(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.<—-

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Go Away!!! And don’t come back!!!

One of our five year old’s favorite bedtime stories is an interesting book titled ‘ Go Away Big Green Monster’.  I have read this book to him dozens of times and he still loves it every time.  Essentially the first half of the book is the author describing every detail of this big green monster, add one detail per page with a matching illustration.  For example it reads ‘ Big green monster has two big yellow eyes’ and you see two big yellow eyes staring back at you.  Then after several pages you have this complete picture of this big green monster.  And then…  You turn the page to read ‘YOU DON’T SCARE ME!’  Then page by page each scary monster feature is told to ‘Go Away’.

  ‘ Go Away Two Big Yellow Eyes.’


The book ends with the bold command, ‘Go AWAY big green monster and don’t come back until I say so!’.  I can see why this is appealing to our son, it allows him visualizes the power and confidence to tell a scary monster to go away.  He feels empowered by hearing this.  During our most recent read through this book, probably the 318th time reading it I had visualized this big green monster a little differently.  What if I faced my monsters with this simple and confident approach.  

                            We have victory and power in Christ to tell satan to go away!

           
 

          “I will never be as good as she is.”

When we feel tempted with envy —->Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  ‭‭James‬ ‭4:7‬

                   “I am worthless and will never be good enough.”

When we are attacked with self doubt—-> Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”   Romans‬ ‭12:21‬ ‭



                “I have failed my kids and family and am a terrible mother.”

When we are assaulted with feelings of failure—> Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9





              “This is too much, I cannot handle this and am not strong enough.”

When circumstances of the moment seem overwhelming and impossible—> Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!

‬ ‭”But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”  ‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭






1- Armor up!!!  Stay engaged in His word and His truth.  His truth teaches us how He loves us unconditionally, not because of who we are or what we do but because of who He is.

      “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Ephesians‬ ‭6:11-17‬ ‭

2- Tell satan to “GO AWAY!” We are victorious through Christ.   we WILL conquer satan and his evil lies and constant attacks in our lives, Christ is our protector and through Him we will rise up victorious!

     “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-5

3- Choose positive thoughts.

      “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. ”  Philippians 4:8

4- Fall to your knees in prayer, most important battles are won with the weapon of prayer.

      “Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for mercy.”  Psalm 86:6

      ” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6

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

Giving in—>NOT giving up!

I am giving in on a certain area of my life. I have come to a point and I realize I just need to let go of certain expectations, unrealistic expectations I continually place on myself. I feel like I have been in a constant battle with myself that I keep losing and this only leads to feeling frustrated and disappointed. Day after day I have this unrealistic idea that I am going to magically put this 30-60 minutes in my day where I might get this incredible quiet time and I can sit down and spend time in God’s word and have personal prayer time. Every time I plan for this to happen and it doesn’t happen I become discouraged and frustrated. It feels like this magic window of time doesn’t happen…. EVER and if it does I am so completely and utterly exhausted that my mind shuts down after just a few moments and while my heart desires the quiet time my brain fails and I end up falling asleep.

This is what I have come to terms with…. This is my season of BUSY

So while I am going through this season of busy I just need to accept that I won’t have extended periods of quiet time to feel close to God. BUT THIS IS OK! I have discovered that I don’t need extended periods of quiet time to feel close to Him! I have learned that can still feel close to God and still have time with Him even on the busiest of busy days! I just need to be creative in centering my day on Him and make sure I am keeping Him as the focus and not the opposite and not just ‘fitting Him’ into my day.

  
This is my season of busy, our children our young and my husband and I work full time, we are blessed with 6 children, we have my mother living with us and I am still keeping up with breastfeeding the youngest exclusively and we are active at church and play sports and we exercise regularly and frequently bottom line is —>we are a BUSY family. One day later in my life when I am in a season when things are not so busy and when our sweet little ones are no longer at home I know I will look back and miss these moments so I need to stop with my unrealistic expectations of sitting down for structured quiet time and regroup with a more realistic game plan.

