the amazing things Jesus did on behalf of us IS MORE THAN THAT!
      As you attempt to parent this week, I encourage you to remind yourself, no matter what your situation or circumstance Jesus IS “more than that!”  He died, He rose and He is interceding for YOU!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

He Takes the Ugly and Makes It Beautiful

I've got all these plans piled up sky high
A thousand dreams on hold
And I don't know why,
I got a front row seat
To the longest wait
And I just can't see
Past the things I pray

But when I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don't look around
Any place I'm in
Grows strangely dim

This is just a portion of this beautiful song my daughter had me listen to awhile back.  She told me that when she listened to it she was encouraged and reminded that she needs to focus on Jesus and not on the things in the world around her that she doesn’t understand or that scare her.  What a sweet reminder from the mouth of an eleven year old. 

I love it when I see God at work in the hearts of my children.  This last year has been an extremely difficult year for my children.  Our journey has been rough but I have seen God do amazing things in their hearts.  When I look at the way they handle each new situation that life throws at them I see a calm obedience to their Heavenly Father.  When we talk of the future and how God will use every tear they have shed for good I see a spark of hope in their eyes.  When they see how they will be able to minister to other children who are where they are now excitement starts stirring in their blood. 

Just like me they have had to learn to focused on Christ and let everything else around them grow “Strangely Dim.”  Is my heart sad because they have had some hard things?  Yes, of course, but my heart is overjoyed that in those hard things they are learning to focus on the One who can make all hard times peaceful and fruitful.  They are learning to live with endurance and patience.  The One who fortifies is strengthening them.  What a blessing! 

Our challenges are not just for us.  God uses them to mold and shape the hearts of the little ones walking right next to us.  It is amazing how God takes the ugly and makes it beautiful.  

“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:3

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say?  Father, save me from this hour?  No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!”  John 12:27-28





Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Warriors in Battle

There is a sacred time during the day at our house – naptime!!   Usually during this quiet time I read a portion from my devotional book and Scripture, I meditate on what I’ve read and journal.  This is also a great time to fold clothes, sweep the floor, mop up all that sticky stuff & junk under the kids’ chairs at the table, dust (only because others can see it), make the bed, do stuff on the computer, and so on.  But wait – there’s more…SLEEP (oh blessed sleep).  Some days I have to literally stand up to get through my devotional and Bible reading!   I want to spend time with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords yet I am still in my flesh and it is a battle nonetheless.

The battle: Spending time with the Lord vs. doing other things.

The weapon: Prayer and Bible reading.

When you set your mind on things above, you’ll want to stay there! (from Colossians 3:2)

One of the times I fought the battle and stayed/prayed up, I began to think of what I could do better with the time God has me here on earth.   After all, our life is like a vapor… (from James 4:14).  I started reading 1 Samuel 15:22, Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”  

Don’t we DRILL this into our kids’ heads – obey…  “Listen and obey”.  I love the song they sing at my son’s preschool, “O-B-E-Y, obey your mom and dad.”  LOVE IT!!  How about for us, “O-B-E-Y, obey your Father in Heaven.” 

If you have this kind of battle, put down the mop, stay awake and choose to be a warrior in the battle.  Obey what God wants to impart to you today.  It might be what makes the difference for your life.

Lord Jesus, we pray for all the mommas reading this.  Thank You for the time You give us to spend time with You daily.  It is truly a sacred, holy and blessed time.  We ask that you help us to ask, seek, listen, and obey.   We look forward to what You will speak into our lives today!  In the everlasting name of Jesus.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Gift of an Ordinary Day

A friend of mine posted this video, "The gift of an ordinary day" by Katrina Kenison last week. Even though it is a few years old, I had never seen it. However, it has been on my mind ever since.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. - James 4:13-14 

Life is short. I encourage you to watch this video and to make everyday count. Live, Laugh and Love with your children EVERYDAY!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Guard Your Mouth

I posted this blog a few months ago...yet its words came creaping into my mind earlier this week. I knew God was gently reminidng me that I needed to hear this...and share it...again..

A little while ago I witnessed quite a scene. I was picking up my oldest Doodlebug from Vacation Bible School, and I was waiting for his class to come back from the Creation Museum. As I was waiting, I received an important phone call that required my full attention. Just about the same time, a mom walked out with her preschool age son who was throwing a full-fledged fit. I mean he was letting his mom have it. She remained calm, while trying to lovingly, yet firmly correct him; but he wanted no part of it—he was intent on having his way.

