Sunday, November 22, 2015
We are 5 days away from thanksgiving and as I think about what I am thankful for this year I can't help but think about all of the mentors, scholars, authors, bloggers, friends and family members who have helped me to be a better mom, wife and Christian leader.
I want to be an intentional parent who spends my time wisely...but to be honest, sometimes I really struggle with this. I am so thankful for the people who give their time and energy providing resources to struggling parents like my husband and I!
MOPS has been such a blessing to myself. I am surrounded by mentor moms and other moms who are full of advice, support and prayer. My husband, on the other hand, is alone in his parenting. He does not have a support group for dads. He doesn't have anyone handing him tools for how to talk to his kids about Jesus.
My husband could, and has, sat down in front of groups of men and shared the gospel; however, sit in him in front of a toddler with no attention span and its a completely different ballgame.
What my husbands needs is a tool, a guide, for how to engage his kids in intentional activities that will build their relationships with both their earthly and heavenly father.
When I learned about this new tool by Nobel Warriors called Dad's Tools for Spiritual Leadership Let's Build A Manger! I of course had to get my hands on it!
This is the perfect activity and spiritual tool for dads to do with their children. Not only does it provide you with the tools and materials to build an actual wooden manger with your kids but it also provides them with 6 devotionals and lessons on how to talk about the birth of Jesus with your children.
I highly recommend purchasing this build a manger kit at the beginning of the advent season and using the tools through out December to teach your kids about Jesus. This is something that our husbands can own. This can be their special project to do with the kids. Its written to dads, and for dads.
My husband loved doing this project with Jacob and the activities from the six tools to build your family have made lasting imprints on both of them. The 6 lessons provided in the devotional book not only encourage dads to be intentional with their time but it gives them the tools they need to be intentional.
When my husband and Jacob got back from a long walk to the play ground and Jacob looked at me and said "I'm tired, we walked a long ways mom. Mary and Joseph walked a long ways too!" I knew that walk to the play ground had been intentional.
My husband felt good because he knew that time he spent with Jacob was time well spent and Jacob has continued to mention that walk and his time spent building the manger with me.
The manger that they built together is something that we will have forever. They built it together and they learned so much along the way. This one activity is providing my husband with all of the resources he needs to make this year the year when Jacob connects with him and with God.
Today at church I watched children a few years older than Jacob being baptized. These 5 and 6 year olds were on their own professing their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and wanted the whole world to know about it!
Tears streamed down my face thinking about Jacob, one day deciding on his own to be baptized, and watching my husband baptize him.
This is what matters. Not the grades on the report card, the team he makes, or the number of friends he/she has.
At the end of the day all I really want for my children is for them to know and love Jesus. If I spend my time and money on anything I want it to be on encouraging my children to know Jesus better.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy ,and where thieves do not break in and steal.. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" Matthew 6:19.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the tools and relathipships God has given to me to help me to be a better parent.
This Christmas, I am hoping to plant the seed of Jesus in Jacobs heart so that it will grow and grow and grow until the one day when Jacob accepts Jesus Christ as his savior and that seed will burst for the whole world to see.
**If you are looking for a tool for spiritual development that is perfect for the Christmas season please visit http://www.noblewarriors.org/ and order your Let's Build A Manger! Set today!**
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Its naptime! What should I do first? Stare at the frig and decide what to eat? Pee? Make coffee? Make the bed? Return phone calls? Quiet time with God? Check Instagram? Work, work and more work? Clean the kitchen? Meal plan? Read? So many choices, so many things to do. I decide on making the bed, responding to texts, brushing my teeth and then getting my workout over with.
"Embrace this moment right now, focus on the breath and enjoy where you are at in this pose". This is what I hear from my TV. All I can think about is hearing the "Mommy I am AWAKE" coming from the monitor and I have only gotten 5% of my to do list done. If I had no kids and was doing yoga by the ocean like the lady on TV it would be one thing...but I am not. I have people counting on me to give them their basic needs. Embracing the moment is really hard for me right now. There is always so much to do, to think about and plan for. Someone always needs me.
