Thursday, July 31, 2014

GOT Wisdom??

For the Lord gives wisdom;    from his mouth come knowledge
      and understanding. 
- Proverbs 2:6

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
-James 1:5

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. 
- Proverbs 4:6-7 

 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
 - James 3:17

 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding 
- Proverbs 3:13

As we approach this next school year many decisions will come across your family "desk" and need answers:

What sports or clubs should your kiddos join?

Home School, Christian, or Public Education?

Which Bible Studies should you join/lead?

Is it ok to say NO when everyone else is saying YES?

Decisions, decisions, decisions! Lots to be made and yet the answer is very simple:
Seek God for the answers!

 HE wants to direct you in wisdom and understanding! 

What decisions are you making right now & in need of understanding?

Get alone with God, spend time in His Word, and ask for direction. 

God is so faithful to meet us with an answer, a promise (scripture) to stand on - hold to - cling to - during the year - when satan wants to sift us - questioning the decision HE guided us to! 

HE loves you much, has GREAT plans for your family, and longs to help you make the best decision possible. Seek Him my friend! Journal the answer, and refer to it in times of need!  




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Moment by Moment

Many are the plans in a man’s heart. Proverbs 19:21

This is the verse that we had for our devotions this morning.  The story in our new devotional went like this:  Alex let a stray cat into the house because he felt sorry for it meowing outside.  Daddy had to get it out and shoo it away.  Daddy taught Alex that he should not do that again as they wouldn’t know what that cat would have done in the home.  “We should ask God what to do as He will be glad to show us the right way to act.”

I need to ask God how to act on a moment by moment basis!  “God, please show me how to act in this moment.”  Sometimes my frustration with something the kids do leads me to yell at them.  I don’t want to be a momma who yells, who loses my self-control because my three-year old dropped yogurt on the kitchen table (and on her clothes, and all over her mouth…).  I would rather instruct with love and kindness.  That will happen when I’m in God’s word seeking His help.


Let’s do it while we teach our kids the same.  God gives us the opportunity to make the right choice, let’s keep each other in prayer today to do so!  Hide God’s word in your heart, momma and use them as a shield, as your help to get through the crazy stuff that pops up.  I’ve already had PLENTY while writing this! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Go & Make Disciples

Yesterday was a great day! My kids have recently introduced themselves to our backyard neighbor and decided he will be their "friend." They love going out back to play and talk to this new friend, Mr. Jack, as he rebuilds his worn down tiki hut. They talk through the fence and bring out candy to bless him. 

I decided to go out back too, as I watched my middle son climbing the tree higher in order to engage in conversation with Mr. Jack. Introducing myself to our neighbor, I just listened to his story. A story we all have, but different in the details. A life story. One that tells who we are, where we have been, and what is important to us.


As I listened, he shared of his son who worked for Apple and passed away five years ago. Of his own life and how he ended up in Naples. He asked how we wound up in Naples, and I shared our story. 

He brightened my day as he told me about his first encounter with my kiddos. My youngest, through the fence, had asked if Mr. Jack had a Bible or if he knew God. Our neighbor shared that he was curious what our family was all about. So yesterday I got to share with him about the ministry God has called our family to in planting a church. As I talked, my kids came running out with candy galore to share with our neighbor as they ate a few pieces too! 

Afterwards, I walked back inside so revived and renewed in heart. My kids are getting it. It's all about Jesus and how we can spur on those around us to knowing Him. Some days I question what fruit there is in their lives- as they fight like cats and dogs- and then, the Lord blesses me with a little conversation with our neighbor that reminds me it's all worth it. They are getting it, little by little, each day. And putting it into practice as they love our neighbor with candy and conversation.

What a good lesson for me to slow down, and see those people beyond the fence - that HE has strategically placed in my life to hear Truth. He wants me (and my kiddos) to be the vessel in which they experience His love. 

What a great day! What a great time of encouragement! They are getting it! They are impacting others! One day at a time! Be patient, friend, as you invest into their little lives! 

What is one way your family could bless your neighbors this week? Baking? Bringing up their garbage cans? Engaging in conversations with them? These all lead to sharing Truth! 

 The Lord has a great plan for Mr. Jack...and your kiddos too!

