Can You Make Too Many Memories?

Well, I am back to recording life and thoughts this morning.  Today I need to talk about why I haven’t been here most of the summer. Part of me wants to blame just this summer, but the past few weeks in my reflections I can honestly say it has been more like the past 18 months. It seems I have been running against the clock planning and planning ahead to “save time” later. Can we really save time? I think it’s like clipping coupons. We clip them and save, but most of the time the $10-$20 gets spent on something else. Same with time we prep meals, we stock the pantry and freezer, we plan our calendars (BTW I ALWAYS spell calendars calanders the first time … just being real and I wonder why EVERY SINGLE time), etc. This is me … this was me … it will be me again it’s who I am, but I am working on slowing down, being intentional about relaxing more, and cutting out the urgency to get things done.

So, back to our summer that started 18 months ago. My husband has worked 2nd shift 98% of the past 10 years, except when he was laid off for 3 years, which means I did the majority of the kid running, meals, home stuff, planning, etc. I will not say most of everything … I was tempted to, but he worked 6-7 days a week and 10-12 hour days. So, I did a lot around here, but in his few hours home he took care of the garden, cars, yard, and farming. Yet, since he was only home and awake a few hours at a time I never realized how much I did for our home and four kids. I just did them. Then over the past 8 weeks he has been home much more no longer working any overtime and working 1st shift. It is like I can breathe again. I just told my aunt the other day I still find myself walking through the house thinking I need to do something, but I don’t. I mean there are always things I could do, but I used to always have something that NEEDED to be done. Those things that should be done or I wanted to do rarely ever were touched. I no longer have that never ending list of items that NEED to be done. It gets done and sometimes there is time to spare. Still not much time for reading or watching my favorite shows, but the fact that I have favorite shows must mean I do get some TV time.

Yet, my husband’s crazy work hours were not the only thing going on, it was also the season of life we were or are in. Four very involved kids and our own desire to do certain things. In the past 24-18 months, I planned 12 birthday parties, 2 First Communions, 2 Confirmations, had 2 girls in 2 dance recitals, fundraisers for a black belt test, typical activities of karate, dance, riding lessons, scouts, catechism classes, sacrament preparation classes, vacations, VBS, county fair, and holiday prep. NOT COMPLAINING ONE TINY TINY bit it is our life and I love it. When I realized the other day that Spring 2018 would not include 3 birthdays, recital, AND Sacraments I let out a deep sigh of relief. That’s when it hit me that we have had a lot going on, but when I thought about what we could cut out I struggled with that.  The majority of what we do isn’t that it’s too much it was just the timing of everything.

Over the past 8 weeks we have discussed how to better plan out our 12 month calendar (I spelled it right maybe I just needed to confess) so we are not over scheduling our commitments or time. This year went like this March sons 12th birthday (cake here for a “drop in if you can” party and a friends Nerf Wars party), #4’s 4th birthday party with family, #3’s Confirmation and First Communion (and all the prep classes), #3’s 8th birthday party with family, 2 in dance recital, Up North vacation, Kentucky vacation, VBS week, fair week, prepping for a new school year, a day with the kids friends here, and then a 10 day UP/Wisconsin vacation. Now here we are rolling in our school year planning Halloween costumes, Christmas lists, my #2’s 10th birthday with friends (no friends parties until age 10 … one thing I never put on my plate) and haven’t thought about anything farther. So, we looked at that and said we decided to put on the calendar the things that just have to be done and decide from there if or what we add in. Granted dance, riding, karate, scouts, youth group, clubs, etc don’t have to be done, but they are limited to 2 things besides church stuff. So, with 4 it can be a bit much, but trust me they always WANT or should I say THINK THEY NEED to do more.

I will say we did have a great summer, but I feel like I never really relaxed to truly take it all in … So can you make too many memories? I think you can never make too many memories, but you can make too many plans.

