Encouragement

Have A Little Humble Honey

Introducing

“I am NOT your maid!”

“Why should I have to clean this up AGAIN?”

“Nobody else in this house cares how hard I work around here!”

“Cleaning up messes is all I EVER get to do!”

     I woke up this morning exhausted from being up and down throughout the night with a sick little one. As I walked into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee, tears began to fill my eyes while glancing upon the countertop covered in yesterday’s dirty dishes. The trash bags that should have been carried out yesterday sitting untouched in the middle of the floor just added insult to injury. The kids began filtering in and I was met with a whirlwind of requests.

“I’m hungry mom.”

“Can you open this for me?”

“Mooooommmm, we’re out of toilet paper again!”

“Milk mama! Milk. My milk! Mama!”

“Mom, where’s my underwear?”

     I took a couple of deep breaths and begrudgingly started filling up sippy cups with milk, retrieving rolls of toilet paper from the cabinet, and scouring through the ever growing mound of clothes that has been sitting in my living room chair for over a week for the missing pair of undies. Little ones running through the house, noise and stress levels increasing… I was tired and already feeling defeated and my day had only just begun.

I’ve been in such a slump lately. I’ve struggled for the motivation to even keep up with the basic housework let alone more extensive cleaning or responsibilities. My lack of concerted effort has become apparent in the amount of chaos and clutter that has accumulated over the past several weeks in our home. I have reach an entirely new level of “Burn Out”. My inner monologue has resounded with the following statement…”There’s just not enough of me to be able to keep up with everything and everyone. It’s just too much!”

I mustered up the courage to begin tackling some of the mess and meandered towards the kids’ bedrooms. The sheer magnitude of the mess was just overwhelming, and I instantly started to feel angry. I could feel a deep-seated anger rising up and a surge of pride began to overtake my thoughts.

“I am NOT your maid!”

“Why should I have to clean this up AGAIN?”

“Nobody else in this house cares how hard I work around here!”

“Cleaning up messes is all I EVER get to do!”

     All of these thoughts began streaming through my mind and soon began making their way to my mouth. I felt exasperated and almost resentful( that’s hard for me to write) towards my family for the amount of work and effort that it was going to take for me to get our house clean, organized, and within comfortable station again. My tears could no longer be contained. They burst forward in the waves of indignation that flooded over me.

It was then that the Holy Spirit brought me to remembrance. PRIDE…in every statement that I sullenly thought and spoke, my focus was on one thing. ME. Me, myself and I. “I am not your maid”, “Why should I have to clean this up again?” My prideful heart and thoughts had led me here. My lack of humility had caused me to lose sight of what God had called me to do. My pride had not only snuffed out my desire for cultivating a servant’s heart, but had also stolen my ability to serve others with the right motivations and intentions. My selfishness had overtaken selflessness.

 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” LUKE 22:27

I began looking through scriptures and praying for God to help me. I felt so overwhelmed and guilty for the hardness that had developed in my heart. From the next room, I heard my 3 year old singing to top of his little lungs “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong.” Hearing his little voice singing praises blessed my heart. I am weak Lord, but YOU are strong. This scripture came upon my heart…

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-11

Empty me of myself Lord so that I can be filled with you! I want to love and serve my husband and children with a humble heart! I want to love and serve others like Jesus did! How can I cultivate a servant’s heart within my children if I am not displaying a heart of loving servitude myself? Jesus loved and served so selflessly! He was never constrained by a to-do lists or a lack of time. Jesus never placed himself above any task, big or small. By following his example, we can only then truly learn the meaning of love and humility.

We can teach our children to lead by teaching them to serve. I know that we can accomplish tasks much faster by just going ahead and doing them ourselves momma, but we have the opportunity to teach our children to serve! It is our job to not only teach them valuable skills that they will use throughout their lifetime, but to help guide their hearts towards Jesus while doing so.

