This is not a test…..or is it?

This year 2019 has certainly come in like whirl wind as our family and home endured trials and challenges from about every direction possible. With everything we are facing time is just flying by…And just like that March is almost over….

One of verses I have been studying for this month has been James 1:3.

testing= challenging, requiring considerable effort

Steadfastness=form in brief, adherence, not subject to change, constant

So I can have comfort and peace in knowing that all of these trials we are being challenged and tested by are perfecting me and will help me to be firm and constant in my faith.

So in our whirl wind of tests, trials and challenges that 2019 is bringing to us we will count it all joy.

Staying strong in our faith, staying in God’s word, fervent in prayer.  Blessed in our trials as we are perfected into steadfastness in our faith.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7-12‬ ‭

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Goodbye January

Finding the magical peaceful moment in my day when I can sit down clear headed in a quiet peaceful environment……yep that’s not happening! I may as well go searching for unicorns and leprechauns! Working full time with seven children at home I’m lucky if I can make it in the bathroom for 5 uninterrupted minutes.

I always seem to have the greatest intentions. Over the years I have made several attempts to follow a personal bible reading plan and scripture studies on my own. Some attempts and plans have been more successful than others along the way. But none the less, life, excuses, the busyness, the to do lists, and the exhaustion take over and the struggle to find that magic peaceful moment seems like a lost cause. In past years and attempts I have found myself discouraged and frustrated.

But not this year!!!

These photos show what my 2019 scripture study is looking like this year, it is not pretty but it is wonderful and I am so thankful to have pushed through all the discouragement and barriers and making my scripture study this year grow so much already! Praise God!

 

 

Scripture study in the chaos of our kitchen….

My office space

Some study time in car with our daughter

Studying in hallway/office/sewing&craft area

 

 

 “that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Psalms‬ ‭30:12‬

 

 

I have been following devotional I found online and my scripture study and prayer time is taking a priority over the to do list.

It has not been perfect, there have been a few days along the way when my weary exhausted mom brain just had nothing left but to hit the pillow…. when that happens I just pick up the slack and the next day when I sit down I spend some extra time in my scripture study to catch up.  I am giving myself grace and moving on where I have left off.  It is quite impressive how just adjusting my expectations and planning for failure has helped me to be more successful.

Planning for failure has made this more successful!

I am enjoying my scripture study immensely.

I am learning.

I am growing.

This is the plan I have been following.

https://asymphonyofpraise.com/blog/inscribe-the-word-february-scripture-writing-plan-2

It has verses selected for each day. The verses are written out and studied. I am finding how effective writing them out is for me. I am incorporating tools I have been learning in Sunday school as I write out my verses to study scripture. When? Who? What? Why? Where? How?

This year I have taken a new approach and attitude. I’ve stopped waiting for the peace and quiet. I am building moments in my busy day for my study.  So I am putting my intentions and desires into action in between the noise and the chaos. I have prepared my mind and heart to be able to study regardless of what the day is like.  Not having my heart set on the same time, same location and expecting perfect quiet is just not realistic at this season in our lives, I am no longer letting this be a barrier and the results are AWESOME!  So while my study locations are not picture perfect or ideal, they are real life and its working!  I have successfully done every day of January for my scripture study this year!!!

Bring on February 2019!!!

 

 

No resolutions for me….

I have not decided if I am happy to see 2018 or sad…. bittersweet really. Ready or not 2019 is here. 2018 was challenging and exciting full of blessings and growth, but where did it go? How did it slip by so quickly?

Looking back at everything that has happened this past year is a bit overwhelming to say the least. A lot of changes were made in our home. We welcomed a baby boy in June 💙, my husband changed careers, we officially have 3 teenagers, including a fifteen year old behind the wheel, our family changed churches, championship events, trials big and small, blessings big and small, all on top of our day to day running a home with 7 children and a grandmother!

By God’s strength and grace we have survived it all!

So as I reflect on this past year and wonder what this coming year will bring I will be making no resolutions. I’ve never been big on them anyway.

