The Red Cup.

I have a confession. I just bought a Decaf Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks. It was handed to me in their new, plain red cup. I drank it. And I Love Jesus.

I didn’t proclaim, “Merry Christmas” in the middle of the store (its November), tell them my name was Merry Christmas, or run around holding my baby girl above my head screaming, “WE LOVE JESUS!” And you know what, I didn’t feel slighted. I didn’t feel a direct attack on my faith. And in no way, did the removal of the Reindeer effect my love for Jesus Christ. In fact, my love for Jesus only continues to grow, every day that I spend with Him, despite my surroundings in this world.

But you want to know one thing. As I looked at that red cup sitting on the counter I did feel annoyed.. Maybe, even so much as disappointed at the man who caused the big stink over these cups. Granted I don’t know much about Starbucks as an entity but I can’t recall hearing them proclaim affiliation or know of them to be a Christian run and based business. So, why the fuss about them removing the Reindeer? And I hate to say this, but don’t we often hear complaints of people saying that Santa Claus, Reindeer, Christmas Trees, etc. detract from the main Reason for the Season, that being the birth of Jesus Christ!

Let me remind you, fellow lovers and followers of Christ. We are called to lead people to Jesus. We are called to be beacons of light upon a hill. We aren’t called to stir up animosity or get mixed up in the silly arguments about removing “Christmas from Starbucks cups.” We aren’t called to have thin skin, leaving us easily slighted. Rather we are called to be warriors. To take up the cross. To spread LOVE, not condemnation. And PLEASE do remember, that Jesus Christ, NEVER forced the Gospel upon any one. He never screamed “Merry Christmas” at the coffee baristas of His time. I will ensure you one thing… we WILL NOT further the Kingdom by forcing the Good News upon people. It is said, “I will stand at the door and knock.” Scripture doesn’t say, “I am coming to your door, move to the side because I’m kicking it down.”

Now, dear man who created this unnecessary stir at Starbucks… I feel for you. I understand how easy it is to get caught up in bologna. We all do it from time to time. But listen here, “Keep your eye on the goal. Keep your eyes focused on the One we serve.”

In the future, if it truly means that much to you (which is a whole other issue) as opposed to starting chaos and controversy slamming Starbucks new red cups why not put a spin on it and say,

“Thanks Starbucks, for the new red cups with a clean, blank surface reminding us of The One who was born on Christmas Day, who lived a life of humility and love, and who was crucified, and died to wash away the sins of the world… [WHO DIED to WASH AWAY MY INDIVIDUAL SINS], leaving us all a CLEAN, BLANK SLATE!”

Sorry about the rant. But come on people. I don’t mean to sound insensitive but It’s a RED CUP FROM STARBUCKS. Lets toughen up a little and stop allowing the enemy to play games. There are people in this world who are not only slighted for their faith, what they stand for or who they are, but are literally dying as martyrs because of their Love for Our Father, God. These are the situations and the problems that command our attention, not the design team of Starbucks new coffee cups.

 

Those 3 Words.

Truthfully, I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience the blessings God has enabled me to achieve throughout my life. However, something happened yesterday that far exceeded any stage I ever competed on, any runway I have ever walked on, any photographer I ever shot with, any gymnastic coach I ever trained with… and any dream I have ever dreamed of.

Those 3 Words.My son, completely out of nowhere, hopped up on the couch, wrapped his little arms around my neck, and for the first time in his life said, “Momma. I love you.”

Okay, now speaking from experience – had someone told me 3 years ago this story,  my exact thoughts and words would have been, “Awww. How cute,” I would have smiled and that would have been that. I’ve never been a mushy person (aside from when it came to puppies). I’ve never been one to dish out,  the “I love you,” to just anyone, nor was I ever afraid to offer up the “Aw, thank you.” to a, what I believed to be, unwarranted, “I love you” from a beginning relationship.  I wasn’t opposed to love nor did I ever take “love” lightly. However, I am not sure that I ever realized how truly profound those three little words spoken, could be.

In the world we live in today, we all have a tendency to be selfish. Unfortunately, it stems from our very own sinful nature. We have a conversation, but most of the time we are “listening” for that pause that allows us to jump in and tell our OWN opinion, or our OWN story. What is it I want to say? We are constantly on the look out on how to better our OWN lives or situations? Our thoughts are often, “Am I loved?” “Am I happy?” “Am I successful?” “Am I being heard?”

