This week.

Each Sunday evening after all the housework is done, meals planned and prepped, little ones in bed that’s when I I sit down and plan out our week.

This week as I take on this task I am flooded with emotions, thinking about everything that is happening this week.

There is only one way we will survive this week…. by the power of prayer and finding our strength, courage and peace in the Lord. The thought of having to face this week by my own strength is at the very least devastating.

Here are some of the verses I have studied this evening as I prepare my heart and mind for the week ahead.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭

“For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.” Psalms‬ ‭33:21‬ ‭

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalms‬ ‭56:3‬ ‭

“I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”” Psalms‬ ‭91:2‬ ‭

“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 ‭

So whatever this week holds, however everything goes I can trust that God is in absolute control. All of this is in His power and will ultimately be for His glory. While we cannot and do not understand the ‘why’ of our trials right now we can find comfort and peace knowing the God is in control. His mighty and sovereign reign.

So this week when the enemy attacks me; fear and worry starts creeping in, I will look to the Lord, use these verses I wrote on notecards to keep with me so I can read them over and over. I will strive to be diligent and constant in prayer. No matter what the outcome of this week, we must remember to rejoice always!

Thankfully ever after

It has not been easy… but nothing in life that’s valuable and precious is easy, our family has endured trials and challenges along the way, facing some of the biggest ones just this past year.

It has been the most incredible and amazing five years I could have ever dreamed or hoped for.

Five years ago we dove into this marriage and family as prepared as we could be. We dated for 11 months and during that time we read book after book about blending Christian families. Read about remarrying after divorce. We tried to be as prepared for anything that we would face as we combined two homes into one.

We did the real life Brady bunch thing. Actually I do believe I recall my father saying he felt like he was watching a TV show when he was here visiting us and a live spectator to the chaos of our daily life!

Looking back not nothing could have really prepared us for the reality of it all. Even though we didn’t know what we were doing we had our trust in the Lord and He was with us each step of the way. Our strength is of the Lord.

Along the way we have learned and grown so much!

We started with five kids, a brother in law, two dogs and two cats.—-> we now have seven kids a mother in law and brother in law living with us. We have three cats, two dogs(almost3), a lizard and a bunny. In the mix of our children, four are now teenagers! Y’all we have four teens in one home!

Oh what an adventure these last five years have been. Looking back and reflecting on all we have done been through and experienced it is so amazing to see how we have grown.

In our love, in our family and most importantly in our spiritual walk with the Lord. We have a long way to go but we have come a long way too.

I am so thankful God has blessed us with this family, even on the hard days.

The next five years of adventure begins. God has big plans and will be with us as we take on the next chapter of our lives. Most of all I am excited to see us continue to glorify God and grow in our relationship with Christ.

‘Be devoted to one another in love, honor one another above yourselves’ Romans 12:10

Rising to the challenge

We had a heck of an evening.  One of those disaster after disaster days when you question whether or not you have done anything right as a mother.   

After several minor sibling problems and other behavior issues brewing amongst several of our children.  Our daughter especially presented us with quite the challenge as her preteen attitiude took rude and disrespectful to an entirely new level.  There have been moments of this attitude here and there but this evening her attitude exploded and crossed many lines.

I will not go into all of the details but reached a point a line was crossed and enough was enough.  It was not quite 6 pm when this situation peaked.  As an immediate consequence her youth activities at church were taken away and she was sent to bed without dinner.  And to bed without being allowed to complete her homework for the evening.  If you know Emily you know that not being allowed to do her homework is devastating.  

All this being done with discussion and further consequences to be given tomorrow.  These are the moments when parenting is at its hardest and most challenging.  Respond don’t react.  Don’t overreact.  I am human, I struggle in the heat of the moment with this concept, but today this situation I kept it together.  Calm face, no raised voices. Success, no yelling or arguing she put herself to bed.  Deep breath and I have time to collect my thoughts and prepare to sit down and discuss this with her tomorrow.  

Several hours later after I chopped up some fresh veggies for salad I slipped into Emily’s room to slip the carrot peels and lettuce heads to her bunnies.  I startled her out of her sleep as I was slipping back out of the room.  Half asleep, eyes closed and she says quietly to me “Mom I love you”.  That’s it, drifts back off to sleep.  

No pleading for getting up out of bed, no justifying her behavior, no apologizing, begging, arguing, just a sweet simple ‘mom I love you’.  

This is the first thought she had when she woke up.  Not angry with me for holding her accountable.  Not trying to get out of consequences.  Just that she loves me.  Oh despite her many flaws I love this girl’s heart.  This sweet heart melting moment does not change her consequences the following day.  She is still held accountable for her words, actions and behaviors.  


But as I lay drifting off to sleep I wonder what if that’s how I responded to God.  When I am dealing with the consequences of my own sin, facing the mess I have created trying to do things in my own strength and not turning to God.  Instead of rationalizing, justifying, complaining and worrying about the discussions of tomorrow.   To just stop and rest and tell the Lord I love Him.  Laying in bed after a day of trials and storms and just say “God I love You.”  How peaceful, simple.  

