Do You Want to Hear the Coolest Thing?

We go to church every Wednesday night.  It’s my favorite night of the week.  I absolutely love being in the house of the Lord but there was one Wednesday night in particular that was most special to me.  I took my two children to church on Wednesday as usual.

After church, my children absolutely love hanging out for a little while and playing on the play ground.  This Wednesday was no different.  My son was playing on the slide and I was shooting baskets with my daughter.  My son called me over to him and said, “Mommy, I need you to come here.”  In my mind, I was wondering if he was a bit jealous of me shooting hoops with my daughter, but I didn’t say it out loud.  I just went over to him and asked him what he needed (it is all of ten feet away, from the basketball hoop, in case you were thinking this was some long distance).

My son, just so you know just turned four years old.  He is sweet, smart and can be a bit of a pistol.

Anyway, he gleefully asked me, “Mommy, do you want to hear the coolest thing about Jesus?”

I was a little surprised by his question, but of course I said, “Yes, tell me son, what is the coolest thing about Jesus?”

He said, “Did you know that Jesus died just for me Mommy and if I pray and tell him I am sorry for the bad stuff I did, He will forgive me and he wants me to give him my whole life and if I do He will live in my heart and won’t remember the bad stuff I do sometimes.”

I fought back tears of joy as he was saying this to me, and calmly said, “You are right son, that is the coolest thing.”

He said, “Yay mommy it is the coolest thing ever.”

I asked him, “Are you thinking of giving your life to Jesus?”

He said, “Yep and I am going to do it right now, but I need your help Mommy.  I don’t know how.”

That night, sitting on the slide of my church, “I led my precious little boy in prayer to give his heart to Jesus.”  When we got home from church, he excitedly ran up to his daddy and told him. “Guess what Daddy?  I belong to Jesus now and He lives in my heart and He loves me sooo much!”

Jesus loves you too.  The coolest thing about Jesus is while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  The Bible says that when we surrender our lives to him, He forgives our sins and He adopts us as His sons or daughters.

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In Times of Trouble

When hard times in life hit you, how do you respond?  You lose a job, what do you do?  You get sick, what do you do?  I can tell you my tendencies.  My first response is usually to freak out and then I get busy.  The worse the problem, the busier I get!  I appoint myself to fix the problem!  I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to find a way, anyway really, to improve on my current situation. The bad thing is I don’t usually know what direction to go, so I spend tons of energy working as hard as I can in the wrong direction or in thirteen different directions.  My hope is if I throw out enough arrows, maybe one will hit a target.  I don’t stop to consider if it is the right target. Ultimately, I don’t get anywhere, I am tired, stressed out and things haven’t gotten better at all.  I don’t think this response is rare, I have a feeling I am not the only one that responds to life’s challenges this way.

Interestingly, my natural response is opposite of what the Bible says to do.  I guess that is not surprising, I have found most of the things the Bible says to do are not my first response.  I am by nature, sinful after all.

The Bible says, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am god: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

As I read this this morning, I started to think, that is all great but what does it mean to be still.  In my mind, I thought of it as being quiet.  I am sure that it does help to quiet your mind to hear God, but that isn’t what this verse is referencing.  The word ‘still’ is a translation of the Hebrew word rapa, meaning “to slacken, let down or cease.”  In times of war, it denotes putting down your weapons.  This phrase actually means to stop the crazy stuff you are doing and just stop and be still.

The word “know”  in this case means to “acknowledge or be aware” in Hebrew.  The Bible tells us to stop the crazy activity that we are doing to fix the situation, and acknowledge that He is God!  God is all knowing, He is present everywhere, He is all powerful, holy, sovereign, faithful, and good.  He knows what you are going through and He cares about all the details of your life.  He also already knows how to fix it and He knows how to bring you through it.

Why is it the more messed up my life is, the faster I move….do I want to just get to the wrong place quicker?  Really, what is the point?  My natural response is actually not very logical when I remember who God is and how much He loves me.

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an everpresent help in trouble.” NIV

I don’t need to go into crazy busy mode when there is a problem.  The reality is, it won’t be me to fix it.  It will be God.  He is my everpresent help in trouble!  My first reaction should be to stop, go before the Lord and let God direct my steps.  How nice it is to know that He will give direction and be my help in time of trouble!

Thankful For the Opportunity to Get Annoyed….

Yep you read the title right…. I haven’t written in the last two months because I accepted a part time position doing adoption work.  For the last two months, my five hour a week position has been more like thirty hours.  I have had the opportunity to work closely with a birth mom.  My job was to help her through the adoption process, as she chose to pursue an adoption plan and to help her hopefully get back on her feet.  I obviously can’t say much about her case but what I can say is this.  She has more than one child and she doesn’t get to see them.  I would like to believe that I have had a lasting impact on her life (of that I can’t be sure).  What I do know for certain is that she has unknowingly had a lasting impact on mine.