As opposed to focusing our energy on, “Do we make those around us feel loved, appreciated, happy, complete,” our thoughts are more often, “Does he/she make me feel loved? Does he/she make me feel happy and appreciated?”

And we do the same with God. Yes, we might thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon our lives. We might thank Him for walking us through troubled times. But so often our main concern is feeling His love for us. We think, “I feel so loved by God right now!” or, “Where is He? I feel like He has turned His back on me…Does He even love me?”

How often do we think about our love for and towards Him? This may sound crazy, but how often do we think about how our love makes God feel?

He longs for a relationship with us. He is our father. He calls us His children.

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.”  1 John 3:1

Knowing the incredible joy my son brought to me yesterday by uttering those three little words for the first time, I can not even begin to imagine the amount of joy it must bring our Heavenly Father when we finally express our love to Him.

I encourage you, to step back from your daily lives and look around. How is it that you make those around you feel? Do they feel your love, your friendship, your consideration for them? Do you make God know his importance in your life? Does God know how much you love him?

**Side Note: Please do not misunderstand this post to say that uttering, “I love you,” is the only and best way to express love. Had my son been throwing a tantrum or a toy at the moment when he said those three little words, I am not sure their effect would have been so profound. However, I could genuinely feel his love for me as he hugged me. This genuine feeling of love that came with his “I love you,” is the feeling I am referring to that we need to spread to those around us. This genuine feeling of appreciation, acceptance, love and unending gratitude through our words and our actions is the feeling we need to make known to our friends, our family and our God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Things God Says About Me.

Have you ever seen one of the those kids, that is so bad, you think, MAN THANK GOD that is not my child…

Well, when it comes to the swimming pool, that is my child.

There is something about the water that literally turns my Little Man into a maniac. All he wants to do is PLAY, PLAY, PLAY… and not how little toddlers are supposed to play, but how wild animals play in the open ranges of Africa As I see other moms of toddlers sitting around watching their little ones scoop up water and empty it into buckets on the side of the baby pool or sit beautifully on the stairs, I on the other hand, am narrowly rescuing their unassuming children from my son as he attempts to “pounce” on them like they are a zebra and he is the lion.  I am blocking splashes and flying pool toys hailing from my child’s domain of the pool, as he flops around wildly, going under water and jumping up and down in an attempt to make the biggest splash. At which time, I reluctantly change my hat from “mother” to circus tamer, simply attempting to contain my little monkey. (It’s awful) … (Little side note. We are working on this issue.)

Yesterday,  with the weather as amazing as it was, the pool was packed and my little man was on his A game. (No, I don’t mean good behavior A game.) I mean he was like a wrestling, bull-fighting, shark attacking, tiger preying champion at the pool yesterday. Needless to say, we had to leave early and “Mommy and Little Man” took a much needed stroll to the grocery to “cool off” and “think about our actions.” Frustrated and annoyed that my otherwise, unbelievably well behaved child acts like such a hooligan in the pool, I reached for a carton of eggs and received a little message from God.

No, He wasn’t telling me I have a rotten egg for a son. (Although I am quite certain a few of the other mother’s at the pool may have valid arguments. Haha)  No, quite the contrary. To me, this was a little message, saying nothing more than, “Chill Out Momma. We’re all different. We are all created with our unique blessings, gifts and talents AND we are all created with our own unique struggles. So embrace the blessings. Embrace the talents. Embrace the gifts. And deal with the struggles as they come, but don’t dwell on them. Don’t let them ruin an otherwise beautiful day.”

So I started thinking, of all the things, just at the age of 2, God has blessed my son with. And then I started thinking of all the beautiful things I can say about my son (and truthfully, like any mother, I can list just about 90 million things I love about my son and say about him on a daily basis).  However, then I started thinking, what does God say he loves about my Little Man and what would God say about him right this instant, knowing his actions in the pool? Would God’s list be the same as mine?

What does God say he loves about you? Despite our struggles, our hardships, our annoyances – what is it that He would say about you as a person?

I encourage you, make your own list, “What does God Say About You?“ Then make a list of things God says about your son/daughter/husband/partner… What is it that God loves about that person?

What Are 10 Things God Says about _____________________.

 

In the meantime, you can check out what I have come up with…

10 Things God says about me.

 

1. He loves that I am a little bit weird. (just a little bit) He created me this way. He created me in His own unique image.