As we make disciples - our kids will be as well. How cool, right!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Capture the Moment

                          
With each child you have, you capture less and less milestones on film. Not because you want to but because your hands are trying to maintain the others through the process. Yesterday was HUGE for the Seawell Family. Quinn, our little girl who is one, walked across the floor, with many steps, to me!  And we got it on film! Our iPhones were ready, and she was too! The boys stood around cheering her on and it was a beautiful moment for our whole family. 

We sat down as a family, using Apple TV, and threw the video onto the flat screen. Then we scrolled threw the other videos on my phone and watched them up there too! Sweet memories flooded my heart as I noticed a video capturing a time before my oldest lost his front teeth. Another video caught my middle singing a birthday song to his Daddy. I loved each moment we have shared together as a family. 

I was convicted that I hadn't taken more footage of the kiddos. I need to SLOW down and commit to take at least one video of the kids each week. Which really will be once a month, but it will be more than now. I don't want to look back wishing I had taken more. 

How are you with capturing the "moments" of the life of your little ones?? Videos? Photos?

Make a plan to SLOW down and capture some memories you will cherish tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Slow Down & Paint



It seems like my middle child has been especially challenging lately. We are going through a stage of whining, talking back, and just plain out struggling. Well moms, you know that as your child goes through a "stage" ...we do too! It is called pruning, where there lessons are weaved throughout our day as we make choices on how to handle our little ones.

I have been pruned lately.

I learned a very important lesson the other day. He needs some alone time with me. My middle asked if I would paint with him. Many other things flooded my docket for the day, but I felt the nudge from God to slow down and savor this moment. So, I picked up my brush and found it to be such a refreshing time. Talking to him as we chose what to draw on our blank canvas of computer paper, our conversation was very regular but it meant the world to him.

I need to do this more often. It didn't have to be something crazy expensive. Just quality time with my son. Something that costs me nothing, but means everything to him. It was a deposit into his little life that gives weight and room for when those "struggle conversations" come.

I need to do it more. I need to plan for those painting moments each week. Schedule them in. Allow him to have some alone time with just me. This time gives way for him to share about their interests and cares uninterrupted by my other two! 

How are you doing in this area?

Do you have some alone time scheduled in for each of your kids? Struggling or not, they need to have those moments to be open and honest with you while doing something fun!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Teaching them to Remember!

   
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         In our Bible study this week, we had a day of study called, “Remembrance.”  It was a study of recalling the character of God.  The passage was particularly focused on how God dealt with the people of Moses as he lead them in the desert on their way to the Promised Land.
         We talked about how Moses would set up memorials whenever they recognized God's miraculous hand in their circumstances.  Moses would gather rocks and stack them so the Israelites would not forget God’s goodness.
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         I asked the girls if they had any traditions within their families in which they “remembered” what God did for them personally.  Here are a few of the ways the girls “remember” what God has done. 
         One friend has a large bowl on her coffee table.  As God blesses their family they write on a stone the attribute or a circumstance God did a miracle.
         Another gal shared how every year they find a perfect Christmas ornament to reflect what God had taught them during that year.  Each year as they decorate their tree they review with their children what each ornament represents.
         I loved the creativity of a friend that said her family records answers to prayer and ways they see God work during the year.  They write them on small little “scrolls” and keep them in a glass jar.  On New Year’s Eve they open these scrolls together and remember what God has taught them.
         There were still other suggestions on how these gals encourage their families to “remember!”  I can assure you if we don’t find ways to remember the faithfulness, the goodness, and the miracles of God, we will forget.
         There are only two options we will either remember of forget!  Let's help our children remember!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Forgetting the Past

                                - Philippians 3:12-14-

I love these couple of verses. Oh how often, we moms, need to read this. Ponder on this and be renewed by this. Forgetting the past and looking forward. As moms, we like perfection, and we forget that it isn't possible here on earth. We are running a race, and will fall down many times before we reach the finish line. But our Heavenly Father is watching every step we make, and cheering us on as we seek to raise up little ones who know who HE is. HE is your biggest fan.



I once heard a quote...
"When satan reminds you of your past...you remind him of his future!"

Today is a brand new day. 

What do you need to "forget" from the past ...in order to move forward in the future?

Jesus loves you!

