(un) prepared.       (Un) positively. (un) joyful.

It’s seems like just when I think I have things a little figured out, small handle on the chaos of our busy blended adventurous life there’s another bump in the road.

I finally feel like I am going to be able to stop and catch my breath and bam the wind gets knocked out of me again.  Whether it’s one big thing that knocks me down or several small at the same time.  It seems to be the inevitable cycle of life in this fallen world.

This week has knocked me down hard, several small blows have taken a toll.  Challenges of parenting intertwined with complications and emotional hurt caused by ‘the other parent and home’.  Little hearts that are hurting and needing guidance and support.  Exhausted parents after minimal sleep carried into difficult and challenging days at work and busy demanding evenings caring for kids and keeping up with housework.

The circumstances and struggle of our day to day during a more demanding week blow by blow has dictated my moods and reactions and knocked away my joy and stole my smile.

Fighting the moment by moment internal spiritual battle.  Distracted and overwhelmed by the circumstances and  powerful emotions that are threatening to take over.  Not one big trial but many small storms.

The enemy never backs down, he is always trying to steal our joy.

I did not do well this week.  I am weak and tired.  I did not have a good attitude or joyful heart.

I can quote you the verses and tell you the ‘church’ answer of how I should have handled it all.  But in the heat of the moment when I’m tired beyond tired, hungry, pulled in 10 directions and feeling very overwhelmed and out of control I do not act or respond the way in my heart know I should.  My sinful selfish self takes over with a toxic negative attitude and responses.

 

This photo sums up how I felt this week!

And then it happened…..scrolling casually through my Facebook feed and there is this tiny precious fragile baby who has been born much much too early, strapped to all kinds of tubes and life support machines keeping him alive.  A true miracle to still be alive despite all odds at this point and still facing a lifetime of disability when he does grow stronger.  His parents full of fear and questions but yet living positively and with BOLD FAITH!!!  After considering the pain and worry of his mamas heart suddenly my disaster of a day at my office and tired kids just does not seem that bad anymore.

In this moment…..time stops briefly…

My eyes burning to cry.

My heart mourns and prays for this baby and his family.

My spirit is condemned and my heart convicted.  Tornado of emotions shake me to my core, guilt for being so selfish, awe mixed with a huge surge of thankfulness for my husband and our family and our abundant blessings.

Convicted………guilty……ashamed……..a couple of bad (not ideal) days and I open myself up and allow the enemy to come in and steal my joy, this not the first time I have allowed this and this not only effects me it impacts everyone around me.  I allow the circumstances , being tired, having to wait 10 minutes for a treadmill at the gym, awful day at work, cranky kids drive my mood and actions.  SELFISH!!!  This sweet precious baby and his family are holding on in joyful faith as he fights to stay alive and I’m having a bad (not ideal) day and I cannot be obedient to God in how I respond and act!?!?  


This realization shakes me to my core, my spirit and heart immediately soften and I turn to God.  Not any more, I refuse to let this go on any longer.  This is not who I am or who God created me to be.  

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭

I am truly humbled, call out to God confess my transgressions and beg His undeserved forgiveness.

This week will not need end way it started.  The enemy will not have his way with me or my family.

“With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭108:13‬

I will be prepared, study and memorize God’s word and truth.

“I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11

I will be faithful and remain close to the Lord in prayer.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.” Psalm 61:1

This is not new information or realizations for me like I already said I have known all along what I should be doing, and have actually been doing most of it.  I read God’s word most days, pray daily, I go through the motions.  But the difference is in the heart when I am doing these things.  My heart needs to be God-centered.  If Iam going through the motions but my heart is cold and cut off then my efforts are essentially useless and meaningless, I see the fruit and evidence of this in how I started my week and where my heart was and where my heart is now.


I need to be prepared…. For the ongoing and endless daily battles I will continue to face.  The enemy knows my weaknesses and will continue to use my circumstances and prey on my humanity and try to steal my joy 

 

 

 

“For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.” Psalm 149:4

 

“For the Lord your God is the one who goes its you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4

I need to keep a positive heart, mind and spirit in moments and circumstances that are more demanding. I choose God, I choose joy.

” Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.   Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth!” Psalm 66:1

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and the your joy may be complete.” John 15:11

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19

 

—> NOT ANY LONGER!!! satan you lose, God wins, I have victory in Christ and will not sit back and willing allow you to take my joy or delight, God is my source of great happiness, I am truly blessed and will keep my heart and mind focused on the Lord and take delight in His love.<—-

Rising up to take ACTION!

Pushing forward in our Christian blended family and parenting adventures.

My husband and I along the way have consistently been incorporating some form of family devotional, typically during one of our family meals.  We are not successful in doing a devotional every night but typically at least once a week.  Which has been good but we feel God leading us to take this devotional time in a new direction.

         —>Plan of action!<—

My husband and I are going to intentionally direct our family devotions to teaching, modeling, and instilling God’s law in the hearts of our children. I have recently read an amazing book by Ray Comfort, “How to bring your children to Christ and keep them there.” He offers some great advice and tools. This really opened my eyes on how important and crucial it is to teach our children about sin.

I think it is so easy to shy away from the focusing on the affliction of sin to stay more focused on God’s love and forgiveness. Especially with children, your instinct is to protect them from anything that may be scary or harmful. Sin and hell are scary and harmful! But we need to do exactly the opposite. Our children can never be truly appreciate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross if they do not fully recognize and understand the entity of sin.  They need to be taught God’s law, what sin is, they need to see themselves as a sinner or they will never truly repent and turn to Jesus.

I can see how this family journey through the commandments, magnifying God’s Moral Law is going to not only be transforming for our children but will also be at work in my own heart. This has already provoked my husband and I to truly reflect on our own sin and obedience to the Lord (or lack thereof 😉  )

JIt is so easy to deep inside try and justify or rationalize our own sin.  We so easily see sin as big or little, we try and attribute our sin as not as severe.  For example, we tell ‘a little white lie’ which we chalk up as harmless, but in God’s eyes lying is the same as murder and adultery.  Our sinful nature pulls us to downplay the seriousness of our sin.

