Saturday, August 30, 2014

HE Delights in YOU!

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
I read this today and was reminded- even in those moments I feel alone - that :
God is with me!
HE takes great delight in me! 
HE will quiet me with His love.  Sometimes life can seem so loud but in the quiet it will be His love that quiets my impatient and worrisome heart. As a mom, I need to carve out the "quiet"  in order to be reminded of these truths.
How is your quiet time these days?
Do you need to be reminded of His truth?
Carve out some time this week with your Heavenly Father who delights in YOU!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Just Gratitude!


I’m grateful for our only one in the nest.
I’m grateful for her on going maturity.
I’m grateful that she can hear music.
I’m grateful that she can follow the beats.
I’m grateful she remembers the sequence of her steps.
I’m grateful she has found her love in dance.

I’m grateful the Lord has never left my side.
I’m grateful we have lived to this day.
I’m grateful that at this moment it is easier than it was for so many years.
I’m grateful I can trust the Lord.

I’m grateful He knew what it would take to get me to this day.
I’m grateful He hasn’t given up on me or my motherhood.


Thus begins my day as a mother of 24 years…just gratitude!

Psalm 57: 10 - 11
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Teaching Us Lessons Causes Trust to Form

I am teaching you today - yes, you - 
so you will trust in the Lord. 
- Proverbs 22:19

This scripture was in my quiet time this morning and I found it to be so true in the season of life I am in. Many days are filled, it seems, with lessons. I am learning about parenting as well as the heart of my kids... and mine as well. 

As lessons flow into my life, from the hand of God, I am learning more and more about trusting in His sovereign plan for my life. As He teachings ...I must trust. 

What is HE teaching you today?

Are you trusting in His sovereignty? 


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eager to get there

Last Monday Matthew started his first day of VPK (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten).  I was unsure about how Matthew really felt about going to school but in an instant all of my insecurities vanished and turned to confidence when I heard Matthew’s eagerness to get to his school.  
They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side. 2 Chronicles 15:15

Even though we live about seven minutes away from his school, I didn’t take into account the well-planned-out times of school zoning around here.  Since we were super early I stopped into a shopping center to “waste” a couple of minutes.  I got out my Bible and read the kids a verse or two then from the backseat I heard, “Mommy, can we go to my school now?”  My nerves were put at ease, my prayer answered and our journey to the school resumed.  
And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  Luke 22:15

Are we eager to get there?  I mean to heaven.  Heaven is a real place and it’s SO AWESOME!  I’ve been reading a book* lately on the subject of heaven and it has really opened my eyes to how much Scripture tells us about our eternal home.  Am I eager to share what I’ve learned with others?  Are you?  Just like the well-planned-out school zoning times, God has perfectly planned out the time when we will “enter in” and enjoy eternity.  
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.  Romans 8:19

Another quick note:  Each day when I pick up Matthew from school I ask him what he learned (he is only there three hours.) A few times he says he didn’t remember what he learned or what they did!  WHAT!? Can’t remember?  Then it hit me, wow, how many times do we go to church and then almost immediately forget what we just learned?  
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.  Acts 17:11

*Book: Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

If I Pray...

"So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
- Romans 15:13

Three truths the Lord showed me in my quiet time today:
IF I PRAY
It's so easy to do everything quickly and efficiently these days, but why does it seem so hard to push pause and pray? So many things pull for our attention, but true change - in heart and deed- happens when we are still before Him for answers and direction. We have been praying for the past few weeks about school, therapy, and how to disciple our kids - especially my most challenging child.  Many days it has SEEMED as if God has been quiet with little direction. But I have felt led to just be still before Him and wait.

GOD WILL GIVE ME HOPE 
Yesterday our answer came - in such an unlikely way too! My son was at his occupational therapy evaluation at a new place when the doctor overseeing us suggested we check out a new place, Brain Balance (nationally known) that is coming soon to Naples, our home town, so we did! What an awesome encouragement - the testimonials were-  on their website to a mom of a child with Asbergers! We are checking them out as I type! I prayed for it, and here was my HOPE!