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Complete Submission


Horray! The 4th of July celebrations outside our windows finally calmed down when all of a sudden our (nearly) 3 year-old daughter woke up screaming!  “My ear hurts, my ear hurts, Aouww Mommy AWWOO, it huuurts!!”  After trying to calm and remedy this tough-girl’s pain I took her to the ER.  Although it was 4th of July, there was hardly anyone in there, praise God.  Even so, Jordan made it quite clear that she did NOT want to be there… and I’m sure everyone in the whole hospital could hear her wailing it! 

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

After seeing the ER doctor we had a nightmare experience.  I found myself sitting on the bed with Jordan, holding her legs down with my legs, my arms holding hers while two nurses with needles on each side shot her with antibiotics in each leg at the same time.  It was awful!  Yet although she wanted to go home, wanted to go see daddy, wanted to desperately get some sleep at that late hour, she was submissive, I could feel it in her body.  Although it hurt her, she had to go through the pain of the moment to get to the relief of healing.  Hmmm, isn’t this like us with God sometimes?  He has to lovingly hold us down so we can get the shot of “good medicine” we need even if it hurts for a moment, we will reap the benefits of being still and submitting to His authority. 



My little girl taught me a lot that night.  He made her so strong (her personality and physically, too) yet able to submit when necessary. After all, aren’t all of life’s lessons here on this earth helping us personally get to know the character of our loving God and thereafter be in His presence for eternity, in Heaven?

Lord, thank YOU for teaching us so much through the experiences we go through with our children.  They are definitely a blessing from You.  We worship You.  We praise You.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Brush Off & Make a Plan for Next Time


Yesterday was the church picnic immediately following service. We rushed to our car, grabbed our goodies, and made our way to Pavilion #1. Honestly my flesh was tired and worn, exhausted and hot, but I knew it would be refreshing once I got there. Goodness, it was so very hot! Summer is crazy in south Florida!

As I managed with three kiddos to make my way towards the picnic tables, my oldest ran ahead. I was relieved with one less kid and perused slowly with all my garb until I got up there. But I made it. Only a few moments after getting settled, I found that my oldest had released the balloons placed as a reminder for families to know where it was. I continued on and ate my plate full of yummies, trying not to let the flies ruin my time :) 

The food was delish and the fellowship was great. We talked about life and what God was doing in the lives of others. As we got packed up and into our car, my husband approached me and shared that my oldest (struggling again) had thrown in some of the older boy's fishing gear into the pond because they wouldn't include him in their activity.

On my drive home I pondered. It seems like that is a common thread in some of my recent posts. But honestly, that is the time where kids are buckled in, settled down, watching a video, that I can really think about things uninterrupted. Anyways, I digress. But I thought about how my child must look to others. I thought about what kind of parent I am. How I am struggling to make it with my special needs child. I had a choice. I could either wallow in the struggles of the day OR I could make a plan for next month's picnic to make sure the same doesn't happen again. Although I am sure satan doesn't like that at all. He wants me to stay down and despaired - hoping I do less ministry - if my mind is occupied on my "failings" as a mom instead of the things of God.

The balloons and fishing gear are a very typical occurrence with my oldest. Struggles with him are a regular right now, in this season. But he also has really great characteristics as well, that so often get overlooked by his layers of struggles so easily seen. He loves Jesus. He loves to pray. Loves to learn new things and help others. He loves to buy others gifts with money he has earned or been given. But there still are those struggles we need to work on. 

So I have decided that with each struggle that surfaces we will try to find a solution. Weaving those amazing characteristics he has -into those conversations as we strive to find a solution for our weaknesses with others. I am not going to allow satan to win at making me feel defeated. I am going to meditate 
on Philippians 4:8....

and make a plan to succeed through our struggles. Make a list of things that could help my son overcome some of those struggles that seem so constantly to come up in his relationships with other kids. Yesterday wasn't the end. It was just the beginning. The beginning of meditating on truth and speaking it out to my son in love. Making a plan, following it through and seeing fruit in the future.

How are you doing with living out Philippians 4:8 with your kiddos? 

How did this blog speak to you today? What do you think God wants you to do about it?

Friday, July 18, 2014

What Are You Wearing?

 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. - Colossians 3:12-14

I love having a little girl. It is so much fun picking cute frilly things for her to wear, especially since I have two boys! Girls are different. We can accessorize. Play dress up. Have fun. We typically pay more attention to what we put on than boys.