So my husband and I are dedicated to use our family devotional to open the eyes of our children to exactly what sin is, so they can see sin in their own hearts and lives and recognize why they need to be saved. I know our kids know what the 10 commandments are but do they really understand them? They can recite them from memory but do they know what it means to truly follow them? We are going to slowly week by week take on a commandment and discuss it and study it and model it as a family.

Last week we had an in depth discussion about the first commandment.

““I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”  Exodus‬ ‭20:2‬ ‭

God comes first.  It seems simple at first but trying to explain this to a child in terms they can truly comprehend is not as simple.  Before we can take this to our young audience we need to reflect on our own lives and actions; ‘am I living with God coming first?’, unfortunately not like I should or could be.  It is in trying to teach our children this that I can see where my sin has been shadowed, shining the light on it so I can repent and turn toward being obedient and putting God first.

We tried to shine light on what it means to not put God first, to put His blessings in our life before Him.  We used Ray Comfort’s  example and demonstrated what it looks like to love the gift and not the giver.

How often to we do this, value and honor our life, our family, our jobs, our things over the One who blessed us with these things.  We are all guilty, we are all sinners, we all desperately need Christ.  We are also ensuring that our kids are aware that my husband and I are just as guilty, we are not perfect or sinless, we make mistakes and need to repent from our sins and turn to Christ.

This week’s devotional we took on the second commandment.

““You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”  Exodus‬ ‭20:3-6‬

It is very easy to fall guilty to having idols, we do it all the time and don’t even realize this is what we are doing.  We idolize God as this loving forgiving God who won’t punish us for our sins.  We pray our wish lists to Him.  Idolatry is dangerous because it is so easy to fall into.  But breaking God’s law has severe consequences, if He punished us the way we truly deserved it would be unimaginable.

So with this weeks devotional in trying to teach and show the kids that God’s law is God’s law whether you believe or follow it we used the law of gravity as an example.  God of course is the Creator of natural laws, the natural lof of gravity.  My husband got to drop a raw egg and this definately got their attention, intentionally drop and break an egg!  He did it to show them it does not matter what we do we cannot defy the law of gravity because, it is indisputable that if you jump off of a cliff you will fall to a traumatic result of the law of gravity.  

The goal of having them visualize the consequence of defying one of God’s natural laws so we could impress on them on the power and consequence of defying God’s moral law.  We minimize our sins because we don’t see the immediate consequence of our sin.  However just because  we don’t receive immediate punishment we deserve does not mean that God’s law is not being disobeyed.  How quickly we turn to idolatry to justify and downplay our sin.  We need to have a healthy fear and respect of God and his law to truly be saved.  We can not repent of our sins if we are unable to reconize sin as sin.

 

My husband has done an amazing job leading our family devotional.  Not an easy task, with multiple children at varying ages and learning abilities at times it’s like herding cats to keep them on track.  Overall these have gone over really well and the cherry on top is that the all actually are participating and enjoying it 🙂

So to follow up and follow through with our new direction of devotional I have been working with them in the car on our ride to and from school.  We have been talking about the first and second commandments daily, reviewing what it means to follow them, and what it means to break them.  

In an effort to establish starting our day with the Lord and focused on Him we have established a blessing time in the mornings.  I ask one of the kids to lead us in a blessing for all of us to start our day.  They have been enjoying this as well, one morning I didn’t initiate blessing quick enough at the typical point in our drive when I would initiate and I was reminded by our daughter that we need to do our blessing.  

Another area that we been trying to encourage them in is having a servants heart and actively be seeking ways to be kind to others.  Every morning I discuss with them trying to find a way to show someone kindness during their day.  I encourage them to be on the lookout to help someone that needs it.  To look for ways they can serve others, even if it is a small way. I have challenged them to find a way to be kind or help someone anonymously.  So far none have them found a way but it’s only been a couple of weeks.

“Dear children let us love not with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1John3:18

Then on the way home we have discussion and learn who found a way to be kind.  One at a time I ask them about their day and if they found a way.  Some days are more successful than others but I feel like this we are making progress.  I also take time to tell them if I had found a way to show kindness to someone in my day.  We certainly cannot expect them to live to standards we as parents are not modeling and being the example of.

 The goal is encourage them to start their day in prayer and actively be looking for ways to serve, be kind and honoring to the Lord.

With the Lord leading us Matt and I will continue with this part of our parenting journey and continue to teach our children about God’s law, the severity of sinning against God and in turn showing them their own sin and this will lead them to a true conversion as a follow of Christ.  

These few weeks I know I am feeling more convicted, my heart is transforming and growing in my relationship with the Lord.  I can already see some small but positive changes in the kids, our family and home.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You so much for blessing us as parents!  What an awesome and challenging responsibility you have given us.  Please continue to lead guide and direct my husband and I in raising, teaching, discipling, encouraging, correcting and loving our children.  They each are a blessing from You.  I pray that we rise to be the parents You have called us to be, to teach and show our children how to love You, serve You and live their lives to glorify You.  I pray for strength, courage, wisdom and patience in this incredible journey.  I pray that my husband and I can be godly and humble examples for our children to look to us and see Your love.  I pray that our family devotional time continues to capture their attention and convicts their hearts and that they can see their sin for sin and truly repent and come to Christ.   Lord thank You so much for my husband and our children and blessing us so abundantly.  

In Jesus name, Amen. 

Blended—> Challenging & Beautiful 

Our large and lively family is what is considered to be ‘blended’.  This means our family is not the traditional family, my husband and I both have been married before and have had children with our ex-spouse.  Before God led us into each other’s lives my husband and I both went through devastating trials as we lost our previous marriages to choices and circumstances beyond our control that left us both faced with the adventure of single parenthood.