After some careful reflection and consideration on my last few months I feel like overall I have done a pretty good job of balancing the busy and maintaining my spiritual time as a whole. Some days are better than others and they are moments spread through each day but I do feel like I have improved and can sit back and reflectively observe where I can do better.

There is ALWAYS going to be room to improve and grow. Now I am far from having this figured out but I feel like I am moving in the right direction and I am walking closer the Lord each day.

So far these are the areas where I have improved and feel I have made progress-

-devotions with the children, especially in the mornings, I have tried several things the last few years, making them read scripture out loud, having them read our family devotional and however I approached it seemed to at one point cause argument, conflict and grumbling and after a hectic morning to get everyone in the car this was very discouraging to me so what I have been doing is not making any of them read anything, when we stop in the morning before anyone gets out I take up our family devotional and I read it to them, no arguing or complaining, if they listen and get something from it GREAT! If not then that is their choice, and most days I am walking away with something from the devotion we read. They have even started asking questions on occasion and actually seem to be enjoying this, since I stepped back and made it less forced and gave them the choice to listen and participate it is going much better. Now there are days that we are running late or time just does not allow and we don’t read but more mornings than not we are doing this—>making progress!

 

-Weekly scripture- I have been selecting a verse each week for my own personal study and memorization, I write it in my journal, put it in scripture typer and put it on note cards and post it notes to help. I have not been completely faithful each week with memorizing but have been studying them, but I have memorized more scripture this year than I have in the past, I really feel like the methods I have been using have been helping me bury God’s word in my heart —>making progress!

-when I do find that have a few moments instead of instantly opening my Facebook app to see what is going on in social media I have been opening my bible app, scripture typer, devotionals and christian books.  I have actually finished reading a couple of books this year which I find a HUGE accomplishment for me.  Being more intentional and purposeful with these golden spare moments through my day has definately helped me keep my heart, mind and focus on the Lord—> making progress!

– one of the things I have started including in my daily journal is a praise and specific thank You lifted up to the Lord for something in my day.  So that even on the days when I don’t have time to write as many of my prayers and thoughts as I would like I have been dedicated in journaling thanksgiving.  It is already so awesome to go back and remember exactly the way my heart felt in these moments.  It has helped my heart to be more thankful each day—> making progress!

 

2016—>So as days turn to weeks and weeks to months I am making progress and maximizing my spiritual growth even in the busiest of busy days when I feel like my head is spinning and I want to submit to being completely overwhlemed.  I am working on keeping my mind, heart and focus on the Lord.  Some days I stumble and start to lose focus but we have such an Awesome and Forgiving God who shows such AMAZING GRACE!

So I am not rolling over and submitting to the busy, I’m not giving up, far from it, in giving in and moving forward with this wonderfully blessed season of busy.  Determined to continue to grow in my relationship with Christ and to be the best witness I can for our children and those around us.  

Thank You Father for this season of BUSY, for blessing us abundantly!

  

 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭

popping my B-U-B-B-L-E ——>guilt…confession…truth…

A conversation frequently starts between me and my husband with him asking me “have you heard…?” Which is normally silly and redundant because we both know that there is is 99.9% chance that I have not yet heard whatever it is he is getting ready to ask me about.  For the most part I am clueless to local and national news, politics, and world happenings.  I have placed myself into a safe but very blind bubble.

We live in what is considered a ‘rural area’ and I work in a very rural community.  I listen to the Christian station on satellite radio in the car, this station has no news or commercials.   We do not have cable in our home to watch the news or any local stations.  Basically if someone does not tell me about something in person or it is not on my Facebook newsfeed I don’t hear about it.  For the most part when things do pop up on my Facebook newsfeed that I want to ignore it is quite easy to just scroll by it without paying much attention.