I pay a lot of attention to what my kids put on each day before leaving the house. Nothing with holes in it or stains on it are allowed :) I am concerned with what they put on. But many times I miss the mark with what I put on. 

The above verse says to clothe myself in love. Not my love, but HIS love. A much more beautiful experience for others as they encounter HIS love vs. my fleshly one. I need to make sure each morning I am spending time in His love (the Word) so I can properly show it to others (my kids included) I encounter each day.

I read Colossians 3:12-14 the other night and it really resonated with me. I need to forgive more. I need to forgive with love more. I need compassion. Forgive quickly and completely just like Jesus does for me. This can definitely be a challenge, as a mom, when your kiddo seems to be struggling with the same sin day after day without a heart of repentance. But God doesn't give limitations on forgiveness. He just says do it! 

It's challenging, isn't it? 

HE knew it would be and that's why HE instructs us in the Word to put on LOVE, as a garment each day. If I put on LOVE, HIS love, each day, it sure would impact how my heart would push forgiveness. 

As I read Colossians 3, God challenged me with forgiveness, true forgiveness, with my kids.

How is HE challenging you?



Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Jacob's Turning 4" by Guest Blogger Shona Baselice

In just a few days our youngest son will turn four and where excitement should be there is sadness.  I thought we’d be further along in this journey of Cerebral Palsy!  I thought God would have done more by now!

“Will we ever see him run Lord or wrestle with friends?  Hear him sing or tell jokes like his grandpa?  Will he always need leg braces, hand splints, and bath chairs?  Will You ever fix what’s broken in him?”

I know that God can heal him with one word or a touch.  I just don’t know if He will.  That’s hard for me to say.  Pain runs deep at the thought, but in the pain I hear my Lord speak.  He whispers His love and comfort over me and reminds me of a boy much like ours.

John 9:1-3
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

Sadness begins to fade as salve is applied to this heart that just needed help to see.  It’s all for His glory, this road that we walk, being parents of a child with a disability.  It’s a platform upon which He is displayed with every tiny victory, and even with every failure.  Whether physical healing should come, whether it tarry, or whether it should not touch our precious boy this side of heaven - I know this road will not be easy…but what road worth walking ever is?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Heavenly Perspective



Hebrews 12:2 
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.


We moved to Tennessee about 7 months ago which put us here right in the middle of winter.  Needless to say this took a bit of adjusting to for our Florida family.  As the weather has warmed it has allowed us to do lots of familiar fun summer activities again.  

I’m sure you can list a number of outings your family has experienced and maybe even a few you have planned and yet to do.  The other night as I was praying with my children I was feeling overwhelmingly blessed by all that we’ve been a part of: swim team, cabins, play dates, fellowship with new mammas, friends visiting, family visiting, etc. While all of this I cherish and wouldn’t change, my prayer took a turn I didn’t see coming.     

My prayer went something like this.  Lord, I thank you for all that our family has been able to do this summer, we are truly grateful, but Lord, I pray that none of it compare to the feeling we get from serving and spending time with You.  Lord please help us not to get caught up in this world and all that it offers but instead be satisfied and excited by You and You alone.  Lord please allow us to be mindful of serving others in the midst of our fun and to remember You Lord can be seen and revealed in all of our situations.  

Have you reminded your children lately that in the midst of their fun, there God is.  Have you taken a break from your summer fun and made a special day devoted to serving others?  Have you been able to keep a heavenly perspective this summer and taken it a step further to share what this looks like with your children?  I know I needed to get back on track with this, maybe it's time for you too? 

Psalm 63:1-5
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.  My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast.  I will praise you with songs of joy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Exposed

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2 (NIV)

It was a beautiful tree. It had big lush green leaves, a winding trunk, and big fuscia-pink flowers. It provided the perfect amount of privacy from my kitchen table to the front street. I loved to sit at the kitchen table of my old house and look out toward that tree and the beautiful landscaping around it. It was such a peaceful, quiet time spot for me. Well, one day the landscapers came to “spruce thing up” as they made their rounds through the neighborhood mowing loans, trimming hedges, and shaping trees. They usually did a good job, except they always cut the trees back too low…I thought they were just being careless and lazy…just making sure they didn’t have to trim the trees often.

