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

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Heavy duty stuff

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

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

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

Beware!

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

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

Have no fear!

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

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

Do not worry, do not be anxious!

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

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

Be ready!

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

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

Christ must come first!

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

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

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

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 ‭


Wholehearted Desire ❤️

Like splashing cold water on my face or waking up to an obscenely loud alarm clock, or maybe even being submerged into a dunk tank.  That is how I feel right now.  Eyes and heart wide open, an overwhelming sense of spiritual humility.  Wake up! Alarms are sounding it is time to wake up and RISE!  

 

The condition of the mind or living with  the feeling of being ‘satisfied’ or ‘gratified’ leads to a condition of ‘forgetting God’.  So easily we can fall into the routine of our day to day  and allow the busyness of life take over.  

Going through the motions, going to church, reading your bible even praying, but then you are not actively pursuing God with your whole heart, then that is all it is; going through the motions.

  

 

While I can report that I have successfully read the entire bible it was cover to cover; unfortunately I admit this was more for the satisfaction of being able to say I read it rather than truly learning God’s word.  I certainly feel like I was not focused in my reading process at that moment in time; it was more of going through the motions and not so much learning and loving God’s word.

For the last year I have been following a chronological reading plan to read through the Bible in a year, I’m not sure I have even made it halfway yet.  While I have not been disciplined enough to keep up with this daily but I am taking my time and not rushing through it.   I will read the outlined verses and go to the study bible for additional information.  I am taking time to review information for each chapter that I come to in an effort to deepen my understanding.  I will then later listen to them on my audio bible to follow up and reinforce what have already I read.

This week my scripture reading has led me through part of 1Chronicles and Psalm 119. This week I find myself paused and rereading parts of Psalm 119 and then reading it again.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—”. Psalm‬ ‭119:1-2‬ ‭

Those who walk according to His law and seek Him with all their heart are not blessed because they will have an easy and luxurious life with worldly desires fulfilled.  In fact quite the opposite, they will likely have many trials and attacks from the enemy as the seek the Lord and follow His ways.  Those who follow His laws and seek Him with their whole heart will be blessed in their relationship with Him, with joy in His love and salvation despite their circumstances and trials.

 

Some of the important reminders that I am taking away from this weeks scripture reading and study is this….

I must know God, everyday and night, grow in my relationship with Him, no ‘just going through the motions.’

Obedience- must be obedient to God’s law because I love Him and want to please Him, not because it ‘I have to’ or it is what is expected.  —–>Psalm 119:7-9 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.

Memory- I need to continue to actively commit His word and truth to memory so that I can always recall His works.  I am doing this but I could be putting more energy and effort and approaching this ‘wholeheartedly’.  Meditate and study His word, EVERY DAY with true desire. —–>Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Distinguish ALL BLESSINGS as flowing from God’s grace.  There are so many of His gifts and blessings we take for granted everyday.  Continue ‘counting my wins’ each day and be more intentional in giving that glory for God, thankful to Him for all things. —–>Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

Trust God, walk in His ways not my own, surrender, less of me more of Him. —–>Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Each day choose GOD, choose to love Him, to learn and follow His laws, find my delight in Him and not the circumstances of my moments. —–>Psalm 119:44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.

Be confident in waiting for God, his timing, He is in control, do not fear for the evil of man for God is faithful, His mercy endures always, keep my faith in Him, he will not forsake me. —->Psalm 119:50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

I have power over sin with the strength of the Lord, wholeheartedly place my petitions and needs to Him and He will direct my steps.  —–>Psalm 199:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

His Word and law is essential not optional to truly surrender to Him, the Word of God is WONDERFUL.

—–>Psalm 119:137 Your laws are righteous Lord, and your laws are right.

 

Victory in Christ, I have victory in Christ on the good days and the bad days, I will actively seek and serve Him with my ‘whole heart’.  What an awesome reminder the scripture has brought me this week. 

“Where one man reads the Bible a hundred read you and me.”       Dwight L. Moody

 

 

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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