Here’s what I’m thinking…if I am striving in my walk with the Lord to be closer to Him, to be more Christlike, less of me more of Him, closer to holiness then everything that I would be resolving to do will fall into place. Becoming more Christlike will push me to have more discipline spiritually, mentally and physically. Which means taking better care of myself, which means being healthier overall, and in turns means taking better care of my family and pushing them to be healthier as well.

So as 2019 is rolling right in I am ready. I am excited to see what God has planned for me and my husband and our family. Most of all I am praying that God would be made center of our home and that we continue to walk closer with Him each day we are blessed with. During the blessings and the trials that we would have peace and rejoice in it all.

In all things bring glory to the Lord, that above all else that we do this year our family would be to serve our King!

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭

Link

Heavy duty stuff

Lessons from Sunday school the few past couple of weeks keeps jumping through my mind. Over and over and over….the words and lessons speaking to my heart mind and soul. Words that are hard to hear but must be absorbed. Things that need to be heard again. And again. And again…..  Reminders to push and direct me. To keep me going forward on the narrow path and not sliding backwards downhill in spiritual cruise control as so well said by our pastor during the sermon this past weekend!

—> ARE YOU TRUSTING THE LORD THE WAY HE CALLS US TO???        I’m not, I am guilty of anxiety and worry….

—> WHEN YOU WAKE IN THE MORNING WHAT IS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT? Is it focused on the Lord?…     mine isn’t its normal grumbling about being tired and not wanting to get up and start another busy day

Beware!

‘Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning’ Luke 12:35. ‘And he said to them “take care and be in your guard against all covetousness for ones life does not consist of the abundance of his possessions’. Luke 12:15

I need to remain in prayer and study of God’s word to be able to beware and prepared for the trials of this world.  The days/weeks I am more obedient with this there is a noticeable difference.  There are so many idols in our lives that it is easy to slip into not making this a habit and a priority in my routine.

Have no fear!

“”I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Luke‬ 12:4-5

To truly trust the Lord and live fearlessly in Him, I need to be with Him, I cannot do this if I am not studying His word, meditating and learning His word and alive in my prayer life with Him.

Do not worry, do not be anxious!

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:22-26‬

Who am I to question God and His plan with my worry and anxious heart???  But yet I do.  This is truly my greatest struggle and something I am actively working towards.  In the heat of the moment when fear hits the ceiling and physically overpowered by anxiety is when it is most challenging, again I need to continue to improve in my bible study and prayers to move closer to the Lord and farther from living with constant anxiety.

Be ready!

“”Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”” Luke‬ ‭12:35-36, 40‬

I need to be ready with God’s words constantly in my mind and heart.  I need to be on constant and frequent fellowship with Christ to stay ready, if His word is in my heart and mind then that is what will come out.  If sinful and evil is allowed to be entertained in my mind and heart then that is what will come out.  We must stay in God’s word and know it so intimately that we can distinguish false teaching.    Application of scripture in life may change but the truth of it will remain the same.

Christ must come first!

“”And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke‬ ‭12:8-10‬

I need to rest in the Holy Spirit, putting Christ above all else, first in and above all things in this world and the Holy spirit will be there leading me, convicting me when needed, and preparing me for His return one day.

I am so very thankful for God’s truth, for God’s mercy and grace upon me and my life.  I am so thankful to be in this Sunday school class where I am being challenged, spiritually fed and convicted.  I am so thankful for my salvation in Christ. My heart is so happy to be moving forward in my walk, learning and growing along side sisters and brothers in Christ.  I am so VERY THANKFUL for HEAVY DUTY STUFF to be laid on my mind and heart on Sunday mornings ❤

Table for 10

I am frequently asked how we manage a home with 7 kids, their sports all while staying involved and active at church and working a full time job and exercising. Sometimes I step back and see all we do and ask myself that same question?!?  How do we do it?

Truly it is by the strength and help of the Lord that we survive each day and busy week. Constant prayer 🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻 and endless coffee ☕️☕️☕️

However here are a few things the past few weeks since school and sports swing back into action that have been a huge blessing making it all come together for our family.

