My Time As A Mother

When I look back on this time in my life, as a mom, I know there will be many things I’ll remember. The good and the bad.

I’ll remember the things my kids did that drove me crazy, I’ll remember all the nights I tried so hard to get them to sleep through the night, their first “real” sicknesses, and all the countless times I picked up all those toys.

More than all of that, though, I think I will remember trying to get my kids to play so I could get my stuff done. Trying to distract them with toys and movies so I could clean the house. I’ll remember caving in and letting them have my phone or the iPad just so I could fold a couple loads of laundry without getting interrupted and without them throwing all the folded clothes around because their “helping” me.

I will remember all of that because I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ll look back and regret the most.

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I forget and I forget, but I’m trying to keep reminding myself the things that I have placed as a priority (a perfect house, getting things done in a timely manner,etc…) are not the things that matter. When I’m 50 and 60 years old I know I’m not going to look back and say “Well, at least my house was clean and I stuck to my perfect schedule.” If it is, then I know I’ve lived a poor life and gave my children a poor childhood. And so, I need to change.

These are the things (to name a few) that I want to remember and say about my time as a mother…

“The house was a mess….but we had SO MUCH FUN building forts in the living room.”

“It took hours but my daughter LOVED helping me fold and put away the laundry. She felt so helpful and accomplished and learned some things about responsibility and housewifery.”

“I had to scrub and scrape stickers off our floor, but they SO ENJOYED “decorating” with them. And I loved seeing reminders of my children around the house when I see their stickers all over the place. ”

“It required some patience but my kids LOVED helping me make dinner-It was a blast! And was way too salty.”

My kids had a fun childhood WITH their mom and dad.”

“We were there for them…always”

Of course I know I’m there for my kids, and we do everything to make them know we are. But I want to make sure I’m there for them not just in the big things, but also in the little things that don’t seem to matter at this point. I’m realizing that a perfect house really doesn’t matter. No, as much as I’d love to, I won’t forfeit cleaning anymore. But I’ll work to shift my priorities. If I don’t get to it, I don’t get to it. It can wait till the kids are in bed. It can wait till tomorrow. Or it can take longer than usual so they can participate with me. After all, what else do I have going on that’s so important?

My children’s lives are the most important thing I’ll ever invest my time in. They’re so worth it.

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And it’s not just about playing with them. I’ve been given this duty of raising and training up my children. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It’s my job to look for and find opportunities to teach them and help them grow. How can I do that if I’m casting them aside throughout the day? What does that teach them?

I want to say I’m not literally “casting them aside every day.” I do things with them, I gently care for them, I’m there for them. For the most part I’d say I’m a good mom. I make mistakes, clearly. I’m simply stating and encouraging that I want to devote more time to my children. After all, God entrusted them to me. They’re the biggest responsibility I have and will ever have. And I always want to look for ways on improving my role as a mother.

I stated earlier that how can I create learning opportunities for my children if I’m not actively being apart of the things they take part in? If I’m not creating new adventures for them, taking the time to teach them new things. But so much more important than all of that is my responsibility to teach them about their Heavenly Father.

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them DILIGENTLY unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7

This is something I cannot take lightly. If I don’t teach them about God, who will? If I don’t pray for them, who will? If I don’t teach them to pray, who will?

I’m just trying to remind myself and encourage you that the episode of that show you need to catch up on can wait. The dishes can wait. The laundry can wait. The bathrooms will be there later to clean. Our children need us now. They’re growing and won’t be little for long. What we do now makes an imprint on their lives forever. Enjoy every minute. Watch them grow. Experience their growth. Relive your childhood again with them.

Put the phone away, forget about the constant to-dos that never go away, make messes, have laughs, have conversations, make memories, don’t waste your motherhood.

LORD, grant me the grace and strength to be the mother I need to be for my children.

 

 

 

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Depending On God in the New Year

As the new year approaches I’m feeling a greater call to improve my walk with God. A call that’s been steadily growing louder throughout the year, but especially over the past few months. It’s like the LORD is telling me “draw closer…draw closer.”

And what a fool I’d be not to respond to the LORD’s call, inviting me to a closer walk with Him. But I’ve asked myself too many times how do I do that? I being the operative word in that sentence. I feel the need for a closer walk with Him and yet, right from the get-go, I’m trying to figure out how I am going to do this. Instead of just relying completely on the LORD.