To be honest, I don’t know why this little boy was having such a tantrum in the hallway at church—completely oblivious to the world around him. His mom saw that I was on the phone, yet she looked at me with pleading eyes. Completely exasperated, she looked at me and said, “See, this is what I have been talking about at Mom-to-Mom.”

To be honest, I didn't know what she was talking about. I attend Mom-to-Mom, but we are not assigned to the same table for discussions. BUT, my heart felt for her. I am sure she expected me to give her some type of advice—advice that she had probably already heard before. However, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to simply encourage her. S

he was obviously embarrassed by her son’s behavior, and she was managing the situation as best as she could at that moment. But, she still felt bad that her son was causing such a raucous in the hallway…and while I was on the phone.

In light of all that, I simply looked at her and whispered, “It’s OK. You are a good mom and YOU ARE doing a great job!” You can tell she didn’t expect me to say just that. She looked at me with a look that almost melted my heart, a look that I myself have given at times when mommyhood just left me scratching my head—when I had given my best Mom effort, but still felt lacking. She replied sincerely, “Thank you! THAT (emphasis added) is exactly what I needed to hear.” She smiled lovingly, and she and her son walked away.

Ladies, before kids I would have been the first one to pass judgment on a situation like that. I was loaded with ammo about what I would say if I were that mom, and how would get that kid back in line. (It is my experience that we say a lot of things before we have kids..and we end up reanalyzing later.)

Yet, two kids later with one on the way, I have still been tempted at times to give advice before filtering it through the Holy Spirit. Before I speak to another mom about her kids, I need to ask myself if this is the right time and place; am I communicating my heart in love?

Often times we need to use the double gate God has given us to keep our tongues in check—lips and teeth. Sometimes, I need to just clench my teeth, say a prayer, and walk away. At other times, I should speak up and speak the truth in love. Ladies, let’s encourage one another, and let us offer advice—or withhold it—in a loving and timely fashion.


Lord, you know as women we have so much to say. You have made us wonderfully complex and full of so much emotion. Help us to channel our words, actions, and even our thoughts through you first. Help us to accurately reflect your truth and your grace. Help us encourage each other on to good works as we raise our children to love you.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Passage to consider: Job 16:1-5 (NLT)

Job’s response to his friends after they offered their unsolicited advice:

1 Then Job spoke again: 2 "I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! 3 Won't you ever stop your flow of foolish words? What have I said that makes you speak so endlessly? 4 I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off my criticisms against you and shake my head at you. 5 But that's not what I would do. I would speak in a way that helps you. I would try to take away your grief."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

His Mercies

Because of the Lord's great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness.
-Lamentations 3:22-23

As a mom, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the craziness of one day and allow it to flow into the next. We can get up replaying, in our minds, the day before and fretting it happening again. But God reminds us in His word that his compassions never fail and His mercy is new every morning. 

I want to be a mom that each day offers afresh new mercy, to my children, just as my heavenly father does for me. It takes effort to let go of yesterdays madness and look forward with excitement to a NEW day. But what joy there is as we let go and let God do a work in our hearts. It sure is refreshing, isn't it?

Have you had a rough day, week, month or year with your child? 

Ask for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit today and look forward, with excitement, as HE gives you new mercy to pour afresh on your little one.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Learning Lessons the Hard Way

No discipline
seems pleasant at the time,
 but painful.
 Later on, however, 
it produces a harvest 
of righteousness and peace 
for those who 
have been trained by it. 
- Hebrews 12:11

It was a week ago that I shared the happy news that our family moved over to beautiful Naples, Florida. We are loving it here. The house (even though I thought it was too small at first), the neighborhood, the new friends, the parks, the beaches, and many other reasons as well. 

My husband and I have adjusted quite well, but my boys have been acting out as they are getting acclimated to our new life. It has been trying and I have cried, many days feeling helpless. It has been draining to see my son try my patience as he has disobeyed, what seems like, everything I say. Many times my emotions got the best of me and I said things that I later apologized for. 

A few days ago I got it: REVELATION from the LORD. I have a choice each moment in my parenting frustration. Either I can speak out in the midst of my raw emotion with frustration or choose to pause, breath, and reach out to pray with and for my child. 

I decided that I would allow moments of frustration in parenting to be an opportunity for prayer with my child. I want my children to look back and think about how their mom prayed in times of crazy instead of remembering me yelling  out about the disappointment. This revelation was an eye opener and one I pray you will try as well. 

