Category Archives: December 2015

is it a NEW year?

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autumn-832334_640Happy last day of 2015!

Was it a good year for you? Before you answer that, let’s quantify “good,” shall we? In this context, “good” means: spiritually satisfying. Are you content with your QT (Quiet Time), how is your faith? What about your prayer life? Are you plugged into a Bible study group or class? Do you have a mentor who is pouring into your life? In turn, are you pouring into a younger person’s life?

Over Christmas, I was finally able to sit down to watch the movie, “War Room”. My husband and I had wanted to see it for some time but, well… life happened. My in-laws afforded us the opportunity to watch the movie while they watched our busy boy. I had heard many great things about this movie and I agree, it was a good movie. It challenged me. In it, I loved the character of the woman (Miss Clara), who mentored Elizabeth (Priscilla Shirer). I loved watching how Miss Clara slowly, yet purposefully, poured wisdom into her young protegé. It paid off in spades!

For me to be a better Mom, wife and daughter, it is vitally important that I’m spending time daily in God’s Word. It can be trying and it can be difficult to squeeze in the time, but I’ve found it to be a discipline like any other. Typically, I’m ashamed and embarrassed to say, it’s quite short. Sometimes only 10 minutes, but I try to cram in as much as I can into those fleeting few moments. Setting the day right with your ‘spiritual vitamin’ makes the day go so much more smoothly. How? Well, first of all, it takes my mind off of “me” and what “I” can accomplish or control in “my” day. Rather, my focus is now turned to Him and how He will lead and guide me through the day. Perhaps He has some ‘divine appointment’ for me that I would certainly not be clued in to if my focus were only on me and my agenda. We are such selfish people by nature that if we don’t ask the Lord to order and guide our steps, it will become all about “me,” “my” wants, and “my” needs.

Truly, this is living life upside down. I like to think of it as exchanging my life for His. It’s no longer about me. By allowing Him to live in and through me, great things for the kingdom will be accomplished. It all starts with a Quiet Time of prayer and Bible study. We have to still and quiet our minds so that we can hear God’s voice above all others. To discern His voice, we have to know His Word. Once we know it, we can then hide it in our hearts and minds so that our lifestyle reflects it through the aid of the Holy Spirit. Once that happens, we will be able to pour into others.

Transforming your mind in this way will start you off on the right path for the New Year. I’m ready to jump in with both feet, how about you? Do you have a devotional to help you get into God’s Word? If not, check out my ‘devotions’ page to get some ideas. Another great tool is to have a journal where you can write down your prayer requests and then mark when the Lord answers them. This idea was beautifully portrayed in “War Room”. I love to do this because it clearly demonstrates for me an exact point of need and an exact time of answer. This grows and stretches your faith to see how God works in your life. You can always go back to your journal when a new trial presents itself to remind you that He met your need back when, and He’ll surely meet your need now. Just be sure to be specific in your requests so that you will more clearly see God in the details of answering your prayers.

2016, we’re not afraid of you! We are setting our minds on the only One who can make our path clear and straight, directing us in the way we need to go!

 “Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
    your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
    give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
    your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
    don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
    a father’s delight is behind all this.”

(Proverbs 3:6-12, MSG)

Silent Night, Holy Night

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Christmas Eve is here! Christmas is just a day away….can you believe it?! It’s hard to imagine especially when there are tornado warnings where I live and 60 some odd degrees outside! Regardless, December 25th is the day we celebrate Christ’s birth.

So, have you taken some time to enjoy the season and take a break from the hustle and bustle going on all around you? Have you been able to quiet your mind to ponder that very first Christmas when Jesus, King of all kings, was born? Steeling away is the only way for me to get the silence I need to focus on the reason for our celebration.

For me, tonight was one of those nights. Our family packed into a van and traveled around town to see the beautiful Christmas lights. In between complaints from my 3 year old, who was bored with it all, I was able to focus on a short row of houses which had beautiful lights strung all about and synced to Christmas music. It was gorgeous and full of delight! There was even a man and his son who came to each car offering hot cocoa and cookies.

