Thursday, April 30, 2015

Put Your Phone Down - 5 Ways To Keep Your Family The Priority ~ KITW

This post is a follow-up to my previous post about passing judgement. One of the main examples in that post was of a mother on her phone at the playground instead of engaging with her children. I offered some reasons as to why this may have happened based on my own personal experience.
I believe there is a time and a place for electronics, especially in this technologically growing generation we live in. I realized just how much I used my computer a couple of years ago.
I gave up my computer for a week during lent. Not even one day into the “fast” I realized... {Read more}

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Weeds In My Lungs Bring A Renewed Perspective This Morning

Our riding lawnmower is in the shop.

But it is spring.
And we've had LOTS of rain.
And the grass weeds just keep growing.
Which means that it needs to be mowed.

With the push mower.

Since I had assigned Josh the task of making a chicken coop for the "ladies" I decided to get a workout in by mowing the grass weeds.

5 hours later and I was done.

And about 12 hours later my body was feeling it.
Not just the normal tingling hands from pushing a vibrating lawnmower for 5 hours, or the sore legs from trimming the hill in the front yard, but it was more of the allergy kind.  You know, where you feel like you have a hay bale stuck in your throat and pollen coating your lungs and eyeballs?

The sneezing, coughing, sore chest and throat have been less-than welcomed during our slow-paced, rainy weekend.

BUT, it's in times like this where I am forced to slow down, that I get to, well...SLOW DOWN!

My to-do list is very minimal today:
Prepare a healthy dinner for the Colony
Catch up on laundry
and be present

I'm a pretty self-motivated person and I LOVE checking things off of my list.
But often times my to-do list consists of THINGS, not PEOPLE.
And it doesn't take long for me to get so consumed with the THINGS on my to-do list that I neglect the little people that need their mama present and attentive.

So today, that's a priority.

It's pretty sad that my body has to be the one to help me re-prioritize this kind of perspective, but I'm grateful it does.  And I pray that I will always be willing to take advantage of this constant reminder of what is truly important.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Before Passing Judgement ~ KITW

Our home is located about 3/4 of a mile away from the town park. If we want to walk there we take the sidewalk up to the side road, which leads directly to the trails that bring us to the park. We spend a lot of time at the three different parks that are adjoined to this trail.
Once we finally get there (after lugging 3 scooters and 2 bicycles), I am typically ready for a break while the kids run (and climb and hike) to their hearts’ content. Sometimes I just sit in silence and ponder life. Other times you’ll see me pushing kids in swings or holding them up to the monkey bars. On occasion, I spend that time getting some stuff done that has been put on the back burner because mothering has demanded all of me.
Those spare minutes... {Read more}

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

This Unexplainable Truth

We plant seeds.
We water them.
We care for them.

And then we wait...

Wait for the seeds to take root.
Wait for the seeds to show some fruit.
Wait for some kind of growth.


I was talking with a friend of mine a few weeks ago and she was verbalizing her confusion with life and where she stood spiritually.  She didn't know how she felt about the whole God thing and was trying to "figure it all" in her head.

I left that conversation feeling so burdened for her.

The next morning as I was reading the Bible I was trying to read it through her eyes...

What would she be thinking about these very words.
What kinds of questions would be circulating in her mind.j
Where is the truth that she can tangibly cling to and believe in?

The more I thought about it, REALLY thought about it, the crazier this Christian life sounded to me.

To an outsider, an unbeliever, we must look insane.  We pray to someone we can't see.  We base every life decision through this lens of our belief.  We raise our hands and shout and sing like maniacs.  And the only thing I have to prove this Jesus guy is my lifestyle.  And through my testimony, my story.

And my eyes are opened more than ever to how important the Holy Spirit is in the Salvation process.

We can try to "explain" the life of a Christ follower until we are blue in the face, but until their heart is soft and those seeds take root they just aren't going to get it.

The disciples didn't even get much of what Jesus taught them until He had gone to heaven and they were left with the gift of the Holy Spirit who opened their eyes!


So keep planting those seeds.
Keep watering them.
And caring for them.