HE WILL KEEP ME HAPPY & FULL OF PEACE
God promises that If I pray the result will be a life that is happy and full of peace. How true this is and convicting at the same time. I need to pause throughout my busy day, full of balancing life with three kiddos, and ask for HOPE, HAPPINESS, and PEACE. It is three things that will help me especially in those times when I want to throw in the towel. HE hasn't forgotten about me, HE hears my prayers, and like any good father wants to see me full of happiness and peace. But the only path to those three things STARTS with prayer. 

HE heard my prayers for a new beginning full of hope and peace - as we start our school year. The answer didn't come immediately, but HE doesn't promise that it will! My heart has such a hard time with patience, but I must remember how HE works behind the scenes making the perfect connections for my life. Sometimes it takes a little while, but it is well worth the wait as it brings such indescribable peace. We are excited to move forward and follow His direction as we seek Him in prayer daily - and watch Him work! How about you?

Do you feel sluggish lately, in a slump in need of peace and happiness?

Seek His face (Psalm 105:4) in prayer daily and ask Him for a fresh dose of HOPE for your family! 

Jesus loves you much and IS working behind the scenes even when it SEEMS as if He is silent!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Celebrate Good Times ...Come On!!!" By Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

Celebrate Good Times….Come On!!!

Who doesn’t like a party?
My kids love their birthday parties, and they actually get equally excited about someone else’s birthday party.
Celebrating is fun, happy, and joyful.
Isn’t that what we desire to be as moms?
 Before you were a mom didn’t you want to be that happy, smile on your face, full of joy and positive words flowing outta your mouth kinda mom.  
I DID!

And I still do want to be that person. At least, I strive to be that mom.
Unfortunately, I catch myself getting caught up in the tasks at hand.  Making sure the laundry is done, house is clean, and the dishes are put away.  
Sure, I’ll play a good game of candy land with my kiddos. Pretend to eat their food they made in their kitchen.  Help build a tall tower with duplo blocks.  
But, do I celebrate them?
Not just on their birthdays, but every day.
I want to celebrate my children.
They were fearfully and wonderfully made!  I want to celebrate with them their unique qualities given to them by their heavenly Father.  
It’s probably not going to be a full-fledged party….but a nice note, cuddle time,  an encouraging word, their favorite snack, or a balloon from the dollar store ( this is a winner for mine), will be a small celebration letting them know we think they are SPECIAL!!!

So COME ON…..let’s all choose to find that special moment each day with each child and celebrate them!  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

What constitutes a Great Dad?

   
Google Image
     O.K. don’t judge me!  Really the guys were talking so loud I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.  The comment and question I heard was, “You do this “Dad thing” well.  How do you do it?”
         You will be proud to know, I didn’t wait for the answer, I continued on with my business and walked away.  I didn’t stick around to “accidentally” hear the answer. I felt optimistic about the answer.
         If anyone were to ask me the essence of what makes a great father, my response would be, “A Great Dad is one who loves his wife!”  Sounds like a nice topic for a post in a moms blog, right?
         I’ve really pondered my justification for a “Great dad.” As I considered my response I thought of my Dad and how I recognized early on in my development, he loves my mom. Knowing this gave me the confidence in their relationship, which gave me my personal security.
         My husband too is one I would consider a “great dad.”  Yes, for a lot of reasons, but it boils down to he loves me, his wife.
         Again, so why are we reading about what makes a man a great dad in a moms blog?  Well, I think we can contribute to making our spouses love for us a little easier.  I need to consider what is it I can do to help Greg love me?
         The Bible encourages me not to be a “constant dripping.”  It also tells me to “manage” the home, and to love my husband.  I know those things that are important to Greg and you know what your husband would be blessed by from you.

         This week lets be intentional to make ourselves more attractive for our husbands.  Lets be sure to speak his love language.  Lets help our husbands be the best dads by being lovable wives.
Proverbs 27: 15
"A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day."

Titus 2: 4, 5
"so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands,
to love their children.
to be sensible,
pure,
workers at home,
kind,
being subject to their own husbands,
so that the word of God will not be dishonored."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stand Firm



My husband and I have been praying about how to prepare our children for various challenges they may encounter in this world.  We have always encouraged them to be loving, to be looking for ways to help others, and to put others first.  But what does that really mean?  For the most part, when dealing with others, (sometimes harder with siblings) at this stage it is an easy thing to do because they are usually with their friends.  The truly hard part is when the person whom they are supposed to be kind to isn’t exactly being kind back...