A summing up with one more thought about this before I end … I know why we over do our planning. Do you? See my Dad died when I was 8 (our kids are 12, 9, 8, and 4), my husbands Dad always worked and died nearly 10 years ago. Time is important to us. My husband put it best a few months ago when he seen a friend of ours that is battling cancer. I could tell he was being thoughtful and said to me “I always think I don’t have enough time.”  Right….? We can rush around putting the spending of time off, because we are too busy trying to save time. And there you have it … we can be pretty good about our money and intentional about where and how we spend it, but are we intentional about how we spend our time. Is it quality time or just time spent?  See I think we really need to stop storing up … spending time to save or make money … spending money to save or spend time … LOOK BACK … Are you ahead? … Have your TRULY MADE more money or time? … Have you laughed with your kids? Your aging Grandparent? Had dinner with the parents? Taught your daughter how to use the camera she is always carrying around? Told them stories about when you were a kid? Caught fire flies with them? Made a meal for a friend that just had a baby? Offered to clean her house or do her laundry even though yours is piled high? Sent a card to say whatever needs to be said before it can’t be said?  …….. on and on I could go. I am speaking to myself as much as anyone else. Yet, I decided THESE were the things I wanted to teach our kids to do. Spending time and even money on time with the people God put in our lives and in our hearts. Being like Mary (not Martha) and taking it all in while we can.

Take moments to breathe, notice, take account, really be there, remember, and share.

God Bless!

I am praying for you. Please pray for me.

A Prayer of Release – Part 1

Last week I shared an Introduction post that I would occasionally create posts walking through this prayer. Or more like walking through my journey with this prayer and how it has changed a great deal in my life … the life of our family.

Heavenly Father, (Lord of my tomorrow), I release to You the burdens that I have been carrying, burdens that You never intended for me to carry. I cast all my cares upon You – all my worries, all my fears, (all my expectations). You have told me to not be anxious about anything, but rather to bring everything to You in prayer with thankfulness. Father, calm my restless spirit, quiet my anxious heart, still my troubling thoughts with the assurance that You are in control. I let go of my grip upon the things I have been hanging onto, with opened hands I come to You. I release to Your will all that I am trying to manipulate; I release to Your authority all that I am trying to control; I release to Your timing all that I have been striving to make happen. I thank You for Your promise to sustain my, preserve me, and guard all that I have entrusted to Your keeping. Protect my heart and mind with Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Father, may Your will be done in my life, in Your time, and in Your way. Amen! 

This part 1 post will be about why I chose to add the “Lord of my tomorrow” portion to this prayer.

Now it may not be accurate or proper to say Lord of tomorrow … when He is the Lord of past, present, and future, right? Well, for me I do my journal entry’s  and praying at night. Saying thanks for our day, praying over our prayer list, and asking for guidance for the next day. In those moments, I would sometimes find myself getting anxious of all that I had happening the next day or the entire week. Other times I would be beating myself up for poor meal planning, bad exercise habits, that another day went by and I did not do __________, etc. Suddenly, in one of those moments that I was feeling desperate and out of the blue (wink wink…right…a Holy Spirit reminder) I remembered how I should be giving my schedule, my thoughts, my insecurities, … my entire day the next day to Him. The words that came out were “Lord of my tomorrow” to just give Him the steering wheel. As I continued to pray this those words I started to realize how often I think about time beyond the moment, beyond the next day, and into the week. I was taking my eyes off the moment and the time right in front of my face, because I was focused on my to do list or events coming up. From that moment I go rid of my to do list and trusted Him to lead me each day to what had to be accomplished that day. Oh, trust me at first letting go and giving Him control of ‘my tomorrow’ was scary. I mean “how would I remember to do all the necessary things Lord without a list.”  “Oh, wait, Lord, how about I just pray about my list and you lead me through what I need to put on that list.” After a little while I can not explain how wonderful things were not having a list and coming to realize I was able to maintain a household without a to do list.

