Category Archives: January 2017

I needed the quiet

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I Needed the Quiet
Alice Hansche Mortenson

I needed the quiet so He drew me aside,
Into the shadows where we could confide.
Away from the bustle where all the day long
I hurried and worried when active and strong.

I needed the quiet tho at first I rebelled
But gently, so gently, my cross He upheld
And whispered so sweetly of spiritual things
Tho weakened in body, my spirit took wings
To heights never dreamed of when active and gay.
He loves me so greatly He drew me away.

I needed the quiet. No prison my bed,
But a beautiful valley of blessings instead –
A place to grow richer in Jesus to hide.
I needed the quiet so He drew me aside.

From the book I Needed The Quiet, © 1978 by Beacon Hill Press

 

a great read!

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Sure, we all have books on a myriad of subjects that we enjoy reading in our spare time. Spare time….Wait, does a Mom have spare time?!

Call me crazy, but within the past year I’d say, I’ve become a reader more than ever before. Well, except for maybe high school and college; even then, I was always on the hunt for the CliffsNotes version. While I’ve always been interested in self-help type books, I often feel overwhelmed or even a certain heaviness after finishing said book. My husband has encouraged me over the years to pick up a good fiction book now and then to help balance my reading. Now, I never really had much time for fiction reading. I suppose I had considered it a waste of time. In my mind, self-improvement reading was reading for a purpose. Since digging for some fiction that might capture my attention, I have changed my opinion and enjoy a few here and there weaved into my reading diet.

As a Mom, I have a library of sorts within the confines of my home on every subject under the sun as it pertains to raising children. Quite honestly, I believe I burned myself out on the subject. Everyone has his or her own opinion on the subject, Christian or non-Christian and frankly, I had my fill of it. Quickly I discovered that there is not a “one size fits all” when it comes to parenting. What works for one parent, may or may not work for the next parent. It was then that I came to the conclusion that I needed to permit myself a hiatus and pick back up on my newfound, yet limited love of fiction.

Recently, however, I discovered a book that has quite challenged me in my role as a Mother. Now, I had a wonderful godly Mother who raised her girls well by training and example. If only she were here to help me through some of the pitfalls of the hardest job on the planet we call parenting, I would be so happy! I have searched for godly women in my life through the years to grant me the wisdom I was searching for as my own Mom is years deceased. I believe one such wise woman was brought across my path via a MOPS meeting. This woman shared principles with us that day which she had learned from a mentor mom herself and consequently employed with her own 3 children. When she shared that she had written a book full of these treasured principles, I was among the first to attain one.

Once I began reading the book, I very quickly read the first 4 or so chapters. Raising  A Temple: A Mother’s Guide to Raising Godly Kids written by Lori Jane Hensley, is chocked full of rich biblical truths to aid in training your child(ren) to become a temple. Much of her writing points back to scripture. She teaches young Moms, or older ones like me, how vital it is to have your own heart right before you can teach your child(ren). One nugget I read pertaining to the Proverbs 31 woman:

We all want to be the Superwoman of Proverbs 31, juggling everything, doing it well, and having everyone singing our praises at the end of the day. As a young woman, I would read that chapter, and if I wasn’t performing at Superwoman status, I would begin to feel like I was not measuring up. A very wise woman told me years ago that the Proverbs 31 woman didn’t accomplish it all at one time. There are many seasons of life, and her accomplishments were over time.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with comparison, as I believe most women do. The Proverbs 31 woman is like THE ultimate woman. I mean really, who can measure up to this woman? Reading Lori’s book helped me to see this seemingly perfect woman in a different light. Sure, she is someone to be admired and esteemed, but as Lori so beautifully stated, she didn’t just become this person all at once, it was over time. Freedom! Perspective is a great thing, isn’t it?

Being a great Mom requires yielding to the calling of motherhood and that taking our children to church every Sunday or having them in Christian school is not nearly enough. We must be intentional. We must saturate our minds with God’s truth daily to renew the mind and strengthen God’s spirit within us. We must call upon Him for wisdom and invest time in prayer with Him both privately and corporately. We must ask God for wisdom and knowledge to understand our role as Mother, to look for opportunities for teachable moments to build character in our children. Ultimately, we are raising temples, not just “good kids”.

Whether you choose to read this particular book, or another on parenting, be sure to seek out God’s wisdom in choosing the right book. Speak to God often to fully realize and understand your purpose as the Mother to the children you were blessed with. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. Be the best you can be by consulting daily with the One who created you. Most importantly, have a teachable spirit. He will not disappoint.

