Encouragement

Hearing God’s Voice In The Chaos

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Are you feeling tired today momma? Are you drained, exhausted, depleted, and overwhelmed? Oh geez, I am right there with you! A nasty stomach virus took up residence in our house this week with a serious vendetta against the GI tract. (In less picturesque words, I have cleaned up an UNFATHOMABLE amount of from my 6 children) EWWWWW An annoying headache (my eyeballs have a heartbeat) has taunted me all day. While on a business call this morning, my 2 and 3 year old successfully recreated a “Moses parting the Red Sea” rendition in our bathroom that would leave Charlton Heston in utter awe and disbelief. I gathered up all of the wet towels and carried them to the laundry room where I defeatedly tossed them onto the gargantuan mound of dirty laundry that has accumulated since the Bubonic Poop Plague has hit our home. Yeah, I was feeling pretty discouraged by this point. I plopped down in the living room chair, apparently unable to conceal the myriad of emotions coursing over me, when one of my little ones crawled into my lap. She started patting me while telling me “It’s okay momma. Don’t worry”. As I reach out to hug her sweet little neck, she peeled a slobbery, half eaten, gummy worm off of my elbow…and then the tears came…a lot of them. “Lord, I need your help! I’m running on empty and I don’t know if I can do it all! I need you!”

     Then, He sent His word to comfort my heart. (ISAIAH 40:11) “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

He speaks gently to my heart and reminds me that I am not alone. He reminds me of His presence in the chaos. He reminds me that He will equip me to get through today…and tomorrow…and the next. He reminds me that with every spill that I clean up, every load of laundry that I wash, every scraped knee that I kiss and bandage, every diaper that I change, every meal that I cook, every hug that I give, every correction that I offer, and every hug that I give… these are opportunities… opportunities that He has blessed me to have. These are opportunities to witness to my children. These are opportunities to show God’s love and His grace to my children… to plant seeds of forgiveness, understanding, and unconditional love. God has given me a ministry… a ministry of motherhood.

This mom thing is hard… REALLY hard. There’s a whole lot of work to be done and very little sleep and energy to accomplish it with. Let’s not forget that in all of the chaos and noise that we have been given a gift. We have been given an opportunity to witness and minister to our children. Hang in there mommas! What you are doing is making a difference and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Love your children and love them well mommas. The days seem so long, but the years are short. If you’re feeling tired and burnt out momma… talk to Him about it. He understands. Grab your Bible and begin to read. He will comfort your heart and remind you of your worth. He will be with you every step of the way along this beautiful and crazy journey of motherhood.

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” – Mother Teresa

 

 

 

 

 