I like my bubble, it is nice and safe in it and I feel protected.  If I don’t have to read about it or hear about it then it is not happening.  I rather prefer not having my heart broken daily over the disturbing news stories our fallen society provides day after day.  It is my way of shielding my eyes, ears, mind and heart from the evil and sadness that unfold day after day.

Well despite my struggle, even with kicking and fighting my bubble has been popped, a few weeks ago it was stuck with a tiny hole that grows each day. I am now seeing the error in my ways…sitting idly by and ignoring all the evil and sin surrounding us and consuming our society makes me just as guilty as participating.

If I sit by and ignore all the bad, wrong and unjust, immoral events and circumstances am I not as guilty as the ones participating and causing?  Burying my head in the sand while our society and world celebrate and glorify sin makes me just as responsible!!!  I am SO GUILTY!
The truth is I cannot handle the feelings that reality and the news invoke in me.

I have been so selfish and ignorant keeping up the protective walls of my bubble.

 

I guess the pin that started poking holes in my bubble is all of the planned parent and abortion news.  This stirs something inside of me, emotions that I can not even begin to describe they are so strong and powerful and quite honestly these emotions terrify me.  This has always been such a difficult and sensitive topic for me to listen to and talk about, I feel so passionately for the lives of our unborn children that it is a challenging topic for me.  I have read quite a few articles and news stories about this but I have not been able to bring myself to watch the videos.  I am absolutely petrified to watch them, I know without a doubt that they will break my heart and bring up such traumatic emotions that I honestly do not know if I can handle it.  Deep down I know I need to be able to get to the point of being able to watch them, I need to embrace these emotions, learn how to control and direct them and use them take action.  I have no idea what, but something I know there has got to be something I can do.  Until God opens that door for me I need to draw near to Him.  I need to be crying out to Him and asking His strength, courage and guidance.

At the very least, I can pray.  This is doing something, I can start to do something by opening my heart, eyes, ears and mind and taking it all to my Heavenly Father.  I need to start taking responsibility in making myself aware of what is going on.  Open my eyes and ears and work on being more informed and knowledgeable.

 

“Then when the time is right He will open a door for me to be able to do something, until then I will pray.”

 

Over the next several weeks I will work at slowly removing the shield of my bubble.  Little by little taking it down and exploring everything that is going on in my state, nation and world.  When I read and listen to these news stories I will open my heart and pray for each situation that I can.  I will lay it all at the feet of Jesus and let Him lead me.  Jesus is the only one with the power to save us all, so I will turn to Him.

“Lord, I come before You with so much in my heart tonight.  Father please forgive me for being so selfish and ignorant that I have ignored and neglected the suffering of Your children all around me.  God I ask you to work in my heart and soften me and make me more self-less and compassionate to all those around me.  Help me to move past my bubble and take on what is happening in our sad and sinful world.  I pray for strength and courage as I open my eyes and become more aware of the fallen state of our world right now.  Please guide me and lead me to be the follower of Christ You have made me to be.  Father I am weak and You are strong, please strengthen me.  I pray the the passion and emotion I feel when I learn more about the news and politics driving our fallen society doesn’t cripple me but move me to take action to help.  I pray to be a better example of Your love and sacrifice.  I pray to be a light in our world of dark and to shine the light of Your Love to all those around me.  Father let me rise up and face this challenge.  I pray I can bring You glory in all I do.  Thank You for blessing me and my family so abundantly.  Thank You for Your love and mercy, thank You for sending Your son to die for our sins, Thank You Father for Your Grace.  In Jesus name Amen.”

 

 

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”  ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:11-17‬ ‭NIV‬

 

Weeds are evil.