I have been a Stay at Home Mom now for the last six years.  I will confess to the whole world that I have not always been thankful for it.  I get bored first of all.  Second of all, I am a self-declared not so good house keeper.  I think I had this picture of being a Stay at Home Mom in my brain that looked something like June Cleaver in Leave It To Beaver.  My house would be perfectly clean, my hair would be in just the right place, a lovely gourmet dinner would be on the table every night and the house would be perfectly decorated.  At the end of every day there would be some perfectly lovely lesson learned with my perfect little children going off to bed.  The reality of staying at home looks something like me being in my favorite shorts and t-shirt, my hair being frazzled, I’m doing awesome to get my make up on, my house is some how always messy, even seconds after I clean it.  I think the Tazmanian Devil is hiding in my house some where and comes out to mess things up as soon as I go to the bathroom.  As far as dinner goes, I have become a pretty decent cook, but June’s food always looks much better than mine.

The third thing I always had messed up in my brain was this idea that my little darling children would always behave perfectly….now that one is pretty funny.  Obviously, I was not seeing this in the Biblical truth that we are all born with a sinful nature.  For my confession, sometimes my children really, really annoy me.  I try not to show it, but sometimes it just comes pouring out all over their cuteness.

With that being said, the other day I was spending time with this lady on my case load.  She is down on her luck for sure.  Honestly, I don’t remember what brought it up.  Something (probably stupid and insignificant because I can’t even remember what it was) had happened and I was feeling annoyed with my children when I saw her.  I briefly mentioned that my little angels were driving me crazy and her reaction was something I will not soon forget.  She said, “I wish I could be around my children long enough for them to annoy me.”  She said, “Do you know I actually miss hearing them fight?”

I have not been able to get that statement out of my head.  I have not seen my children’s fights and other things they do in the same way since I heard that statement.  What must it be like to not be able to have the opportunity to become irritated with your children, because you simply don’t see them?

I used to think that I wasn’t all that blessed because we don’t have much money.  I am realizing that God’s blessings come in all different shapes and sizes.  Sure having money would be nice, but is that really what is important.  I believe that one of the biggest blessings God has given me in my life is the opportunity to get annoyed.  That’s right, I get to spend so much time with my beautiful children that they sometimes drive me nuts!  The question I have been asking myself lately is would I trade my special opportunity to be annoyed for all the money in the world.  The answer to that is clear to me.  No I would not!  I get the amazing blessing of really knowing these two sweet little people who God blessed me with.  I get to hear them laugh and cry.  I get to see them at their best and yes at their worst.  I get to see them be silly and just be kids.  I get to hear them fight with each other and love each other.

I wouldn’t give up the opportunity to get annoyed with my sweet kids for all the money in the world because every single moment I have with them are blessings.  It’s just that sometimes the blessing is a little bit hard to recognize.

Mother’s Day Encouragement

Today is Mother’s Day.  I have been thinking a lot about it.  I called my mom and chatted with her.  I wished I could see her, but alas I have a sick kid in my house.  I adore my mom.  Our relationship is not perfect but who has the perfect relationship anyway?  She worked hard and sacrificed a lot for me. She has always loved me with her whole heart.  She like every other mom, was not perfect but she was the perfect mom for me.

I also thought of my mother in law.  She is an amazing person and extremely supportive.  She wasn’t perfect either.  She loved my husband with her whole heart and still does.  I know she was the perfect mom for my husband.  Did she make mistakes?  Definitely, but God knew what he was doing when He gave my husband his mom.

I also thought of me.  I worry all the time that I am messing up my kids.  I struggle with mom guilt and self doubt.  I wonder if my mom felt that way.  Did she wonder all the time if she was messing me up?  I suspect she did.  I bet my mother in law thought that too.  The reality is if I didn’t love my kids so very much, I doubt I would worry about messing them up.  I doubt I would obsess about each decision I make for them or feel horrible every time I lose my temper.

I was praying about all of these jumbled up thoughts this morning and as I prayed I realized something.  I may not be the perfect mom.  I will inevitably mess up.  That being said God chose me to be my children’s mother.  I may not be a perfect mom, but I am the right mom for my kids.  I am so thankful that God is there to cover my mistakes. 

Remember moms, you aren’t perfect but God chose you to be your kids mom.  There isn’t any one better qualified.

Popping the ME ME ME bubble

Are you like me?  Do you ever forget just how good you have it?  I do sometimes.  I tend to get swept away in my own thoughts, with my own problems, with my own life.  It is like a giant vacuum for me.  My brain gets so stuck on all the issues that I am dealing with in my own life, I forget about other people’s lives.

