Ready set go

When I take a moment and look at our family from the outside looking in I find it somewhat overwhelming.  I would imagine that some would say we are just plain crazy for all we take on.  Two full time working parents, 6 kids, our family is active in our church, our kids do extracurricular activities- one per child,  exercise regularly and in our downtime always finding adventures and outings for the kids.  Frequently I will be asked or hear the comment “just how do you do it all?”.  My response is simple, we don’t do it, we are not capable of doing it on our own, we are not made to do anything on our own, God give us the strength to push through and persevere during this season of busy, at times chaotic, our season of READY-SET-GO.

My strength comes from the Lord……Philippians 4:13


 This is our season of busy and I realize this is a brief fleeting moment in our lives and one day will be gone and we just may miss the busy.   I am making an honest and conscious effort each day to not get frustrated or annoyed with the small insignificant details and truly appreciating each moment as a gift on God in this challenging and wonderful journey of parenthood.  This can be a struggle for me as I tend to be a perfectionist and lean towards the OCD side of the spectrum, I while I am not always successful in these efforts however with God’s wisdom and guidance I am aware and I am improving.  

If we don’t take it moment by moment and enjoy it for what it is, will blink our eyes and one day it will be gone.  
As these hours, day, weeks and months are slipping by so quickly yet the are so incredibly important in the molding defining and shaping of our children into the young adults they will become.  Of course the most important and vital element in them growing up is their salvation, growing to truly know Christ as their Lord and Savior.  The most vital aspect for us as parents is to live the example. 

You cannot teach your children to live a life for Christ when your are not living yours for Christ. 

Wow!  This truth and realization cuts me deep and convicts me to my core.  This makes me really question and evaluate myself.  When my kids see me and how I am living do they see joy in all circumstances?  Not likely.  Do they see a patient and kind spirit?  Sometimes, in all honesty not as they see see an impatient spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 ‘ but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’

We cannot expect our children to learn to live in a way that we are not able to.  For example look at healthy eating, we can teach our kids day in and day out what healthy choices are, what they should be eating and how that should be exercising however we lose credibility when we eat junk and sit on the couch.  It does not matter what words come out of our mouths if our actions do not match them.

John A. Younts writes this in his book titled “Everyday Talk.”  “Parents, God has given you a mission to make Him known in every corner of life. To pursue this mission takes great courage. As you walk along life’s road with your children, you must literally deny yourself in order to speak first about God and how He views this world. When your child hears and learns about God this way he will indeed be clothed with honor and crowned with grace.”  I love this perspective, as parents raising our children to know God we must deny ourselves.

 

I can look back and see how far God has brought me already in the last few years, God has transformed my heart and my life in many ways already.  I am so amazingly thankful to God and all He has done and for always being faithful and patient and loving with me.  So as I self-reflect on my many areas of weakness in my living the example of Christ for our children I turn to God for wisdom, guidance and direction to grow into the mother and woman He created me to be.  

Psalm 106:1 ‘Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.’

Lord, thank You so much for the great honor and blessing of being a mother.  I know that in the moments of busy I do not always handle my words, emotions, or actions the way You would. I fall short every single day.  I reach out to You and pray for continued strength, wisdom, discipline and guidance to continue to grow and transform into a godly mother and an example to our children to love You and live my life for You bringing You glory in all I do.  You have blessed me and my family abundantly, thank You for Your many blessings thank You for the greatest blessing of all Your son dying for our transgressions so that we may have eternal life with You Lord.  Thank You for loving me and our children, I pray they see and feel Your love through me in all circumstances.

In Jesus name ~Amen.

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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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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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God is always patient…I am not…

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Over the last several weeks I have struggled with anger and frustration over situations beyond my control. I have been guilty of allowing these feelings of anger and frustration have power over my thoughts, actions and words. These past few days God is leading me to learn how to let go of these destructive feelings. This has been quite a struggle and challenge for me and I can now see so clearly I need to be patient. I need to be patient with God’s plan, to really be able to embrace Him and trust Him during difficult situations.

I have really felt the Lord working within me, I am learning and growing in being patient and have so much to learn. I am and always will be a ‘work in progress’ as I grow as a Christian, this is an ongoing process, as long as I am breathing on this Earth I will be learning and growing in my relationship with Christ.

I need to be patient in all areas:

– with God’s plans for my life

-in my relationships, with Matt, our children, my family

-with myself

-with my words and actions

-with the hustle and bustle of the daily routine

So as I embark on this journey with Matt to lead and guide our children to become thankful children of Christ I set my prayer and focus on learning and growing in patience. I will choose to let go of control, anger, frustration. I will allow the circumstances of each day and each challenge to change me into the woman God has made me to be.

My scripture reading tonight led me to James 1:2-4
“My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

I absolutely love this passage, the truth in how testing your faith with trials produces patience, that God will test us to bring out the best. I am always in awe when I take time to reflect on all the trials I have faced over my life and see how awesome God was in each and every trial. Even in the times of my life when I was not faithful to Him He was ALWAYS there with me. When I was blinded by the ways of the world and hiding from God He was patient and faithful to me- God’s love never fails, my heart needs to change and extend the same patience God has for me to all areas of my life starting in myself, my family and home.

“Dear Heavenly Father
Thank You for blessing me, for loving me, for not giving up on me, for the sacrifice of Your son for my sins. Thank You for Matt and his love for me and our family, thank You for our children and the privilege of being parents. I pray to grow and learn how to be patient, to show patience in my words, actions, thoughts, I pray to learn how to be patient in all areas my life. I pray that with each trial I face I can become more patient. Lord You know what is best and Your will be done in my life. I pray for strength, courage, wisdom and guidance as I take this next step in our journey.
Amen”