2. God loves that I am redeemed. He knows my failures. He knows my struggles but He loves me despite of them and has made me whole in Him! (Ephesians 4:24)

3. God says, I am forgiven. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7

4. God says, I am an Overcomer. God says, that not only will He never give me anything too big to handle but that with Him, there is NO one that can stand against! “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4

5. God says, I am His child. Think about this for a moment. There can be 9,257 people in a room, and I have just as much confidence that the God of the universe, the God who has EVERYTHING,  would point me out in a room, like that of my own mother or father, and say, “Yes, she is my child! I claim her as my OWN!” Talk about feeling accepted! 1 John 3:1

6. God says that I am beautiful. He created me in his own likeness. He knows every hair on my head (and there are a lot).  (Matthew 10:30) I am the apple of His eye. (Psalm 17). His treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 7:6)

7. God says, He doesn’t care if I … Continue reading

The Crayon Drama : Actively Listening To and Seeking God on a Daily Basis.

When first deciding to enter, “full-time-stay-at-home-mom-status,”  in preparation for my little girl to arrive, I had thought it sounded like a perfect recipe for some increased R&R.  I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. In fact, my normal morning routine of  1- 2 hours backstage in hair and make up is now a mad dash of breakfast making, choo-choo train finding, race car driving, lego stepping (and by the way, have you ever stepped on a lego? It will bring any grown man down to his knees in sheer agony!), book reading, soccer playing, laundry folding, tantrum throwing, floor mopping, vacuum cleaning, diaper changing awesome-ness! But, I’m not going to lie, its exhausting. By the time 8:00am rolls around I am checking the clock like, “Is it NAP time yet?” Not for Littleman, but for me!

This morning was no different, but as we were in the midst of the chaos, I noticed the littleman had gotten some crayons and paper from his craft drawer and had crawled up to the table to color. So taking advantage of every opportunity possible, I prepared myself a cup of Decaf coffee, grabbed my devotional and headed to the balcony for some time with the Lord. Keeping an eye on my son through our screen and sliding glass doors. I watched as he continued to color for about 15 minutes, all the while slowly loosing his crayons as they would roll from the table on to the floor, in the midst of his wild flipping of pages in his, “Airplane “Bird-Bird” Coloring Book.”

As the final crayon rolled to the floor, I watched as he tilted his head sideways and yelled, “Momma! Momma!” Responding, “One Minute Bunny,” laying down my book and setting my coffee aside, I went to stand up (which is no easy task at this point in pregnancy) and walk through the screen door, when I paused, watching him tilt his little head yet again and go, “Momma, Momma…Help. Please.” (Okay call me mean, but I stood there for a minute looking in to see what he was going to do next. He wasn’t in his high chair. I knew exactly what he wanted.  And truthfully, he could easily get down and gather his crayons himself to continue coloring.)

He waited a moment, still not seeing me through the sliding glass doors, hopped down, and frantically began running from room to room, calling, “Momma, Momma! Mommmmmma!” (Okay don’t worry, I live in a city condo, so the time it took him to run through our entire house is like 3.7 seconds). When I walked in through the screen door, he was making his final turn around our hallway and burst into tears, grabbing my leg, and letting out a final, “Momma! Color. Floor.” (for those non-parents out there, that means, “Momma, my crayons are on the floor and now, how can I color?”

He wasn’t aware that I was watching the entire event unfold.

See, he wasn’t aware that I was here the entire time, listening to and watching his every move. I wasn’t ignoring him, nor hiding from him, nor failing to help him.

The first time he cried out for me, I responded. But he wasn’t listening for me.

The second time he cried out for me, I was standing there watching him, waiting, listening through the screen door, but he never lifted his head in my direction to see me. 

As he went racing through the house in search of me, he wasn’t aware that I was never gone, that all he needed to do was look right next to where he had been. 

And as he reached out and grabbed my leg, telling me the “tragedy” that had just unfolded, he wasn’t aware that I had seen, every crayon fall to the floor.

How many times in life are we like my LittleMan was today.

We cry out for help, but we don’t listen for OR to God’s response.

We cry out for help, but we don’t raise our eyes NOR our heads to seek Him.

Feeling lonely, scared, forgotten and abandoned, we frantically run around, in search of God and His hands in our life, only to hear, “My Child. What are you searching for? I am here. The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 3:16

This week I encourage you to not only spend time studying Gods word on a daily basis but actively listen and seek Him in your daily life. God isn’t some far-out, scary higher being that we go to when there are “issues” to deal with. He is a friend. He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to be someone that you spend time with on a daily basis, in good times and bad, so that when there are “issues,” you have unfailing confidence that He is by your side through every step of the way.