NOW IN FULL DISCLOSURE… God has perfect timing having me write this blog tonight. Why? I have a to do list on my counter right now. I realize that starting back the first of May our schedule of events just spun out of my control. So, guess what I apparently did was take control by adding a to do list back to my day. JUST TODAY I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated … like I was battling someone or something. I sat down and said “Lord, you know that I know when I feel like I am battling it is because I am … my flesh is battling my calling. So, please show me what my flesh needs to ditch. What else do I need to cut out of my life that is holding me back.” Guess how He chose to answer that prayer …. getting me in front of the computer to “blog it out”. So, the ditching begins. There are too many things that are so important to me, but I have allowed other things to take priority over them. That might be another blog in the future.

Hoping my look at this prayer AND rambling about my own life shines a light into yours. As always I am praying for you would you please pray for me? Good Night!

My Favorite Compliment From Our Kids

Just some fun tonight … short and sweet…

So, when I was teaching the favorite sound my classroom of students could make was laughter. I LOVED hearing them laugh. If I could share all the crazy things I would do to get them to laugh I would. It was one of my goals each day to make them laugh or at least smile. My other goals where to love them, show them Christ by actions, and hopefully teach them.

Well, I have carried those three goals into my days as a home school Momma. First, to show them Christ with Love. Secondly, to hopefully teach them, but more than just curriculum. Finally, as often as possible to make them smile, roll their eyes while trying to hide a smile, and out right laughing. We dance. We make funny faces. We talk funny. On and On.

So, my favorite compliment is when, like my students before them, they call me a WEIRDO while giggling so hard.

To me that one word means so much. Why? Because I want them, next to knowing about Christ, to remember LAUGHING WITH THEIR MOM. I want them to remember my smile, not my scowl. I want them to remember the sound of my laugh, not my yelling. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

I still do not feel like we laugh enough, but we are a work in progress. How would you rate the laughter level in your home? Maybe review it.

As always I am praying for you, please pray for me. Good Night and God Bless!

A Prayer of Release – Introduction

Over the course of whatever number of days I am led to I will be doing a series on this prayer I found 2 years ago somewhere on social media. I wish I could cite its author, but there was no name on the picture and the person sharing it wasn’t the author. I am going with the assumption that the author is anonymous or just wanted to spread this prayer around. I have prayed this prayer literally EVERYDAY during the past 2 years. I wish I could count the number of tears I have shed while praying through it. The amount of past that has been ditched. Thus, my thought to start a series in which I will create a post about a part of the prayer that I am led to share. This will contain some personal testimony, thoughts, well as usual my rambling journal mind He gave me.

So, for this quick post I wanted to give you a heads up and share the prayer here. Then if you choose you can maybe start praying it and join in on this series in a more personal way. Each post will include the entire prayer, but I will bold print that part I will be focusing on. I should add those parts in parenthesis I added into the prayer. I will explain why when I get to those parts. Expect the first installment next week.

Heavenly Father, (Lord of my tomorrow), I release to You the burdens that I have been carrying, burdens that You never intended for me to carry. I cast all my cares upon You – all my worries, all my fears, (all my expectations). You have told me to not be anxious about anything, but rather to bring everything to You in prayer with thankfulness. Father, calm my restless spirit, quiet my anxious heart, still my troubling thoughts with the assurance that You are in control. I let go of my grip upon the things I have been hanging onto, with opened hands I come to You. I release to Your will all that I am trying to manipulate; I release to Your authority all that I am trying to control; I release to Your timing all that I have been striving to make happen. I thank You for Your promise to sustain my, preserve me, and guard all that I have entrusted to Your keeping. Protect my heart and mind with Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Father, may Your will be done in my life, in Your time, and in Your way. Amen! 

I hope you are as excited about this series as I am. I have a few others in the works about the different areas of my life.

As always, I am praying for you all would you please pray for me? In fact, I know someone is … so many great things are happening!! Good Night!

I Am… Verses I Am Not…

Hello! Here I go again journaling through my thoughts with you…

This weekend I was thinking about how we have people in our life that we are not Catholic enough for them. Then I thought about how that was funny because then we have other people in our lives that we are too Catholic or Christian for them. So, those of you that know me and have had conversations with me know that my mind or thoughts can go ON AND ON AND ON….

So, I then began thinking about ALL THE things about myself that are enough for some people in my life, but to others is not enough at all.