    “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” PHILIPPIANS 2:3-5

Lord, today I pray that you will help me to love and serve my family with a humble heart. Help me to see all of the opportunities within my marriage and motherhood that I can glorify you. Help me to love and serve others as Jesus did. Help me to view the loads of laundry and dirty dishes as blessings instead of burdens. Empty me of myself Lord, so that I may be filled with more of You! Thank you for all of the blessings that you have bestowed upon me, and help me to never lose sight of what you have called me to do. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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Encouragement

I’m Gonna Tell You That I Love You

love

Loss… it has a way of making you appreciate what you once had. It makes you see things from a different perspective and brings revelation to the value of what has been lost.

I awoke to read words that tore through my heart this morning. We lost a beloved member of our church family in a tragic accident last night. I couldn’t control the tears as they streamed down my face while calling out for my husband, informing him of this terrible news. We are all just devastated, numb, and in disbelief.

Times of loss often leave us feeling helpless. There are no words that we can say to ease the pain of those suffering. There is no act of kindness that we could perform that can remove the sting left by death.

Loss reminds us of just how fragile life is. It reminds us that we were never promised our next breath and that each moment that we have been given is a gift. Loss reminds us of how much we unknowingly take for granted, and just how much of a void will be left now that they are no longer here with us.

Brother Jess met us every Sunday morning as we walked through our church door. Every time we saw him, he had the warmest hugs and the biggest smile to share with us. Brother Jess prayed for us. He taught us. He loved us… and he never left without letting you know it.

I wrapped my arms around Brother Jess yesterday afternoon and told him that I loved him before walking out the door. I never expected that it would have been the last time that I would ever see him. I never imagined that it would be the last time that I would get to see his smile, to hug him tight, or tell him that I loved him. “Love you sis”… the last words Brother Jess ever said to me… and they will forever live in my heart.

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Loss reminds me of the person that I want to be… that person that is going to tell you “I love you” every time I see you, and at the end of every message and telephone call. The person that is gonna wrap my arms around you and squeeze you tight even though we may have only met. You might look at me like I’m crazy, but that’s okay… because I still love you. You don’t have to feel like you need to say it back or even reciprocate it… but I just want you to know that I love you. Jesus told us to love… and to love like Him. Love has become an almost taboo subject in our society today, but loving others is one of our greatest commandments! Loving others is what we have been called to do! Jesus didn’t just love the select few… He loved all.  He didn’t only love sometimes or just whenever He felt like it, but He loved at all times, and today we love, because He first loved us.

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Brother Jess inspired so many of us with his teachings and with the genuine love that he held for everyone. The testimony of his faith will live on. The lives that he has impacted, will forever be changed. His love and heart for people made a difference in this world.

Loss reminds us to place value and importance on every single person in our life. Their role might be big or it might be small. These people may be integral parts for our entire lifetime or they might only be there for a short season. Regardless, we love.

If today were the last day you would ever see a person, would that person know that you cared for them? Never shy away from showing God’s love to others my friends. Our time here is so short, and we have so much love to give.

 

 

Encouragement, Homeschooling

Motherhood…Cropped To Perfection

 

 

 

   –  “All that glitters is not gold” –

 

In a world that revolves around technology, it comes as no surprise that social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have taken such a powerful hold upon us as people today.  We have been handed open platforms that we can share our thoughts, feelings, and opinions on. We have the ability to stay up to date on current events and keep abreast of the latest trends and fashions. We are able to make connections with other individuals that we might otherwise have never formed connections with to begin with. While social media does offer us many positive commodities, I have become more mindful and aware of many of the not-so-positive aspects that come along with the use of social media.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in all of the false realities that we scroll past on our social media newsfeeds. Pristine homes of grandeur, perfect figures with flawless complexions, and numerous selfies providing us with only small glimpses into seemingly quintessential lives, more often than not recruit us as the newest contestant on the “Comparison Game Show”. We so quickly make judgements and unfounded presumptions based upon a single photograph…one single photograph. “Her life seems so perfect. She has it all. I could never measure up to her. My life compared to hers is nothing short of a failure. She just had a baby and it looks like she just left a beauty parlor. Why can’t I be like her?” We’ve all done it, whether we like to admit to it or not, but the “Comparison Game Show” is a slippery slope. A slippery slope that if not quickly bridled, can leave us feeling lonely, depressed, jealous, anxious, and cumulatively unhappy with life. One of the hardest hit demographics on the “Comparison Game Show” is that of mothers.