I was so encouraged by our Pastor’s message this past weekend and felt it was applicable for my daughter so we read Ephesians 6:14-17 and then drew a picture of the full armor of God.  We talked about different situations and what her behavior might look like. We discussed God calling us not to engage or retreat, but to stand firm.  We talked about the only offensive weapon used in these scriptures being the Word of God and how truly difficult that might be when facing opposition. HOWEVER, the reward one day, maybe a saved life.

Christians, our persecutions may not be as severe as others right now around the world and the Lord knows my heart breaks and prays for them!  But we will be persecuted, our children will be persecuted.  We must prepare our little ones for spiritual battles which are to come so that hopefully when they do, they can walk away looking like Jesus...

With God’s Word as our map and a love that only the Father can give us, I pray we are able to stand firm, love and pray for our enemies, remember truth, and teach our children to do all things for the Glory and Honor of God, so that HE may be Glorified!   

Ephesians 6:14-17 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with Truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. 

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 5:44-45 But I say, love your enemies!  Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven... (Emphasis mine)
Romans 12:17-21 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Motherhood: It Doesn’t Last Forever" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

Motherhood: It Doesn’t Last Forever

Motherhood.
It was so much my heart. I wanted desperately to be a Wife and a Mom. I thought nothing else really compared.
 God decided that at the age of 31, I would meet my love.  Soon after we married we began having children.
I have three.
Once you have kids you also start hanging out with other moms.  There is sometimes pressure and comparisons that happen in these mom circles.  
I think as moms, we need to figure out what really matters.
Is there a perfect ideal scenario to guarantee our kids turn out perfect?  
NO
This job is not for long.  It is so important. Yet, as we hear so often.  The time goes by so fast.
So….what really matters?
I don’t want to major in the minors.
I want to show my kids Jesus.
I want them to really love Him. Feel passionately about Him.  Know such HOPE is in the gospel.  
I want to show them the ONE who they will follow for life.
I want it to be so real for them. If He has their heart, He will have their life as well.
We are raising disciples.
If God reigns over my kids, I don’t have to worry about anything else.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 …”And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pray for It

 The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. 
He delights in every detail of their lives. 
- Psalm 37:23

Last night as I laid in bed tucking in my middle son, my oldest meandered in to ask if he could play a quick game on my phone. He had been tucked into bed just minutes earlier and knew it was a slim chance but asked anyway. For some reason my heart felt the nudge to agree and say yes.
Note: Please be sure to have safeguards in place with firewalls, with the internet, in order to shield your children as they play with your smart phones. Many crazy images are on the internet and we need to protect our little ones from looking upon anything that is vile (Psalm 101:3). 

As my oldest walked away he whispered, "I guess my prayer worked." I was blessed and humbled all in a single moment. He thought to pray over something that in his mind he knew was near impossible. But he had faith, as small as a mustard seed (Luke 17:6), that there was a very small chance I might say yes and he prayed for it. And God answered him! Strengthening his faith and reminding him that prayer works!

I thought to myself about those little things that seem so insignificant to others, but are huge in my life, that I would like to see God move with. HE cares about those things and wants to commune with me as I share them in prayer. 

Everyday there is a myriad of decisions as a mom we must make. Some seem small in importance, but if I bring even those small things before Him they can have huge changes involved...for the good. For my good. God is a good parent, who loves to see us thriving and seeking Him for answers. Just as my son asked a question that seemed the answer was almost a given "no," he still sought me out with small faith hoping to see big change.

What do you need to bring before God in prayer today?

Jesus loves you and wants the best for your life. 

Being a mom is an amazing gift, with tons of decisions daily being made. Come before Him for wisdom and direction on even those things that seem obvious. HE might just surprise you with an answer you didn't see coming!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Friend Sharpens a Friend

"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." -Proverbs‬ ‭27‬:‭17‬ NLT

Yesterday, while my husband was out of town, I was blessed to be invited to a dinner play date with another family. My sweet friend ordered pizza and allowed my kids to destroy her house :) and have fun with her kids. 

