Monday, September 29, 2014


It’s the week before Christmas and I am waiting impatiently for my first born to arrive. I have already taken off of work, Christmas presents are wrapped, house is spotless, car seat installed and the hospital bag in the trunk. I was ready to have this baby, I really did not want him to be born on Christmas day, and I was starting to feel impatient. I tried every trick and old wives tale in the book to get things going.  When I finally went into labor on the 23rd my hubby and I had a small sense of relief knowing that he would most likely be born on Christmas Eve. Little did I know that I would have a 42 hour labor and be giving birth to my precious baby boy on Christmas day. 

I always get a chuckle when people ask me if I planned on having a Christmas baby. Plan it? No. Getting pregnant was a surprise so there was definitely no planning involved. Why was I hoping and praying that he would not be born on Christmas? I think it was due to everything I had heard people say about having a birthday on Christmas. Most people told me how hard it would be for my child, and for the whole family. Other Christmas babies told me that they always felt left out, got combined presents, and that they never had a traditional birthday party, etc. The world was telling me that it would be hard and that my Christmases would never be the same. What was God telling me though?

God was telling me to trust Him “Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5) and to be patient “A man’s wisdom gives him patience” (Proverbs 19:11). It is hard to be patient when you are 39 weeks pregnant…but it is not impossible. With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Patience is not something that can be learned, taught, or practiced and expected to be mastered.  It is something that requires divine intervention by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 talks about the fruit of the spirit “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control”. These attributes are fruits that are grown in us through the Holy Spirit once we have a close relationship with God. We can’t force ourselves to be patient…we have to actually feel the sense of patience in our minds…and that my sisters only comes from God. The closer we are to God, the more patience we will feel in our lives. 

We live in a hurry up society where we want to know everything that is going on and we want to know it now! It drives us crazy to not know the outcome of situations, but if we trust in God and rely on Him to give us patience, then we can feel confident that everything will turn out to fulfill God’s purpose. Even when we wait patiently, life is not always going to turn out how we want it too, but if we love and seek God first in our life it will turn out according to his will. Some people are misguided in thinking that God just wants them to be happy. Of course God loves when we are happy, but God has a purpose and a plan for our lives and not everything that happens to us is going to be good. If we trust God though, then we know that even bad events will produce long term good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). 

        When we wait patiently for an outcome and that outcome is not what we wanted it to be…it does not mean that it was not what God wanted it to be. I was hoping that my son would not be born on Christmas day…but as it turns out God wanted him to be born on Christmas day. Although we have only officially celebrated one birthday I can already tell that it is a blessing.  I was way wrong, and as always, God is way right. He is now 21 months old and just starting to put 3-4 words together and really ‘talk’. It is an exciting time and I feel like I am really getting a glimpse at what is going on in that brain of his. The other day we were talking about birthdays. I asked him if he knew when his birthday was. He went over and grabbed his stuffed animal cupcake that plays the happy birthday song and started to dance to the music. I then asked him if he knew why his birthday was special…he smiled, pointed to the cross above his door and said Jesus birthday!! I cried. If sharing a birthday with Jesus helps my son to know Jesus then having a Christmas baby is the best gift God could give!

Father God, We want to trust in You, and not in worldly desires. Fill us with your Holy Spirit and transform our minds so that we may have more patience, kindness, and love. Forgive us for our sins and let us know how we can serve you today. Amen. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Studying For Love:

                How is it that men can sleep through the sound of babies crying? I will never forget the time I walked in the house after grocery shopping and my hubby was asleep on the couch with the baby monitor right next to him…with the baby crying!!! Or the night that the baby seemed to cry ALL NIGHT LONG and he slept soundly through it. I had to throw a pillow on his head to wake him up to help! That was a night when I remember feeling quite angry. I was exhausted, frustrated, and jealous that hubby was getting sleep and I wasn’t and therefore felt mad at him. Looking back on that night, I really had no good reason to be mad. He did nothing wrong. The few times I did wake him up to help he was ready and willing, he just did not swaddle, bounce , and rock the way I did and it only made the baby more upset. So if I chose not to wake him, and he has the God given ability to sleep through the sound of babies crying, then how can I be mad? Well… I am human, and sometimes we humans get mad, angry, frustrated, annoyed, irritated and impatient even when it isn’t justified. 