On this particular day, I made a special note reminding myself to ask the landscaper to trim the tree slightly so it did not look haggard by the time he left. Well, I heard them coming as they were making their way from the neighbor’s yard to my yard. One guy was cutting the grass, so I figured I had a few minutes before I needed to make my way outside. I didn’t. I went to complete a task only to come back and find that another guy had come at the same time to trim the tree and the hedges.

Sticks were the only things left of this beautiful tree. It was beyond hideous! Not a single flower or green leaf was left. How could they call this landscaping?! I was mad. So mad that I let the landscaper know how frustrated I was that he had just butchered my tree. There was no more privacy. As I sat at the kitchen table for quiet time, my neighbors going on their morning walk would look toward my direction and wave. Ahhhhh! I was frustrated!

BUT the strangest thing happened: after a couple of weeks of sun and rain, that tree started to bloom from the inside out. Green leaves, buds, and flowers had sprouted up all over the barren branches. It turns out that even though that tree was bountiful on the outside, the inside was barren and needed some sun and rain. The inner branches had to be exposed in order to bear flowers.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt pruned to the max? Like God had given you too many burdens, too much pain? Have you ever felt barren or exposed or vulnerable? I have! I can name quite a few times: when my brother and dad died, when we miscarried our second child, when my husband disappointed me, when I felt like my kids were testing me to my limits, when we had to short sale our house.

BUT God was faithful through it all, and just like that tree, He produced fruit and spiritual muscles in my life that I did not have before. Some of those times of trial had produced an incredible surge in my spiritual growth. If you know someone who is going through a tough time, where they feel completely pruned, or if you are going through a tough time of pruning, I want to encourage you that God will transform the haggard brokenness into beauty.

Challenge: Do you know someone who is hurting? How can you better serve them? Remember that one of the best things you can do for them is to remember them in your prayers. Stand in the gap for them. Pray that God will shower them with his Son and the light that only He can give.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you love us so much. In fact your Word says that you are love. Yet you often allow seasons of pain and pruning in our lives that we don’t understand. Please hold us when we need it the most. Shower us with the love of your Son. Rain your Holy Spirit on us so that we may know that you are near. Help us to be soothing balm to those who are hurting and feeling exposed. Help us to not just pray for our own needs, but for the needs of others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further reading: John 15:1-17

***This is a repost of an earlier blog last April, but I am reposting it because rereading it has encouraged me greatly. Once again, my family and I are in a season of intense pruning. I do not like the process, but I find myself thanking God for the results. I have grown in so many ways, and I am so thankful that I am not the woman that I used to be. I pray that this blog post blesses you today.

In His love,
Teresa

Monday, July 14, 2014

HIS Best. HIS Direction. His Wisdom.

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." -2 Corinthians 10:35
 
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend that left me frustrated and concerned. But as I drove home, I knew within the chatter there was some truth weaved in as well. She shared many of my weaknesses as a mom. It was hard to receive. It wasn't sandwiched between love, or those things she thought I was doing well, as those of us school teachers have learned to do in conferences :) 
 
I realized that in all of my conversations in life there is chatter and truth. This opened my eyes to my deep need to seek Him daily for discernment in my conversations. Many want to speak into our lives, and if our hearts are ready to receive and discern it will be much easier to swallow when those hard conversations come. 
 
As a mom, many times, it seems so many want to speak into exactly what they think we should/shouldn't be doing. Placing their convictions on us. Unfortunately we do this too!
Sometimes it's hard. Stop and seek Him for HIS best. HIS direction. HIS wisdom.

In my quiet time daily, I ask Him for discernment to decipher between chatter and Truth. Those voices that want desperately to change what HE is doing in our lives. And those voices that want to direct us back to the path HE has for our lives as well. One is from the pit of hell and the other is from the Spirit of God. That's why HE tells us to take every thought captive unto Christ. 

Have you had a lot of people speaking into your life lately? 

What do you think HE is saying to you as a mom?
 
Get alone before God. Bring your Bible and ask God.
 
Ask for His best. His direction. His wisdom. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Keeping Us Connected This Summer

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

I love how God knows what we need and whispers truth into our ears by way of friends, family, and blogs. Yep I said it. Blogs. I found this blog tonight and thought it was very insightful for those of us feeling bored with summer and wanting to keep our family connected with some fun! Enjoy and click the link below!

http://lysaterkeurst.com/2014/03/practical-ways-to-keep-your-family-connected/


What did you learn from that blog? How will your summer look different because of it!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Please RESTORE ME Jesus

You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
You will restore me to even greater honor 
and comfort me once again.
-Psalm 71:20-21
I love scripture. It meets me where I am at, and reminds me of where I am going. It shines light on who I am and how HE sees me...when my enemy whispers craziness that tells otherwise. 