Prior to meeting each other during the months we survived being a single parent we each went through our own transformation period, on our knees opening our hearts in complete surrender to Christ.  One of the most traumatic and challenging times in my life led me to a point that my eyes and my heart were opened, I was delivered from despair as I came alive spiritually and found new hope for life.  God gave me strength and carried me through every day, every challenge and every trial I was forced to face.  I prayed each and every night to let it be God’s will for me to meet someone, I prayed specific details on the man I desired to be led to, and less than a year later God answered my prayers.

Psalm 102:1. —–Hear my prayer, Lord, let my cry for help come to you.

Psalm 143:1 ——Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.


Our faithful and wonderful God brought Matt and I together. We quickly connected as followers of Christ and grew as friends and after dating for about a year we entered the covenant of marriage united in Christ.


We both were very aware that there would be some trials and challenges along the way as we entered into our marriage and beginning our beautiful blended family.  We did not do this blindly, we kept God at the center of it all and let Him lead us.  Together we did do quite a bit of research and reading of Christian authors who had been down the same path before.  We went through premarital counseling and guidance with our pastor.  We were bravely prepared as we began this journey over two years ago.  We had ultimate faith in the Lord that He would be there with us and guide us every step of the way.  God is so good and so faithful, He has been with us every step of the way.  Our marriage and blending our family has truly been our greatest blessing.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:34‬ ‭

I feel like there are some misconceptions or stereotypes surrounding the ‘blended family’.  Today’s society now has more blended families than traditional or intact families.   The most recent statistics show that more than 50% of families are in situations where parents are remarried or recoupled.  With such an increasing population of blended families it would be great if there were more resources available to help these families learn, grow and thrive especially in Christian homes.  Our church has embraced and accepted us with open arms, but unfortunately I think a lot of churches are not very loving and accepting of blended families or single parents.  This is very sad because it is the children and parents in these situations that desperately need the love and support of the church.  Thankfully these stereotypes mean nothing to the One who matters, in God’s loving eyes there is nothing second-rate about a blended family.

It has not been an easy or effortless transition, we have had some challenges through this and still continue to have challenges.  Some days are much more trying than others, but all of the good moments by far outweighs the struggles.  Family and parenting challenges are not exclusive to blended families, intact and traditional families are also faced with many challenges.  However there is a different dynamic and unique element to challenges seen in blended families.  My husband and I have learned many things over the last two years, we have made several mistakes along the way.  We are not perfect but we have a perfect Savior to carry us along the way.  We have learned from our mistakes, praying constantly for wisdom courage and strength.

Here are a few of our lessons learned from our experiences of blending our family into one under Christ:

—Love is a choice.  Loving your biological children comes naturally but you must choose to love your stepchildren.  Love unconditionally as Christ loves us.

—Family mealtimes are golden moments of bonding, we love when we are able to have a meal with all of us at the table.  We try and make this a priority, not possible daily during our busy school year but we typically pull it off a few times a week, dinner during the week, lunch or breakfast on the weekends.  Getting 6 kids and 2 adults to sit still at the same time for an extended period can be challenge to say the least!

—Church as a family is a priority, not an option in our house, it’s expected that we will be at Sunday school, Sunday service and youth activities weekly.  No matter what’s going on with our house or family church is a constant.  

—Adults get divorced, kids don’t.  A child still needs the positive involvement and contact with their biological parent that they don’t live with.  We cannot force their other parents to fulfill this role appropriately however we can be there to support and help our children with their relationship with their other parent.  It is vital that we never speak disparagingly about their other parent in front of the kids.  This only hurts the kids and cannot be undone.  This is one are that Matt and I have done very well with, we have refrained from speaking badly of any of their other biological parents in from of them.  This area can be quite challenging, while you don’t want to speak badly of their other parent you cannot lie or withhold certain truths.  For example if a parent fails to show up or follow through with a promise it is not ok to lie and make excuses for them.  Finding the line of not speaking badly but being honest can be very very hard.  Overall we have done well with this and will continue leaning on God to guide us in this area.  We will work to support our children to continue their relationship with their other parents.

—Holidays, weekends and summer vacations will be forever changed, better just to accept this reality of custody and visitation schedules and be flexible and be as positive as possible, especially for the kids, unfortunately the little ones involved are the ones who get hurt and impacted by the complications involved with visitation schedules.  My husband and I put a lot of effort into protecting the kids from the adult pieces of this but we cannot control what happens outside of our home and we have learned to efficiently handle damage control when needed.  We have failed in maintaining joyful and positive attitudes at times but we have learned a lot and have moved on to be best example and support we can for our children.  They look first to us so we must handle conflict and complications with grace and patience.  Lord give us strength!

—As parents my husband and I have no power or control of what happens outside of our home, particularly in the home of the other parents.  However at times what happens in the other home directly impacts our home and family.  It is hard and at times impossible to accept the powerlessness of watching your child be hurt, disappointed, emotionally neglected and spiritually attacked in the other parents home.  We can do nothing to stop, prevent or change this, we have to release control and trust God in these difficult and heartbreaking circumstances.  This has been by far one of the biggest challenges for me as a mother to accept and learn to endure.  It has been a slow learning process for me, I have been stubborn (yes Matt I am admitting to being stubborn;), angry, had an unchristian like attitude, and this has made this process for me painfully long, I have been kicking and fighting this area that God has been working on me.  I’m still not where I should be but have come along way and continue making progress.  As parents we need to let go of not being able to protect our kids when they are with their other parents , we cannot bubble wrap their heart from feeling rejection and hurt and  we are unable to cover their eyes, ears and hearts from being exposed to ungodly and evil things of this fallen world.  Thankfully what we can do is so much more POWERFUL!!!!  We release them to God and rise up in PRAYER.  It has been an excruciating process for me to get this but I am still learning and will continue improving in this area, thank You Lord for being patient with me.