So what do we do when we feel mad and irritated towards our spouses? What can we do to have less ill feeling towards our spouses? We can study the instruction manual for Love….the Bible! The Bible is the best self-help book on the market and reading it together will strengthen and increase love in any marriage. 1 Corinthians 14:4-7 says that “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”. 

There is a lot of juicy meat in these four versus but one of the main take home messages is that love is supposed to be completely unselfish. This means that even when we do not feel the love for our spouse because we are overcome with other feelings, we are still called to love them. More importantly we are to show them we love them by our words and our actions. When we practice being patient (1 Corinthians 14:4) then we can put aside our feelings in the moment and choose to be kind and loving in the midst of feeling mad. Although it is important to express your feelings with your spouse, it is also important not to act on our feelings with harsh words, a cold shoulder, or resentment. 

God’s love is perfect. He loved us when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Even when we did not know or love God he still loved us. That is the kind of love that we are to strive for in our marriage and in all relationships. So much of our culture today advertises individualism and asks questions like “What are YOU getting out of your relationship”? God says, it is not about what you are getting, it is about what you are giving. For when we give, then we receive far greater in return. Next time there is tension or ill feelings towards your hubby because he is sleeping while the baby is crying or because he forgot your anniversary, how will you react? Will you choose to love?

Father God, thank you for showing us what real love is supposed to be like. Thank you for loving your people even when they did not love you back. Help us to love our spouses the way you have showed us to love them. We love you and seek to know your more. Amen

Friday, September 19, 2014


                “How are you feeling about yourself today?” My professor asks. “Um, I’m doing well today thank you, how are you?” “No, No” she says. “I am wondering how you feel about yourself right now”. Oh, I see, so my professor is not just starting out the conversation with a quick hello how are you, she is trying to measure my self-esteem. Wow.  That is pretty deep for the first day of class. I find that to be somewhat strange; however, this is a master’s level class in a professional counseling program so she must have a point. I start to answer saying that I feel good about myself because I… and then quickly realize that I am falling for her trap and am soon going to be used in a teaching moment.

You see, I was measuring my self-esteem on worldly values. I was thinking about things that I have accomplished and that make me feel happy and good about myself.  Anyone else ever do that? I think that we all do it. It’s hard not to. We all know that in God’s eyes it is not good to think too highly of ourselves.  Likewise, it is not good to think too low of oneself.   The key to keeping a healthy self-esteem that is not too high and not too low is having an accurate sense of self-worth: knowing that our true identity comes from God. In Romans 12: 3 Paul says “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you”. 

 God loves us more than we can fathom. We are his children and he values us more than anything. He loves us so much that he sent his one and only son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we may be forgiven of our sins and spend eternity with God (John 3:16).  Sisters… that is where our self-worth should come from. When we live everyday knowing and believing our self-worth is in Christ then a healthy self-esteem will form. Eugene Peterson writes in The Message, “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him” (p.328).  

When we think about ourselves from God’s perspective, then what we do and what other people say about what we do does not matter like it used to.  Whether or not we have a lot of friends or have few, have had failed marriages or have had nothing but marital bliss, have jobs that pay high salaries or salaries that just barely get us by, breast feed or formula feed, stay at home or go to work every day, volunteer for everything at church or don’t volunteer at all, get a lot of compliments for how amazing of a women, wife, mom we are or get no compliments at all, get criticized and made fun of for baby wearing, homeschooling, sending a child to daycare or get praised for it…it should not define how we feel about ourselves and especially our self-worth. Thinking too much about what others think about our choices, about our success and achievements, and about our mistakes can make us focus on our worth in the eyes of everyone around us. Instead we should focus on our worth in God’s eyes. 

 God wants us to be happy and to enjoy the gifts he has given us here on earth. “People should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God” (Ecclesiastes 3:13). If I shower, put on a new cute dress and eat some cookie dough ice cream I am probably feeling pretty good. If I have not showered in 2 days, am wearing a shirt with baby spit up on it and am eating left over pureed green beans for lunch then I am probably not feeling my best. Therefore, go on and put on the cute dress, eat the ice cream and praise God! It is good to enjoy the gifts God gives us! So go out and do something that you enjoy and remember that ALL good things come from God (James 1:17). More importantly, remember that your self-worth comes from your identity in Christ. 