Pray with your kids. On those days you are feeling overwhelmed as your kids try you at every level...stop and pray with them. Let them see you vulnerable and asking Christ for help. 

Allow trials (as exhausting as they may be) during your day to bring you to your knees, together, with your little ones and allow them to see your dependence on the One who gives you supernatural mommy strength. Pray out loud and praise Him for your kids (that drive you to a closer relationship with the Savior).

What is Jesus saying to you through this blog?

What do you think the Lord wants you to do about it?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dress shopping...Perseverance or Compromise?

         This weeks parenting dilemma was the temptation to compromise.  Our youngest will be going into high school in the fall.  Apparently the new wave of activity for an eighth grader is a foreshadowing of their senior year in high school. 
         Our daughter is in need of an entire new wardrobe to have her ready for all the upcoming activities.  Specifically dresses.  You may not be experiencing dress shopping with your teenage daughter, but if you are, you are aware that the style has returned to “short.”  By our standards this “new short” is “too short.”
         I have spent the last week shopping alone.  I was buying dresses each day and then having our daughter try them on.  I have returned every dress I thought would look perfect on our daughter. This all culminated by finally taking her shopping to make the selection herself.
         At the third store, our daughter was absolutely done with not finding a dress she liked or with me telling her the dresses were too short.  I too, was so done with being the "stick in the mud." I felt very tempted to just “give in.”  It seemed impossible to find a dress that she liked that met our standard of acceptable.
Google Image
         As the breaking point approached, our daughter “ran into” one of her newest friends and her mom.  What a relief to see they too where struggling over the same dilemma!  The relief wasn’t that they were struggling, but rather this was not unique to us.
         It was a blessing to watch the girls encourage one another to find the appropriate, modest AND “cool” dresses.  As we prayed on the way to school this morning, I thanked the Lord for directing us to the dress He knew our daughter would wear today.  I thanked Him I hadn’t given in or given up in our search for the right choice.
         Too often it is easier to give in to our kids wants.  It is easier to compromise than to persevere. 

Be conscientious about how you live and what you teach. Persevere in this, because by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you. I Timothy 4:16 NET
Father, Thank you that you care about our decisions. Please be with each mom who will read this blog.  Help them not to grow weary while doing good. Help them as they parent each of their children.  Help them not to give up.  Help them to follow you and direct their children to follow you too! Give us the strength and wisdom to choose perseverance over compromise.  In the sweet name of our Lord Jesus, amen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To Love

I was in the bathroom getting ready for my day when my oldest son plopped down on the toilet seat and very loudly declared that there was nothing in this house to eat.  All I could do was stare at him.  My mouth was probably open a bit in my shock because we had just been to the store where he had picked out several things he wanted for breakfast.  I reminded him of this but this was not the real problem.  The real problem was that he didn’t want any of those things for breakfast.  He wanted me to make him a big omelette like I had made him the day before. 

I sent him on his way letting him know there would be no omelette today it was an easy breakfast day.  He stomped off with such an attitude that he left a trail of it behind him and I think some of it blew up on me.  After he left I had an internal dialog going about how ungrateful he was and how he complained no matter what food I put in front of him unless it was pizza, of course.  And lets not forget that he doesn’t even say thanks mom for all the different choices he has for breakfast or that I clean up most of his mess when he eats all those things.  Oh, girl I was on a roll. 

But something in me stopped and thought.  Before I even had children I knew there would be messes to clean up and attitudes to deal with.  If my own attitude as a child were any sign of what was in store for me with my own kids then I most certainly knew there would be challenges.  But knowing all this I still wanted children.  I wanted them badly.  I wanted them because I wanted to love them. 

I forget that sometimes.  I forget that I wanted children so I could love them.  I didn’t care about the inconveniences or the challenges; I just wanted to love them.  I wanted to hold them and cuddle them.  Clean up their scrapped knees and see their faces light up at a huge stack of pancakes with strawberries and whip cream on the top.  I wanted to watch them grow and teach them about the love of Jesus.  There were so many ways that I wanted to love them.  There are still so many ways that I want to love them and I do not want to be distracted by all of those challenges and inconveniences.  I want to love them through those with an attitude and a heart that reflects Jesus. 

As I pondered this place my thoughts had taken me it turned into a prayer.  A prayer that went from me crying out to God, to God whispering back to me, “You know… I made you because I wanted to love you.”  And the flood gates where opened.  What a sweet, sweet reminder that was, I was made because God wanted to love me. 