Scripture Verses:

Joshua 1:9 : “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Deuteronomy 31:6 :  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your … Continue reading

Fear of the Unknown.

Fear.

Physically, mentally and psychologically debilitating.

It’s happened to all of us before. You’re lying there in the darkness and you hear a creak. You’re parents words from childhood come flashing through your mind, “Its just the house settling…” But you close your eyes and then it happens again. “Creak…” A floorboard!? Is that a shadow under the door?! Could someone have slipped by the alarm? At that moment every Lifetime/Suspense movie you’ve ever seen flashes through your mind as you remember screaming at the characters on the TV, “GO GO GO.. they’re right outside you’re door!” And you think, “Okay, I’m not going to be her.  What is my next move?…Lie here and play dead under the covers? Maybe they won’t see me. Prop myself beside the door and prepare to tackle? Should I crawl out the window?” Only to hear a faint creaking noise again and then “BOW!!!” The dog comes bounding from behind the door,  leaping to the bed, offering her wet, slobbery kisses!

Fear. It’s physically, mentally and psychologically debilitating.

Remember back to your childhood. A fear of the darkness would cause you to see monster shadows out of a lamppost from outside. Burglars from puppy footsteps up for a midnight drink of water. Boogey monsters lurking under the bed.

Fear. It clouds and hinders your judgement, your vision, your hearing, and your actions.

Every fear in the universe stems from one uncertainty, Fear of The Unknown.

  • What lingers in the darkness?
  • What will the diagnosis be?
  • What happens if my marriage fails?
  • What if I end up alone?
  • What if I say the wrong thing?
  • What if they don’t like me?
  • What if they reject me?
  • What if my daughter/son gets involved in the wrong crowd?
  • What if I lose my job?
  • What if my partner is being unfaithful?
  • What if my dreams never come true?
  • What if I fail?

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

The answer to these questions are all unknown? What if the diagnosis is cancer? Then what? What if they reject me? Then what? The truth is, no one knows but our Father himself. But the one thing we do know and the one thing we can hold on to as reassurance is, He is always with us, always protecting us.

Fear is indiscriminate. It affects all of us regardless of our age or position in life. Whether our fear is absolutely realistic or out of proportion in our minds, our greatest refuge is Christ.- Luci Swindoll

“Did you know the children of Israel had nightights? The entire nation was afraid of the dark. In ancient times, the oil lamps that lit homes were kept burning all night long. In fact, it was often considered more important for people to buy oil for their lamps than food for their families. God knew his people needed reassurance. So when His people were uprooted from their land and forced to sleep in tents in the barren lands, they were comforted by the presence of a pillar of fire, that would cast a glow over the darkness reminding the people and children of Israel that their comfort was there.” (Living Above Worry and Stress)

For some reason this morning when I read those words, I felt a sense of relief, as sense of reassurance. When we think of God’s chosen people throughout the bible and/or the people around us who we esteem to be spiritually alike we often attribute them with bravery, honor, courage, and extreme faithfulness. But the truth is, take a quick look through the scriptures and it isn’t difficult to discover the fear that lives within the hearts of each of these people.

  • Eve : afraid of missing out on wisdom (Genesis 3:5)
  • Jacob : afraid of revenge from his bother (Genesis 27: 41-43)
  • Moses : afraid to speak in public (Ex. 4:10)
  • David : afraid of the exposure of his sin (2 Sam. 11:15)
  • Solomon : afraid of failing as a leader (1 Kings 3:9)
  • Jonah : afraid to face the enemy (Jon. 1:3)
  • Esther : afraid to admitting and allowing people to find out about her family heritage (Esther 2:10)
  • Hezekiah : afraid of death (2 Kings 20:1-3)
  • Joseph : afraid of what people would say (Mat. 1: 19)
  • Disciples: afraid of asking dumb and/or irrelevant questions (Mark 9:32)
  • Jairus : afraid his child would die (Luke 8:41-42)
  • Martha: afraid of disappointing her guests (Luke 10:40)
  • Paul: afraid people wouldn’t believe him (Acts 9:26)
  • Felix : afraid to face the truth (Acts 24:25)
  • Peter: afraid of breaking tradition (Gal. 2:14)

There is some relief, almost reassurance in knowing that even some of the bravest, most Godly people ever to have graced this earth, and called by God, too dealt with fear.