My amazing and wonderful husband who works so hard and endlessly for our family 💜

My mother being here and helping drive the kids home from school and to and from their activities. As hard of a transition as it was when she moved to Virginia and in with us.  For all the complaining and bad days that we have had,  we wouldn’t be making this busy season in our lives work without her here. Obviously God knew what He had planned when He led my mom to live with us.

God has blessed me with the gift of being organized. Keeping our calendars and meal plans up to date and flowing each week has been instrumental in keeping track of everything.  I have essentially 4 calendars I keep updated.  One online with our google calendars, a personal paper planner I keep with me, a family monthly calendar in our kitchen and a weekly calendar that sometimes is updated or changing daily!

We have been using a successful meal plan system for several years now.  This meal plan system has worked so well I think the world may end as we know it if we didn’t meal plan for a week.  All the mouths around our table have become very used to looking at the menu each day to see what is being made.

This past week I found some new casserole recipes that were a hit! I made them the night before and put them in the fridge so all I had to do at dinner time was put them in the oven.  At the beginning of each week I make one large salad and chop fresh veggies so that we have vegetables prepared and ready to go.  I use our slow cooker a lot too!

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/taco-bake-casserole-63779.aspx

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/mac-cheese-lasagna-94496.aspx

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭

Living through anxiety…journey to hope and joy

This is a tough one for me to write partially as a result of the destruction of anxiety I have been experiencing. Such a big topic…I’m not sure where to even begin.

Over the past two years for the first time in my life I have experienced anxiety, true anxiety. Not just a little nervous or anxious over typical life stuff but anxiety over something that pushed me to physical symptoms and results of the fear and anxiety.

The heart racing, nauseated, head pounding, feel like you cannot breath because you are suffocating from fear, pretty sure your having a heart attack and dying from being scared to death. ——> ANXIETY.

Anxiety is ugly…Anxiety is a monster…Anxiety is paralyzing…Anxiety is real…Anxiety is a SIN…

There is one specific area in our life beyond my control has caused such an overwhelming fear I have been in some ways completely paralyzed by it. It has robbed me of so many things, the most precious of which is joy and peace.

As a medical provider I am fully aware of anxiety as a medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment options. But being on the other side of this it’s completely different. I had no idea the physical symptoms were so ‘real’. My education training and experience of course I knew they were real. The impact of actually experiencing them was eye opening and quite painful.

It becomes such a horrible cycle. In my mind, my brain knows the truth, God is in control, I know the biblical truths that should keep my mind body and heart from being controlled by fear. Worry and fear is a sin and shows my lack of faith. But in that moment, when fear strikes, my mind shuts down and physical symptoms of fear, flight or fight reaction takes over.

Then when I’m in a safe place I feel overwhelming guilt and beat myself up for being weak and selfish. I feel shame and am angry with myself for allowing the fear to control me and my actions. I feel so defeated and powerless in these moments once the fear passes.

As this cycles through over and over, constantly living in fear and then guilt and shame is exhausting. I was suffocating with the results of this unending fear and I could not find a way to come up for air.

I was listening to a sermon by R.C. Sproul this past week on anxiety and he speaks about how much Jesus warned us against the SIN of anxiety and worry. The conviction that worry and anxiety is a sin has really sunk heavy in my heart.

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”” Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”” Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭

“”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬ ‭

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭

Last week my husband and I were having conversation about sin and he asked me what sin I struggle with the most, and anxiety doesn’t even pop in my mind. I immediately think of the first two commandments, and feel convicted of not putting God first and the idols in my life. However anxiety and fear over this part of our lives that is beyond our control is truly what I struggle with the most and results in impacting everything else in my life.

“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” Romans‬ ‭6:11-13‬

“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Romans‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭

This is still a battle for me, ongoing…moment to moment…

This has been a difficult path for me and my husband and essentially our family as they have felt the effects of my anxiety. It took a while to be able to understand the underlying fear and anxiety and how this was taking over me.