Let us see…

I am enough Mom for child 1 today, but not for children 2, 3, or 4. Tomorrow it will be some other combination.

Today my husband is perfectly happy with my not being the best meal planner, but last week he was looking for something to eat and yep mumbling under his breath.

Oh, then there are the parents that think we are doing great with the ‘grand kid raising’ one minute, then the next are all to willing to offer assistance.

How about that boss … happy one day, but the next wanting more.

What about those people who do not want to be around you because you are too good? I have in my life been told I need to drink more, I need to stop talking about God, I need to quit being just so nice, etc. Ummm….okay … could it just be that my spirit makes them uncomfortable? They are being moved to change, change is hard, so they ignore it, but being around someone who has those good habits makes them uncomfortable. Many times they/we do not even know why that is why we don’t want to be around someone.

Do you see how this list could go on and on. How about adding in our OWN self-talk. Geez…who do you think is harder to make happy them or yourself?

Anyway … not sure my rambling has a point to it other than I am pretty sure we all FAIL everyday. EACH. AND. EVERY. DAY. We have all told ourselves and heard how we can not possibly make everyone happy all of the time. Well, do we really believe it ALL the time? I know I have to remind myself at least once a day that it is okay that those friends are not my ‘close’ friends because I am not __________ enough for them. I am who am I am, because God has me on my own journey, which I ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me on each day. If as a result, I fail at being enough to someone on this journey, but am enough for Him each day then all will be okay.

We will NEVER be enough for ourselves or this world. Our flesh and their flesh are always wanting MORE … more time, more money, more food, more perfection, etc. People have expectations, they most likely have no clue they even hold, that get placed on us and we will never meet them. Thus, we can not be their friend, or the perfect parent, or the best spouse, etc. Please just understand in His eyes you ARE PERFECTION, you ARE ENOUGH, you WILL SUCCEED…. just keep your eyes on Him. Let go of the things of the past, the things of this world, and cling to Him and all He has waiting for you.

 

Ha … do you all realize I am 99% of the time talking to myself in these posts. Shoot sometimes yelling or crying. Keeping it all real.

As always I am praying for you. Would you please pray for me? Good Night!

Do You Need a Time Budget?

Journaling ….

Today our kids and I started our day at a lake here in Michigan with family. It was our last day with them and we were sad to leave, but happy to be on our way home. Several times during the time we spent with them I reflected on how I used to push myself to be more, do more so I could have more, desire more time, etc. Are you ever that way? Wanting more time with anyone you love? Wanting more money to do whatever it is you desire to do with it? (Hopefully, good things.) Wanting more time in a day do all the things we think we should be doing? Or to do the things we crave doing? (i.e. crafts, reading, writing, hunting, etc.)

Well, this evening when we arrived home, unloaded our things, and began the task of putting it all away I found myself thinking about people I wanted to reach out to, time I wanted to spend with our kids (guys I home school … I am with our kids nearly 7 days a week 24 hours a day), so I should say spend QUALITY non-school time with our kids, planning a weekend with my husband…dang even just a date would be nice, on and on my mind went. Then it landed on writing and in that very moment our daughter commented,” Mom maybe since Dad will not be working any weekends this summer you can get a new bike, we can get a seat for the littlest one, and we can go on bike rides?” I so loved the idea of ALL these thoughts and things running through me head. Those of you that know me know how much they were all sucking me in. Ha! I started to feel anxiety and thinking “I can not do all these things and be all I need to be for everyone in my life and … LORD, I still REALLY want to read, watch TV sometimes, and Lord don’t you know I also need to check in to Facebook? How will people survive without my posts?” Okay I didn’t really think ALL that in that moment, but it hit me later when that same daughter in a conversation said “You didn’t hear me because you were on your phone.” Now don’t get me wrong I am NOT on my phone often at all, BUT honestly I am on it more than I should be and apparently enough to miss my kids needing me.