And for the love of God pray that their eyes will be opened and that their heart can grasp those roots.
Because God is the only one who can bring that growth.

"So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything,
but only God who gives the growth."
1 Corinthians 3:7

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Teaching Our Children NOT To Be Consumers ~ KITW

Last fall, my husband, Josh, and I had had enough!
Enough of the greediness and the ugly words that tend to follow, like “mine,” “more,” and “now.”
The current holiday season wasn’t helping our ache for contentment within our family. The plea for Christmas lists and constant gift exchanges among friends was just growing the want for more wants.
After one particularly greedy incident that occurred at the Dollar Store we came up with a plan that had been stirring in our hearts for quite some time.
It was a plan to restart our family focus...{Read More}

Monday, April 13, 2015

Man Down

Josh has a ministry gig in VA this week with his Dad.  When he mentioned that he wanted to take Jude with him I immediately began bawling my eyes out and then very persistently told him, "No, you can't take my baby!"


Well actually, that's not the whole truth...

I actually had to literally keep myself from doing a happy dance and rejoicing at the thought of a quiet day, while the other 4 kids are at school!  Not because I don't love my sweet boy to pieces, but man is he exhausting!  In fact, yesterday I kept catching myself looking for things around the house to pick up so Jude wouldn't get into them, or listening for him to see if he was getting into the refrigerator or pantry again, or sneaking into my closet to get gum out of my pocket book, or playing with soap in the bathroom, or eating my contacts again.


This morning I only had 4 mouths to feed and the noise level was significantly lower without Jude making up songs to yell sing about "cookie balls" and "humus and carrots".

As the kids were piling in the car to go to school Cai came up to me very concerned about my emotional stability since I will be alone all day by myself.

{insert another painfully contained happy dance}

I very tenderly explained that mommies don't mind being by themselves every once in awhile:)

So here I am, sitting in my quiet house.

My Bible open, music playing loud, and the only thing on my lap is my computer as I write...wait for it...a BLOG POST!

And it's not even about anything in particular...just a jumble of words freely written in the quiet of my home.

This quiet is only good for so long before I begin hearing my absent kid's voices echo through empty hallways, but right now in this moment it is just what my soul needs.

No agenda.
No projects (which I have a very long list of, BTW).

Just me and my God and the quiet.

And since I have lots of time over the next 48 hours, what can I lift up to the Lord for you?  What burden are you carrying?  What do you need prayer for that you simply have no more words left to pray?

I feel like I'm in that place a lot.  The place where life overwhelms and words fall short and my heart is heavy.  But not today.  Today I have words, and the quiet place to form them.

When I'm in that place, this verse is my lifeline

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. 
For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, 
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:26

Monday, April 6, 2015

Re-post: Biblical Submission

My friend Jessica asked me several months ago if I would write about biblical submission as it pertains to marriage.  Well, luckily I already have an entire series that I wrote back in 2010 after having the privilege to speak on this very topic.  I thought it would be worth reposting (and re-reading).  I will re-post Part 1 and link to Part 2 and Part 3 so you can make sure you can read it all:)


I kept getting asked to share what I spoke about the other week at Oasis Church concerning Biblical Submission. We were really bummed that the podcast crashed during the message and that we couldn't just link it, but I'll try to reenact it in Q/A form (leaving out many illustrations for time sake) over the next few days.

Here goes...

Q: "How would you, as a Christian wife, describe the implications of Biblical submission as described in Ephesians 5?"
A: Let's face it, submission is a touchy subject and if we look at Ephesians 5:22-24 as a stand-alone passage it really looks demeaning to us as women and wives. Like we have no self outside of our husbands. But like any other subject we have to weigh it with the rest of Scripture as a whole and see what the rest of Scripture says about it which is exactly what we are going to do today.