Father God, We feel overwhelmed by how much You love us. Forgive us for feeling highly about ourselves because of things that we do that we feel are important based on the world’s standards. Also, forgive us for at times feeling less worthy than we really are because of mistakes we feel we have made. Lastly, forgive us for judging others for how they live their lives. That is your job, not ours. We give ourselves over as living sacrifices to You. Amen. 

Citations in this Post other than the Bible

Peterson, E. P. (1993) The Message. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Navpress.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Dog Days of Parenting

Today I walked my dog, changed numerous dirty diapers, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, picked up the playroom, cooked 3 meals plus snacks, put in a load of laundry, noticed how dirty my bathroom was, survived an hour and a half long grocery shopping trip with my toddler, took my toddler to a meeting at church during his nap-time (not a good idea), played trucks, baseball, golf, hide and seek numerous times, picked up the playroom again, gave lots of kisses and hugs, walked my dog 2 more times, picked up dog poop, gave my child 2 baths in a row (poop in the tub makes first bath pointless) put my child to bed, folded the load of laundry, and then finally slumped on the couch with my bowl of pasta and red wine.

In other words, today was a busy day. Today, mothering took over and there was not much room for anything else. Today, my conversations with God consisted of a lot of “please God give me patience, energy, etc”. Today was so crazy I do not feel like anything significant happened and I cannot imagine how God used me in any way other than loving my son (and dog).

The truth is; God is with us throughout every task in our day. He desires and is able to work through us no matter if we are picking up dog poop or playing baseball with our kids. We might not be able to see how God is working in our lives because the days are so hectic or because they feel so mundane, but if we are seeking God with our whole heart and are faithful to Him, he will be at work in our lives.  

I love the story of Ruth because it shows how God rewards those who are faithful to him. Although Ruth and Naomi’s life had been turned upside down and they had been left with nothing, they stayed faithful to God. Naomi lost her husband, both her son’s, and was left with nothing. Ruth, Naomi’s daughter in-law, lost her husband. She could have been remarried but instead stayed faithful to Naomi and traveled to Bethlehem with her. In Ruth 1:16 Ruth said to Naomi “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”. Naomi and Ruth had no food or shelter so Ruth went to search for food by gleaning in a field next to servant girls. It was in that field that she met Boaz, the man who would soon be her husband and who would bring Naomi and Ruth out of poverty and into a flourishing life. God was at work in Ruth’s life in ways that she could not see during her time here on earth. Ruth eventually became a great-grandmother to King David and a direct ancestor to Jesus! Wow!

God was with Ruth every step of the way and was working in her life in ways she was not able to see at the time. She was faithful to God and to her family and God blessed her! While Ruth was busy gleaning, picking through left over crops after the servants, she met Boaz. Do you think she had any idea that while she was starving and searching for food she would meet her future husband whose children are in the direct line of ancestry to Jesus? There is no way she knew that would happen nor was she thinking about it.

Just like how God worked through Ruth while doing a mundane, need-to-survive task, He can and does work through us in our daily tasks. As we go about our day, whether crazy busy or mundane and boring, God is working in our lives. When we are faithful to God he will bless us in ways we cannot even imagine. “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20).  Just because I have a crazy busy day filled with picking up toys, walking my dog, changing dirty diapers, and endless dishes to clean, it does not mean that I have to close the door on what God can do in my day. God is everywhere, and if we keep our Faith and our eyes open we will see Him. 
God, thank you for working in our lives even when we do not see you. We want to serve and glorify you in all that we do. Nothing that we do in our lives is small to you. We love you so much and seek to be more like you everyday. In Jesus name we pray, Amen. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Worry Much?

Worry Much?

As we pull away from the house watching our little guy holding a balloon waving bye bye I can’t help but worry. Will he wonder where we are and be sad? Will my mom remember to close the baby gate so he doesn’t fall down the stairs? What if one of the balloons pop and he finds pieces of it on the floor, tries to eat it and chokes? 

