Saturday, May 31, 2014

"FILL and EMPTY" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

After years of infertility and multiple miscarriages she had a beautiful baby girl named Mollie.
Now my sister is expecting twins. God is good!
I was skyping with her the other day and her belly is FULL of babies.
She has only a few short weeks to go and her body will be EMPTY.  No longer growing those two boys.
I was thinking how as a mom we are constantly encountering FULL and EMPTY throughout our day.

For me it starts as soon as I enter my kitchen, that coffee cup becomes FULL and quickly is EMPTIED only to be FILLED again.   Our kids’ bellies become FULL after a good breakfast, and too soon they are begging for a snack because their bellies are EMPTY.  The dishwasher gets FILLED throughout the day and we EMPTY it when the cycle is over.  My mini-van is FILLED up with gas and after only a few trips seems EMPTY again.  The nightly bathtub is FILLED with water and when they are clean, we EMPTY it.
It began with that first child, full inside of you. Delivering that precious baby began the journey of emptying out yourself.
We give all we can.  Sometimes not feeling adequate or good enough.  But we keep emptying it out.
I can tell when I am getting frustrated and irritated with my kids that what I am EMPTYING out is not from Jesus.  It is a reminder that I have not been FILLING myself up with His word.  I have not been seeking after Him in prayer, and I have not been FILLING myself up with praising Him.
It is so important for us, to FILL ourselves up with Jesus.  So that we can EMPTY out what is inside of us.
Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope FILL you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
So throughout your busy day FILL yourself up with His word, spend time praying, turn on your favorite podcast, listen to a teaching online, or turn on your favorite worship songs.
FILL yourself up with Him so you can EMPTY out His spirit…
Galatians 5:22-23

Friday, May 30, 2014

L. Y. B.

            I’ve been reminiscing about the good things my parents did during my growing up years; as a parents, as mates, as citizens, as God’s children.  Dad encouraged us to be punctual.  Mom always made sure as babies that our shoes had been cleaned and polished after each wearing.  They gave RC Colas to the garbage men and gave us one once a week on grocery day.
            My parents ended up with family “traditions” that weren’t even intentional but have found their ways into our hearts of “the good ole days!”  I have mentioned before that once my brothers and I hung up our metal “Little House on The Prairie” and “Star Wars” lunch boxes, Mom creatively began to customize our brown paper bags.
Google Image

            Mom would lay down four brown lunch bags on the counter every school day.  I distinctly remember the sandwiches. They would rotate from: peanut butter and banana to bologna to the famous cheese and pickle sandwich (obviously necessity is THE mother of invention.)  We always had chips in a baggie, some sort of sweet (how I hoped for Oreos) and a piece of fruit (which usually was returned.)
            It wasn’t what was on the inside of those brown paper bags as much as it was what was on the outside.  Mom would write our names (in her beautiful “before the day” font) and then write a message or a series of letters.  These letters could be as short as “L. Y. B.” to “L. Y. B. T. A. T. L. G. I. T. W. W. W. P. C.”
            We would spend our lunchtime trying to figure out the message.  Most of the time I could handle the shorter messages but struggled with those longer than 3 letters.  Our family had many code words and sentences.  They are words and sentences that only a “Bryant” would know.
            Moms it’s important to encourage our children to form camaraderie within our families.  This will bring a sense of security that can’t be built through a fortified house or bank account.  Don’t downplay the value our children place on emotional security.
            Consider the traditions you are building in your children that brings security. (In case you wondered…LYB stands for Love You Better…which means Mom loves me more than I love her…so not true!  Here's a little something for you to ponder over your lunch:  L. J. M. B. T. A. T. O. M. I. T. W. W. W. P. C!”)

Psalm 102: 18  “Let this be recorded for a generation to come,  so that a people yet to be created may praise The Lord.”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Take Time To Play

"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little." -Philippians 4:11-12

This week we are out of routine. Me and the kids are at my parent's house -dog-sitting- while they're away. It's been awesome! Nothing is normal. We are climbing trees, swimming tons (we don't have a pool @ our house), playing card games & board games too! We left the iPad in the van, and to be honest we haven't missed it at all.

I have really enjoyed the quality time with no electronic devices attached to it! This break has been refreshing and eye opening. I have so enjoyed my quality time with the kids. It was especially meaningful with my son who is usually my challenging one. I have seen him in a new light. He is so smart and funny! Many times his struggles cloud my view of that. He has done a great job of taking turns (something children with Aspergers typically struggle with) as he has played games. He is such a good big brother to his baby sister too. Because I have had to slow down, it has caused me to thank God for the simplistic blessings I have taken for granted in the fast paced life I live. I need to, more often, take time to play.

I have been blessed. Stripped away from normalcy. Clarity given. Grace received. So thankful for my life - HE-  has hand-picked me to live.

Praise God today for one Truth HE has shown you.
Share that Truth with someone else!