Encouragement

He Wants My Heart

     you-own-the-skies-and-still-you-want-my-heart-23308054     It’s 8:00 AM and your alarm begins blaring…an hour later than it was supposed to have gone off. You must have been so tired last night when you set it, that you hit the wrong button. It feels as if you’ve only blinked while you slowly creep from your warm bed , stumble to your coffee pot, and recite the mental checklist you’ve quickly compiled in your mind of everything you need to get accomplished before heading out the door to make morning service. You were 15 minutes late last week and you are determined to be on time this Sunday. You jump in the shower and quickly put yourself together and begin waking up the children to get dressed. Your husband hits the snooze a few more times before finally making his way out of the bedroom and into the shower for himself. Breakfast is cold cereal again this morning, but the children don’t seem to mind. Everyone is moving slower than you had anticipated and you find yourself starting to feel slightly anxious. Time is ticking and there is still so much to be done. In the rush of the morning, the beautifully pristine home you worked your entire Saturday on has unequivocally earned a guest spot of the next episode of Hoarders. Patience is diminishing and anger begins to surface. While you exhaustedly run around looking for the mates to lost shoes (I will never understand how all of my children can lose one of EVERY pair of shoes that they own simultaneously), your husband calls out from the bathroom stating that he is unable to find his beloved striped shirt. He’s looked everywhere in the closet, but just it isn’t there. He’s absolutely sure of it. You go to the said closet and retrieve his “absolutely not there” striped shirt with a begrudged smile, and hustle back down the hallway to check on the progress of all of the children who are supposed to be getting dressed in what you had originally planned to be beautiful frilly dresses and freshly ironed clean slacks and dress shirts. There is no time this morning, so wrinkly jeans, t-shirts, and leggings it is. Upon the realization that you have apparently been talking to yourself for the last 30 minutes because everyone is still leisuring in their pajamas, you lose your temper. You raise you voice and spout things out of anger before you even realize the extent of what you have said.  Your mind is teeming with thoughts… “Do they not realize how much hard work and effort it takes for me just to get them out of the front door? Do they not care how hard I work? They really don’t appreciate me. I’m just wasting my time. I worked on this house all day yesterday and look at it now. I bet other mother’s don’t go through this. What does it matter anyways. I might as well just give up!” You fight back the tears while packing the last of the diapers in your bag. You’re aforementioned outburst has everyone tiptoeing around you quietly afraid of triggering another outburst. You feel like a jerk for yelling but FINALLY, everyone is dressed. You are mere moments away from loading your crew into the van when the baby spits up on your dress. You run in to change yourself and the baby and by this point, your frustration has reached a new high. “I don’t even want to go anymore. It’d be easier to just stay home this morning. I just don’t have the energy to deal with all of this today.” You take a few deep breaths, choking back the tears of defeat and discouragement, but just as you snap the last button on the baby’s clean onesie, you hear Him. You hear Him speak the words ever so softly. “I only want your hearts”. Those words spark a revelation that makes the tears spill over despite your best efforts. God doesn’t care how clean my house is or if the kids had to eat cold cereal for breakfast. He doesn’t care if the jeans are wrinkled or if all of the kids even have matching shoes on for that matter. He doesn’t care about any of that… He cares about me. He cares about my husband, and he cares about our children. He wants our hearts and that is all.

     We too often fall into self made traps of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations that we have set for ourselves. How many times have we set the mom bar at unreachable levels for ourselves, pushed ourselves to extreme limits, and have given up when we are completely exhausted with the outcome? We allow society, social media, and even the opinions of well intentioned individuals to make us feel like our best is simply not good enough, but Momma, you ARE enough. Your worth doesn’t come from your accomplishments. It doesn’t come from how sparkly your kitchen countertop is or how perfect your daughter’s french braids are. It’s not found in your bank account, your education level, or your circle of friends. Your worth is not found in who you are but in WHOSE you are.  You are His and He loves you! 

This mom thing… it’s hard. It’s really hard, but mommas, we can’t lost sight of the gift and the opportunity that God has given us as mothers. He has entrusted us to raise these children for Him. We have been given a privilege to instill big seeds in little hearts. The enemy wants to steal the joy that comes from motherhood with small trivial occurrences that discourage us and make us feel depleted. The piles of dirty dishes and mounds of dirty laundry seem daunting and overwhelming to us now, but 5 years from now we won’t remember them. We will remember the meals eaten on those dirty dishes and the trips to play in the rain that helped to add to that mound of dirty laundry.

Give yourself some grace today momma. It’s okay if you don’t get it all done. When the enemy makes your frustrations outweigh your joy, strive to give the same grace to your family and to yourself as God gives to you. We make mistakes, we don’t listen to Him, we operate on our own timelines, we are unappreciative of all of the blessings that He has given us, and we throw up our hands and quit the moment things don’t go our way… in essence we’re all just really big toddlers trapped inside adult bodies. God will always forgive us, offer us loving correction, and encourage us to keep going. God will never give up on us or stop loving us no matter how many times we mess up. What you are doing in your home matters momma so don’t give up. You are changing the world one set of sticky fingerprints at a time.