I don't want to hang out in this yoga pose for 10 minutes. It is slightly uncomfortable, my feet are slipping from sweat and I don't see my abs getting any tighter. My toddler could be awake any moment now and is holding warrior pose for 10 minutes really how I want to spend the last few precious minutes of nap time?
I use to LOVE yoga. I did it all the time for fun. Now, its something I check off my list. What has changed?
Then it occurred to me. Have I once ever regretted practicing yoga? Have I ever regretted spending my morning quiet time with God? Have I ever regretted staying up late to talk to a friend, a parent or my husband? The answer is no.
The hardest part about living in the moment and embracing the here and now is making the choice to do so and letting everything else slip away.
We will always have things to do, lots of things. That will never change. Some seasons of our lives will be more hectic than others but there will always be something to do. I once heard someone say that it is better to do one job well than many jobs mediocre. One job? Who has one job? Most women feel like they have 10 jobs.
We have to eat, we have to sleep, we have to have relationships, we have to have community, we have to love, care, teach and discipline our kids, we serve others, we have to make money and provide for our families and we have to put our marriages before all.
What if we really did only have one job? What if our one job as a woman was to seek and follow Jesus, and everything else was secondary? How would this change how we live and overcome the business syndrome.
When I became a mom I dropped everything and my child became my life. My sons needs were all that matted. Now, I see things a little differently. If we put our child before our spouse we are not helping our child. If we put our work before our relationship with God we are doomed for failure. If we put a clean house before play time with the kids we are going to miss a lot of memories and opportunities to teach our children. The to do list will always be there. We have to prioritize and do what God wants us to do with the time that we have.
When we do what God wants us to do its so much easier to embrace it. In order to embrace each task we face with a God given purpose we need to check our attitude. Check our soul. Check our minds and clear out any bitterness, hate or stress. Sometimes it is the littlest changes that help us live in the here and now and embrace a God centered life.
I have learned to give my self structure even during playtime with my child. I may give my son my full attention for 45 minutes and then step away for 15 minutes to respond to an email/text, unload the dishwasher or return a phone call. I have learned to look at my child in the eyes and say "mommy needs to talk to a friend right now" because friendship is important and I want my son to know that.
I have learned to stop what I am doing and talk, really talk with my spouse and put his needs before my own. I have learned to pray before speaking and I have learned to invite God into every outing, coffee date, play date and family dinner that I am present for.
Choosing to embrace what ever experience you are in is a whole new way of living.
If we live each day with the anticipation that God can use us in any and all situations then cooking dinner, exercising, calling a friend and working can take on a whole new meaning. You never know what God has up his sleeve. Each day the possibilities are endless.
I don't want to miss anything during my life here on earth, but that doesn't mean that I have to do more, or multitask better, it means I need to give each task, moment, and experience my full focus and attention. I have to block out the outside chatter from the world. I need to invite God to speak into my heart and fill my body and soul with wisdom and truth. Who can I bless today? How can God use me? Who can I serve? What does God want to tell me today? What can I do today to love and teach my children about God, teach a stranger about God?
Is this hard for you?
If so think about this....
How is my attitude? Am I feeling angry, bitter, frustrated or jealous? These types of emotions can take over our minds and prevent us from living in the moment and allowing God to speak truth into our mind. Don't push these emotions to the side...work through them now. Having a bad attitude can prevent us from hearing God. If we don't expect to hear from God, if we don't expect to be used by God, if we don't feel we are worthy of being loved then we are forming a wall around us that shuts out light and embraces nothing but darkness.
Invite God's light into each moment. Each phone call, each email, each diaper change, each toddler melt down, and slam of the door, each misunderstanding, each load of laundry, each time walking the dog.
We don't need to do more, we just need to do what we are doing better. Better marriages, friendships, more fulfilling jobs, healthier children, healthier bodies and healthier minds. God is the answer. Invite Him in and Embrace...
