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

Just Be Held

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Whatever you may be facing today… remember that you are not alone. God is with you in the midst of your grief and pain, your anger, and your frustrations. He sees the tears that you are crying. He hears your words that are left unspoken. Stop fighting to hold all of the pieces together, and just let yourself be held by the One who loves you. His arms will never tire of holding you up. Speak His word my friend! Declare His promises! Stand upon His truths! Allow Him to speak peace into your storm today.

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

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

He Wants My Heart

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         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.

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

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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.

Encouragement, Homeschooling

When Mommy Goes Back to School

 

 

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”

C.S. Lewis

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Your daily routines… same things, just on a different day. You know what to expect and though life can at times seem mundane, you are seemingly happy, peaceful, and content. But then, just when you feel like you’ve kind of got your stuff together and are feeling pretty good about all of your efforts, with everything is in its place, and you know what lies ahead of you, God throws a curveball into your life that you never saw coming. A curveball that knocks your lights out and leaves you trying to grasp if those birdies looming above your head have just become your new reality.

2019 has been a year of big changes for us! In case you didn’t know… change is difficult for me. I don’t like it at all. I hate uncertainty. I thrive off of schedules, routines, and lists. I love the safety and security that comes with having a routine. I love making to-do lists and the satisfaction that comes from putting that little check mark beside a completed task. After an extensive self analysis, I discovered that I found a large portion of my self-worth in what I was able to get accomplished. Life felt great without the worries of what I was going to be doing that day, the next, and the following week…or so I thought.

Yeah, I thought I pretty much had life my planned out. The problem being, I had gotten so caught up with “being in control” and “scheduled”, that I began to rely more on myself than I did on God. I prayed and asked God to help with situations as they would occur, but instead of leaving things in His hands, I took it upon myself to try and remedy the situation…usually making a big ole’ mess of everything.

As a homeschooling mommy to six children that had made her place as a wife, mother, and homemaker, I never envisioned myself going to college, but God had a plan for me. At 32, after being out of school for almost 15 years, God provided me with an opportunity to further my own education. I have to admit, I was overwhelmed with the fear of failing. I just didn’t know if I could handle full time classes and schoolwork on top of everything else I already had on my plate, but when God has a plan for your life, He always makes a way for you! I have been able to further my education while being at home with my children, and for that I am so thankful!

Returning to college has been an amazing experience thus far. This process has richly added to our homeschooling  journey. I have been able to incorporate some of the topics from my coursework into fun and exciting unit studies for my children. We have been learning new things together and I enjoy the experience and opportunity that much more for it. I recently wrapped up my first semester back to college with a 4.0. God has been so good to me and has been with me every step of the way. I don’t know what God has in store for the days ahead, but I know that I trust Him, and I’m excited for the new paths that He is paving in our lives.

 

Encouragement

If We Are Faithless, He Remains Faithful

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

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Life… it’s totally unpredictable. Sure, we all have plans for our future and have set goals for ourselves that we strive to achieve during our lifetime. Some of them come to fruition, while others are left unfulfilled. Life is beautiful but at times messy. It’s seemingly peaceful whilst still teeming with chaos. It’s joyful yet at times filled with indescribable sorrow. Life and the situations that we face within it influence us in one way or another, whether we like it or not.

But here’s a simple truth… our lives won’t always reflect shiny rainbows, sweet gumdrops, and glitter doused unicorns. Death, loss, grief, unemployment, loneliness, sickness, disappointment… Why is it that during the seasons of good fortune that our faith seems so much easier to pronounce? The procurement and profession of our faith when things are going the way we want them to occurs almost effortlessly, but when life takes those unexpected turns, why does it suddenly become harder for us to stand on the same platform that we so easily stood on before?

During those trying times when our faith seems to dim and hope begins to waver, it’s important to remember that God’s faithfulness to US does NOT. It never has and it never will. God remains faithful to us despite what we might be facing or enduring. He promised He would NEVER leave us or forsake us. He promised us that we could trust Him. He promised to supply our every need and that He would make all things work for our good. God loves us despite our mistakes and mishaps. He loves us despite our shortcomings and failures.

We have the ability to be content in every situation, in every season, and in every circumstance in our life. (Philippians 4:11-13) We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Things might seem dark, difficult, and maybe even hopeless right now, but cleave to your faith my friends. God will answer. He will provide. He will make a way. He is faithful! Never give up on God, because He never gives up on you.

 

 

Encouragement

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.

Encouragement

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.