I see people every day and I don’t stop to think, what is your story?  What is going on in your life that is making you appear tired and frazzled?  What was it that caused you to lose your temper just now?  Is there anything I can do to help, even if it is to smile?

Sometimes, I think the good Lord wants to pop the giant bubble of “ME ME ME” that I have been residing in to wake me up to the issues going on in the people’s lives around me.  The other night, I went to a Pink Zebra Party.  I am not going to lie, it is my business, I was hoping for orders.  It ended up that only one person came.  This lady came not to buy Sprinkles (although she loves them).  She came because she was tired and stressed.  She needed a break!  She has four children.  I knew she needed a break.  I thought that she needed it simply because she has four children and every mom needs a rest once in a while.

As we spent the evening chatting, she started to open up as to why she was so tired.  The evening was May 2.  Her rent was due May 1.  She did not have the money to pay the rent.  She and her family have been having substantial financial struggles for a long time.  The family has been subsiding on pasta and potatoes for months, because it is all they can afford.  She is worried about how her children are going to eat in the summer, since right now they eat at school for two meals a day.  In their school district, you can get free meals in the summer only if you are more than 250% below the poverty line.  She has substantial physical issues as well, making her too weak to cook or to clean.  Her husband has had to do all of that stuff for years.

My friend that hosted the party and I prayed for her, loved on her, packed up as many groceries as we could and did our best to help her in some small way.  I took her home and helped her bring the bags of groceries into her home.  It made me tear up as the children met us at the door and excitedly said, “Yay we get to eat this week.”  My heart sunk.  The idea that these kids did not actually know if they would get to eat!  I realize hunger is very real in the world, but this was a stark reminder of how blessed I really am.

If you want to help people in this situation and help insure they get to eat, bring some food to your local food bank.  Donations are usually higher over the holidays, but people need to eat year around.

https://communityfoodbank.com/

Tonight, I am going to hug and kiss my husband and kids.  Then I will Thank God for blessing my family.  I will also go donate some food.  May you all be blessed.

Kindergarten Graduation

The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.  We have been working to wrap up the kindergarten school year with my daughter.  The year has been full of both victories and struggles.  I have seen her catch on to some things quickly and other things have been an absolute battle!  For Michaela, math has been easy.  In fact, we still have three weeks left of kindergarten, but she has been done with her math books for a couple of weeks.  She just decided to get it done and she did.

Reading has not been like that at all!  It has been hard.  It has involved tears.  It has involved changing curriculum mid way through.  It has involved a lot of work.  Some small victories, and my daughter just not wanting to do it.  She often complained that it is hard.  We decided that she is right, it is hard.  So we decided to reward her for trying her best to read (not reading correctly, but just reading with a good heart).  We set up a sticker chart and rewarded her with a new book of her choice when she filled her chart.  At first, this was effective to end the fighting.  Gradually, it changed to my daughter looking forward to getting a sticker and counting down to her next book.  I also slowed way down and repeated pages for months on end.  All of a sudden, it seemed to be easier.  Now she is actually reading.  To see her face light up when she realized she just read an entire story without having to sound out words, was an amazing moment.  It was probably the most satisfying moment I have ever had in regards to seeing work that we have done paying off.

My girl has learned so much this year and changed so much this year.  That it really does blow my mind.  It makes me feel like all of the crazy sacrifices to actually homeschool her has been worth the investment.  I feel honored to have the opportunity to play such an integral part in her education.

Needless to say, this past week as I have prepared and helped plan her kindergarten graduation, I have been a bit of an emotional wreck!  My baby is growing up!  How is it possible?  It feels like yesterday that she was born.

Congratulations to my sweet daughter.  This is just the beginning and I am preparing my heart to enjoy the ride.

P1000357Michaela's graduation

They grow up so very fast.

Mom’s Night Out….my first movie review

This is obviously not a new movie, in fact I watched it for the first time last night on television.  I don’t normally get to see movies when they first come out unless they are cartoons like Frozen these days, but regardless of this movie being older I still feel the urge to tell people about it.

I am of the feeling that every tired mom should take some time and watch this movie!  Seriously ladies, it will help.  It was like medicine for a weary soul!!  First of all, the movie is ridiculously funny and if you have ever had children you will be able to relate.  The movie is also really clean.  If you are like me, you don’t want your children to be exposed to movies with violence and curse words at such a young age.  You can watch this with your kids in the room and not worry about content.  More than that the movie was very encouraging to moms every where.  Is it super deep, no not really, but it is entertaining, encouraging and clean.

This is coming from a mom that went to the grocery store at nine at night the other day, without the kids and it felt like a vacation!  I needed something funny and encouraging to watch.  This fit the bill perfectly.   Moms everywhere, rent this movie!  If nothing else, you will get a good laugh and I don’t know if there is anything better.

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