"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
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Life can give you giggles that fill your soul with joy and life can be confusing and sometimes difficult to swallow. The only rock to keep you steady through life's uncertain paths is the one who knows you best and created you out of love. If your day is sunny and full of belly aching laughter this prayer is for you. If your heart is aching and you have no more tears to shed...this prayer is for you...
The only safety net we really have is God's unfailing love.
We have no control over this crazy world or the people we encounter each day.
We do, however, have control over our thoughts, our prayers, and our love.
Do you choose to love? Every Day? To those you like and dislike?
People can be taken away from us faster than a second.
People can change their entire lives in the matter of one decision.
But God is bigger than bad decisions and catastrophes.
God can turn mistakes in to miracles and destruction into paradise.
Every Day is a day to give thanks, a day to praise the Lord.
Where disaster strikes and hunger growls we still praise your name.
When peace overflows and love grows deep we still praise your name.
Even though we don't always know why, where, when or how
we know you are there, with your hand and your staff giving us all we need.
Words can heal and words can steal but only You can permanently save.
Slow me down and help me notice Your goodness & overflowing grace.
Fill me up and pour me out as a blessing to those big and small.
May not a second go by that I myself cause anyone to do harm.
Keep me from evil and show me the path that You have paved directly for me.
May I be a haven and source of joy to those You have entrusted to me today.
May I notice Your love and joy where I am sitting right this minute.
I give my heart, my life, my mind to You today and everyday.
I may be a wife, a daughter, and mom, a sister and a friend,
but first I am a child of God who has a purpose and a plan.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
I keep finding myself using the phrase "its a win-win". I love this phrase and I love it when I find myself in a win-win situation.
Living my life for Christ means that I get to spend eternity in heaven. That is a major win. However, there is more.
Living my life for Christ also means that I have the opportunity to show others what Christ is like. That is another major win.
In Matthew 5:14 he writes "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good needs and praise your Father in heaven".
Sometimes I wonder, is my light shining? I know I love God, and I am living every day for Him...but can people see this through my words, my actions and my attitude?
Today, I completely lost my marbles because we were late to church. Is my light still shining? Today, I lost my patience, more than once. Is my light still shining? Today, I was selfish. Is my light still shining?
I have a two and a half year old watching my every move. That is a gigantic responsibility that I take very seriously. Does that mean that I have to strive for perfection all day long? That would be really hard. I am not perfect, but the great news is that I don't need to be. God is perfect, and that is what my son needs to learn.
When I seek to be like Christ, even when I sin, my light still shines because nothing can separate me from my God.
I want my light to shine so brightly so that my son is blinded by the goodness and grace of God, so I keep making God my number one priority.
My husband and I pray continuously that our son would grow up to be a God-centered man. On one hand we have no control over that, but on the other hand we do. The closer that my husband and I are to God, the more we will be like Him, and the more influence He will have on our son.
So how do we get our lights to glow, continuously, all day and all night long when there is this thing called sin that gets in the way?
We remain in God's living word, we pray continuously through out the day, we speak up for what is right, and we remain quiet when the time is right. We speak Biblical Truth to those around us, we refuse to listen to lies and we run in the opposite direction of sin. We confess when we sin and we ask for forgiveness. We put our hope, our trust, and our identity in Christ. When we do these things there is no way to turn off the light.
There is no reason to hide, Let your light shine.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
I have got to do something quick or else I seriously might fall asleep in the playroom. The coffee isn't working, the dance music is making it worse, the words in my Bible are starting to blur together and I still have 3 hours until nap-time.
I feel like a young 21 year old who just experienced her first hangover. The feeling of regret and 'why did I do that' looming over me. The difference is that I haven't had any alcohol in over a week and my hangover feelings is from exhaustion, not wine coolers and cheap beer.
"How did I let myself get to this point"?
The honest answer is that I have way to many first priorities and I don't want to let any of them go. I want to give my child the best of me 24/7, I want to give my husband the best of me when he is home, yet I also want to make healthy meals for my family, exercise, help provide for my family, start my day in prayer, serve others, connect with friends and family, read God's word daily, and minister to women. Sleep? Maybe I'll do that when I'm 50.