So, I looked began to look at my time as having to be budgeted like money. Just like we need to look at our spending to monitor where the money goes. We need to do the same thing with our time. When we look at money we list our NEEDS and priorities as expenses to include first, and then we add in the extras and make cuts. Well, the same is true about our time. We need to make a list of the things that NEED to be done for God, our family, home, and health. Then we add in the extras and/or cut things out. NOW sometimes we may need to do this right down to the minute to flush bad habits. For me the only thing I need to CUT out is checking my phone. I am sure when that bad habit is flushed God will reveal another … won’t you Lord. I am sure there are plenty, but one at a time. So, make your ‘time budget’ and let me know how it changed or didn’t change your day. Here is the kicker we get worried if we listen to what God wants us to do then we will never have time for what we want, but He ALWAYS makes time for all you need when you put what He needs first. ALWAYS! Sort of like when your kids do their chores you bless them with free time or some other reward.

Now … how I really got through my anxiety was just sitting down to prayers and making time to write…type out my thoughts. Again no grammar check. Just free flow. Sorry to the grammar police.

Final thought

” All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever sailed, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has this on solitary life.” Dr. James Allan Francis

If that is not clear, he is referring to Jesus. So, if all those people didn’t affect life here like Jesus who am I to think I can. So, each day just ask Him to set your time budget for the day and be intentional about sticking to it.

As always I am praying for you, please pray for me. Could you pray I set the anxiety stick down and just step out and live each day by faith? Thank you!!

It Is Time To … Live Full Walk Free

As my regular readers know I journal more than I write. So, if this is your first time reading my blog please know that I just let the words flow and try to make it readable later. Hopefully, you enjoy.

This past September I had made plans for others to take care of our kids while I attended a Women’s Retreat at Grace Adventures. As the weekend came closer I realized I never received a confirmation notice. I brushed it off thinking it would arrive the week prior. When it did not I thought I should call to check on things, but I was also beginning to wonder if I really wanted to go…all by myself. After talking to someone at Grace I learned I was in fact not registered, but there was still room. My head was saying “Just stay home. Save the money.” My gut was saying “Go! Go! Go!” I learned a long time ago to pick up my anxiety, emotion, and listen to my gut…so planning to go continued. Oh, and by the way I just picked the weekend that worked for my parents to have the kids I never even looked at who the speaker was going to be. It would be a random weekend away all by myself. Enough with the back story…

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The Key Note Speaker that weekend was Cindy Bultema, who would be sharing with us four times that weekend (5 if you attended her break out session) from the book of 1 Corinthian’s, is from west Michigan, a writer/speaker, a wife, and Mom of four kids.  I can’t say it was a POWERFUL weekend for myself, but I can say that it was a weekend I needed to move myself forward in my own thoughts about serving others. I did LOVE Cindy’s talk and learned a GREAT deal about what was happening in Corinth when Paul wrote these letters. I watched as many women made huge steps forward in their own faith, in their own walk with Jesus, and in their journey to shed shame, guilt, and negative self-talk. It was a weekend I needed for many reasons and I pray it was the beginning of a next phase in my own journey, but for me watching the work God did in the lives of others was awe inspiring.

I came home and immediately started a bible study in my home. I stepped out and trusted God to lead those that needed the time in His word, needed time with other women, or were searching for something, through my door. It was an emotional time for me to just put it out there and I can’t explain how my heart rejoiced as others joined me. Going through that eight weeks with three other ladies and starting a Facebook group that others joined through was a blessing that filled all of our hearts. We completed Cindy’s study Red Hot Faith during the time I was blessed to be apart of the launch team for Cindy’s new Bible Study Live Full Walk Free. This new study was where she pulled her talk from for the weekend retreat that impacted women for Him and I am sure it tore down walls that were keeping them from being all He made them to be.  I want that for everyone…for all of you!!

I have not completely read the study, because I wanted to go through it with my Bible Study in February. I did skim through it and loved what I found in those 60,000 words!!! My heart truly believes this study will impact many for our Lord. Cindy worked very hard on this, she allowed God to lead her, and she struggled to get it written all for HIM to reach YOU…YOU, ME, and EVERYONE that goes through it.

Before I end I wanted to share some of Cindy’s thoughts…

Can you tell us a little bit about your new study and why you chose to use Corinth?