So, before you tear into your Christmas morning festivities, I challenge you to take a moment to just breathe. Reflect on our Savior’s birth. Enjoy some Christmas carols, take in a Christmas Eve service, sit before a roaring fire. I’ll bet you will feel a real sense of true peace and joy if you choose to focus on such things. Your heart and mind will then be able to reflect on the fact that Jesus really is the Reason for the Season.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Momma Needs a Break!

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Well, I’m laughing as I’m typing this because in my mind, I’m picturing some ‘slap stick’ comedy act portraying my life, (and yours, I’m sure) at times! Isn’t it so true, though? We all, no matter who we are or what it is we do for our vocation, we need a break. Rest. Respite. Rejuvenation. Time Out.

Is it accurate to say that someone who needs a break is lazy? This has been my current dilemma. Yes, these thoughts really do roll around in my head. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it is because I’m a huge people-pleaser and riddled with anxiety, because as I’ve read, “anxiety is when you care too much“. Guilty as charged. That is me. Honestly, I wish I didn’t care so much. Care about what others think, care about if what I’m doing is enough, care too much about other people period. I wish at times I could press a ‘pause’ button or an ‘on vacation’ button like I’m “out of the office” for an extended holiday.

Since I tend to care too much, even though I’ve been given the freedom to “take a break,” oftentimes I don’t accept the “life preserver” that is thrown my way. Why? I tend to feel guilty. I let the guilt creep in and eat me up and I listen to that never-ending voice of deception whispering in my other ear “you can’t leave; they need you.” All the while, I know good and well that I will be a better Momma if and when I take that break. I have since learned this is a form of pride. Ouch! Thinking you are the only one who can do such and such or thus and so. Yep, I’ve been guilty of such feelings.

Tonight was “one of those nights” when I heeded the call. I broke free and it felt great! No, I didn’t go out on the town or anything like that. I simply went to the grocery store, but it. felt. great! I could quietly peruse the aisles, think complete thoughts, read my list, and still manage to bump into a friend for a bit of a chat! It was therapeutic. In some strange way, it was as good a balm for my soul as getting a massage or pedicure. Truly! See, I don’t give myself permission to get out that often. It’s sad, but true. It’s my own fault. My husband encourages me to go because he knows I need a break.

Self-care is important to everyone, but especially to a Mom who is always giving of herself. Without replenishing, you will feel used up. How can anyone function properly when they are used up? Now, I was warned about this “pre-marriage” and again “pre-child,” yet, I still haven’t learned my lesson! I aim to do a better job of this because I realize how much better I am when I get away and take some time to myself.

I would love to hear how you, my readers, manage this. Do you beat yourself up for taking a break? Or, are you able to grab a few minutes here and there to refuel yourself by reading a book, cooking, outing by yourself, coffee with a friend, or like me, getting away for an hour at the local grocery? HA!

 

Everyone Needs a Little Iron

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Everyone Needs a Little Iron
“As iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].” (Proverbs 27:17, AMP)
 

Friendships are precious. Authentic, true friendships are few and far between. Some come into our lives for a time, a season and a purpose. Others will stand the test of time, walking through the best of times and the worst of times with us throughout our lives.

Whether an introvert, who gets energy from being alone, or an extrovert, who gets energy from being around people; we all need others in our lives. Not only do friends challenge, trade thoughts and ideas, share interests and activities, but more importantly, healthy friendships enhance, or sharpen, who we are as a person. God never intended us to be an island to ourselves. We were created to live in community.

I truly believe God blesses us with friends throughout our lives. However, one thing I know to be true is that it takes being a friend to have a friend. Friendships take time and effort. They must be nurtured to grow and flourish.

This time of year, typically starting around Thanksgiving, I like to ponder the friendships God has given me. I am so grateful for each one. Some I see fairly regularly, while others just a few times a year. Regardless, whenever we reunite, time is bridged quickly as we pick up where we left off the last time we were together.

I challenge you to take some time over the next few days to offer thanks for the friends you have been given. Take inventory of the kind of friend you are and the friend you want to be and work on nurturing these friendships. Treasure them. Be the kind of friend that you would want to have. Your life will be richer for it.