‘Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.’ Romans 12:9


Blending a family takes time, it does not happen easily, without hard work, without love or overnight.  It is essential to keep Christ at the center of it all.  He will give us what we need and He will not let us down.  When your marriage and family stay God centered amazing things happen.  He is good and faithful and He loves us.  He has called us to love one another as Christ loves us.  Praise and glory to God!!


“Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.”  Romans‬ ‭15:17‬ 

Surviving our season of storms…

This year has taken a toll on our family.  We seem to have been hit in all directions, sometimes more than one storm at a time, we cannot even get on our feet before the next one has arrived.  I have not been up to writing much on here partly out of pure exhaustion but also partly because I have not handled our season of storms very well. 


I am so very guilty of letting my emotions and feelings drive and dictate my thoughts and words and actions. I MUST move forward and work towards fixing my attitude.

I am ashamed and disappointed in myself. I have been a poor example of my faith and not such a great witness to those around me. This is not who God made me to be, I feel like I have let everyone down around me, those I love and cherish the most.

“Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.”


‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:24

 I will no longer allow this to happen. 

—-> I will choose to be purposeful.

—->I will look to the Lord and  with this I will be choosing joy in all circumstances. 

 I need to LET GO (deep breath) give up control and work towards FULLY leaning on the Lord during these rough times rather than trying to do it on my own.  I know in my mind how I should have been handling these storms but I have failed to be obedient to God in the heat of each moment and throughout these rough several months in how I handled each circumstance.  ‬ ‭


 But sadly our season is not over, we are still riding out some of our storms so moving on I have an opportunity to make changes and learn from my mistakes, lean on God for strength and CHOOSE to change my attitude, CHOOSE joy and let God take over.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”‭‭.  Romans‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭

““He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:24-25‬ 


Priscilla Shirer writes in her book ‘Fervent’ “Separation.  That’s what sin creates…….Prayers that have power come from a person in pursuit of righteous living.  Yes, righteousness matters.”

I can feel the brutal truth of this statement ringing in my life and heart, feeling separated from God as a result of my own sin and disobedience.  It becomes such a viscous cycle, you neglect your spiritual growth and move a little bit farther from the Lord, become less sensitive and sin takes over, letting the ups and downs of your daily and worldly circumstances guide your actions, words and attitudes instead of allowing God to take control.  

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭59:1-2‬ 


Now don’t get me wrong I have not been spiritually dead I have just gotten to the point that I feel separated from God by my poor attitude and choices in how I have faced this season of storms.  I have not given up praying, reading scripture or participating at church.  I have been going through all the motions half heartedly and not giving everything completely to God and the result is obvious to me, painfully obvious.


The good news is I know what I have done wrong, how to fix it moving forward and our Father forgives.  I will learn from these mistakes and work to not allow this to happen any longer.  God is good ALL the time and ALL the time God is good.  Even though it is hard to see right now I will be stronger from this.  I will tune up my spiritual life, keep in close contact with our Father, stay powered up in prayer.

Father,

Please forgive for not choosing Your way above my own, for not choosing to face moments and trials with the joy of Your love and promises in my heart, this has reflected in my attitude, mood, choices and all areas of my life.  Lord forgive me for doubting you and not trusting You during these trying times.  I have not been who You have called me to be, my heart knows this but my sinful ways have been taking over, I have let the enemy have his way in my life.  But Lord I will stand for this no more, I will be victorious in You, I will be strong on my knees and give it all to You, You are in control of all this, nothing happens outside of Your will and while I don’t understand why we are being challenged like this right now.   I will find peace JOY and comfort in knowing You are in control.  I pray for strength, courage, wisdom and discernment.  Father if I start to slip and move away from You again I pray to be pushed back, God I pray for my Christian family to surround me and hold me accountable when my attitude is not a reflection of You and Your love.  Thank You for our beloved church family.  Thank You for blessing me abundantly even when I have been sinful and weak, You are always providing for me.  Father thank You so much for sending Your son and His ultimate sacrifice for our sins, thank You for loving me unconditionally, thank You for Your mercy and grace.  Father I pray for the power and courage to be the wife mother and woman You created me to be.  

In Jesus name Amen

—>It’s complicated <—

Being a parent is basically hard, challenging and just out right impossible at times.  Being tasked with the responsibility of being a mom is quite possibly the most difficult task I will be given in this life.  Children unfortunately don’t come with step by step instruction manuals.  There’s parenting advice galore out there especially these days with all of our social media, good advice and bad advice everywhere you turn and filtering this advice that comes at you from all directions.

 

As I sit back and look at how much goes into being a parent and just how much responsibility lays in our role it is quite overwhelming.  Then top off all the basic parenting tasks and add on the extra element of being part of a blended family or single parent role to the mix and you have taken complicated to a whole new level!  Co-parenting is difficult and intense with a cooperative parent that has the same belief and values.  Unfortunately more times than not the co-parent will not being any of those things and makes being a parent 10 times more complicated and challenging.


 

I feel like my husband and I are constantly scrambling and searching for this fine line to walk—-> raising them in this world and teaching them how to not be part of this world.   As much as I long to put my kids in a bubble and protect and shelter them from everything, it is just not possible to shelter them completely and protect them from all the evil and ungodly influences of this world.  And even if it were possible that would place them at a huge disadvantage to be sheltered in that way.  So you need to allow them to be in the world at the same time keeping them from becoming part of the world at the same time you are leading them to know Christ.

 

I was deep in thought pondering this daily dilemma earlier while running away taking out my frustrations on the treadmill at the gym.  This happened to be a family gym day and we had our crew of kids with is at the gym today.  Today is one of those days it was a struggle to get some of them to come to the gym. A little bit of whining about not wanting to go, questioned on why do they have to be dragged to the gym to exercise.  I find this battle quite frustrating and feel like it’s a losing battle most of the time. We have our good days when they come to the gym willingly and put forth good effort and leave the gym smiling after enjoying their workout asking when we are coming back.  But then we have the bad days when it’s struggle, and it is on those bad days that I am so tempted to give up and tell them fine just to stay home while my husband I get in a good uninterrupted work out without distraction.  But giving up is not the answer.