The above verse did that for me this week. The Lord tells how HE allowed me to suffer hardship but will restore me to life again and lift me up. Sometimes those "depths" can feel so heavy, right? He promises to comfort me. What peace there is in that alone. When I look to my left and right, and find a bunch of chatter that doesn't make me feel better about my circumstance... I can look to His Word, His comfort that will bring about restoration like no other. 

Restore: to bring back into existence or use. 
                Synonyms: renew & revive 

HE will bring me back into "use" for Kingdom business. When I feel exiled and raw with emotion. When I feel alone and undone. HE promises to renew me. Revive me. What sweet words to a heart that is heavy. 


After spending time alone with Christ our outlook is different. Our hope is restored. Our eyes back on the prize...heaven. Our hands looking for people to help. Our feel looking for places to serve. Our lives a true reflection of His Spirit overflowing.


Being a mom is tiring, trying, and exhausting. But it is a gift and a role entrusted to us. We must be renewed daily in order to spill truth into our little ones. As the chatter in this life is loud, we must set aside quiet time to hear those true words of who we are in Him. How HE sees us. How much HE has in store for us. 


Be still and know that HE is God! 


Name one 'hardship' you need restoration with. Bring it before God and ask Him to revive you.  


Open your hands and release the crazy and watch Him work. 


Spend time with Him each morning, and allow His Word to refresh you. Journal what HE says!


HE loves you so much and sees it all. 

HE knows your heart. HE wants to help! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

DON'T MISS IT

ROMANS 1:20
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

     One of my very inquisitive children asked me when she was very small, "mommy, how do people who live in other countries that don't know about Jesus find out" I answered, "Well, honey some people devote their life to going to other countries to tell others about Jesus." To which she came back with, "What if they don't get there in time and the person dies?" Well......

    I was missing it! God gave me so much to answer her with and I had missed the opportunity. This summer my younger children and I had been tending to a garden that we had planted last summer and noticed some baby caterpillars living on the dill.I knew the dill would ultimately die but I decided I would not miss this opportunity. We went out every day to observe the caterpillars growing and even did some sketches and took pictures to compare their growth. When we thought they couldn't get any bigger (and the dill was dead) we captured about 8 of them and watched as they built their chrysalis. after a few weeks we let the beautiful butterflies go and watched as they ascended their first flight right off our hands. It was a beautiful picture of how Jesus can take us from a wormy caterpillar state and change us into a beautiful butterfly. I explained to them how God uses His nature to speak to us and after each flight we prayed thanking God for His beautiful creation.

    Mom's I pray you use this summer time with your little ones to spend quality time with them. Take advantage of each opportunity to show them the gifts of the Lord and enjoy them as a gift to you! :)



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Speaking Strengths into Your Child’s Heart

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

Every night when my husband puts our kids to bed, he lays his hands on them and prays out loud, thanking God for their strengths.  He will pray "Thank You, Lord, for my son, Zack, whom You have given to me, who has a pure heart of love for people of all ages, and a great business mind," or "Thank You, Lord, that my beautiful daughter, Calgary, exercised her gift of leadership in school today by ..."


My children will never doubt that my husband believes in them or wonder what their strengths are. This simple, consistent act has helped shape their Godfidence (confidence in God's involvement in their lives), given them direction in making choices for their lives, and ensured that their "Daddy" love tank has been filled up!  (Mommy has a separate tank but that is for another blog post!) 


Each child is created uniquely by our wonderful Father in heaven for a specific purpose He has planned for them.  I encourage you to ask God what your children's strengths are and begin consistently reminding them of those strengths.  Children need to grasp to Whom they belong (rooted in Him), and know how He has gifted them (wings to fly.)





Restore Me


You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
    but you will restore me to life again
    and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 
You will restore me to even greater honor
    and comfort me once again.

- Psalm 71:20-21

I love scripture. It meets me where I am at, and reminds me of where I am going. It shines light on who I am and how HE sees me...when my enemy whispers craziness that tells otherwise. 