Becoming a mother has been one of the greatest blessings that God has ever bestowed upon me. Truly, it’s all that I have ever wanted out of life. As a little girl I dreamed of being a wife and a mother. It’s where my heart was. It’s what I longed for and prayed for every night from the age of 7. Even at a young age (before the age of social media had even began) I was met with adversity because “I should want a career and more out of my life”. Even at a young age, I began to compare myself to other mothers. In retrospect, it seems almost cretinous that I, still being a child myself, had already begun noticing the tension and animosity that came with expressing my hopes, dreams, and desires. I began to ask myself, ” Am I wrong? Are my dreams not good enough? Will I ever be able to be enough?”

Fast forward to my life today… I am happily married to my husband of 14 years. We have been blessed with 6 beautiful children here on Earth (and 2 more in Heaven). I stay at home and homeschool our children while my husband works outside of the home to provide for our family. We are very involved in our church and enjoy our ministries of working with and teaching other children about God and His love for them. I love my life and couldn’t imagine it any other way! I’m so happy and my heart overflows with joy! God has truly given me the desires of my heart that I have prayed for since being that little girl filled with all of those hopes and dreams of marriage and motherhood, but I have all too easily been affected by the negative thoughts, views, and opinions of others about my life and the choices that I have made.

By comparing myself to others, I have at times made myself feel lonely. I’ve made myself feel depressed and sad, and in all honesty, I too have felt jealous at times while peering into the lives of others. There is an undefinable amount of pressure placed on women today. If you don’t have children, somebody somewhere has something negative to say about it. If you do have children, somebody will have something negative to say about it. If you breastfeed, if you formula feed, if you work outside the home, if you stay at home, if you choose traditional or alternative education choices for your children, entirely organic diets versus diets teeming with chicken nuggets and french fries, right down to the choice of diapers you put on your little ones’ bottoms… someone will ALWAYS hold a different opinion from your own (and some of them aren’t too shy to let you know about it). We mistakenly allow other’s thoughts and opinions to make us feel as though our own thoughts and opinions are “wrong” or that they are not held to the same level of esteem. WHY? WHY do we do that to ourselves?

There are underlying circumstances that we can’t always see from a cropped photograph that pops up on our timeline. Messy kitchens and bathrooms can be cropped out and edited, corrections can be photoshopped, and those magical little photo filters give our skin that perfect glow. We seem to forget that that “perfect” photo might have taken 50 tries to get that right angle of “perfection”. It’s time that we as women realize that our lives were never meant to be about COMPARISON. Our lives were meant to be about COMPASSION! Our love for others can impact the world! We allow the enemy to steal our joy every time that we compare ourselves to others and give life to the thoughts that we will never measure up to the imaginary standards that we have designed in our minds. Life is so much more than selfies, perfectly edited statuses, and cleverly thought out hash-tags.

Our words and actions hold so much power, and it’s up to us to decide how we want to use them. We have the ability and the opportunity to lift one another up and encourage one another as God’s Word instructs us to do (1 THESSALONIANS 5:11-13) or we can tear down, destroy, and destruct. Social media is permeated with keyboard warriors that seem to know every detail of our life and the way that we “should” be doing things. They are entitled to their thoughts and opinions, but we don’t have to become a slave to these. I know what God has called me to do. There is such freedom that comes from finding your identity in Christ as opposed to finding your identity in the thoughts and opinions of others. I am who God says that I am! I don’t have to be anything else! I know the calling that He has placed on my life, and I don’t have to offer explanations or excuses to anyone for it. Others won’t always agree with me, and that’s OKAY! They don’t have to! God has placed a different calling on their lives, and it is simply that…it’s THEIRS…not mine. When the harsh words flow and the unfriendly comments post, I can simply smile and move on.