Live Full, Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World is a six-session Bible study book and DVD series based on 1 Corinthians. I love how God’s Word contains instructions on every (yes, every) situation we might face in life—even instructing us on how to live set-apart lives right in the middle of today’s confused culture. Whether women have been studying the Bible for decades, or are still trying to figure this “Jesus thing” out, I hope they’ll find relevant material that meet them right where they are on their spiritual journey.

I picked 1 Corinthians because Paul wrote this letter to church members living in the “Sin City” of their day. (So when you see 1st & 2nd Corinthians, think 1st & 2nd Las Vegas!) The church members in Corinth were surrounded by immorality, idolatry and indulgence, much like our culture today. Together we can learn from Paul’s wisdom to the Corinthians as he addressed issues such as identity, unity, purpose, purity, as well as overcoming temptations. Good stuff!

What do you hope readers glean from Live Full, Walk Free?

Freedom in every area of their life—including their sexuality. I often meet women who are weighed down by the pain and humiliation of their sexual pasts, even many years later. I’ve shed tears with countless friends who expressed feeling intense guilt for premarital sex, having an abortion, affair, or other sexual sins. I’ve walked with beautiful women who disclosed their excruciating stories of childhood sexual victimization. They know it’s not their fault, they should “move on.” They’ve tried to live forgiven and free, yet, they can’t shake the shame.

Unfortunately I think sex is one of Satan’s favorite lures. Clearly he’s using sexual sin to hook our culture:  Porn is rampant, sexting among teens is commonplace, and we can’t even go to the grocery store for salad fixings without seeing sexual images on the covers of checkout magazines.

For many women, living in our sex-crazed culture has drastically impacted one’s ability to live full and walk free. Trust me: I get it. For a girl like me with a past like mine, I know what it’s like to be burdened with regret, disappointment, heavy hurts. No judgment here, only grace.

This I know based on the authority of God’s Word: no matter what you have done, or what has been done to you—Jesus Christ came so you might live full and walk free. You are not the one woman who has outsinned the grace and mercy of God. There is no one too far gone from God’s amazing grace!

With over 15 years of ministry experience, Cindy is a popular women’s speaker, author, and Bible teacher. But don’t let her cheerful smile fool you—Cindy has endured single parenting, overcome bondage to addiction, and survived tragic loss.Cindy’s latest Bible study, Live Full Walk Free was released in December 2016. Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and their four kids. Most days you can find Cindy walking her beagle Rocky, attending one of her boys’ hockey games, or serving hot lunch at her kids’ school.

Once we get into the study I will be sharing live about the study on my #LateNightTruthChats via Facebook Live on my blog page. Please click the link to like my page and get notifications to hear those chats to learn more about my thoughts on this study and … well whatever I am led to share. Until then please check out the link below and get your own copy of Cindy’s beautiful book. If you want to join a group you are welcome in my home or to join our Facebook Bible Study Group just let me know!! Otherwise, like ALWAYS know I am praying for you and PLEASE pray for Cindy and I!!

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Find out more about Cindy’s new Bible study, Live Full Walk Free, plus download freebies for your own journey through 1 Corinthians here: http://www.cindybultema.com/live-full-walk-free/.

How Do I Know It Is You God?

In the last month I have been shown how I was looking at my calling a bit wrong. Not all wrong, but wrong enough that is was messing up my direction. So, I thought instead of journaling through it in my journal I would journal through it with you all. Then as I crisp up my own understanding you might gain some insight into your own world.

I have been hosting a bible study in my home and the first one we decided to do was Red Hot Faith by Cindy Bultema.  One of the points of discussion had to do with eliminating blind spots.  Blind Spots are things that keep us from achieving our best for God, but the hard part about this is that these are ‘blind spots’. We can go our entire lives and never know they even exist. When I first read this I had to take a few weeks to sort through this idea and reflect on my own life to determine what blind spots were hiding in my life.  My gut was telling me there was definitely a blind spot that God was working to reveal to me.