I can't be the energizer bunny for ever. At some point, like today, I am going to hit a wall. When I get to this point, I am not doing anything well.
Technically it all comes down to finding balance, good time management, sticking with your priorities and saying no. However, there is another answer to this problem that is less technical and way more accurate.
It's called obeying God's commands. If God tells me to rest, I rest. If God tells me to work my tail off, then I work.
If I don't follow God's commands then I will fail and my house will fall (Matthew 7:27).
You see, God does have all the answers. When we walk with God through out our entire day, our day starts to revolve around God's plans, not ours. We begin to see our daily activities through God's eyes.
I don't want to work on my plans...I want to work on Gods plans. I want God's plans to succeed. I know that sometimes that involves little sleep, but that's OK because God will give me what I need. Other times, I need to rest, spend time alone with God, and connect with Him. God will take care of everything else around me while I spend precious time with Him.
I find that when I stop and listen for God's direction through out my day, I am able to prioritize way easier and I am pleasantly surprised at the tricks God has up his sleeve.
Here are 5 Tips on how to Listen for God's Direction throughout your day:
1. Begin your day with prayer. I have said this before and I will say it again. Ask God to direct your steps and help you prioritize before your feet hit the floor.
2. Obey God in the big things. If there is a major sin in your life, it may be the reason you are unable to get your head above water. Nothing is more important than getting right with God and obeying Him. Seek counseling, confront your family, and get right with God.
3. Obey God in the small things. When we obey God in the small things it becomes a lot easier to obey Him in the big things.
4. Pray throughout your day. Ask God about anything and everything. Learning to walk with God throughout your day is the key to being able to identify the overwhelming "God wants me to do this" feeling.
5. Ask God for big time miracles. There are no closed doors with God. You may think you have to do it all because you have no other options. God does have other options. All you have to do is ask. You might not know another way, but God knows 100 other ways. Don't Give Up or Settle.
P.S. It's OK to nap. Jesus napped all the time!
"Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you" Jeremiah 7:23.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Warning: this Memorial Day post is not going to help you host the best cookout, or make the sweetest cupcakes. It is not going to help you cook a great feast or entertain your kids at the pool. It will, however, give you some ideas and inspiration on what YOU can do to make this country better and honor our military men, women and families.
Memorial Day is a special day set aside to encourage every American to stop what they are doing, pray for our military, and give respect and honor to those who have lost their lives while protecting our great country.
While everyone knows the meaning of Memorial Day and why we celebrate it, many of us get caught up in the cookouts, parties, pools opening, and an extra day off work to sleep or get things done. Why is this? Is it because we don’t know what else we can do? Is it because we don’t know how to honor those men and women who are serving, have served, or who have lost their lives while serving?
On this Memorial Day, let us not focus on what our military is or is not doing or whether or not we agree with the wars that have been fought or are still fighting. Instead, let us focus on what we can do, right now, to help our selfless brothers and sisters who gave us and who are still fighting for the land of the free.
Here are two paths you can take:
1. Pray for and help those who are mourning the loss of a veteran. Bring them a meal, pray over them, spend quality time with them, and thank them. Many young people these days have lost the knowledge on how to be respectful and show honor. It’s not rocket science; it’s called following God’s commandment for our life. We OWE respect and honor to those men, women, and families who lost a life while serving. In Romans 13:7 Paul writes “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes. If revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect, if honor, then honor”.
2. Pray for and help those soldiers who are wounded and who are suffering from mental illness as a result of their experiences while serving. Just as there are many who lost their lives, there are many, many soldiers who feel as though they lost their life because they feel like a different person; either physically, mentally or both. For every one of the soldiers that falls within this category, there are just as many families who are suffering right alongside their loved one. Soldiers who were wounded either physically or mentally and who do not get the help they need run a high risk of facing divorce, abuse, job loss, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide.