I’m not saying this will require no effort on my part, but I’ve already been relying on my own plans and thoughts. Instead of prayerfully considering the change that God is wanting to make in my life and how that can be achieved in His way. And then I keep chanting to myself “I can do this…look at the close walk others have with God…I can have that too!” Which, sure, that’s true. But how independent of me! I’m trying to deepen my relationship with Him and already I’m not putting my trust and faith and dependence on Him. Already, I’m looking at others’ walk with Him instead of just worrying about the work that God is wanting to do in MY life.

Sometimes I get a little big headed about it. Not that I feel the desire to rub it in people’s faces that I feel this need to do better. Just that in my own head I feel like I’m doing a good job by having these desires. So I think I’m on the right track. But that’s my first mistake. And that’s the problem. These aren’t my desires. These are God’s desires for me. It’s God who is touching my mind. And it’s only Him that can give me the strength to continue to grow.

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In my devotional today I was reading about being a peacemaker. But to do the things of God and be like Christ you have to lean on Him. It’s not by our own strength. It’s so great to have the desire to change and do better. But you can’t do it by yourself. Even if you seek to do good if it’s all with your own head knowledge and efforts then you’ll fail.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5

In ALL thy ways acknowledge Him(Proverbs 3:6.) Seek Him. Lean on Him. Trust Him. And that is what I hope to do this year in all of my endeavors. Not just my spiritual ones but also as a wife and mother(though I suppose those are spiritual endeavors too.) As I go about my day I want to have the LORD on the forefront of my mind. Constant in prayer. Seeking Him for my strength, His guidance. I fall in so many areas of my life. Probably because I’ve been so dependent on myself  or even others instead of looking to Him-my comfort and my strength.

I just want to make it a habit to look for and see God in all I do-to depend FULLY on Him for all I need. Because if not for Him I wouldn’t even be here. His grace is sufficient for me! His strength is made perfect in my weakness! II Corinthians 12:9 And, boy, do I have a lot of weaknesses. I need His help!

DIY Christmas Cards

Christmas, to me, really is the most wonderful time of year. Time with family and friends, the décor, the snow, the music, the holly jollies, the FOOD, the list goes on.

I’ll be the first to admit that some of what I love about Christmas, and maybe one of the more fun aspects of Christmas, is the exchanging of gifts. I love thoughtfully planning out the gifts to buy for family and friends. And yes, I love receiving them too. The anticipation, the surprise, aaah… “It’s just what I wanted!” Good times.

But Christmas isn’t and shouldn’t be just about receiving as it always sometimes becomes.

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 (my daughter’s first Christmas. She was 8 months old.)

Christmas shouldn’t be a host of carnality, but a time of reflection of what Jesus did for us. He sacrificed His life in glory, humbled Himself, and came to this earth to die for us. Christ’s life was a perfect example of sacrifice, and GIVING. And so should we give too. So I came up with some thoughtful DIY Christmas cards to give to loved ones for this season.

I am no professional. I don’t do this often, but is something I recently found I enjoy doing. So, my work is not perfect. Hopefully, someday, it will be. Some of these ideas are my own, but a couple were inspired by a Pinterest search. I had a lot of fun making these. It didn’t take hardly any time. (Maybe they would look better if I took more time;) But I wanted to share… Thanks! And Merry Christmas!!!

(For these cards I used watercolor, pens, markers, and colored pencils)

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Godly Resolutions

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 I’m not usually a new year’s resolutions type person. I do, however, think it’s good to set goals for yourself. Especially, if they are goals to establish a better and deeper relationship with God. And what better time to set these kind of goals like the present? Well, seeing as how it’s the end of the year and 2016 is a couple short weeks away, sure, we will just call them my new year’s resolutions.

I’ve been impressed recently to deepen my relationship with the LORD. I know there are many ways to do this. But there are a couple things specifically I’ve felt I need to do. I figured it’d be a good opportunity to compile those things into an organized list and put them in this post. Then, throughout the next couple months, or as I feel impressed, write about each specific thing in a separate blog post.

(This list isn’t specific and limited to one year. I know realistically no one can perfect their walk with God in one short year. But rather, it is a life-long journey. I simply hope and pray that this coming year I can begin to change and form some habits that will cause me to grow more in Him. And while as far as deepening your relationship with God goes, there should be a very long list of things I need to do within myself to achieve that. However, I will start with a few things and as the years go on my list will grow. The more I delight myself in the things of God, the more my desires will begin to line up with what He wants for me and my list will grow.)

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1. Walk, daily, in continuous prayer with the LORD

I’ve heard women talk in random blog posts about being in continuous prayer with God as they go throughout there day. Doing chores, taking care of the kids, etc… And it just seems so ideal to me to always have that channel of communication open with Him as I go throughout my day. I know it’ll take time to get to this point where I feel my heart is always set on God, but it’s something I really want in my life. There is so much I want to say on this. So, I’ll leave it for a separate post in the future.