But God calls us to take courage, amidst our fears. He calls us to come to Him in faith,  for guidance protection and security, rather than to allow our judgment to become clouded by human fear.

When we find ourselves hindered by fear, we must remember we are not alone. “There resides in … Continue reading

A Genuine Smile.

Screenshot 2014-11-14 09.27.18

“Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you’re happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.”

True happiness isn’t found in your situations, the people that surround you or the dreams you are achieving. True happiness and contentment is found within. True happiness is a choice.  It is saying, I love who I am today. I may not have liked the choices I made in the past, and I may not make all the right choices in the future, but I forgive myself and I am happy with who I am and love who I have become.

Deciding you are happy and content with who you are doesn’t mean entering a state of complacency. It means choosing to be happy amongst the struggles and trials that will undoubtedly find you in your everyday walk in life.

Choosing to be happy doesn’t mean plastering a fake smile to your face, bearing down and waiting for the storm to pass. When you are truly happy and content with who you are, you will find something to  genuinely smile about everyday,  even in the midst of the chaos. It means saying, “Today is tough but when I have God dwelling in my heart, I am tougher.” You may feel like the weight is to heavy to bear. Today may even feel like the worst day of your life, but there is reprieve in knowing that God never gives us anything we can not handle and tomorrow, when we are with Him, is always new day. And everyday, with time, forgiveness, a change in perspective; our circumstances and situations change.

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can now see; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So, smile today. For no reason aside from the fact that you are loved by The One that created you. Know that whatever heartache, hardship or trial you are enduring or will endure in the future will one day come to an end. Know that nothing that comes your way that will be too great for you to handle when you have the Creator of the World on your side. Know that whatever you have done in the past is over, done with and forgiven. Make the choice today to love yourself and see yourself as He sees you. Look in the mirror today and smile because YOU are Beautiful. You are loved. Be proud of who you are, despite your circumstances and situations.

Happy Halloween: Preparing for Growth

Butlers Orchard - Casandra Tressler

Happy Halloween! Although I can’t say “Halloween” necessarily is one of my favorite holidays, I do enjoy this time of year. As the season changes and the leaves fall, I feel like it is God’s way of preparing the world for yet another beautiful spring blossom, always leading me to take a closer look at my life.

I feel like our lives our so synonymous with nature. The leaves fall, all of nature goes dormant as we endure winter allowing for the plants and animals to rest, preparing for the beautiful blossom of spring, leading us into the fully blossomed, season and play of summertime.

So as we enter this season of fall, what is it that we need to shed from our lives to ensure a healthy spring growth? I always ask myself, “What is it that is holding me back, hindering me from taking steps forward in my goals, in my relationships, in my life!” And then as I prepare to move into the season of winter, just as God has instructed for the plants and the animals to rest, I too prepare for a season of rest. It doesn’t mean, skip the holiday parties or go into hibernation, but it does mean, craft out intentional time in your schedule for adequate and “more than” sufficient time to completely rest your mind, body and soul.

Therefore, when we move into the season of spring, as we begin planning for and fulling planting the seeds of our future, we will have the strength, stamina and energy to allow for a healthy bloom and sufficient growth that will blossom at its fullest in the summer of our lives.

Food for Thought.

Consider these two scenarios.

A man’s older car begins having serious trouble, so he takes it to the mechanic. After an assessment is made, he is told it will need a complete overhaul, which would tax his limited budget. Because of the expensive repairs, he determines to get rid of the car and spend his funds on a new vehicle. Seems reasonable, right?

Another man, an engineer, accidentally crushes his hand in a piece of equipment. He rushes to the hospital and has it x-rayed, finding that numerous bones are broken. Although frustrated and in pain, he willingly uses his savings to have it doctored and placed in a cast, then gingerly nurses it back to health over the following months. This, too, probably seems reasonable to you.

The problem within our culture is that marriage is more often treated like the first scenario. A discardable possession. When your relationship experiences difficulty, you are urged to dump your spouse for a “newer model.” But those who have this view do not understand the significant bond between a husband and wife. The truth is, marriage is more like the second scenario. You are a part of one another. You would never cut off your hand if it was injured but would pay whatever you could afford for the best medical treatment possible. That’s because your hand is priceless to you. It is part of who you are.

And so is your mate.

“The Love Dare.” Stephen and Alex Kendrick.