We certainly cannot force them to want to exercise and most definitely cannot force them to enjoy it.    This really leaves us with one option; what we can do is continue to bring them and set the example, lead them and teach them by showing them how it’s done.  We can simply show them that we enjoy exercising and being healthy and let them see the positive results from this. Then praying that the example you set takes hold and one day they can recognize the importance of exercise and maintaining the health of their body.

We can face our children’s salvation in the same manner.  The best we can do is be a good witness, to set the example for them, show them how to live a life for Christ, pray for them to be saved and LET GO, get out of the way and allow God to handle the rest.  Put down on paper it sounds so stinking simple…

Not so simple though, not for me anyway.  I struggle each and everyday and fail in many ways in my witness to our children.  I get so frustrated when I fail, I have really good intentions but am human and frequently fall short.  One of my biggest downfalls is not being joyful in all circumstances, letting my emotions and circumstances of the moment control my words, actions, facial expressions and moods.  I am working at this, slowly giving it over completely to the Lord and I am His work in progress, some days I do better, but each day a step in the right direction.


 

“Come follow me” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people”  At once they left their nets and followed him. —Matthew 4:19-20


  
I don’t want our kids to make the same mistakes I made.  I don’t want them to know God in their mind but not truly know Him in their heart, I don’t want them to be consumed by this fallen world and slipping into the darkness before living in the Lord’s light.  So with each day I will continue working on allowing God to strengthen and mold me into the mother and wife He created me to be and let my witness and example be what our children need to come to know Jesus. And I will fight for them on my knees in PRAYER…..


 

Heavenly Father above, please guide me and give me strength and courage at a mother and a stepmother.  I pray my witness will be true and bold.  I pray that our children will be able to look to me and see You, that I will let Your love shine in all areas of our life, I pray for a joyful heart even on the trying days when I want to be short tempered and rude, please soften my heart and strengthen my spirit to let go and let You take over.  Lord You know my heart and the areas that I truly need to surrender and allow You to take over, please God take all of me and let me be the woman, mother and wife You intended me to be, I pray to have the courage to chose Your way over everything else in this fallen world.  God thank You for the honor, privilege and responsibility of being a mother, our children are truly a blessing directly from You, let me never take this for granted and always treasure being a parent even during the difficult moments, let me praise You and bring You Glory.

In Jesus Name- AMEN


Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus   1Thessalonians 5:16-18 

Fearfully and wonderfully made

This past year has been a year full of blessings, changes, challenges, growing and blending for our family. God is good all the time and all the time GOD IS GOOD! Anticipation and excitement is growing as rapidly in our house, almost as rapidly as our sweet baby Nathaniel is growing- in just over a month we are expecting our son to be born. My husband and I were married last June, we joined our lives together forever with our vow and promise to love and cherish each other as God loves us. In our marriage we joined our families, my three children and his two children became OUR children and we united together as one with God the center of our home.

The upcoming birth of our son is so exciting and such a wonderful blessing from God. It is so very exciting to be bringing the unity of our family to a new level as all of our children will now share in one sibling. Nathaniel will hold a very special place in our home as he will be little brother to all 5 older siblings, he will be a connection to join them together in a different way. The kids are all so excited, just this morning debating on the car ride to school who would be first to hold him in the hospital. A lot going on over the next month as we make all of our final preparations to be ready to bring Nathaniel home. During this time the kids are finishing up at school, finishing spring sports getting ready for summer vacation and the excitement will continue building as we make our home ready to welcome and celebrate this new child of God.

Psalm 139:13-14
‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.’

BABY @ 31 WEEKS_6

BABY @ 31 WEEKS_49

BABY @ 31 WEEKS_43

The old is GONE and the new is HERE!

 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone the new is here!

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Goodbye 2014 and hello 2015! I cannot believe another year has gone and come. 2014 was such an awesome year for me and my family so it is sad to see it come to an end, but we have so many things to look forward to in 2015. I love the promise of all the bright new beginnings that come with the start of a fresh year.

Happy New Year to ALL of our family and friends, we wish you all a very happy and very BLESSED 2015!

Here is my prayer to start this new year off…

“Lord Thank You for such an amazing year, so many trials and blessings for me and my family, and everything from You, thank You for all you have provided for us this past year. Your hand, presence and love in our lives is so much more than we could ever ask for, we truly appreciate Your many blessings.

God thank You for the start of a new year. We are forgiven and loved by You Lord, please give us the grace and courage to love and forgive one another as You do to us. As we begin this new year remind us of what is most important, help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what You want us to do, help us cast aside worry and anxiety over the past and future so that we can live in peace with You one day at a time.

I ask for Your continued blessings, guidance and presence in our lives. I pray that we can be more like You God, to walk closer to You each day in our daily walk, drawing nearer to You in all that we do. I pray that in all we do we keep You in the center, let all of our thoughts, actions and words reflect You and Your will.

Lord with each trial, challenge and blessing this new year brings me and my family, please let us stand strong in You, let us turn to You before anything else, I pray we can have complete trust in You and give You complete surrender over our lives. I pray to not get discouraged over set backs or our own failures and weakness, let us use each moment of weakness bring us closer to You. If we begin to walk out of Your will Father, please help us to see this and guide us back to You.

God I pray that we treat each other with kindness and compassion, as You have forgiven us in Christ I pray that we can be forgiving to each other. It is not about what is deserved, let us always remember that it is not our place to judge and criticize each other but to love each other unconditionally as You love us.

Most of all I pray that family and I can bring You honor and glory in all that we do. Please help Matt and I as we raise our children to be followers of Christ, that they can all be lighthouses shining Your light and love to those around them, that they can learn how to be bold in their faith and share You with their friends openly. I pray for the salvation of our children, for protection over their physical safety, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.  Lord lead us in all we do.

Thank You for the start of another wonderful year.