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”  ‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭


A treasured moment in time.

I am flooded with emotions this week. The last few weeks have certainly been a whirlwind but as I slow down and take in everything that is happening I am overwhelmed with the reality of it all.

Our oldest has turned 14 years old and is graduating 8th grade all in the same week.  Please stop , slow down!  This is too much for this momma’s heart to take in all at once.

Last day of 8th grade😀

 

My letter to you Joshua James on this day, the first day of the rest of your life:

Congratulations my son! You have worked so hard and come so far in your young life already.  I am very proud of everything you have already accomplished and am excited to see what God has planned for you.  You have such a drive and passion that is inspiring to watch you.  Your determination is incredible.  I pray that this continues as you enter high school, this will take you far.

  • When you feel like you are failing and struggling, look to the Lord, He will be with and give you strength and courage.
  • When you achieve goals and great accomplishments, look to the Lord and thank Him.
  • When you feel lost and do not know where you are, look to the Lord, he will guide and direct you.
  • When peer pressure attacks and the world around you is pulling, stand strong and look to the Lord, He will never leave you or forsake you.
  • When you have made a mistake or have a regret, confess to the Lord, He will forgive and He loves you.

You have such a good heart, full of love and compassion. Your faith will be tested over the coming years, the sin of the world all around us is going to pull and call you.  You will be faced with many hard decisions, many challenges in the upcoming season of your life.  You are human and you are young, you will make mistakes along the way.  I pray that when you do it is a learning experience for you and with every mistake you grow closer to the Lord.  Deep down you have such a passion for Jesus and sharing His love with those around you, remember ‘Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed’.  If you remain faithful to the Lord you will be successful in anything you set out to do.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭

I pray as you continue to grow you will use the gifts and talents God has given you.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”                  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:20-21‬

I have been praying for you and I will continue praying for you. I will always be here for you cheering you on.

Joshua always ‘Remember who you are.’

  • You are faithful
  • You are intelligent
  • You are courageous
  • You have a servant’s heart
  • You are determined
  • You are strong
  • You are a beloved warrior of Christ
  • You are adventurous
  • You are compassionate
  • You are generous

You are my first born, you made me a mother. My love for you goes to depths that words cannot adequately describe.  I cherish every moment of your life and I am truly BLESSED to have the awesome privilege of being your mother.  I have loved you unconditionally from the moment I knew you were on your way and I will love you until my last breath.

 

April 29,2017 Nashville TN

Successfully ran his 1st half marathon age 13!!!

1st day of Kindergarten

Passion for soccer since age 3

This smile! 😀😀😀

5th grade chorus

JV cross country during 8th grade

Fall 2016

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

Don’t worry….. Pray to God

Our Wednesday evenings at church I spend in the 3-5 year old room during Teamkid. This week had a great message for the kids and so simple and has really stuck with me….

“DON’T WORRY….PRAY TO GOD.” The children’s simplified translation of Philippians 4:6. What a great message for all of us.

When you are afraid- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are mad- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are upset- Don’t worry, pray to God!
WHen you are happy- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are lonely- Don’t worry, pray to God!

If we could just follow this simple command how much simpler could things be for us? To let go and trust God, He is in control, everything is according to His plan and His purpose. I know and have experienced that He knows what is best, I have learned time and time again His way is SO MUCH better than my way, so why do I spend so much time worrying about things I have no control over??? When I simply just need to follow the advice we gave our little ones this week…Don’t Worry, Pray to God.

This topic was approached from another direction in my ladies group on Tuesday evening, the chapters we study focused on fear and anxiety and goes down the road of identifying worry as a sin, which is a hard fact to ponder and realize. It is so easy to worry and let this worry, turn to fear and lead to us sinning. When we worry we are questioning God, we are not trusting Him when we do this. If we had complete trust and solid faith that He will always provide and be there for us then we wouldn’t need to even consider worrying. But we cannot do this, we are sinners and human and we need God in every area of our lives, hearts and souls. It is not possible to not worry, we are not built this way but we do need to work on obeying God’s commands to us, if we are working everyday to keep in constant communication with God, constant prayer, through every situation, always stay focused on Him and let Him be the center of everything then it will come more naturally to follow the advice and let go of worry and pray to God first and always.

Message for this week is heard loud and clear—-“DON’T WORRY—PRAY TO GOD!!!”

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-27
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

“Lord thank You for this great reminder this week, I pray for strength, guidance and wisdom to take and apply this to my life. Your words are so clear to me this morning please help me keep this sweet and simple reminder in all areas of my life. Help me to be humble before You. Daily I am faced with challenges, please help to always come to You first, I pray to live out these words and to not worry and always come to You in prayer and supplication. Let the great truth in Your words and Promises continue speaking to me and guiding me. Thank You for all You have blessed me with in this life, thank You for having Your plan be so much better than my own. In Jesus Name- Amen”

 

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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