Q: "Why do you think that the idea of Biblical submission is usually interpreted so negatively in today's society?"
A: "Well-behaved women rarely make history." This is actually a bumper sticker that I saw on the way down here this weekend.
We as women want a voice, equality, strength, importance and a chance to make a difference and with a single glance at this passage we feel like our chance has been taken away. Our society has led us to believe that if we don't "step up like a man" then we won't be heard, like we've lost our significance.
The western world tends to view submission in a corporate mentality, though, instead of the way God intended for it to be, which is a mutual submission.
This generation is missing the big picture, the beauty of Biblical submission. The submission outlined in the rest of Ephesians 5.

Q: "Can you give us some practical everyday examples where you have had to, or someone may have to live out Biblical submission?"
A: This was hard because, again, I myself, was trying to think of examples where I do what Josh tells me to do. This is the default mindset that we have to deprogram ourselves from thinking. Instead, I found examples where we communicate together to biblically submit to each other while seeking to submit to God's ultimate authority.

Here are a few examples I came up with off the top of my head:

Our career - When Josh came to me and told me that he felt lead to embark on a new journey in ministry together I was a little nervous. That would mean no consistent pay check and the loss of any sense of structure and stability for our family and everyday life. But I trusted that Josh heard from the Lord and believe that God has placed Josh as the leader of our family so I submitted to him and here we are.

Finances - Money matters are one of the leading reasons for divorce. Realizing that fact, when Josh and I were getting ready to get married we made a commitment to each other to communicate openly about purchases. We decided that if any purchase is greater than $50 (besides groceries or things like that) we would discuss the purchase and weigh its importance together to see if it is a wise purchase.

Clothing - Knowing that visual temptations are a huge struggle for men, I try to run my outfits by Josh.  We are up on stage in front of people ALL THE TIME and I would be foolish to think that I could just wear whatever I wanted to. Now, that being said, Josh does not pick out my clothes. I think we all know that I probably wouldn't go out much if that happened, but I do run things by him. If he thinks something is too short, or too low-cut, or too sexy (he did interject here and specify that sexy is TOTALLY alright with him;), just ONLY for him!) then I will change my clothes. I must admit to rolling my eyes every once in a while, but I know that Josh knows way better than I do about the struggle that men have and I want to help out in any way I can.


Click the following links to read the rest of the series on biblical submission:  Part 2     Part 3

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Life Happens ~ a simple testimony

While growing up my mom would often talk to us about the importance of every salvation story.

She remembered growing up in a Christian home, safe and secure, with every need met, but with that hole in her heart that we all have until it is filled with Christ.  She recognized her need for Jesus Christ at an early age and began following him early on in her years.  She would tell us how she wasn't necessarily ashamed of her story, but was kind of sad that it didn't carry the drama and weight that other stories had when they were told, because she thought the impact would be small and less important.

It wasn't until years later that she was reminded by a friend (I can't even remember who she told me it was) of just how important her story was.  God's redemptive hand on her life, as she was guided by the Holy Spirit away from the same things that would wreak havoc on another individual still searching for that Holy Spirit relationship, was just as powerful and important to His plan.

Now, I see where the Lord has brought her and I couldn't be more proud of the testimony she continues to bear.  Yes, she was saved at an early age and bypassed many of the difficulties that others faced, but then life happened and her testimony has grown.  Yet she continues to stay the course, proclaiming the name of God, no matter what the obstacle has been, and believe me, those obstacles and valleys have been some of the most difficult I've witnessed.

Her testimony wasn't over when she said yes to God.  It was only beginning, and she has continued to say yes by God's grace and strength alone.

The older and older I get the more and more I realize just how much life sucks.
In my small little world I am walking through broken and hurting marriages, a mom fighting through cancer, a young girl who thinks her life isn't worth keeping, abandonment, homelessness, loss of isn't going to stop, no matter how hard we try to protect ourselves and our littles.

But the hope we have is our story.  Our simple testimony of how God loves us, saved us from ourselves, and has promised to carry us through every season we are in, and all we have to do is share our story and His love.

Don't discredit your story, no matter how hard or easy it was.
And don't you dare think it's over as soon as you say yes to following him.
Buckle up, it's a long hard ride, but my how the Lord loves to show off for and in His children if we are open and willing to continue to let him write our testimony.