In Jesus name I pray Amen”

ALL are precious in HIS sight…Jesus loves the little children of the world…

By far this was one of my favorite songs growing up, ‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world’….. And now as a mother when I reflect on the true meaning and what the words in the song actually say it has a much deeper meaning to me. He does love ALL the little children of the world including my children. He loves them COMPLETELY and He loves them PERFECTLY, He loves them more than I am capable of loving them which is very hard to realize this. The love I feel for my children is UN-measurable and grows each day so how could anyone possibly love and care for them more than I do…. GOD does, His love for my children surpasses my own, how humbling and breathtaking is that!

Possibly the hardest and most challenging responsibilities I face as a mother is learning to let go and trust God to take care of them when I cannot. I struggle with this every day, several times a day, all the time constantly having to remind myself that they are in His protection. I cannot be with them 24-7 and put them in a ‘bubble’ to protect them from all the evil in this fallen world and that is so hard to accept this cruel reality. When my mind starts going down the ‘what if’ path and doubt creeps in I turn to find my comfort in the Lord, in knowing I can cover them and surround them in prayer, I can lift them up to God the One Who loves, cares and cherishes them more than I can even comprehend and trust that He will protect them for me. So I guess in a way I can keep them in a bubble, a bubble of prayer, surrounding them in prayer and scripture and keeping them lifted to God, He is their bubble.

In my prayer life my best prayer time is when I am prayer journaling. I find this best directs my thoughts and feelings as I share with God. I am not very outspoken verbally but express myself more effectively through written words. When I sit down and pray this way and am writing everything out, I have learned it is a little overwhelming to pray specifically for each of our 5 children every time I sit down to prayer journal, so I rotate and each day I spend time journaling I pray for all of them together and then I focus on one child specifically, this seems to work well for me. As I have been doing this I have carefully, thoughtfully and prayerfully selected two bible verses for each child to pray over them with. They each also have a list of 10 prophetic words that me and my husband have chosen to pray over into their lives. I have made them each have a poster in their room with their photos and their 10 words so they can see it each day and start believing these things about themselves.

So today I take comfort in the words of this popular children’s song…”Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world”. It is quiet and sweet reminder that Jesus loves and cares for my children more than I do. He is with them when I cannot be and will always protect and watch them in His will and not my own. He is MIGHTY and SOVEIERGN and my faith and trust are in the Lord. This is especially important for me this week as my children are away for the entire week and I need this constant reminder more than ever during this difficult time. It is painful during this time to be separated from my precious children; they are each a piece of my heart and something is missing when they are not at home.

To my dear sweet children- today these are my prayers for you….

 

 

———-Joshua James– bold, courageous and sweet Joshua…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Beloved warrior of Christ, Faithful, Intelligent, Generous, Compassionate, Determined, Adventurous, Servant’s Heart, Courageous, Strong

Jeremiah 20:11 But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior so my persecutors will stumble and will not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced and their dishonor never forgotten.
Romans 1:16-17 for I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written “The just shall live by faith”.

I pray you grow more and more each day into a beloved warrior of Christ that God has made you to be, that you are true to your namesake of Joshua in the bible, that you remain adventurous and determined in all that you do, you amaze me with your intelligence and generosity for others, I pray you continue to be compassionate and have the heart of a servant with all you do in this life. I pray you continue to grow each day into a strong and courageous young man who is following and living for Christ. I pray you remain faithful to Christ in all the struggles and triumphs you shall face. I pray that you live out your favorite verse and live boldly sharing the Gospel without shame or fear. If you keep your heart and life focused on God He will protect you in all you do. I pray that you know even when enemies come, because they will come, that you find strength and confidence in the Lord and with Him you will always be victorious.

 

 

———-Tyler Lewis– kind, wonderful, brave Tyler…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Compassionate, Brave, Determined, Honest, Loyal, Son of God, Loving, Faithful, Patient, Humbled

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not for I am with you be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you; yes I will help you I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

You are a cherished son of God, I pray your walk remains loyal and honest, that you grow into a patient and humbled follower of Christ, faithful to Him in all you do. I pray for you to be loving to all those around you, that You know Christ loves you and can share His love with those around you with compassion and bravery. I pray that you use your determination for the Glory of God in all areas of your life, that you live your life with complete trust in the Lord; He will always give You strength when you are faithful to Him. I pray you turn to Him in times of hardship and celebration, I pray You seek Him always and let Him guide your path in this life. I pray you have the will to go to God with your problems and feel safe and loved and comforted by His presence.

 

 

 

———Emily Ann– sweet, beautiful, loving Emily…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Loyal, Ambitious, Kindhearted, Pure, Smart, Fearless, Complete, Honest, Talented, God’s Cherished Daughter 

Romans 12:2 do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what good and acceptable and perfect will of God is.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 You are such an ambitious young lady in all you do, I pray you use this to glorify God that you ambitiously seek Him in all you do. I pray you remain loyal and kindhearted as you grow up and that you can use this to share God’s love with those around you. I pray for you to remain complete and pure and that you always know without a doubt that above everything else in this fallen world you are God’s cherished daughter. You are incredibly smart and talented, I pray this continues and can be used for the good of God as you find the path He has made for you. Your heart is fearless and honest; don’t be afraid God is always with you. If you turn to Him and remain faithful to Him in all you do He will not let you down. Trust in Him always. I pray for you to see the beauty of this work and the goodness of people without being conformed to the world. I pray sweet daughter you have the confidence to raise your head yet know when to go before God with humility. I pray the Lord gives you wisdom and shows you how to make good choices in life. I pray you will hear the still small voice inside, God’s voice leading you and guiding you and you will always find your strength in the Lord.

 

 

 

———-Noah Towsey– loving, bold, amazing Noah…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Worthy, Strong, Complete, Loving, Peaceful, Kindhearted, Smart, Child of God, Servant, Gentile
Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face towards you and give you peace.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.