“We love because he first loved us.”  1 John 4:19


Oh friend, no matter what your day has looked like or what it has in store for you, remember that God made you because He wants to love you.  Some of us are harder to love than others but He is up to the challenge.  He simply wants to love us and oh, how He loves.  It is a beautiful thing to be loved by God and to be lost in that love.

Heavenly Father, thank you so much for loving me.  You made me because you wanted  to love me.  Let that resonate in my heart today.  Let it bubble up inside of me and spill over.  Let me be a reflection of your love to my children and those around me.  Help me not to forget that I too had my children because I wanted to love them.  Help me to be intentional today in showing them that love.  


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Freedom is Letting Go!

I have two teenagers.  Whenever I tell people this they give me the same sympathetic look.  They say things like "Oh I remember those days" or "Don't worry they eventually realize you were never the enemy".  I'm sure that if you have teenagers you get similar reactions.  I see this as a "worldly" perspective.  However, it's Christians and non-Christians alike giving me these kinds reactions. I believe one of the main problems is that we as Christian parents are unable or unwilling  to release control of our teenagers to the Lord at the necessary times.  "Release" yes can be a frightening word. Yet it is what our teenagers need to grow.  I listened to a podcast recently where the preacher stated that "People do best when they feel loved and free."  Think about it.  As a Christian parent you have prayed over, poured into and provided opportunities for your children to know God through Jesus Christ.  To grow in their relationship with the Lord and as young people in the society which they live in. While they are still under your roof as teenagers, the best thing you can do is "let the leash out a bit" and trust in their relationship with the Lord.  They know whats right and wrong.  They will make mistakes along the way but at least you are there to help them navigate through them.  Let me bring this "close to home".

My son Samuel is 17 years old.  It was time to "encourage" him to get a job.  He recently applied for a position. Good news, Yes! He got hired.  There are still many steps he needs to take before he actually starts working.  Here's where release of control comes in and trusting in his relationship with God. He has been waiting on a return call from Human Resources.  He can not start working until he gets further instruction.  He has been waiting 4 days. If it were me, I would be calling the woman everyday until she called me back. A few days ago, I suggested to Samuel to call her again and he assured me that he had a plan in place.  Being the Mom I want to control the situation.  I think I know best. Instead, I felt the Holy Spirit pull me back. God is so good.  Instead of "encouraging" him in how I think he should handle it (my way) I prayed.  I told the Lord that I trust His will for Sam's life.  I also told Him that I trust His relationship with Sam.  Therefore, I prayed that if it was the Lord's will that Samuel call the woman today and asked the Holy Spirit to prompt him.  I let it go and chose not to think about it again.  Freedom in letting go!  With no prompting from me (truthfully I forgot all about it), Samuel told me today that he called the woman again!  I was instantly reminded of my prayer earlier to trust the Lord in and through Sam.

It's hard because we want the best for our children.  The mistake is when we think we "always" know what the "best" is.   Godly mom, if you have been investing in your children as you should with His word, prayer, and being a good listener, then trust their relationship with the Lord and let Him work.

My prayer for you today is that you begin to practice letting go of control and letting the Holy Spirit do what he does best.  Not only for your teenagers but for you.  Freedom in letting go.  Praise the Lord!

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lieu get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Then write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."

Matthew 22:37 "Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

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

Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this, that HE who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

2 Corinthians 3:17 "Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make your fishers of men." - Matthew 4:19

There are certain things we need to do when we go fishing. First we get our fishing gear. Next we decide where to fish. Once we find where the fish are, we keep noise and distractions away. We bait our line and if we are patient, we are rewarded with our catch.

As Christians, our fishing gear is the Bible. It has all the equipment we need. Next , we decide where to fish; work, school, grocery store, library, etc. God knows where the fish are and will lead us to them. Just like in fishing, sometimes distractions keep us from doing the Lord’s work. Satan wants us to be distracted. The Holy Spirit will give us patience do His work, we need only ask.  

We need attractive bait. This is OUR walk. Our lives should draw people near to God. Are you easily frustrated? Do you fly off the handle when something goes wrong? Are you  building others up with words of encouragement? Finally, be patient, persevere and you’ll be rewarded with a catch for Christ. We are God’s fishermen. We must fish His way.

Challenge: Encourage someone today. Quiet your spirit and allow God to show you where the fish are.