Family Food & Fun

Feed Your Family For An Entire Month Within Hours

FREEZERCOOKING

Life is busy mommas! All of our beautiful momma chaos … the crying babies, dirty diapers, housework, errands, school lessons and homework, cooking, sporting events, church functions…throw some college classes, part time work, and sleep deprivation into the mix, and you can very easily find yourself in a state of overwhelming exhaustion before you even know it. During this busy season of my life, I have to strive for simplicity, and one of the ways that I have found to help make my days just a littler easier has been freezer cooking! Not only has freezer cooking helped to save me time and energy, but it has also helped me to save money.  $$$ Cha-Ching $$$  With a little planning, preparing, and some freezer bags, you can prepare healthy home cooked meals for your family simply by emptying a bag into your crockpot or popping a pan into your oven. VOILA…dinner! I like the sound of that my friends.

Now, before you hit the hills running, hear me out. I know that the thought of cooking for an ENTIRE MONTH at one time can seem like a daunting task, but if I can do it, then so can you! Now, let me preface this by saying that what works for me might not work for you, and that’s okay! Adaptation…use what works for YOU! Below are a few tips that could help you get started with freezer cooking for your family too.

1) INVENTORY & ORGANIZATION : Before you do anything else, go through your cabinets, pantry, freezers, and fridge and inventory what you already have. Jot down everything that you have and all of the quantities.

 2) USE WHAT YOU HAVE FIRST: Always try to use what you already have on hand before buying more. This cuts down on waste and your pantry and fridge always stay neat and tidy in the process. Double win

3) BRAINSTORM SOME IDEAS: Write down some meal ideas that you frequently have with your family and any other recipes or meals that you want to try. Include any meals that you can put together from what you already have in your pantry and fridge from Step #2. Plan for meals that will fit your budget. If you need to only do a week or two at a time that’s fine! Remember, do what works best for you!

4) COMPILE YOUR LIST AND BREAK IT DOWN BY WEEK: For example, in our family, we have ” Family Fun Fridays”. The kids usually want to have pizza on those nights, so I menu plan for homemade pizzas on Fridays. Take into account days that you will have outings, errands, and appointments and plan accordingly for your cooking time that day. ( I’m going to be gone all day so I just need to dump dinner in the crockpot before going out the door days versus I have time to do a little prep work and put the casserole in the oven to bake for an hour days) Also include special events that are happening that week (birthday parties, etc.), and if you have plans on going out for dinner or having other people over for dinner.  Here’s a Meal Planning Sheet I made that you can use if you would like to. (Just right click and save the picture to your computer so you can print it out)

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5) HAVE A SAFETY NET : Don’t set yourself up for failure! Mommin’ ain’t easy my friends and some days are just going to be “one of those days”. Life is going to happen, and there are going to be days that don’t go how you originally intended that they would. Give yourself some “safety net” meals that you keep on hand as staples in your home. (hot dogs, spaghetti, mac and cheese, etc.)

6) MAKE A LIST OF WHAT YOU NEED FOR YOUR MEALS : Write down all of the things you need for each meal. For example, on Taco nights, I need our assortment of fresh vegetables, salsa, sour cream, tortilla chips, taco shells, ground beef, seasonings, etc…

7) MAKE YOUR SHOPPING LIST : Compile all of the items you need for your meals along with the quantities that are needed. Don’t forget to include your “safety net” meals, special occasions, and household staples. (sugar, flour, salt, milk, eggs, etc.) Don’t forget some good quality freezer bags, disposable aluminum pans if needed, aluminum foil, and some saran wrap.

8) *OPTIONAL*  SHOP SALES I used to shop sales and coupon more than I do now. Maybe one day I’ll have the time to devote to doing this again, but right now… it is what it is and I’m okay with that.

9) COOK, COOK, AND THEN COOK SOME MORE : Set aside several hours based upon your menu choices and get to cooking momma! Include your little ones in the process as it is a  wonderful learning experience for them, and not to mention, they make great little helpers!

10) WRAP, INSULATE, AND LABEL YOU MEALS Make sure to wrap your freezer meals thoroughly to prevent freezer burn and to seal your freezer bags well making sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing. Label your meals with a description and cooking directions just to make life that much easier.

And that’s it! I hope that these tips help to give you some ideas that might work for you and your family. God Bless my friends and happy freezer cooking!