The above verse did that for me this week. The Lord tells how HE allowed me to suffer hardship but will restore me to life again and lift me up. Sometimes those "depths" can feel so heavy, right? He promises to comfort me. What peace there is in that alone. When I look to my left and right, and find a bunch of chatter that doesn't make me feel better about my circumstance... I can look to His Word, His comfort that will bring about restoration like no other. 

Restore: to bring back into existence or use. 
                Synonyms: renew & revive 

HE will bring me back into "use" for Kingdom business. When I feel exiled and raw with emotion. When I feel alone and undone. HE promises to renew me. Revive me. What sweet words to a heart that is heavy. 

After spending time alone with Christ our outlook is different. Our hope is restored. Our eyes back on the prize...heaven. Our hands looking for people to help. Our feel looking for places to serve. Our lives a true reflection of His Spirit overflowing.

Being a mom is tiring, trying, and exhausting. But it is a gift and a role entrusted to us. We must be renewed daily in order to spill truth into our little ones. As the chatter in this life is loud, we must set aside quiet time to hear those true words of who we are in Him. How HE sees us. How much HE has in store for us. 

Be still and know that HE is God! 

Name one 'hardship' you need restoration with.
Bring it before God and ask Him to revive you.  

Open your hands and release the crazy and watch Him work. 

Spend time with Him each morning, and allow His Word to refresh you. Journal what HE says!

HE loves you so much and sees it all. HE knows your heart. HE wants to help! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Celebrate Their Differences!

For you created me in my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days of my life ordained for me were written in your book before one of the came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139: 13-18

My three kids are so very different from each other. On the outside they have surprisingly similar features: same complexion, same curly hair, same eyebrows even, BUT on the inside…Whoa, are they different!

My oldest son is so sweet and incredibly silly at the same time. He is never in a rush, and I sincerely believe that he thinks life is his playground. He is super smart and talkative…and he always thinks he is right. (Dare I say, he’s a little like me in that respect. Ouch!)

My middle son is thoughtful, intense, “before his time”…a bit precocious. He is athletic, smart, and determined. Never quits…a figure-it-out kind of guy. But he needs his rest or he can be a beast. Yikes!

My youngest child is “so stinkin’ cute” (as her brothers would say). She is our little princess that packs a punch…literally. She is sweet and smart, incredibly cute, but that girl was born with a double-dose of feistiness. That little girl knows what she wants…and what she doesn’t want!

However, I caught myself sinning recently in the way I was relating to my oldest son. I was comparing him to his younger brother instead of allowing him to be who God created him to be. I want to encourage their gifts and help them grow and work through their differences. At the end of the day, I want them to KNOW that I love them incredibly, immeasurably even if they made a myriad of mistakes and bad choices that day. I want to love them into the men and women God has created them to be.

Yet, I caught myself essentially telling my oldest son that he needed to be a little more like his younger brother—persistent, not easy to give up, figure it out instead of immediately asking for help, stop complaining! All good attributes, but he did NOT need me to constantly remind of him of what his younger brother was doing right and what he was doing wrong.

I needed to correct my oldest Doodlebug without outwardly (or inwardly/secretly) hoping he would be a little more like his younger brother. TRUST ME, his younger brother has his own set of issues. I needed to teach him lovingly, gently, and consistently.

Consider some of the men and women in the Bible and their strengths and weaknesses: Moses, Daniel, David, Solomon, Job, Deborah, Ruth, Mary, Rahab, Paul. They each had some great qualities, but they also had their hang-ups or weaknesses. Some of their weaknesses are even recorded in Scripture for us to read about and learn from.

Yet, each one of them had a God-divined purpose—a special plan set in place by our Heavenly Father to use their gifts, their personalities, even their quirks and weaknesses for His glory. The same is true for our children. God made them different on purpose. He has a special plan for them. Some of the very things we find annoying or frustrating may be the very things God uses in an incredible way. When we allow them to blossom into who God has made them to be, when we love them for who they are NOW and not just for who they will be, we will see our children in a whole new light. We will see them as Jesus sees them…wonderfully and beautifully made.

Let’s pray


Abba Father, Thank you for blessing us with children. Children that challenge us and force us to examine ourselves. Children that show us more of you. Children that force us to press into you for wisdom and guidance. Thank you for their little personalities (or big ones), their gifts, and their talents. We even thank you for their weaknesses…because we trust that you will work it out all out for your glory. Help us to teach them and train them in righteousness and to constantly show them your love. Help us not compare our children to each other, but allow them to be who you have made them to be…beautiful inside and out. 
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Include ME!!

