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

 

 

 

 

 

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Encouragement

Lord, I Don’t Always Understand

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Lord, I don’t always understand, and I’m not going to pretend that I do. This year has been so hard. I’ve questioned why you have allowed things to happen. I’ve been angry more than I care to admit. I’ve been confused, frustrated, distraught, and defeated more than not. But Lord, I’m still standing on your Word and believing in Your promises. I don’t know what Your plan for us is, but I know that I trust You. I don’t have all of the answers, but I know You are teaching me. I don’t know where we’re going, what we’re doing, or how we’ll even end up there, but I know You are guiding us and will be with us every step of the way. Help me to surrender Lord. I want to surrender it all! Help me to conquer this battle of fear and doubt. Help me to walk by Your faith and not by my sight. Teach me Your ways! Mold me and shape me into what You would have me to be. Help me to see every battle as an opportunity; an opportunity to grown and to learn to lean more and more on You. I know Your plans for me are good and that You love me.

Encouragement, Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma That Can’t Find The Words

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Lord, today I pray for the momma that can’t find the words. She can’t find the words to explain how her heart and mind are flooded with more emotions than she has the words to express. Right now Lord, she feels like her world is spinning out of control and she doesn’t know how much more she can handle. As the tears stream down her face, she wants to call out to You Father. As she is gasping for her next breath in between her sobs, she wants to tell you how desperately she needs your help. She wants to tell you that she needs You to listen to her as she pours her heart out to you, and that she longs for you to wrap her in your love, calm her fears, and to let her know that everything is going to be okay,  but no matter how hard she tries, the words just won’t come. With each word she attempts to speak, the tears only flow harder, and the words stall upon her tongue. It’s been a while since she’s talked to you Lord, and she wonders if you still even hear her; if you still even care for her. Things haven’t gone the way that she though they would Lord, and she just doesn’t understand. She doesn’t know what to do, and she has no where else to turn. She needs you to move in her life Father. She’s tired and she’s broken, and she can’t carry these burdens alone anymore. She wants to tell you Lord, but the words… they just won’t come. Lord, I don’t know what she is going through, but I know that you do. I don’t know the fears that have kept her awake at night, nor the pain she might be experiencing right now, but I know that you see every tear that she has cried and that you are with her this very moment. Father, I pray that you will speak peace unto her heart today. Remind her that even when her words won’t come, that you hear her heart. You know every detail of her life and her circumstances…and she didn’t have to utter a word. Thank you for Lord for hearing our prayers even when our burdened hearts won’t allow us to speak. Thank you for your Holy Spirit which intercedes on our behalf with groans that our words could never even express ( Romans 8:26). I thank you for what you are doing in this momma’s life today Lord. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.

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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Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma That Is Waiting

WaitingToday I pray for the Momma that is waiting. I don’t know what her needs are Lord, but I know that You do, and that you have known them before she even asked. (Matthew 6:8) She has poured the desires of her heart before you Lord, and is struggling to understand why she has been met with silence. With each day that passes Father, doubt, fear, and uncertainty begin clouding her mind. The enemy tells her that there is no hope, she should give up, and just accept things for the way they are. Lord, during this season of her waiting, remind her that you are working in her life. You are molding her and shaping her into what she needs to be for the days to come. I pray that she will feel your love radiating around her, and that You will speak peace to her troubled heart. Remind her that though she may not understand what you are doing right now, that one day she will. (John 13:7) I pray that you will strengthen her during this season of waiting Lord. When her hope begins to waver,  I pray that she will be reminded of Your plans for her; to prosper her, and to not harm her, to give her hope, and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) So Lord, whether she be waiting for that baby that she longs to hold in her arms, the call for the job that her husband needs to provide for their family, the report of the cancer being in remission, her lost loved one’s salvation…whatever her circumstances may be today Lord, help her to declare victory through Christ Jesus and give her a renewed hope! We know that while she is waiting, You are working. I thank You for what You are doing in her life right now Lord, and know that the best is yet to come for her.

Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma Who Has Lost Hope

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Lord, today I pray for the momma who has lost HOPE. She’s so tired God. She’s fighting just to hang on, but she doesn’t know how much longer she can keep going. The enemy is filling her mind with doubts, telling her that she is only wasting her time. He tells her that things are never going to change for her and that she should just go ahead, accept it, and give up…Give up the hope for the baby that she longs to hold in her arms…The hope for the diagnosis to be reversed…The hope for her broken marriage to be restored. I don’t know her battles Father, but I know that you do. I know that you see her aching heart and that you hear her cries. God, I pray that you will renew her hope today. Fill her with a new breath of confidence in you. Send your Holy Spirit to minister to her heart and to bring her comfort today. Remind her Father God that she can trust you, and that she never has to doubt your goodness or your love for her. Give her the wisdom and courage to combat the enemy and all of his lies. Help her to find solace in your word and in your presence. Surround her with people that will love her, encourage her, pray with her, and help to lead her closer towards you Father. I thank you for what you are doing in her life today God. I know that she may not see it right now, but I have HOPE…and that hope is in YOU. I pray for this momma today Lord, whoever she is, and wherever she may be, in Jesus name. Amen.

Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma That Is Battling Addiction

Lord, today I pray for the momma who is battling addiction. I don’t know her struggles God, but I know that you do. I don’t know her pain, but I know that you see every tear that she cries. Lord, I pray that you will speak peace to her burdened heart today Father. I pray for the healing and restoration of her body, mind, and spirit. I pray that you will give her strength and a renewed determination. I pray that you will fill her heart with a new song of hope and joy. Cover her in your love Lord and please keep your hand of protection upon her. Help her to realize that nothing she has done in her life could ever separate her from your love. Help her to see just how loved, valued, and precious she is in your eyes. I pray that you will place people in her life that will help to lead her towards you and that they will offer her love and support along her journey. I pray that you will break the chains of addiction that have her bound and that you will bless her life Lord. I pray for this momma today Lord, whoever she is, and wherever she may be, in Jesus name. Amen.

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com
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!

 

 

Encouragement

Hot Mess Express

All Aboard The Hot Mess Express

You pull into the parking lot on 2 wheels, while gently ushering (who am I kidding, you’re flat out yelling right now) at your kids to get their shoes back on, to stop poking one another, and to quit wiping their snot on the clothes you spent 30 minutes digging out of Mt. Clothesoovious, that sprung to life in your bedroom 2 weeks ago that you’ve yet found the time or energy to tackle,( don’t even get me started on finding a matching pair of socks ) and you threaten their mere existence if they unbuckle ONE more time before your van stops moving completely. Church started 10 minutes ago and time is ticking. You frantically jump out after throwing your van into park, heart racing, sweat dripping (you remember the extra strength deodorant you bought sitting on the bathroom counter (that you forgot to put on) because everyone suddenly was unable to blink on their own and needed you to do it FOR them simultaneously). You find some auto fabric freshener and decide its better than nothing and douse yourself with “New Car Scent”. You begin unbuckling car seats, reviewing manners and behavior expectations while herding the small army you and your husband created towards the church doors. You’re almost there! A-L-M-O-S-T! You reach for your purse/diaper/mom bag, but you can’t find it. You jump back in the van and start digging through the 4 inches of french fries and Goldfish crackers covering the floor. You suddenly remember it’s sitting by the bathroom door, where you left it, when you’re family decided they wanted to try for the Olympic gold medal for synchronized pooping when it was time to walk out the door. You feel that frustration start rising. The tears start welling up. While stepping out of the van you snag your sweater and it rips. Last straw level…reached. Your sweet, loving, kindhearted, good intentioned husband asks you if you’re okay and with one deep “Big Bad Wolf” inhalation, you recap your entire morning, while tears start rolling down your cheeks and you answer with a snarky, “Oh I’m FINE! JUST FINE!”. He looks at you like a deer paralyzed looking into oncoming traffic, afraid that if he moves the wrong way, he WILL die. Satan starts telling you what a terrible mom and wife you are. He fills your head with mom-guilt (your kids are going to hate you and move out on their own by the age of 6 because you’re a terrible human being) He tells you…look at you, all of these other moms have it together…you don’t see them pulling in here, hysterical and smelling like an air freshener hanging from their rearview mirror. You wipe the mascara off your cheeks (remembering you should have got waterproof) and then… here it comes…PSALM 42:11

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

REVELATION! When I allow myself to get caught up in the rush, in the chaos, in the trivial things of this world and I take my eyes and focus off of the important things of God…I land myself in an overwhelmed and exhausted mess, EVERYTIME. I need to focus on my relationship with my Savior and draw my strength and joy from HIM! I have to turn my worries into worship and transform my anxieties into praises for HIM! My hope is in the LORD! NO ONE, NOT A SINGLE PERSON, “has it all together”, but GREATER IS HE LIVING IN ME, THAN HE THAT IS IN THIS WORLD. (JOHN 4:4) We ALL struggle but how we choose to handle it makes the difference. ❤ Make an effort to praise HIM through your struggles today. God loves you and I do to!