As we sat and shared about life she was able to challenge me as a mom. She has an older child with whom she walked a similar path like I am on with my challenging one. She reminded me of truth and did it in love. I walked away thinking about the type of mom I am, and desiring to live out the change we talked of. 

Sometimes it is hard to hear words that challenge our parenting, but  the Lord loves us too much to keep us the same. I am so grateful God gives us friends who speak the truth in love - as hard as it is- because sanctification is a continual process until we arrive at eternity.

Do you have someone in your life willing to have those hard, but necessary, life changing conversations with?

If not...pray for one! They are priceless!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dry and Weary


"God - you're my God! I can't get enough of you! I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts." 
- Psalm 63:1 MSG

This verse is so refreshing to me. It reminds me of three simple truths:
1) I am not alone - many have walked the road I am on - of whom the Bible has written of.
2) HE sees how thirsty I am and reminds me of the one true source.
3) God is the only answer!

Parenting is hard. Many sources will promise refreshment but true refreshment but only God provides it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A CURE FOR NEGATIVITY

         

        1 THESSALONIANS 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  

  Do you know someone that is a negative person? I think we all do. I truly try hard to see the positive in things but for some reason my mind tends to swing to the negative or pessimistic side. I know this part of my character is flawed and I have battled with this flaw. I have tried to convince myself to see good over and over and with many failures I still tend to look at the bad first. I tend to see the worst possible outcome before giving thought to the good. My husband on the other hand is an optimist. Oh how I have yearned to think with an optimistic brain like him. When a situation is up for discussion in our house it goes something like this:

"Babe, should we do.......(fill in the blank)"
"Well if we do that ...it will cost this... and if we have to pay all that then we can't do this...."
"Well I could always do an overtime shift to cover that and we have 2 more months to pay this bill down to make that work out"
"But if you do an overtime shift you will be exhausted when we go do that and won't have any fun anyway so I don't think so"
***Get the idea??

     Negativity means not hopeful or optimistic according to Webster's Dictionary. That definition looks to me like the opposite of being a Christian. I really want to be optimistic!! But even more then that I don't want my kids to be pessimistic!! I had noticed some behavior in one of my children that broke my heart. This particular child doesn't smile as much as the others and continually finds the one negative thing about whatever may be going on. This really saddened my soul. I prayed to the Lord to help me parent her in a way that she would be more positive and happy. God answered me by telling me to give thanks daily. That's it Lord? I thought, but don't I already do that? I took His answer seriously and implemented a plan that when each of my children were up and we were all eating breakfast we would begin to tell God what we are thankful for that day. At first they felt awkward saying the obvious things but as time has gone on they have gotten creative and are truly thinking of the things we wouldn't ordinarily remember to give thanks for. I have even seen a change in my little ones attitude. I feel a new cheerfulness in her presence that delights my heart and I'm sure Jesus's heart is delighted :)

  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depending on the Father


"If any of you lacks wisdom, ask our generous God
and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking."
James 1:5


The phone call at dinner yesterday was a bit jarring.  My 18 year-old son, elated and nervous, was seeking  advice.  Since the lad was 3, he has been dead set and unwavering on a political career. The Lord confirmed this direction to me by a dream when my son was 8 years, so I guess this shouldn't be as jolting as it is. My son has two opportunities,  both in politics that are truly AMAZING for any 18 year-old.  Both require a HUGE amount of responsibility and time, and will provide him opportunities beyond compare.  One will take him to another state for several months.  This is like the difference between getting a blow up slide for a birthday party or flying the whole party to Disneyland for the celebration!

Seems like a win-win ... the thing is, so far there is no peace about either opportunity.  

"Seek ye first His kingdom and righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matt 6:33  

All night long I wrestled in prayer.  The Lord has shown me that this blessed conundrum in front of my son, is really more about my son going to His heavenly Father for wisdom than about these "important connections." God is training him to rely on Him, to hear His voice above the noise of "potential success" and to press into the heart of his Father.  

God wants us to ask Him for wisdom.  He wants us to go to Him for direction.  He wants us to depend on Him and not our own understanding. We demonstrate our trust in Him, when our heart is simply to honor Him above all else.

