Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Excellence in All You Do" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

Excellence in All You Do

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do in word or deed,
do ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to 
God the Father through Him

We all have our daily tasks. Most days are very predictable as moms.
Quiet time, shower, fix breakfast, cleaning, laundry, school, more cleaning, lunch, naps, cleaning, cook dinner, family time, and bed time.
It becomes routine and we tend to lose sight of the greater picture of God’s calling on your life as a mom.
 That is your ministry.
Your husband first, then your children.
Doing everything you do with excellence and with all your heart in honor of and in worship of your Savior.
Maybe you don’t leave your home often due to all your small children, or possibly you are the queen of carpool and are constantly driving your people to their places. Keep your focus all about Jesus.
If you are preparing this week for a teaching at your weekly bible study or simply changing your little ones diaper, do both task as unto the Lord.
I know that many times we don’t necessarily go about our day doing every task, interaction, and conversation in excellence as unto the glory of God.
Let’s be challenged this week to ask God to change our hearts and look at our daily tasks in a new light. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Get Out...Especially on Those Crazy Days!!!

Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. 
Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation 
and the salvation of those who hear you. 
- 1 Timothy 4:16

This past week has been stretching. We have entered our third week of new therapy with some resistance from my son, which the center tells me is completely normal. They warned me ahead of time this week would come and I welcomed it - as I know it is a process in getting my son's brain to work properly.

So, being that our week was tough we decided to GET OUT and do a couple of field trips with a sweet family who also home schools. Many times, I fear play dates - especially on those weeks when my children have been especially challenging. But we ventured out and I am so grateful we did. 

As we did our science lesson on a local beach, seeing God's creation, and relishing in new species never seen...the Lord reminded me of the beauty in the hearts of my boys. Active yes they are, but they have such genuine love for others. They so enjoy making memories with friends whenever we have play dates. I learned a very valuable lesson. Get out more! 

Field trips (or play dates) also allow you to cultivate friendships with other moms and give your children an opportunity for growth. To be stretched. Working through the behaviors they do that doesn't honor the Lord and praise them for the ones that do! Many times it takes being with others for our child's areas of weakness and strength to be magnified and identified. 

I plan to get out more. Make more mommy friends and allow us all to be stretched more. On those crazy weeks...GET OUT! More field trips - are coming - which will bring character development both for my kiddos and me too! 

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Trailer

          I love a good movie...a fountain coke, and melting M&M’s over hot popcorn.

         As much as I love these things, a good trailer can make me equally as content! 

         So this is your trailer. 
Google Image

         I’m away with 24 High School girls in cabins in upstate Florida.  One of these girls is our youngest.

         It was a 6-hour drive.  We didn’t eat lunch until our arrival at two o’clock.  The five cabins are on a lake with kayaks and a dock.  Our focus this weekend is the fruit of the Spirit.

         That young moms…is the trailer…next week I will fill in the blanks of what God does while we are here.  God showed me this verse before I left this morning. 
Google Image 

         (I feel so blessed to be able to come…I am thrilled and honored to be with and learn from these young ladies!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Seeds in Life

After I cut up an orange for my kids to eat my 3 year old said, “Mommy, this piece has seeds in it.”  I replied, “So take them out.  There will be seeds in life that you’ll have to take out so start to know how to do it now…”  I used to, and still do on occasion, be one of those moms that cut out all the seeds from the fruit and cut the tops off the strawberries.  Our kids will have to learn how to navigate the pits, seeds, strawberry tops (tribulation) of life someday so why not start their navigation learning now. 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

There are awesome teaching moments like this every day.  Let’s not separate our devotional / Bible study learning from the teaching we could pass on to our little ones.

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Hold My Hand" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

“But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The LORD your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ 
- Deuteronomy‬ ‭1‬:‭29-31‬ NLT

From the moment that my children were born I would sit my finger inside their sweet palm and they would squeeze.
My oldest spent 50 days in the NICU and this was the only contact I had with him on a regular basis.
They are all toddlers now and still we find those moments to hold hands.
 We might just be crossing the street,  trying to stay together in a store, or  comforting them while they go to sleep.
It is the sweetest picture to see them reach their tiny hand and ask for mine.
They want to connect, feel loved, and know that mom and dad are right there.
It makes them feel safe.
So this week, when you grab your little or not so little one's hand take a moment and thank Jesus for this precious life. Pray for wisdom and guidance as you lead them and guide them.
Just like our heavenly Father will guide and direct us.
Precious Lord take my hand, lead me on let me stand.