Silly me, we are only going to be gone for 6 hours and he is being taken care of by my wonderful mother so I really should have nothing to worry about, right? Wrong, no matter what the circumstance, I can always find something to worry about. I started worrying while I was in the hospital and my baby was 1 day old! Is my baby getting enough milk? Did I swaddle him right? Will I ever fit into my pre-pregnancy pants again? 

It goes on and on. When I became a mom, worry hit me like a rock.

What does worry do for us? The Bible tells us that it does nothing but cause ill effects like affecting our health and taking precious time away from our day and our loved ones.   

In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus warns about the dangers of worry. He says “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25-27).

 I love this last verse. I could probably add numerous hours to my life with time that I have spent worrying. 
What can we do instead of worry? We can plan, pray and trust.

We can spend our time wisely by planning for the adventure ahead of us, asking God for help, and trusting that God will provide. When we plan, pray and trust there is no room for worry.

 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Instead of sitting in the car talking to my husband about how I was worried about my son choking on balloons…I could have been talking to him about his day at work. I had already done all of the ‘planning’ for the evening. I had written out his schedule, laid out his pajamas, filled up his Sippy cup with milk. Now all I needed to do was say a prayer and 
trust God. 

Heavenly Father, Thank you for supplying all of our needs and for Blessing us in ways we cannot even comprehend. Forgive us for spending time worrying instead of trusting You. Help us be smart in planning our schedules, days and weeks so that we would have more time to spend loving our family and bringing Glory to You. Amen

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Circus House

Sometimes my house is a circus. There are days when it physically looks like a circus because there are baseballs flying past my face, dogs barking at who knows what, and not a foot of space on the floor that is not covered with some sort of toy, child, or large animal. Other days my house and my life feel like a circus. I feel like I am on a unicycle juggling 6 balls and if one ball slips I will come crashing down. These are the days when everything seems to be going wrong and meeting all of my loved ones needs just doesn’t seem possible. On these days I sometimes think to myself “Hey girl, get with it, there are far worse things that could be happening to me right now, if I can’t handle this situation then how can I handle other more serious situations”?  Then I open my Bible and am reminded that I am ready for more serious situations if they arise. I am ready for anything because my house is built on a rock and not on sand. Do you know where I am going with this yet?

Matthew 7:24 says “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock”. In this verse Jesus is ending his famous sermon on the mount by saying that it is not only important to study God’s word but it is also important to do what it says. In other words, if we want ourselves and our families to have a solid foundation we have to study and practice God’s word every single day. Jesus says that if we are not obedient to God’s word then we will be knocked down by any storm of life that hits us. “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7: 26-27).

Being obedient and putting God’s word into practice does not just mean following the 10 commandments. It means studying the whole Bible so that we know how God wants us to live our lives. It means making God our number one priority and putting into practice what we learn. When we do this, we become a new person. Our thoughts, our behaviors, and even our feelings change. The way we react to stressful and painful situations will be different and that is why Jesus tells us that we will be able to withstand any storm. If we read the bible, do a devotional, listen to a sermon and then walk away feeling and acting exactly the same way…then we are like that foolish person living in a house on sand. Jesus's brother James describes this beautifully by saying “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:22-24). I don’t want to walk away from the mirror unchanged.

As a mother, it is extremely important for me to be obedient and act on God’s word. How I act when my house is a circus is a reflection of my walk with God. I want my children to be able to learn about God through my actions. Teaching my 20 month old child about God by reading him the Bible is not even a real option right now. The other day my 20 month old was flipping through the pages of my bible so I asked him if he wanted me to read it to him. He said yes, so just for grins I began reading out of Genesis and within 30 seconds he was wondering over to the other side of the room to get his baseball. My only way to teach him right now is through my actions by being obedient to God and acting on what God tells me to do. When the storm clouds start rolling in and my house turns into a circus I want my house on a rock, not sand. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us a blueprint for how to live our lives. Thank you for meeting our needs when we need them and for blessing us. Give us the wisdom, resources, and teachers that we need to better learn about you and know how to put your word into action. Amen.
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