Just before Christmas we went to visit some family that was in town to do some sledding. While there my Aunt asked me if I followed Father Joe, a cousin to her and my Mom, on Facebook. I do, so I replied, “Yes, but hadn’t checked in lately.” She proceeded to comment that his post earlier that week was really nice. Later that night, I checked his post out. In it he discusses ways we know it is God we are listening to. One of the points he mentioned was that if it is God calling us to do something that there will be sacrifice involved. Just reading his words caused a light bulb to come on for me. It was like a gap was connected for me. Yes, I always knew the idea of the road less traveled or the road with dips and turns, bumps and obstacles, verses the easy road, but I guess this was a blind spot for me as I needed that word SACRIFICE to connect a dot for my brain. I suddenly realized why I was struggling with “Is God calling me or isn’t He. Nothing seems to be falling into place. I am not having time to do something.” Well, duh I need to make some sacrifice to make it happen and it isn’t going to be easy.

THE BACK STORY … Growing up I always heard how if it was Gods plan everything would just fall into place. Well, that is not entirely true. Yes, God will open and close doors, but He needs you to travel the path to get to the door AND you need to open it. Or you need to acknowledge the door is closed and seek out the one He desires for you to open. The journey to those open doors will include sacrifice.

What is strange for me about this is that I KNEW all is from experience. When we decided I was going to stay home we had to make a sacrifice of a second income. When we decided to homeschool we had to make more sacrifices to put money into curriculum, learn to live with a messy home, my own time would be consumed by kids, etc. When I say this to you I can honestly say there are hard days, but the good and great days far out weighed the bad and instead of sacrifice it is blessing. So, why I did not see that sacrifice would need to be made in this next phase or direction He was leading us? I have no idea. Well, actually maybe because I never thought ahead about any of those previous decisions. They were just what we were going to do and we never looked at any of it as a sacrifice. Where as this time around I know it needs to be done, but I am feeling the struggle much more than before.

It feels good when you head in the right direction and when there are struggles God gives you affirmation that you are on the right path, He is with you, and He will get you through it. JUST TRUST HIM. I have been fortunate to have a group of amazing ladies praying for me and feeding me with encouragement through this. Then I have had some crazy random Holy Spirit FILLED moments that SHOUTED I was doing the right thing. Including writing this post, I finished typing the rough draft last night, this morning I woke up to the below photo shared by Molly Green and knew I was still on the right path. So, now I set editing, which is funny since I am HORRIBLE at that, and adding in links to BEAUTIFUL people you should check out for some of your own encouragement.

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So, is God calling you? Are you listening to God? One part of knowing is if it will require you to make a sacrifice. If you aren’t hearing Him maybe check yourself for blind spots…things in your life, up bringing, thought patterns, etc that are keeping you from reaching out to Him. Find someone that can help you sort through it all…journal to Him.

NOTE: I am NOT an affiliate with any of the above people, companies, etc. I just love them and want to share them with you AND they are apart of the reason I had a wonderful light bulb moment. Also, here is a link to Father Joe’s column in Faith Magazine.

Embracing Your Kid’s Interests

Over the past two years I have enjoyed and struggled with things our kids are interested in. To clarify, I am talking about things that are more than a passing interest. These are things that they continue to learn and discover about.

I have moments that I want to forbid them their interest, because I simply do not understand it or it looks/sounds weird to me. I mean why can’t my good Christian kids read/study their Bible’s, dive into devotionals, listen to Christian Music all the time, etc. WHY do they have to discover things that make me wonder if I am a good parent?

Well, I am no expert and I am sure there are MANY Christian parents out there that will disagree with me in our approach. Yet, we have chosen to follow the following steps, for the most part, when our kids develop interests that either concern us OR we just plain think are odd OR we ourselves have NO INTEREST in.