"Jesus, please help us to see our lives and circumstances from Your perfect perspective.  Reveal Your wisdom in our choices, and may we honor You in all of our decisions and actions.  By faith, Abba, we choose what will glorify You.  Amen!"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Don't Get Sidetracked

Let your eyes look straight ahead; 
fix your gaze directly before you. 
Give careful thought to the paths
 for your feet and be steadfast 
in all your ways. Do not turn to
 the right or the left; 
keep your foot from evil.
 - Proverbs 4:25-27

What do you think God is saying to you?
What do you think He wants you to do about it?

As a mom, its so very easy to get distracted with the mundane things of life. And get sidetracked. I am the queen of getting sidetracked! With three little ones, it seems my mind is always multi-tasking and missing something as I try to juggle it all. But it is so important ladies, to know what HE is calling you to this year, this month, this moment, and being found faithful to pursue it. Don't get sidetracked and allow Him to lead your every step. For that is where your joy will be found! 

Take a listen and be refreshed....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

In the Fire


Daniel and his friends would not bow down and worship a new God, and King Nebuchadnzzar was mad......
Daniel 3:19-25
Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

A few days ago me and the kids were doing a lunch devotion when we came across the story of ShadrachMeshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel chapter 3. God had sovereignly placed it right there that day just for me.  It was such a refreshing story for the type of week I was having...God knew I needed to read it too!

I could so relate to the story, and the trial the characters were enduring, that I wanted to stay in that story all week long. ShadrachMeshach, and Abednego were far from home, seeking to honor God with their life, and under attack because of it. But the point that stuck out to me more than anything, was that when they were thrown in the fire they weren't alone. As hot as it was, they didn't get burned, smell like smoke, or have their hair singed. The Lord hedged them in with protection. They came out unharmed, ok, and with a great story to tell others about the mighty hand of God. About how the Lord, Jehovah Jireh, the perfect provider, met them where they were at. Provided shelter, hope, and excitement about a story they have because of their trust in a God who is faithful. 

I may feel like I am in the fire with my kiddos during this season (at times), but this story reminds me that if I don't waiver in my faith, He will protect and provide shelter for me from the heat of life. And if I am steadfast, in the end, I will have a great story to tell others about His goodness and mercy on my life. 

Is the heat turned up in your life right now? Are the kids a struggle for you? 

Don't waiver in your faith, ask Him for help, and watch Him work in your life. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Really?!? Mother's Day in August!

         Mother’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays!  Even though I personally have only celebrated 24 of them, I began to love Mother’s Day in May 1970.
         My youngest brother, Neal was born in May just in time for Mother’s Day.  His birthday actually lands on the actual date on occasion.  Six years my junior I saw Neal as the prized gift any mother would celebrate!
        
Google Image
Mother’s Day this year should have been one of my best.  I was with my mother in the morning.  We then drove the 333 miles through two states to celebrate with my mother in law that evening.  Being with both of these special ladies was truly a blessing.
         However, what happened along the 333 miles was by far one of my low points in mothering.  No, I couldn’t discuss it with you then.  It was too fresh and I couldn’t put into words my hurt, but suffice it to say it wasn’t fun trying to correct, discipline and train our youngest by phone over 700 miles away.
         This week as we have wrapped up our last official week of summer I couldn’t be happier.  We have enjoyed a super relaxing summer.  Our son has graduated, gotten married and set up his home just around the corner.  Greg and I have taken some time off and have been able to travel. We feel lavished in joy as our oldest quickly approaches her third year of marriage. 
         This week as I shopped alone with our youngest, for school supplies and uniforms it felt like what I think Mother’s Day should feel like.  She was very appreciative for all that we were able to do and see and buy.  We chatted like old friends on a front porch swing and we laughed like schoolgirls on the playground.

         It was the reality check that sometimes holidays and “every days” don’t go as we expect or planned.  When we do enjoy a day of less stress and more joy we can make them the “Mother’s Day” of the moment. I think I will drop my expectations of special occasions and see each day as the potential to be just that.  When a ordinary day becomes an extraordinary day I will revel in it and give it the honorary “Mother’s Day” award!