A Willing Heart

“Have you ever felt as if you were the least likely person God would choose to accomplish His will? Do you ever feel too weak or powerless to make a difference for God? Look at Esther’s qualifications for her job. She was an orphan. She came from a race of people who were living in exile in a foreign land. She had no wealth. Lacked any sort of “royal” education. And was recommended for the job by her uncle. But she was the person God chose to become queen and save her people from genocide. God still uses the weak and the powerless today to change the world. All he requires is a willing heart and obedience to HIs commands. If you place yourself in God’s hands, He can use you in ways you may never expect in order to accomplish amazing things for His glory.” Esther 2:7 NLT Discover God Study Bible

Made To Thrive : Alexis Maday

Maybe the first person I ever got into “trouble” with, and for sure one of, if not the first person I call when “trouble” finds me (or my family). Alexis lives her faith out loud in all aspects of her life, through the giving and sharing of wisdom, truth and love. As a former stay-at-home mom to two beautiful children, she has just re-entered the work force and is working a double career in the medical field and as a gymnastics coach, while remaining a Christ-led mom, wife, active member of her church, and leader of the Sr. High Sunday School. (Can we hear an AMEN!)

It is said, “You are only going to be as a good as the people you surround yourself with.” I strive everyday to display the love, strength, understanding, wisdom, truth, and generosity Alex provides to her family and friends.

I am honored to feature my sister-in-Christ, Alexis Maday on Made To Thrive Monday.

Lets take a minute to get to know our beautiful Sister-in-Christ who was,  Made To Thrive.

What is your favorite bible verse?

I still am fairly new in my faith (I accepted Christ as my savior the night John and I were talking with our Pastor about getting married…. Ok so almost 10 years ago), but it was only in the past two or three years that I have really begun to seek God.   I went through my bible and read all of my highlighted verses and I am torn between two.

Philippians 4:8 –“Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right…Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about it.”

Matthew 5:6-9 – “Happy are those who long to be just and good, for they shall be completely satisfied. Happy are the kind and merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Happy are those whose hearts are pure, for they shall see God. Happy are those who strive for peace – they shall be called the sons of God.”

I love these two verses because they are SO SIMPLE. Be kind. Be good. Be just. Be fair. Be happy! How hard is that? We want to know how to be better people, how to love God, how to deal with others?   Just. Be. Kind. Thank God for what you have and be happy you have it. So so simple. Love it.

What do you feel has been one of the hardest obstacles in your life and how did you see God’s hand in all of it?

Ok hear me out on this one…. No judging until I am finished! Being a mom is THE hardest obstacle in this season of life. It is not easy nor is it for the faint of heart. To quote one of my favorite authors/bloggers, Glennon Melton, “It is brutiful.” It’s brutal and it is beautiful. It is exhausting and it is exhilarating. She compares raising kids to climbing Mt. Everest – you have all these people around you cheering you on, encouraging you, but when you are so utterly overwhelmed with life, you just want to push them over the edge instead of accept their support. Then, when you finally get to the summit, it is so emotional and exhilarating that you forget all of the pain, suffering, blood, sweat and tears it took to get you there and you can’t wait to experience it all again. Welcome to everyday of my life. My two favorite times of the day are when my kids first get up in the morning and when they are going to bed at night. Can I get an “Amen!”? After I get my kids to bed at night, I usually collapse in to the closest piece of furniture and think about all of the things I did wrong that day. I think about all of the times I was negative, or raised my voice, what I could have-should have done, and I pray. I pray real hard that tomorrow is a better day. I pray that I can be a better mom tomorrow than I was today. It is so emotionally exhausting being a mom, to go through these ups and downs daily.

      I see God’s hand clearly because first, Psalms 127:3 says “Children are a gift from God; they are his reward.” I am beyond blessed that God entrusted these two beautiful creatures to my hubby and I; believing that we will raise them to the best of our abilities. But I can clearly see how He works in my life. I have two people that have been my friends since I was in middle school – Casandra and Becca. These two gals have grown up with me. I have seen them both get married and have babies of their own.   They know who I was before I became a mom, and I believe God has kept these two in my life because it is so important to remember where I came from and what I have been through to get where I am today. Secondly, God has also plopped me down in a church filled with Godly women raising their own families. He knew who I would need around me to share my highs and lows, my struggles and my triumphs, of raising kids.  Clearly, this obstacle is worth every single … Continue reading