He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Luke 10:27

Yesterday our family ventured out to Naples' beach to watch fireworks along with thousands of others. It was a task to get everyone ready and prepped for the outing. I was tired and not wanting to go, but my mind kept bringing to my attention that we are making sweet memories with our kids...even when it seems taxing to us as parents! We stopped by Publix and picked up some food and water. We brought tons of toys to play with and set up our chairs. Finally relaxing with the fam...aaaaagggghh. It was nice to finally sit down and relax. 

The beach was packed with people. Laughing, relaxing, and enjoying life. Building memories, creating community, and celebrating our freedom. Then I received a text from a friend of mine who is single wanting to join us. What an opportunity to allow her to be apart of our (sometimes crazy & wacky) family when hers is far away. She drove down, weaved through traffic to find a parking spot to come and hang with us. What a gift. For her. But more so for us. I was able to listen to her life story and hear what God is doing in her life. 

God wants us to make memories and do fun things with our kids. HE also wants us to keep our eyes peered for those people without family close by and include them into those plans. My sweet friend thanked me a ton afterward the fireworks, and I realized she was a gift to us by her coming to hang with our family. It was a simple invite, into plans we already had made. Simple. Fun. What Jesus would do! Something I want to do more often and need to be intentional about... just including those without family to experience the amazing and true love of the body of Christ. 

Keep your eyes open for those people without family close by and include them into an outing your family has planned. It will mean the world to them, and also teach your kiddos about loving others the way Jesus would!

Has God put anyone in your path this week that you can invite over for dinner? Crazy family dinners to  us - are sweet and fun for others to take part in! Especially when their own family is far away! Include them! It will mean more than you know!


Friday, July 4, 2014

The Shard Taunt

         I have always detested that sing songy taunt, “Na Na Na Na Boo Boo.” As a child I remember myself “singing” it to my brothers or neighbors or church friends complete with the “exclamation mark” of my tongue stuck out!  How hateful I was. I mean, what was I thinking?
         This week as I studied Nehemiah (no this isn’t an old post it just happens to be a study the Lord knows I haven’t learned yet) I was reminded of the opposition the Israelites faced as they built the wall.  Yes, their opposition was from their enemies but it was also from within.
         Their fellow Jewish relatives were name-calling.  They called them “feeble” or “pathetic.”
         I was grateful I had just studied this when a friend and I chatted this week.  She shared how someone within her church had verbally attacked her following service.  This lady told my friend all that she should be doing and what she wasn’t doing for her children and the ministry.  I was appalled that my friend had been accused of such things!
         My humble friend graciously acknowledged that this gal was really an encourager.  She also recognized that within this girl’s verbal assault there may be a shard of truth.
Shards of Glass ~ A Google Image
         The Israelites had to come to terms with the shard of truth that the accusation that they were “feeble” was in some ways true.  Only a small amount of people were attempting to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and those who were rebuilding the wall didn’t have the knowledge or the experience.
         The accusation that the Israelites were “feeble” had great potential to cause self-doubt.  It was as if those words threw a dagger into their self-confidence. They could have believed the hateful taunt of their fellow brothers or they could consider how to deal with this harsh indictment.
         Moms, my friend was accused of not being involved in the right things at church.  She was accused of not parenting her children correctly.  She was told how to care for her children and her responsibilities.  My point is this, as much as it hurt to hear these complaints, she was willing to consider the shard.
         How about me?  How about you?  Do you examine the complaint that is thrown at you and consider what part actually holds an element of truth. 
         God’s people felt the pain of the hateful taunt but they (like my friend) asked what part was true.  They chose not to stop rebuilding the wall but to deal with the issue that needed changing.
        
Google Image
As we mother our babes we must accept the truth that we are “feeble.”  We do need help. We don’t have to run from the “Na Na Na Na Boo Boo” taunt.  Many of us have great support systems that we should utilize.  All of us have access to the One who is neither feeble or weak.  He is strong and all wise.  He can give us the guidance and the blueprint we need.

Nehemiah 4: 2
"...What are those feeble Jews doing?  Will they restore their wall?...Will they finish in a day?..."