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Seasons" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

A change of seasons. Winter is over and spring is soon to arrive.
Goodbye snow and hello warmer weather.
Many times I have been talking to another mama friend and inevitably the phrase "oh, its just a season" will be uttered.
There are many seasons in motherhood.
I've only experienced 4 1/2 years of seasons so far, and looking forward to many more.
Remember when your little one only cooed and cried, and all you thought was " I can't wait to talk to my kid".
Then, the milk phase is over and you get the pleasure of introducing your little one to all kinds of new fun food.
The babies go from crawling to walking around so quickly.
And that very tricky season of the dreaded potty training. YIKES
So many different seasons that are all unique, precious, and memorable.
I find myself saying " I can't wait until my child ________"
 ( fill in the blank with the next season)
We know that each season of motherhood has its ups and downs. I want to encourage you to not miss out on the current season that you are going through.  Though it may be your easiest or hardest season ever.
GOD's got a plan, and its not about us, it all about Him and his grace in our lives.
Enjoy today with your kids!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Flesh vs. Love

A healthy conviction set in as I read my In Touch devotional booklet, “Our human nature finds it easier and more satisfying to hold onto our anger.  But as vessels of God’s love, Christians no longer live according to the impulses of the flesh.”  Uh! I acted in the flesh the other day when a lady opened her car door RIGHT onto my car.  We had just arrived at the beach into a good parking spot when I glanced in my side mirror and watched this insane injustice!  My flesh spiked high and I made a rash decision.  It seemed all in one motion as I turned off the car, ran around the back, rose up my arms at the lady and yelled, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!??!”

For the next two days I went around telling my friends about the injustice I suffered that day.  Over and over my daughter heard the dramatic presentation of how I responded to the lady. 

The next part of my devotional notes, “Thanks to the Holy Spirit, when someone mistreates us, we can not only forgive but also show love to the person.”  The day after my incident, our pastor shared the truth in Galatians 5:16 about walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. 

I was obviously not walking in the Spirit that morning at the beach as told by the way I responded to the lady.  A good witness to the testimony of the Lord was totally blown away even though while I was going through it I was trying to figure out a way back to a good representation of Christ.  And then I taught my three year-old daughter how to walk in the flesh by repeatedly sharing my bad news with others.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Lord, please cover my mistakes and help me to walk in the Spirit so as to not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.  Help me to put on love each day so I would not behave rudely, not seek my own, not provoke others or myself be provoked to anger.  Help me put on humility and the shoes of the gospel of peace.  Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your grace.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Don't Be Afraid to Ask

Six months ago we first heard of Brain Balance, a center with a drug-free approach for children with Aspergers, and began to research it. We visited, watched testimonials, and prayed hard to see if this was where God would have us go. The real kicker was that they didn't take insurance and the cost of treatment for our son would total $14,000.

So the Lord put it on our heart to ask others to join us in the journey. After creating a GO FUND ME page and helpful friends promoting it, we raised all of the money!! Now we are on this journey. It is so exciting with homework and sessions to go to. Diet changes and meetings regularly with a nutritionist. I still sit in awe of God's provision and those faithful friends who blessed us with finances and others who prayed fervently during our fundraising.

What if I had been afraid to ask for help?

Sometimes pride holds us back from seeking out help. Maybe we grew up in a home where everyone held their own - showing a sense of "strength" or maybe you are embarrassed to ask friends to help you with your struggle/need. If our family had stayed in a place of fear or pride, my son wouldn't be in Brain Balance now. And I would have robbed a group of people from being used by God in the life of a little boy. A story he will re-tell to his children and others around him. A season of receiving which later will allow him to give. It is life-changing when we pray and allow others to come alongside and hold up our arms - in a place we are too weak to stand on our own.  

We would be in a totally different place right now if we didn't ask for help.

What is it for you? Is there an area of your life that seems overwhelming and you need help navigating?

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Friends are waiting in the wing to be used by Him and it is a story that others will share of His goodness and faithfulness because you voiced a need.

OR ....is there someone in your life that needs some help where the Lord may be nudging you to assist?

Pray and allow Him to use you in the life of others. Something you will never regret and always remember.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Verse to Parent by

The Lord brought this verse to me this week.

II Timothy 2: 23 – 26
“Don’t have anything to do with
foolish and stupid arguments
…because they produce arguments…
instead, he must be kind to everyone
…those who oppose him,
He must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the Truth.”

         This is a great verse to parent by…it is a great verse to live by…

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Wait on the Lord!

There are times in the life of a believer, when we face circumstances that are harsh, unfair, brutal, stretching, and... (fill in your adjective here.)  We can pray and fast and beg God to move mountains, but not hear or see any movement on the horizon. Our human nature, in order to free us from this discomfort, wants to rush in, take control, and find an immediate solution to ease the pain.

If we move in our flesh, like Abraham and Sarah did with Ishmael, there will be consequences that could be even more heinous than the original trial. "The flesh profits nothing, but CAN produce something," a pastor recently shared. 

1 Corinthians 3 talks about works, done in our own strength, being burned up like wood, hay and stubble.  The only works that remain are those done in accordance with His will. Wait on Him! His way is the good way. Wait on Him!