If you are finding yourself in a situation where you want to help, you want to do something but you don’t know of anyone in your community or you don’t know where to start, then donating or volunteering at an organization that helps veterans is a good place to start. I promise you that every dollar or minute spent counts.
The Wounded Warrior Project and the Veterans Crisis Line are two that my family has supported throughout our adult years. You might be wondering “what is my $25 or $100 really going to do for one of these organizations”? Let me tell you: it could save a life. I know because I worked at a Suicide Hotline and saw, first hand, veterans deciding not to end their lives because of the hope and encouragement that the Veterans Crisis Line provided.
Lastly, Memorial Day is also a day of celebration. We can celebrate our freedom, our love for our country, our gratitude for our military, and those service men and women who did not lose their lives.
By the grace of God, my brave and humble grandfather survived the deadliest campaigns of WWII: Camp Gloucester, Guadalcanal, Peleliu and Okinawa. He died just a few months ago at the age of 93. He fought, he survived, and he lived a very long and happy life. That is something to celebrate.
I cannot celebrate his life or my my freedom, however, until I have done my part in giving respect and honor to those who fought and did not survive, or those who fought and are barely surviving now.
This Memorial Day, Please join me in honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
To learn more about the Wounded Warrior Project or how you can help visit:http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
To learn more about the Veterans Crisis Line and how you can help visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ and watch this sort video. https://youtu.be/68KUJvLrIfY
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Whether we want to admit it or not, our personality rubs off in our parenting. I'm a positive person, and therefor I praise my kid a lot.
In fact, I probably praise our toddler a little too much. Too much praise? Is that even possible?
I believe it is.When we praise our children all the time, we run the risk of teaching our children that their value, and love, is based on what they do, rather than who they are.
Praise is good for children in that it helps develop self confidence; however, studies show that children who are praised for their effort are more confident than children who are praised for their desired outcome.
This concept also applies to Christianity. Too often I hear Christians measure their self worth based on their behavior and actions. Too often I hear parents measure their child's worth or success based on their behavior and actions.
It is not our actions, or our good deeds, that make us a Christian. Rather, it is our faith in Jesus Christ, as God's son, who was sent to earth to die so that we may be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life (John 3:16).
Once we have believed, then we change the way we live based on our desire to be obedient to God. God has given us a free gift, so why turn it down? Why put a contingency contract on it?
Praise your child for their effort, and don't go overboard. Children are not born with a natural desire to work hard, it is something that develops based on their environment. Children who feel good about them selves for trying, versus their performance, are more likely to have a hard work ethic as an adult.
Does God punish us when we preform under par? Goodness no. He forgives us of our sins and even delivers us from evil. He wants our hearts, not our list of awesome accomplishments.
Make sure your child knows that your love for them is not based on their actions, but rather that you will always love them, no matter what, because they are your child and they are God's child. Teach them that God is love, and that we love others unconditionally because that is how God loves us.
This might seem obvious, but it is all too easy to let anger, frustration, annoyance, and foolishness get a hold of our emotions. We know that we love our children unconditionally, but is our behavior showing that? Giving the cold shoulder, looking angry, rolling your eyes, and raising our voice are not loving behaviors. Our discipline should be purposeful and not based on how we feel in the moment.
We are all sinful, so at some point we will loose our temper and let our emotions get the best of us. When that does happen, it is how we approach our shortcomings that matters. I think it is important that we look our children in the eyes and say something along the lines of "I'm sorry I raised my voice. I felt angry when you ____. I love you and I am sorry. Now, we don't _______, it hurts people and God wants us to love each other".
Are your days at home revolving around a list of dont's? Watch out for how often you use this word. Sometimes I have days where I feel like don't is the only word in my vocabulary. "Don't stand on the table, don't put the whole role of toilet paper in the toilet, don't sit in the dogs water bowl, etc". I find that when I avoid saying don't, and instead say "Hey, is that a chair or a dog bowl?" It is way more effective.
Likewise, Christians who try and live by a list of right versus wrong get so caught up in their behaviors that they miss the big picture: that Christ like behavior comes as a result of living a life of gratitude, love, faith and dependence on God.