I can’t choose not to have the fear in my life, that’s not going to change. The source of my anxiety is a constant in our lives so I must learn how to cope with this. To have faith and peace through the moments when fear is staring me in the face.

I am learning to choose to not let the fear control me. I have not mastered this or perfected this by any means. Oh my word! I am really not even close to where I need to be but I am now moving in the right direction…. making progress, baby steps.

I am learning and growing. With the support patience and understanding of my husband. With God’s word . Many many hours of prayer, ongoing constant prayer. I have reached out to christian women in my life for support and friendship.

God is in control and in the end this will be made to glorify Him. It is already working to grow my relationship with Christ.

With the power of Christ I am rising above this and can see the other side.

God is faithful despite my lack of faith!

By the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my life I am choosing to turn away from the sin of anxiety and fear and am turning to the strength and comfort in Jesus. God and his sovereignty will transform my heart and my life to one of peace and joy despite and through the trials that currently causing my fear.  It won’t be easy, God does not promise easy, but He does promise to be with me.  I will find comfort in knowing He is in control.  There will still be days that are a disaster, I will make many more mistakes along the way during this process.  However when those days come I will repent, turn back to Jesus and not allow the enemy to keep his hold over me.  I am imperfect, I am a sinner and I desperately need my Savior.  I am so thankful for God’s mercy and grace and most importantly for the sacrifice of His Son on the cross for my sins.

To my first born

Truly how has it been over 15 years since you were so tiny new and fresh?

I was 22 years old when I welcomed you to this world, at that moment in time I thought I was grown up. I was a little unsure of what motherhood would be but I was not afraid. I should have been terrified but I was too proud and naive. On some level I thought that I had things figured out, I was so mistaken. I really had no idea what I was doing.

I believed in a God without a doubt but I had not yet transformed my heart and life for Christ. I was living my life in sin and rebellion.

Oh my sweet boy, if I only knew then what I know now…but nothing can change the past.

I have to stop myself as I reflect on the many things I could have done differently in your lifetime. Satan starts working in my mind to beat myself up with the ‘what if’s’ and tearing myself down for all the things I did wrong or could have done better. More so I tend to feel guilty for what I could have done differently.

I can reflect back and easily recognize the mistakes I made along the way. I can clearly see how I could have been ‘a better mom’.

Rather than focusing on the negative I have been making efforts to have grace and forgiving myself. Transforming my regrets and overpowering guilt for the errors in my early mothering years to being thankful.

I am thankful God chose me to be your mother, even when I was not ready or prepared.

I am thankful that despite the mistakes and poor choices of my past that you and I are healthy and safe.

I am thankful I am not where I once was and continue to grow in my faith and love for Christ.

I am thankful for answered and unanswered prayers.

I am thankful for making mistakes, I am not perfect and I am a sinner, my mistakes resulted in my need for a Savior and my surrender to Christ.

I am thankful for learning and growing in wisdom from my mistakes.

I am thankful that when I was not obedient and honoring to God in my choices and life He was still faithful and merciful to me in my life.

I am thankful for trials and storms along the way making me truly appreciate the triumphs and sunny days.

I am thankful for your unconditional love and grace, thankful for your forgiveness.

I am thankful for the way you inspire me to be a better mother and person.

I am thankful for sleepless nights, sticky hands, loud and hectic home full of little people.

I am thankful for the moments I am able to stop and see the world through your eyes.

I am thankful for toddler tantrums and teenage attitudes.

I am thankful for the opportunities to use my mistakes and life experience to teach and disciple you.

I am thankful for parenting books and the support of my mommy friends to talk, laugh and cry with.

I am thankful for the young man you are growing into despite my many mistakes and ‘could have done betters’.

I am thankful for my amazing husband and his godly influence in your life.

I am thankful for God’s plans in my life being more wonderful than any plans I could have dreamed of.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:13‬ ‭

You my beloved son have had an instrumental and significant role in my journey to be the woman and mother I am today. You my son made me a mother. The greatest and most awesome blessing and responsibility of my life is being a mother.

My first born you have a piece of my heart that no one else ever will. ❤

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:15‬