Ps. Quality time is cherished by your children too! That "card game" will end
up being the high of his day!! Take time to
play with your kiddos today!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Love is Powerful

The kids and I were outside reading books under the shade of a few palm trees in our backyard.  We read “Ask Mr. Bear” and a Franklin book and a Dora book…  We made animal noises in all the books and stretched our arms like a goose with her wings spread and Baaaa’d like sheep as loud as we could.  Inside we play cars and dress barbies, twirl with our pretty dresses on and ram each other wearing helmets.  Yes, I have a boy and a girl J  We also read a children’s devotion and make reference to Scripture throughout the day.

“But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Joshua 22:5 

It’s in the daily life where these things are passed from one generation to the next.  They will see it, hear it, feel it, and maybe even taste and smell it.  Love is powerful.  The love of Christ is full of power.  I wonder if David played “cars” with Solomon.  I wonder if that is where he imparted the wisdom he learned from God to his son.  I wonder if Mary sat under the tree in their backyard and read books to Jesus and his brothers.  Moses to Joshua.  Naomi to Ruth.  Lois to Eunice to Timothy.  God has shown us in His word how important it is to spend time with our kids sharing what it means to love the LORD, walk in all His ways, keep His commandments, hold fast to Him and serve Him.

Thank You Lord for giving us yet another opportunity to live out these commandments for Your glory. This generation (whatever age our kids are) NEED to see real upright examples of those who walk with You with all our hearts and with all our souls.  You are worthy to receive all praise and honor, Savior.  Amen.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Not My Will...

The search began. We got the “go ahead” fro the bank to buy a house. We were approved for a certain amount. We were excited to say the least.

Not quite right. Not the right price. Almost. Perfect!!! We found “the house” and after negotiating with the bank, we got it for a steal.

Until…things started to unravel. The anxiety began; the peace left. God, why is this not working out? Well, God had other plans, better plans!

After a series if unexpected events, it became evident that it was NOT the time to buy a house. It was time to pay off our credit card debt. All the saving we thought was for a house was really for a different purpose.

HIS will. Not ours.

Peace returned. I know this feeling well. It is the peace that comes through submission. Fellow mom, there is safety in surrender to God.

Is there an area in your life you feel God is calling you to surrender? Your job plans? A change in priorities? Where to send your kids to school? Whether or not to homeschool? Beginning a new ministry? Possibly saying “no” to a really tempting, but untimely opportunity? Submission in your marriage?

Let’ pray.

Heavenly Father, You are Faithful and True. We can trust you with ALL things. Please help us to surrender our plans and desire in exchange for your perfect and holy will. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Verses to ponder:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways 
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9

“Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.”  Proverbs 19:21

 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, 
and all these things will be given to you as well.”  
Matthew 6:33

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Grateful for HIS Plan

A couple of days ago I decided to finally nail in some frames on our walls ...after only a year of living in our new home :) I reminisced at each picture I picked up and held, remembering the sweetness of my kiddos at a much simpler age. I looked at friends I had before we moved and felt honored to be a part of their "world" for 6 years.

There was one picture that when I came across it I began to weep. It represented a much simpler day. Everyone was smiling. It was before therapies and big struggles. Before moving and those days when I felt alone. It was before three kids (but our lives wouldn't be the same without our sweet Quinnie). An easier time. 

Many times we can look at a photo (gotta love Facebook) or have a memory of a time that seems much easier. A time we want to go back to because the current situation we live in is harder. 

But remember HE is doing a work in and through your struggle. 

It's ok to smile at times of old, but just don't honker down and try to live in a time that is expired. God has a reason for your trial. He plucks us out of places and relocates us to impact new neighbors for Christ. It's not all about you! It's about eternity and the people HE loves and wants you to share with. You- with your experience and love for Jesus can make a big impact for Jesus.TOTALLY preaching to myself here!  

So what's the lesson of this blog: be content with where HE has you. Be grateful for HIS plan...even if you don't understand it. HE loves you! HE sees you right where you are. HE has a purpose in the picture of your life right now.

History makes up where you've been, but Eternity makes up where you are going! 

 Ecclesiastes 8:17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.

What is HE saying to you through this blog? What do you think HE wants you to do about it?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Only God!

After being away for almost two weeks, I’ve hit the ground running.  Trying to catch up at work, at life and at home.  I had a wonderful reprieve away but now I am making up for what didn’t get done.

This past week I had the blessing of being alone with my mom and her family.  Now the blessing is “re-entry” to our family and parenting.

Yesterday alone I began juggling (or parenting the emotions and decisions that accompany) our son’s new job.
 I began to juggle (or parent the emotions) of our daughter’s husband taking a mini trip out of state. 

I also juggled (or parented) our youngest daughters completion of her final round of exams to finish high school and to prepare for her dance recital.

I woke to a heart filled with praise.  I really can’t.  I really don’t know how.  I’m really not that talented.  Only God.  Only God can parent.  Only God is big enough.  Only God can care for what these children’s need.  Only God.

Today as we seek to parent these children God has entrusted to us.  Lets not think WE must have all the answers or that WE are even capable of meeting all their needs.  Let’s see God as our children’s parent.  Only God.  Only God can parent.   Only God is big enough.  Only God can care for the needs of our children.  Only God!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Imperfect Progress

We can be so hard on ourselves. As moms, we strive to do things well, knowing little eyes are watching and ready to imitate without any given warning. It is a healthy thing to evaluate, look at ourselves, and see what challenges the Lord places before us so we can better reflect His image. 