Sometimes His silence is Him working something out in us. While you are in His waiting room, ask Him to move the mountains in your heart, so you can be ready for the answer He is bringing your way.  Lay yourself at His altar and allow Him to do the deeper work. Remember that He is faithful, even when we are faithless. Wait on Him! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Our Focus" by Courtney Hrinik

You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the LORD, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’” (‭Numbers‬ ‭11‬:‭20‬ NLT)

The Israelites were so focused on what they didn't have… They complained and forgot what the Lord had brought them out of and what the Lord Had given them! This complaining was rejecting the Lord and what he had done for them.

Father God I pray that you would help us to keep our eyes focused on you and all that you have done for us. Don't let us look to the left or to the right but to you!


Are you focusing on what you don't have or praising Him for what you do?

Take a few moments to stop and praise God for the life He has entrusted to you.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

It's Just a Season!

It's just a season! Those words we say when walking through a rough spot of our faith. The beautiful reality... is that seasons aren't forever. They have a purpose and plan with inner workings divinely placed there by God himself. Even in winter, when trees are bare without leaves and looking withered, the tree's roots are gathering in nutrients it will need in the other seasons in order to bloom beautifully.  It's underneath is being worked on. The part that allows the tree to live and grow. 

Although in the moment seasons can seem never-ending. We tend to forget that, just like the tree, there are things underneath the surface (like - our heart) that God is molding and nourishing. Through our "seasons" His goal is that we would rightly represent who He is- to a dying world. They are watching. Wondering where our "nutrients" are coming from when our circumstances (weather of life) seems to look unfortunate. 

What season are you walking through right now?

Remember it's not forever and there is a purpose - even if right now it is unseen. 

God divinely ordains situations and circumstances to grow your faith and to allow onlookers to observe your great God.

Look for the nutrients in your season right now. Remember your source is unlimited and HE has a plan beyond what you can think or imagine :)

Each season has a purpose.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Sandwich Generation

Google Image
        As I walked the beach with my friend Ellen she shared how difficult this season of her life is.  Ellen and her husband have three children, each at a crossroads in their lives.  Their older son is in his mid twenties, their youngest is a blossoming teenage daughter and their middle child is severely autistic.
         One can imagine all that is entailed in caring for her children.  Greg once spoke of our children when they were high school, middle school and elementary as the makings of the “perfect storm.”
         In this particular season, added to her parenting responsibilities is the somber reality of her dad’s cancer diagnosis.  As we walked in the surf and discussed each scenario, I listened as Ellen shared how she was juggling and caring for those God had entrusted to her.
         Ellen is blessed to have a very involved husband as well as some extra help to care for their middle child.  As she shared what she thought needed to be done for each of her children, it occurred to me the resources she had at this juncture.
         She asked my opinion about what was going on in her life.  I told her with the help the Lord had given her and with the ages of her children it was time to call in help for her children and focus on her father’s care.
         Now fast-forward five months.
         Ellen’s father has spent the last three weeks in the hospital fighting the complications of his cancer.  Ellen has been by her father’s bedside or has helped her mother make her pilgrimage to the hospital daily.
         Ellen has made arrangements for her husband and children.  They are well cared for.  Ellen has been an amazing wife, mother and daughter.
         She will never regret the time she is spending with her father and mother.  Her children are watching their mother care for their grandfather that is setting an example for how they will treat her one day.
         Sometimes being the best mom means demonstrating what it means to be the best child. Living out a life of integrity through care, humility and thoughtfulness will be a life lesson her children will not only learn but will one day demonstrate.
         As a spectator to this very hard season in my friend’s life, I too am learning from her example. 

Questions to Ponder:
·      How am I being an example to our children?
·      What life lessons are our children learning from my daily behavior?
·      How am I juggling the care of our children and other significant relationships?

·      How can I thank someone who is being an example to me?

Monday, March 2, 2015

"Lonely Moms" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

There we were on the bench at the park.
I had seen her around church and a few birthday parties. There had been  quick waves and some small talk. But this day was different.  In a few moments of uninterrupted conversation a tear fell down her cheek.
She didn't understand.
She loved being a mom.
"Why do I feel so lonely at times?" she asked.
I understood completly. I had been there many times.
Being a stay at home mom means never really being ALONE. We have our children around us all day long, asking us a million questions, needing constant attention and loving us unconditionally.
Yet, loneliness creeps in.
Motherhood is a whole lot of giving and not much receiving.
Moms everywhere are going through this too. Challenge yourself this week to take a few extra moments for that mom you see at the park, in the grocery store line, or at church.  Reach out to a friend with a text, just letting them know you are praying for them. Set up a playdate. Grab a cup of coffee with a fellow mom.
We are not meant to walk this journey alone.
Jesus promises us in  I Peter 5:7 that if we cast our cares on Him, he will care for you.
Maybe another mom needs to be reminded of this promise this week.