2. Communicate more with Him

I realize that this is basically the same thing as prayer, but, for me personally, it means something a bit more than just praying. I used to always feel like I was praying to a brick wall. Which I know is silly. I know He hears my prayers. I just want to open myself up to receive more from Him. And a major way this has happened for me recently (and I want more of) is reaching into His Word for my answers to prayer. This will also have a post of it’s own because its been a great blessing to me recently. But I’ve had a handful of situations recently where I’ll be praying or thinking about God and a scripture will come to my heart-just like it was a perfect answer to what I was thinking or praying. I want more of this!!

3. Learn more of the Word of God

In order to have #2 I have to know more of the Bible. I know God can touch anyone’s mind and lay a scripture on their heart from out of no where. He’s done it for me!! But I have to be open to Him doing that. I can’t expect to receive something from Him if I’m not utilizing one of the MAJOR channels He speaks to us through, the Bible. I also can’t expect God to do all the work and randomly lay scriptures on my mind. I have to take those steps and search out the scriptures for myself.

4. Keep a thankful journal

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18. I am beyond blessed. It’s the least I can do to take the time and write out all He’s done for me. To thank Him and praise Him for it all. I hope to do this daily(or as often as I can)-write down 3-5 things I’m thankful for.

5. Keep a prayer journal

This is similar and different to #1. I want to do this for the fact of keeping record of the experiences I go through. The trials I have and how God brought me through those. Prayers I pray and how God answered those prayers. Anything I can do to keep Him on the forefront of my heart and mind. And keep communication open with Him.

What are some of your “resolutions?”

And Then I Became a Mother…

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You know how you’re walking through the store and you hear a kid throwing a fit? The first thing most people do, and I know the first thing I would do is judge. We all do it. Let’s say you’re sitting in church and from across the sanctuary you hear someone’s kid whisper too loudly and cause a little bit of a ruckus. How dare that kid be so noisy that I hear them from 50 feet away! I know, I used to be this way. And, trust me, I’m still working on it.

But nothing has humbled me more than having kids of my own. Now, I’d like to add a little disclaimer here. No, I don’t think you should let your kids disrespect you or others, embarrass you, be impolite, or irreverent in the House of God. It’s our job as parents to train our kids in the way they should go Proverbs 22:6. And training up our children encompasses so many things. Be a good parent and teach your children how to act and good manners.

However, I do believe there are some things you just can’t help. For instance, we have been blessed beyond measure with a beautiful daughter who is so full of energy. She’s always happy and has brought a great amount of joy and sunshine to our lives. The rich ingredient she has brought into this family is priceless and irreplaceable. She is always so excited to be around people. All it takes is to mention we are going to church, to someone’s house, the store, etc.. and she gets a burst of excitement and energy come out of her that’s like nothing else. She loves it! And we love her for it!

Because of this, though, it becomes really hard for her to contain herself sometimes. She’s excited to be around people and so sometimes she doesn’t listen to mom and dad as well as she should. Since she is a bundle of energy it is harder for her to sit still and quiet in church when really she is bursting at the seams to see others and spend time with friends.

It’s been a learning experience for us. Especially myself as I’m the one who sits with her during a church service(my husbands sits with the band.) I’m learning. I’m learning. And I think I will always be learning things as a mom. But one of the biggest things I’ve learned is…don’t judge other children, parents, and families. You don’t know the struggles they face. You don’t know how hard they are working to overcome those struggles. And until you’re a parent or even have a child with a more energetic personality it’s probably safe not to judge. Or maybe you have a child with a very shy, closed off personality and that may bring a new host of traits to work through. I wouldn’t know 🙂

Either way every family has to go through what they have to go through. Maybe from your perspective it isn’t being done the “right way.” But who are we to say so? Isn’t God the true judge? I’ve come to realize God gives you the children that YOU need. And I thank Him for it and the children I have!

10 Scriptures for the Mother’s Heart

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Since the day I began the journey of motherhood (the day I found out I was pregnant – August 17, 2012) I had no idea all the things that were in store for me. I’ve never experienced such joy and happiness. But I’ve also never experienced so many challenges. Challenges I’d willingly face over and over again, but challenges none-the-less.

I’m also a very fearful and paranoid person. And you take a fearful, paranoid person and give them a child that fear doubles. Then, you take a fearful, paranoid person and give them a second child-that fear triples.

So, here I am with my blessed family. My husband, of almost 4 years, and my two young children. And I realize that I need God now more than ever! I can’t do this alone!