  1. We do our very best to research the thing they are drawn to. We learn the good and bad about it. Then we evaluate if either side out weigh’s the other FOR OUR child and our family. In other words, research and discussion between Mom and Dad.
  2. Then we discuss with the child what we found and what we believe is best. Maybe limited time. Maybe they can only participate or view something when one parent is present. Maybe we decide this interest is not in their best interest and we do forbid it.
  3. Next, we follow-up and make sure they are following our guidelines. If it was something we allowed them to continue with we then choose to learn what we can about it. This allows us to converse with them about it and engage them. We want them to know that their parents may not know EVERYTHING about this, but they are willing to learn, love them enough to want to spend time doing things they enjoy, and also that we are aware of their habits/interests.
  4. Finally, we embrace them and their interests as best we can. We watch movies with them. We watch YouTube videos with them. We encourage them to create things they learn about. We always refer them back to God and our faith. We set an example that we have interests, but we put God and our family first.  Keeping things in proper perspective.

I guess what I am saying is our kids are not our clones. They are going to like things that make no sense to us or may even seem dumb. We choose not to ridicule them or blow it off. We feel that pushes our kids away from us rather than creating a lasting relationship with them. We choose to make the tough parental calls when we need to, but we also explain to our kids why. They may not like it, but at least they know Mom and Dad didn’t just say no. They know we respected them enough to research it and give them REASONS for our decisions.

As parents our number one priority is to keep them close to God. If we choose not to embrace what they are interested in then we may risk pushing them away, which makes it pretty hard to draw them to Jesus Christ.

DISCLAIMER: We do not do a great deal of explaining to our 3-year-old. Ha! We do, but we do more…”No! You WILL NOT run into the road.” or “Yes you can color on THAT paper.” In this post I am referring to our approach with our older children.

 

Finding Purpose Again

There was a time in my life when I was too young to even care about my purpose in being here. Then came the time that I became a teacher and everything changed. I knew from the first day in a classroom that I was to be a teacher.

Oh, my heart filled up with joy and pain when I was in the classroom. Sure I had a life and another purpose that superseded being a teacher and it was being a wife. Eventually, becoming a mom interfered as well. Yet, what I am talking about is that purpose that somewhere inside of you … you just know you are meant to be there in that place. That is how I felt about teaching. Well, shoot when my babies started I arriving I knew I was supposed to be home with them, but what I wasn’t prepared for what that sense of purpose was gone. That feeling I felt when I was teaching … was … well gone.

I know…I know some of you are thinking “Well, you are a Mom now THAT is your purpose!” I am here to tell you that my head and my heart KNEW God wanted me home, but something in my being wasn’t grasping the idea that being a Mom was a purpose. Maybe I am slow. I remember PLEADING with God to show me my purpose.

Lord please show me what my purpose is here! Help me! I am feeling so misplaced, lost, confused, inadequate, I can do more than this,  … 

I recall within days of finally truly PLEADING with Him that I was at my computer and the radio was on Family Life Radio when this song came on about a busy Mom and all the seemingly mundane things we do … and … well … I sat there and cried as I heard him say it matters. Then shortly after that hearing the words “God could have chosen anyone to be their Mom, but He didn’t … He chose you!” THIS….THIS was the beginning of me seeing His plan for me.

See it isn’t as much about feeling purpose as it is rather about allowing Him to work each day through you to achieve purpose. 

That realization came to me through a series of little moments…a movie called Mom’s Night Out, which is where I heard AGAIN that God chose me, books, watching our kids grow and interact with others, SLOWING down my pace to hear Him, and learning to wait on my Lord. Tonight though was the first time I wrote it out like that in bold print and I am crying now as it really becomes even more real to me. Sharing with you all ALWAYS brings something new to light.

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

See it is called according to His purpose. My hang up was in thinking that His purpose wasn’t great or grandeur enough. He has placed a dream in my heart and I am sure one day I will see it come true. Yet, each day He leads my steps to His purpose for that day and eventually one step at a time all the steps will come together. Just like now I can look back and see how EVERYTHING good and bad has gotten me here, I am sure I will look back then and see exactly the same thing. Probably how my crazy random blogging was a part of something even greater to come.

So, if you are struggling with being a Mom and finding your purpose please know He is working HIS purpose through you in each moment. For now He needs you to allow Him to work through you. Right? Or Wrong?

I am praying for you! Please pray for me!