 Your heart is so loving and kind; I pray that this continues to grow each day. That your heart and life is filled with love, that You know Christ’s love for you and you use your talents and strength to share Him with those around you. Let all you do glorify God and shine His love onto others. I pray that you come to understand you are complete and worthy the way that God made you. I pray for you to continue to grow and learn in all that you do, you are smart and unique and loved the way you are. You are a remarkable Child of God. I pray for you to be a servant of Christ and your gentile heart and ways will open hearts around you to see the love and light of the Lord. I pray that your walk with the Lord brings you peace in all that you do. I pray for you to overcome some of the challenges this life has forced you to face and that the challenges that you do not overcome you are able to embrace and use them to grow stronger into the young man and follower of Christ that God has created you to be.

 

 

 

———-Richard Turner– charming, determined, sweet Richard…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Affectionate, Living, String, Worthy, Humble, Devoted, Brave, Wise, Deserving, Mighty Warrior of God
Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.
Romans 8:28 And we know all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are called according to His purpose.

 My precious son, I pray that you grow each day as a might warrior of God. I pray you will always know that you are worthy and deserving. You are so affectionate and loving in all that you do, embrace this and use this in your life to share the light and love of Christ with all the people in your life. You are so wise and brave, it amazes me how quickly you learn things. I pray that you grow in your wisdom with the Lord as Your Sheppard, trust in Him always and let Him lead you in this life. I pray you are devoted and humble in your walk with God. Something about your eyes can light up a room, use this to share the truth and the gospel with those who see your eyes, sweet boy you are the light, let God’s love shine through you in everything you do. Find comfort and strength in the Lord, turn to Him when you are hurt, lost, happy, broken hearted, always turn to God first and let Him comfort you and strengthen you, if you remain faithful to Him He will not let you down, He will always be with you , leading you and loving you.

 

 

 

 

Lord above all else today, I thank you for the privledge and honor of being a mother and stepmother.  Thank you for this incredible blessing.  Please continue to give me strength, courage and wisdom as a parent to lead and guide our children, to raise them most imporantly to know and love You.—–AMEN

Shame on me….time to refocus and CHOOSE JOY!

In our home my husband and I both work full time, we blessed with 5 animated, active, industrious and busy children; the daily routines and responsibilities are usually layered with elements of commotion and chaos. Since school began 3 and a half weeks ago, football and cheer practice and games in full swing and activities at church on top of keeping up with meals and house work, it feels like we are trying to fit into 24 hours what should take us 36 hours to complete, always rushing and never having enough time in the day to balance all of our responsibilities to the best of our ability.

I am so incredibly blessed, my life is full of answered prayers- God is good all the time! I am a mother to 5 amazing children, a wife, football and cheer mom, I work full time as a nurse practitioner, volunteer at the free clinic 1-2 times a month, women’s group a church, helping with the preschool class at church on Wednesday evenings, community group with church family on Sunday evenings…and last but certainly not least a follower of Christ. Of all of my duties and responsibilities—–being a follower of Christ is by far the most important but yet I have been allowing the hustle and bustle of our routine take over and giving only what’s left from my overstuffed and exhausting day to my relationship with Christ…..that’s not the example I want to set for our children. I want my energy and focus to go first to Christ. How can I teach my children how to live a Christ centered life if I cannot set an example for them to follow in?

The sermon today was quite convicting for me and has moved me to want to be more bold, dedicated and determined in my example of Christ to my children, I am being convicted in a big way and feeling very led to step up to fill the role God has called me to be in. I wouldn’t be here in this place of my life if God did not think I could handle all this. He made me for this, He knew what I was going to be capable of, He knows what I could handle, and this is not a mistake. God does not make mistakes. Yes, this season in my life is so full it is almost busting at the seams and while it all feels so overwhelming to the point I want to scream and cry at times, but I just need to stop take a time out and need to look at it in a different way. How AWESOME that God has given me such huge responsibility, what and honor and blessing that He made me to have all of this in my life! I need to step up and carry these responsibilities for what they are, a blessing directly from GOD, not a burden or stress or too much for me to handle, He wouldn’t have me here if He didn’t equip me to carry out these responsibilities.

I want our kids to look to me and feel Christ’s love and see my joy in Him. Unfortunately this is not the example I have been showing these past few weeks. I have allowed the day to day routine, stress and the extreme busy in our lives overcome me and dictate my moods and steal my joy. Shame on me! Our kids for the past three weeks have looked to me and have the impression of stressed and busy means you need to be rushed, short-tempered and grumpy after a long hard day. That’s it!!!! I refuse to let all of the blessings of this life stress me out and dictate my emotional forefront and allow the circumstance of my stressful day steal my joy in the Lord. I want my children to look at me on the busiest and most stressful days and see not just a smile on my face but see joy and feel Christ like love.

After sitting down with my amazing husband and reflecting on how we have handled the last 3 weeks with our children, we have identified the areas that we are lacking, where we need to make some changes and we came up with a plan of how we can work together as Christian parents to better lead our children by our own example.

#1-One area that my husband and I have done well in, is starting our day together reading scripture and in prayer. We get up early every morning, and over a cup of coffee we sit in bed, read scripture, discuss if anything spoke to us from our reading and pray before we begin our day. This is all wonderful except that during this time all the kids are fast asleep in bed and don’t even realize we are doing this. They should see us reading our bibles regularly; we need to lead by example. We will continue with our morning’s devotional time, this is important for us to start out day with the Lord and quiet time together. To be the example so our kids can see us reading our scripture we will take 10 minutes at the end of the day after whatever activities the evening kept us busy with and sit on the couch and read while they are getting ready for bed, so they will see us doing this.
#2-Our oldest three are in the car for at least 20-30 minutes to and from school each day. During our morning ride in I am going to have them each take turns reading out loud from the bible. Reading the bible is not something that they are going to ‘choose’ to do on their own and not likely something they will want to do but it is so important to instill this in them. It will be something we start with small, I am going to start at the beginning and have them work their way through the bible, only require them to read 3-5 verses each. I will be working on making this a priority with them during our morning routine and setting this example for them.
#3-We are going to work together to keep the stress, schedules, on the go, chaos each day brings us from taking our joy, to be able to smile and support each other through the most trying and difficult days, so our children can see the joy of the Lord through us.