  
Earlier this week I spent hours in our small vegetable garden on the side or our house pulling out weeks and weeks worth of weeds.  This is by far one of my least favorite and dreaded household chores, and explains why it had gone weeks without being properly unkept. Such a tedious task of having to hand pull each evil little weed out of the dirt away from the fragile vegetable plants we are hoping to produce food for us.  However the more weeds that grow and surround and consume the vegetables the more likely the plants are to not produce vegetables or even just give up and die.  It amazes me just how quick the weeds are to grow and flourish and begin to overtake gardens.  You would think that after having let this happen over and over, every time I attempt a vegetable garden and every year with my flower gardens I let the weeds accumulate for weeks before tackling the task of weeding.  Which is quite ridiculous and silly since if I remained proactive and pulled the weeds out as they grew in one or two at a time and kept up wth it then it would not come to the point of having to spend hours bent over in the dirt pulling out the weeds. Somehow I still don’t learn my lesson and year after year let the weeds accumulate to a much larger task and moan and complain the entire time I have to pull out the weeds and vowing to not allow them to get so bad again….. and then the cycle just starts over and I let them accumulate again……

So the other day when I was bent over in the dirt in the summer heat with spiders worms and other bugs as my audience certain verses from the bible started popping in my mind….. When Jesus talks about reaping and sowing.  I started think about our children and how we plant seeds with them all the time.  We can plant all kinds of seeds with our beloved children, seeds of faith, honesty, love, goodness and the list goes on and on, we can plants seeds in them all day long but if we don’t keep the soil healthy they don’t stand a chance to grow and produce fruit.  In my mind I can see the weeds as all the evil in this world they are exposed to day in and day out.  It’s our responsibility not only to plant seeds and water them but to keep our children from becoming overgrown with weeds.  

So I have been turning this concept over and over in my head trying to better understanding and plan for how we can actively improve on this in our home with our children and here is what I have come up with….

1) The seeds we plant with our children first and foremost needs to be faith in God and obeying God and then move on from there to loving others and being kind, ect.  However we need to be very aware that the seeds we plant can also be bad, we can be planting seeds of anger, doubt and other negative things if we are not careful.  We need to be planting the good seeds within our children.  

2) We need to keep the soil healthy and water the seeds we have planted. I feel this is so important and can be so easy to neglect this part.  We need to keep their soil healthy by being an example to our children of how they should speak act and behave.  We can not expect our children to learn to live a certain way of we as adults are not even capable of setting the example for them. Another essential way to keep their soil healthy is by the power of prayer, we need to be praying for them constantly.  Prayer is our ‘Miracle Grow’ we need to be covering them with the Holy Spirit all the time.

3) Pulling the weeds- we need to be aware of what our children are being exposed to within our home and outside of our home.  What they hear on the radio, from friends at school and church, all of this can influence them whether it’s negative or positive. We need to accept that it will be impossible to keep them away from all negative influences however we can work to limit the amount of negative influences in their lives and work to educate them on the difference in good and evil as we surround them with positive influences.
   
 
““This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:11
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭8:11, 15‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”‭‭Luke‬ ‭8:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him.”‭‭Genesis‬ ‭26:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”  ‭Galatians‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  John‬ ‭12:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  ‭John‬ ‭15:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Finding my way to prosper during this season of BUSY

Since the kids started their football and cheer practice at the end of the summer right before school started our family has been busy day in and day out, it feels like we are constantly on the go and always running to get somewhere. In the peak or our busy and chaos there are moments when I can feel completely overwhelmed with the feeling that I will never have enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done, EVER. Between working full time, church activities, kids sports, household responsibilities, exercising, there will never be enough time in a day, and I will never get everything done, but that is ok.

Instead of waiting for things to slow down…which realistically with 5 children in our home (we pray to be blessed one day with a 6th:) it is not likely to happen for the next 15+ years, I have come to terms to accept this as my season of busy. This is the time in my life I am going to be on the go, full of activities surrounding the kids and our family. Instead of getting overwhelmed and frustrated with the busy, constantly waiting for the season to change or slow down, I need to enjoy all the blessings God has packed into this season of busy. I need to remind myself that I am not here by accident; God built me and equipped me to handle my season of busy. How AWESOME that He entrusted me and my husband with raising these 5 amazing children. Then when I have reached my season of slow, our little ones are grown and on their own I can look back on the season of busy and know that I was able to enjoy and cherish the many blessings of busy to the fullest.