As we sit in His presence, and allow His Word to do a work, there will always be's ok. It's good. It's healthy. 

Tuesday night I was at a small group Bible study which was so refreshing. Every woman felt the freedom to be transparent and share. It was freeing to know I am not the only imperfect mommy there is. The Lord was hoping I would catch that! The study "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst, introduced us to "imperfect progress" - the process we go through here on earth. Imperfection getting wisdom, from the perfect One, and allowing us the grace to move forward. 

Moms, realize you are an imperfect progress! He is doing a work in and through you! You are not perfect. It's ok. HE is the only perfect parent! Breathe. You will see the fruit of your labor if you don't give up. 

Recognize your struggles, put some practical things in place that will help propel you into progress, and realize the journey isn't fact it's just begun! Think of one mom you can share your struggle with, and ask her to check in once a week on your "imperfect progress." Journal it. You may be surprised at how much God does when we submit and hold each other accountable to change.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Alive and Active!

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

The other day I was sitting with two of my little ones looking for a bible story to read when I stumbled upon what I thought would be a good story.  That is when my 7 year old daughter chimed in “but mamma we just read that one”....  Humm I thought, then I realized something I hadn’t thought of before.  She didn’t know, my little Abigail didn’t know one of the best, most amazing secrets of all time, because I hadn’t told her yet! 

I smiled, and at that moment I got to share with my daughter that the bible isn’t like any other book we read, I explained that it is alive and active.  I shared with her that we are to always have our hearts ready to learn something new from God's Word.  And even to pray before reading the bible to prepare our hearts for what God may teach us.  I also explained that God’s Word is personal and that it teaches us in the different stages and ages of life we are in.  So when she reads her bible she will be learning things for her age just as her mommy and daddy will be learning appropriate lessons at our age...  

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  2 Timothy 3:16

Have you shared with your children this special truth?  If not, maybe now is the time?

Thank you Lord for this beautiful realization.  Lord I pray that You fill us with Your wisdom as we explain precious truths to our children.  Help us to remind them that in whatever situation they are in, our Bible has the answers, the comfort, and the truth they need.  May we continue to teach our children that the Bible is not just another book, it is THE instruction book for our lifetime!   Amen.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Fresh Love

"The righteous person faces many troubles, 

but the Lord comes to the rescue each time."
-Psalm 34:19

I came to a place where I was just grumpy. Starting my day and ending it feeling discouraged about how my kids were behaving and sad about how I was reacting to it. Wondering if it was going to get better, but never asking myself how I could help start that process.

I felt convicted, wanted to see change, and decided daily to pray:

(1) HE would give me a fresh love for my kids each day. 

(2) For me to see them the way HE does. Love them as HE does. 

(3) I would give them a great example of the Father's love. 

Our kids' first experience with God is with us. We tell them about the goodness of God, but are we a living example of it? Can our kids feel His presence through how we handle life? 

As we ask for help...He will give it! What a blessing, right?

I want my love to be fresh and new each day for my kids. The only way I can do that is by letting go of yesterday, and being hopeful for today.

Pray and ask Him to give you a fresh love today for those HE has placed in your sphere of influence. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Mother's Day" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

How many times have you failed?

If you are anything like me, you lay in bed and think about the day that you just experienced.  You replay moments with your kids.  Good or Bad.  And usually I feel like I had a great day or boy did I mess up!

Mother’s Day was a mess up….big time!

It started out fairly early, kids thought 5:45am was a grand entrance into the day.

I had planned a busy day, church and then home to get ready for family coming over to celebrate.  We were getting together for Mother’s Day and my son’s 3rd birthday.

I tend to over plan and over think.  See, I really want things to be nice…okay really I want them to be perfect.  I want to make and decorate a homemade cake, have a delicious meal, plus have the house looking clean and decorated for the party.

My kids are 3,2 and 1…so they tend to tear down the streamers, take off the decorative stickers, and not allow me uninterrupted time to decorate the cake.  The cherry on top was they all decided to not nap, which did not help my situation.

The clock was ticking, and I was becoming irritated, short, and basically ugly.  And I was directing all of this behavior toward my kiddos.

For the love, it was Mother’s Day.  I wasn’t even acting like those Hallmark cards depict a mother to be.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed” Proverbs 31:28….was far from what these kids would call me at this point.

And then it happened….that moment…straight from the movies…

The kids all came into the kitchen, homemade cards and gifts in hand.  “HAPPY MOTHERS DAY” they said…with lots of hugs and kisses.

And it hit me.



They forgave me so easily.  They were not forced, or asked, or even manipulated. 
That just forgave me and loved me, just because I was their mom.


What a great reminder of God’s gift of forgiveness towards us.

He just forgives us, plain and simple.

No matter how many times we fail, and believe me I do it a lot.

 We are forgiven by our Savior…just because He loves us.

Psalm 86:5 “For you, Lord, are good and ready to forgive…”