Regardless of choices, thoughts, and opinions, we as mothers do hold some common ground. We are all just momma’s that love our children, and we are doing the very best that we can everyday. Let’s ENJOY the life that God has given US and ENCOURAGE others along their walks as well. Reality isn’t perfection. Reality is puke covered t-shirts, and baggy eyes from sleepless night. Reality is stretch marks and endless piles of laundry. Reality is filled with good, happy wonderful times, but it is also infused with pain, sorry, disappointment, and grief. I don’t want to feel like I need to crop out the mess. I don’t want to edit out the imperfections. Those messes and imperfections are reality…my reality. It’s real motherhood… real motherhood and all of the beautiful chaos that comes with it. Ask yourself today…Do you live a life that revolves around comparison, or are you leading a life that is fueled by compassion? Hang in there momma’s! You are making a difference in the world, one set of sticky fingerprints at a time… regardless of what anyone else may say.

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Encouragement

God Called Us to Be People-Lovers…NOT People-Pleasers

 

“I learned soon enough that God called us to be people-lovers, not people-pleasers. We can have the power to love people without becoming slave to their opinions or behaviors. Boundaries are your responsibility. At some point, us people-pleasers must set the tone for how we should be treated and the direction in which we are called.”-Brittney Moses

hello my name is sign with blank white copyspace for text message

Hi. Let me introduce myself.  I’m Heather and I’m a people-pleaser. I like when people like me. I don’t like it when people don’t like me. I feel like I should be able to make everyone happy at all times and feel responsible for how other people feel. I apologize for things that I haven’t even done simply because I can’t stand the thoughts of someone possibly even being mad or upset with me. One of my greatest fears is conflict and I will go to great lengths to avoid it. I can’t communicate with others about if they have been unkind to me or have hurt my feelings because they might get mad at me for saying something to them about it. I can’t say no to someone even though I really want to. In the past, I have landed myself in some very toxic friendships where my inability to say “NO” or to express my true thoughts and feelings left me in vulnerable positions where I was taken advantage of and treated very poorly. I felt that I was responsible for fixing all of their problems and that when things didn’t go the way that they wanted them to, that it was my fault. I learned that for the majority of my life, I have found my self worth in how people treat me and what they think about me. (It all sounds really crazy when I see it written down like this)

My 1 year old has a new favorite word. “NO”. It’s his favorite response to any and every question, and at times, I find myself almost envious of his ability to let the word roll so easily off of his tongue. It’s somewhat baffling how a tiny, two letter, one syllable word can hold such power within it’s connotation. The inability to effectively use the word “NO” has gotten me into a mess more times than I care to recollect. I have gotten in over my head, taken on more responsibility than I could effectually handle (while keeping my sanity), and has led me to do or say things that I really didn’t want to do. 

I am under the belief that no person that we encounter in our lives is a mistake. God allows each person into our life for reason. Some of them bless our lives in some way and others though painful, help to teach us valuable lessons. Over the past couple of years I have learned some hard truths. Truths that I still struggle with, but God is helping me to accept them and to grow in His wisdom concerning the matter. I will NEVER be able to make EVERYONE happy. There are some people that no matter what I do, I will NEVER be able to make them like me. I have learned that it is okay to say no, even if people get mad at me. I have learned that if the only reason someone likes me is because I begrudgingly agree with them and say yes to their every request, they don’t truly care for me. I have learned if a person gets mad at me for saying no, they will eventually get mad at me for saying yes as well. I have learned that I can speak truth with love, compassion, and concern and people might hate me for it. I have learned that I can not be responsible for the way another person feels. I have learned that I can have complete love in my heart for everyone, but I don’t have to agree with them or their actions. I have learned that I can love others while not placing myself in toxic and vulnerable positions. I have learned that it is my responsilbility to guard my heart and to establish healthy boundaries within relationships. I have learned that I can not find my self worth in the way I make other people feel or the way that they feel about me. I have to find my self worth in who God says that I am. I have to find my identity in Christ Jesus and I do not have to be anything besides who God made me to be.

I only wish that I could have come to these conclusions years ago. The amount of heartache that it would have saved me is astronomical, but I know that God has allowed things to happen the way that they did and that He allowed me to encounter the people that I have for a purpose… His purpose. While I still struggle with my people-pleasing habits and setting healthy boundaries, God has given me a revelation into what His expectations are for me. He does not expect me to please all people, but He does expect me to love them; to honestly, genuinely, truly, whole heartedly love them. Even those that are unkind or hurtful, those that hate me, those that don’t agree with me, those that persecute me, those that talk about me… I’m called to love them… and that’s exactly what I will do.