I choose joy….the joy of the Lord is my strength

I choose to live in God’s presence.
James 1:2 ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance’

I choose joy on the days when everything feels like it is falling apart, when all 5 children are acting out, all I want to do is cry and start the day over while there are endless things to be done to survive our day….I will still choose JOY
Philippians 4:4-5 ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.’
I will grow in my joy when my children can see Christ in me.
I choose Joy…
Hebrews 12:2 ‘fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’
I choose to find joy in my life praising God

“Heavenly Father,
You are so awesome and so mighty! Thank You for all of Your grace and mercy in our lives. Thank You for loving us unconditionally. Thank You for your blessings. Thank You for sending Your son to suffer for our sins. We do not worthy of all that You have given us, yet our lives our full of undeserved blessing, Thank You for always providing for us, thank You for answering prayers even if the answer is no, for being with us and equipping us to live in this sinful world. Thank You for Your word and direction on how to live our lives and serve You.
You know my heart, please forgive me for not seeking you first, for letting the details of our busy lives overtake my time with You. I confess my weakness in being overcome by stress and circumstance. I need You Lord, my strength comes from only You, I cannot do any of this on my own, without You I am powerless. Lord please give me power to be the woman You created me to be, I pray if my words or actions begin to step out of Your will please give me guidance to fall back into Your will.
I come to You today in surrender, I seek Your wisdom and strength as a mother, to live my life with a joyful heart always, whatever the circumstance of my day I pray to have a joyful heart in You Lord. I ask for wisdom and guidance in all my roles and responsibilities, please lead me and guide. I pray to always keep You center in all that we do.
I pray our children grow to know You, to serve You and love You, that our example in their lives lays down the foundation for their faith, they grow into godly people and they can go out into this world as an example of Your love and share You with those around them.
I pray for Your protection over my children, protect them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
In Jesus name I pray- AMEN”

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Letting go…finding complete surrender during difficult times

” If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it you surely will”  Abraham Lincoln

That quote really strikes me deep this morning.  I have been caught in a growing struggle over the last few weeks.  I am facing some unconventional parenting challenges and this has really been especially difficult for me.  These challenges have really left me looking for the bad in my kids and overlooking to good, how true this quote really is.  Shame on me!

After being with their father for 3 weeks of summer my children come home confused and corrupted.  How can I teach them right from wrong when they go spend time with their other parent and learn that wrong is right?  Where are the articles, books and advice columns on facing this challenge!  This puts a whole new spin on parenting and I feel like I am failing. 

I understand that they will be exposed to things of the world and negative influences through their peers at school and in various situations outside my home, and I am prepared to fight those battles.  But when I look at the situation of my children going into their other parents home and are being taught and shown the opposite of the values and morals I am working to instill it feels like a losing battle and I don’t stand a chance.  Where are the self-help books on raising your kids to know Christ and stay in Christ while learning how to be a bully with a potty mouth and how to not believe in God while spending time with their other parent! 

Of course they love their other parent and look up to their father, that’s natural, they want to do and say things that please their father, so they are being taught to please him they should have a potty mouth and treat people disrespectfully and how fun it is to be sinful and live only for yourself at the same time being criticized and ridiculed for believing in God.

I just feel so stuck, I see all of these negative things coming from my kids and have been so focused on ‘undoing’ what has been done.  But that is proven to be wasted time and effort.  I need to regroup and focus on the positive and what I can do, focus on what power and influence I do have and trust God to fight the battle for me.  I realize I have been hanging on…. have not been able to truly let go of this and give it to God.  I know that I need to trust Him, He knows whats best for my kids and He has a plan for me and for them.  I have been praying over my kids but I have been fighting to keep control and have NOT truly surrendered this to God.  This is so much easier said than done to give up control….Lord give me strength.

Today I need to a reminder that God is in control.  God gave me the privilege of being their mother and stepmother because He made me and knows what I am capable of so obviously He has equipped me and will continue to do so to be the best mother and stepmother I can be for our children. 

1- PRAY-PRAY-PRAY and then PRAY some more, constantly be in prayer for over children, constant communication with God.

2-Instill God’s love and law in their hearts, bury it deep, so that when they are being submerged into worldly ways and sins whether it is with the influence of their other parent or kids at school, God’s love and law will be written in their hearts.  God has control over the rest, it is my role to teach them and plants the seeds deep within them.

3- Reenforce in them with my unconditional love, I don’t want them to think my love is conditional, I will strive for them to know that I will love them no matter what they do or say, my love is unwavering and forever and I will forgive them just as God forgives me, I will love them by example, I will strive to be an example of Christ’s love in how I show my love to our children.

4-Do my best to gently and firmly correct their negative behavior, feedback and attitude without dwelling on it.  Try and focus on the positive attitudes, rewarding the good behaviors.

5- More consistent and intentional family devotion and prayer, continue to instill God’s words and love into their hearts.

6- PRAY-PRAY-PRAY and then PRAY some more, constantly be in prayer for over children, constant communication with God.

7-When I start to feel defeated, like giving up, discouraged and like I am failing as a mother, to stop and remind myself, this is not my battle, this is God’s He is fighting it for me, I need to trust Him, GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME, ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!!!!  He is there in every situation, He will always be with my children, when I am feeling discouraged I need to remind my self to let go and trust in God, one of my favorite verses is a great reminder of this- “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

8-Don’t dwell on my past mistakes or failures, move on and learn from them, stop criticizing myself and stay positive.

9- Concentrate on where we do have influence over my children, in our home and conversation and activities, let God’s love and light shine bright enough in our home and hearts that it outshines the darkness they encounter everywhere else.

I feel like the Lord’s Prayer is very appropriate and fitting today…

“Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.”</

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