So many blessings keeping us busy,
-loving marriage honoring God
– 5 amazing children
– 2 working parents, we are blessed with security in our careers
– Amazing church home and family
-kids that are motivated to be active, social and play sports
-beautiful home to take care of
-pets to love and cherish
In every area of our life we are blessed, THANK YOU LORD for all you have given us!

Isaiah 41:10
‘Don’t be afraid for I am with you, don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will hold you up with my victorious right hand’

As I embrace being blessed with this season of busy in our lives I am tasked to keep God at the center of our lives. Keep Him front and center in all we do is essential and key to being successful, successful in obedience to Him and successful in what we set out to do. Being busy day in and day out is for pointless and insignificant unless we keep our eyes, hearts and focus on our Amazing and Awesome Lord. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. He is intimately involved and cares about every detail of our lives, every detail of our lives should involve Him.

For this past month I know we could have done better, we are not perfect there will always be room for improvement but overall I am very pleased with some of the progress we have made as a family to work on keeping God our focus. Here are some of the highlights where I can really feel our focus has remained on God.

—–>Scripture to go; during the week the older kids ride in the car with me to school which is a good 25 minute car ride, after we drop the youngest our 3 year old off at preschool and each of the older children take turns reading scripture. We started at the beginning in Genesis; they are required to read a minimum of 3 verses each, some days they choose to do more some days they read their minimum. This has been a great start to the day, not each day has been perfect but they are starting each school day reading and listening to scripture. HOW AWESOME! They are pretty excited about the idea of reading the bible cover to cover eventually if we keep this up. At the end of the week if they have done well all week we get a treat on the way to school, breakfast sandwiches and a drink at Wawa. They think this is great 🙂

—–>Wednesday evenings before going to church for Teamkid and youth group, we have made it a point to set aside an hour to sit down and have dinner together and hold a family meeting and devotion time. In order to make this work we do frozen pizzas and salad, which require little prep and clean up allowing us more time in the middle of our crazy busy week. Kids love routine and do so well when they know what to expect every Wednesday. They are each allowed time to talk about anything they want to, any concerns or praises. The family devotion each week varies. Wednesdays are not always a complete success, we have 5 kids sometimes their silly behavior gets carried away but overall this has been awesome and effective for all of us.

—–>Sundays after church we go home and make lunch. Over lunch we have discussion and questions about the sermon. We ask the kids different things to see what they picked up in the sermon and discuss the message and review the commandments and verses.
—–>My incredible husband Matt and I have made it an effort to add onto our devotions together, we had been getting up early and starting each day with scripture and prayer, we are not always successful in this as some mornings we are so tired and hit snooze one too many times but we don’t’ beat ourselves up over a missed morning or two. We have added on scripture in the evenings while kids are getting ready for bed, we make it a point to sit at the kitchen table and read scripture together so they can see up doing this and making this a priority, we are trying to set an example for them.

Psalm 16:8
‘I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.’

Psalm 18:30
‘As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

Proverbs 16:3
‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.’

“Heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for Your many blessings. We are so undeserving and yet you still show us unconditional love, mercy and grace. Thank You for answer prayers. Thank You for the honor and blessing of being a parent. Please guide us and strengthen us, give us wisdom to triumph through this season of busy. I pray to keep our focus and hearts on You Lord, that You will always be center of our home. I pray that we can be an example of You to our children and those around us. Our children are a gift from You, daily we need Your strength and wisdom to train them in the way they should go. Give us patience and a joyful heart. Forgive us when we are too busy to listen to Your voice, help us to take a breath and experience Your presence and so we can hear what You have to say.
In Jesus name I pray~ Amen”
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