We want our kids to make good choices, to be happy, to be Godly, to be loving people. Does making them feel guilty for misbehaving make that happen? Does praising them for every time they do something perfect make that happen?
I don't think so.
In Galatians 4: 15 Paul writes "What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth"?
In this verse Paul is trying to convey the message that God does not want us to live our life feeling guilty and inadequate because we aren't living up to God or our own expectations. God wants us to be joyful always. If we feel guilty and inadequate, we need to examine our own life focus.
This principle goes for our children too. Do our children feel happy at the end of the day because of how much they are loved? Or because they got an A on their science paper, or because they got 5 stars on their chore chart and got a treat?
I truly believe that the way we parent is a direct reflection of our own relationship with our heavenly father. Give our life over to God, and our children will be blessed.
Friday, May 8, 2015
“We are starting to think about starting a family” I tell my mom one day.
“It will change your life completely” she responded.
A few years later, I have to say, I completely agree....
I never knew I could feel joy that hurts my every bone.
I never knew I could feel so alone while being surrounded by people who need me.
I never knew I could walk out of a room, head held high, and completely at peace, as my child wails in a shopping cart…..over a lolly pop.
I never knew that I would be faced with difficult situations daily. I never knew that my heart and mind would be stretched to the limits.
I never knew what tired felt like, until I became a mom.
I never knew what it meant to put others first, until I became a mom.
I had no idea that I would find myself crying on the floor of the nursery, begging God to help my child sleep.
I had no idea that my needs could matter so little, compared to the needs of a child.
I understand now more than ever that…..
In 100 years, it won’t matter what show I watched, or what kind of car I drove. It won’t matter if my body was perfect, or if my mother’s day was extravagant.
What will matter is that I took the gift God gave me, and while investing every ounce of my being in to this child, grew into the person God created me to be.
What will matter is the legacy that I leave when I come home to Jesus.
What will matter is not the gossip down the street, but the lives that are changed by my son… who learned what it meant to follow Jesus…from his mom.
I am not just a mom. I am a woman, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an encourager and a child of God who has been blessed beyond measures by a little boy.
Remember, on this Mother’s Day, and every day, that our children are God’s children and that we have been given an incredible and challenging gift to be their mothers. It is not always easy, but God is able to use us in incredible ways through our everyday interactions with our children.
Mother’s Day is not about the perfect gift, or the perfect day. Motherhood is a gift. Let us focus our attention on the infinite number of ways we are blessed by our children today, and the infinite number of blessings that are coming our way….
Heavenly Father, Bless us today. Open our eyes to your beauty in the midst of our earthly messes. Keep our families safe as we walk through this uncertain world. Keep our eyes focused on you in the midst of mealtimes, bath times, homework time, and play time. Give rest to our tired mind and bodies and the wisdom we need to make good decisions. Thank you for each of our precious children that you have blessed us with. May the world someday be better, because You made me a mom.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
“You are so brave, so strong”. I heard statements like this a few times as a young adult.
I was just following a dream, but to others, I was doing something that people viewed as courageous.
My dream, which was rather simple, was and still is, to live out God’s purpose for my life and help people in any way I can.
This dream led me to begin projects and jobs that required me to be brave.
In college I felt called to start a bible study in my sorority and a bible study for teenage girls.
At 25 years old, and newly married, I found myself spending my evenings alone in the basement of a hospital, working at a suicide hotline. I spent my evenings trying desperately to give hope to youth, adults, soldiers and veterans who wanted to end their lives. Some lived, some did not.
While I wasn’t working at the hotline I was obtaining a master’s degree in mental health counseling, working with individuals with some of the most severe mental illnesses that I have ever seen.
I had spent most of my young adult life working hard to be prepared to do brave jobs, and then doing those jobs successfully.
I have to admit, that I felt pretty confident heading into the hospital to deliver my first baby. I approached having a baby like I had approached everything else in life.
I did what I had to do to be prepared, educated, and well-informed. I had read the books, taken the classes, and stocked my nursery with every top notch baby gadget on the market.