I’ve recently gone through some small experiences (that I’d love to share on a post sometime) that have caused me to search the scriptures. Some of the scriptures I’ve found over the past couple of months I’ve come across randomly (but not so randomly really) and some I’ve made the effort to search out. Either way they’ve been so helpful. I’d like to share them with you. I pray they blessed you as they have blessed me.

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1. Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” 

I came across this scripture when I was having a particularly rough day. So, I thought I’d search the scriptures for encouragement. And it was just what I needed! I looked up the word ‘uphold’ in the dictionary and it means to sustain, support, protect, and defend. I’m so grateful my God would do that for me!

2. II Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 

This scripture speaks for itself. And I find myself always quoting it. Those feelings of fear and doubt as a wife and mother aren’t of God. He wouldn’t put that in my heart. So, I need to stop feeding those thoughts and claim the victory over my mind! Claim those thoughts of love and power God has for me.

3. Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” 

Another scripture that speaks for itself. When in doubt, when fear comes over you trust in the LORD! For whoever trusts in Him is a blessed man!

4. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him; and He shall direct thy paths.”

I love this scripture because it’s so plain. And as a parent it’s so easy to think this is MY job. And to get everything done and to train up my children I have to do what know to do. When we read here that we can’t lean on what we know. Because what do we know if Christ hasn’t touched our minds? In ALL thy ways acknowledge Him. Throughout the day it’s my desire to constantly have a prayer on my heart. To see Christ in all I do. Then, I can completely be lead of the Lord as I do the greatest job of my life-raising a family.

5. Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” 

What a perfect verse! Whenever I feel overwhelmed and exhausted just lead me to Him! I know that in Him I can be renewed and find the strength to make it.

6.  Psalm 121:1-2 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” 

This scripture came to my heart one night as I was rocking my youngest to sleep. I remember I was praying over my child as well as over a friend going through a trial. The scripture just popped into my mind which was such an overwhelming blessing. I remember beginning to cry and just thanking God for speaking to me through that verse.

7. Proverbs 12:7 “The wicked are overthrown, and are not; but the house of the righteous shall stand.” 

This scripture is encouragement to just keep on serving God. It pays to serve Him no matter what.

8. Lamentations 3:22-24 “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed; because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul: therefore will I hope in Him.” 

I mess up as a mom. Almost every day. But His mercies are new every morning! I know that with each day He’s there stretching out His hand ready to help me make it through a new day if I just seek Him. He’s so faithful! Even when I forget Him-He remembers me and grants me new mercy every day.

9. Deuteronomy 6:7 “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

     I love this scripture written to parents on the importance of teaching your children the Word of God. It should be on the forefront of every conversation. Always lead your children to Christ! I want my children to have a knowledge of Christ and His Word. A desire to read the Bible. And that desire and knowledge is placed there by talking with them about it. A good reminder for me!

10. II Corinthians 12:9 “For my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

I will do the best I can as a wife and mother. But I’m flawed and I make mistakes. But His grace is sufficient for me! And in those mistakes and weaknesses is when God steps in and makes up the difference. What a wonderful God we serve!

 

Allegiant

allegiantI have completed the Divergent series and am sad to see it end. I am very happy to have come across this series. Love the characters, love the story line, love how it was written. Most certainly not a waste of time.

The 3rd and final book of the series, Allegiant, picks up right where the 2nd book ended. As did the 2nd book from the 1st. And let me say I really appreciated that. Sometimes it confuses me when the second or third book in a series picks up five months down the line. And you are trying to figure out whats going on for the entire first chapter. The “big reveal” so to speak of this book was finding out what lies beyond the fence of this great and messed up city. It wasn’t too surprising, though I’m not sure what I expected it to be. Surely they weren’t going to walk out of the fenced in city and find Middle Earth laying at their feet a couple miles down the road. No, that’s silly. I’m not opposed to that though. But what it was made sense. Sorry for using “it” a lot. Trying not to give spoilers here. If you read it you know. If you haven’t read it, go read it and found out. So overall I was pleased with that.

The ending, dun dun dun. Well, the ending wasn’t what you would hope for. At least I hope you wouldn’t hope for that. But it was a change of scenery so to speak. Not every story is a happy ending. This is reality we are talking about. And I love the message at the end. Life isn’t perfect. It sucks sometimes. And that’s okay. You can’t give up. You just have to face it and live with it. Look for the happy moments.

I give the whole series 5 stars. Well, done Veronica Roth.

With that I was also pleased with the Divergent movie. Yes, a few minor things were different. But overall it was very true to the book and I think they did a great job with the characters. Yes, a great job indeed. 😉 Looking forward to seeing the next two.