Yet on Christmas Day, after a 42 hour labor, I held my baby boy wondering what on earth was happening. I felt a love like I had never felt in my life, and at the same time I felt scared, alone, exhausted and unprepared.
You could safely say…I did not feel brave.
My lack of bravery into motherhood continued as I measured myself as a mom up against my unrealistic expectations of what it meant to be a great mom.
I felt that my daily tasks were what defined me. My days focused on breastfeeding, making homemade baby food, reading books and playing music, doing the right amount of tummy time, nap time, and social time. In addition I felt that I had to be the perfect homemaker by keeping up with the cleaning, laundry and cooking and that I had to be the perfect wife by meeting my husbands every need.
I was trying really hard to be a great mom, yet I was missing the big picture: God.
I had a close relationship with God, yet I wasn’t listening to Him. I wasn’t inviting Him into the daily aspects of my new life as a mother. I can remember doing devotionals and reading the bible quickly during feedings, checking it off my to-do list. I didn’t know how to fit God into my new life as a mom, which still felt so foreign to me.
I felt like I was giving all of myself to my son physically and mentally. I was pouring myself into him, yet I was not getting refilled spiritually.
My old way of interacting with God needed to change, because I had changed. I was a mother now.
I survived 8 long months being a mom with no support from other Godly moms other than my family and a few long distance friends. I trusted that God would provide the support and encouragement that I needed to be a good mom, yet I wasn’t doing anything about it.
How was I going to achieve this by sitting alone in the nursery? How could I find support by engaging in small talk after church or at the library story time once a week?
How was God going to provide a way, when I kept saying NO to Him?
One night I felt a strong nudge from God to contact this mom who an old co-worker told me about.
I sat there on the couch, feeling strongly that God wanted me to contact this mom, but I felt scared because I didn’t know this woman at all. My fears and insecurities of the unknown held me down.
My brave moment that I am sharing with you today, was saying yes to God, and sending an email to this mom. That might appear like a really small task, but to me it was brave. It was brave because I was finally admitting that I could not be a great mom by myself, and that I needed God and Godly moms around me, asap.
Within minutes I got a reply, inviting me to their next MOPS (Mothers of Preschool Children) meeting at a local church.
My first reaction was “no way”! I didn’t know how I would leave my son with complete strangers, I didn’t know how I would go so long without breastfeeding, I didn’t know how I would get out the door in time. There were so many unknowns that I wanted to say no.
Then I remembered. If I wanted to be a brave mom, I would have to say yes to God and no to my insecurities. I would have to trust, that God knows what is best for me.
Being a brave mom by God’s standards meant giving my life over to God, and saying yes to whatever He calls me to do, even if I felt unprepared and even if I had no clue how I would do it.
Saying Yes to God and attending MOPS was the best decision I made as a new mom.
MOPS has not only given me a support system of Godly women who encourage me and make me a better mom, but it has given be the bravery to change the way I live.
I now seek to say yes to God every day. I seek to read His word, listen for his calling, and say YES to Him whether or not I have the answers to how, when, where, and why.
MOPS has taught me how to be the best mom I can be by digging into the strengths and resources God has placed in front of me right where I am, using them to bless my family. You are blessing your family too, by being a brave mom who lives deeply and strives to be extraordinary.
When I come to MOPS I get encouragement from other moms to take care of myself, tips on how to better care for my son, and little nudges to follow and pursue my dreams.
Being a mom can be really hard, but I am not doing it alone. God is always with me, He knows what I need, and He knows what you need too.
We are physically not enough for our children, we need the Holy Spirit within us to give to our children the way God wants us too.
When we decide to be brave moms who follow Jesus, we are able to thrive and do far more for our children, our families, our community and the world than we could alone.
I believe with all my heart that God brought me to MOPS and that He has a group of Christian moms for you too (whether that’s MOPS or some other moms group).
“The spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” John6:63
If you would like information about MOPS or how to find a chapter near you visit https://www.mops.org/