 

 

 

 

Is it wrong?

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If you’d have seen me just a few minutes ago, you might’ve witnessed the rare occurance of moi doing some back flips! Crazy, huh? Yeah, it is, quite honestly, since I don’t have an athletic bone in my body! Sad, but true. I do enjoy some yoga and walking, but that’s a story for another day.

You see, I’ve been counting down the days til our Mother’s Day Out (MDO) program resumed after Christmas break. Ya’ll the struggle is real! I don’t know what it was, but my little was starved for some interaction with his buddies, I guess, and I’m quite certain this Momma was starved for a little peace and quiet. Whew!

The guilt comes in because I love my boy so much, more than I can express. Butttttt, his 4 year old energy and temper tantrums as of late are driving me straight to the funny farm. I’m not kidding. Even my sweet hubby who has the patience of Job, agrees. It doesn’t help that my boy stillllllllll poops in his pants AT FOUR YEARS OLD! Ya’ll, it is killing me to have to clean him up every.day.at.least.twice. I’m over it! Who in Sam’s Hill still potties in his pants at 4 years of age?! (Apparently, as of last night, I’m not alone. Someone I met at our hairdresser’s yesterday has a boy with the same issue, mind you!) Amazingly he doesn’t at school. Makes me mad because as soon as he’s within feet of our house, all bets are off.

Let’s be clear: it’s not like I’m propped up on my laurels eating bon bons or anything resembling that! On the contrary, I’m making long-overdue phone calls to our insurance company and other such correspondence. I’m washing/drying clothes and cleaning my dirty house. I’m purging our over-stuffed closets. I’m picking up groceries from the beloved Walmart grocery pick-up service which I swear is God’s gift to Mommas.

The thing is, I feel a bit spoiled these days, you might say. Why you ask? Because until this past fall, I’ve not had my child enrolled in any sort of daycare, MDO, sitter, or the like. I relished my time with him (well, most of it, if I’m being honest) and wasn’t ready to turn loose of my child….or my funds. Fast-forward to this past September, and I couldn’t open my wallet fast enough! Sad, but true. My cherub is now a proud member of MDO and I didn’t cry a drop that first day I walked him in to class….or since. It has been a gift of God to be able to be a SAHM in the first place. To be able to send him to school just 2 half days a week has been a much-needed sanity break. Honestly, I feel like a woman of leisure.

I’d love to know if any of you out there are feeling the guilt after sending your rug rats, I mean, ah hem, children back to school? Please tell me I’m not alone!!!! What do you do with your time apart? Are you exercising, catching up on chores, like me? working a part time job, home-schooling other kiddos in your home? Shopping? Meeting friends for coffee and lunch? Do tell. Curious minds want to know.

 

 

 

don’t be fooled!

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I love some good Bible studies and teaching from God’s Word. I have several favorite teachers, including of course, our church’s pastor. As much as I enjoy taking part in women’s studies whenever possible, I’ve come to realize more and more how crucial it is for believers to check everything against our standard: the Bible.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (2 Peter 2)

One of the best ways to know whether a teacher, author, and even a pastor is sound in his doctrine is to go to God’s Word to determine if what they are saying is in fact accurate. Additionally, ask God for His wisdom and discernment. Anyone worth his salt will say, “don’t take my word for it; go search it out for yourself in God’s Word”. Unfortunately, people will manipulate God’s Word to read or interpret it to fit their agenda. It’s vital to ask the Holy Spirit to help you read the Bible. It’s important to read God’s Word in the context in which it was written.

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. (Mark 13:5)

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.    (Mark 13:22-23)

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

My husband, who has the gift of teaching, has cautioned me on more than one occasion that just because a book is stocked and consequently sold within a Christian bookstore doesn’t mean it is sound doctrine. In fact, many years ago, I worked in a Christian bookstore and quite often customers requested a particular & very popular book that the owner would not carry because he believed it to be inaccurate teaching. We have to be careful to remember that there is an enemy who is alive and well who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) Our minds have been said to be the battleground. What better place for our enemy to attack us than in our minds. (2 Timothy 1)

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.    (2 Tim. 1:7)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Clearly, it is evident why we need to be familiar with God’s Word so that we can discern the enemy’s lies from God’s truth. My childhood pastor illustrated it this way: ‘if you wanted to create a counterfeit dollar bill, how would you go about it? You would study the real thing‘. I wholeheartedly believe this is our enemy’s tactic. He (the enemy) wants us to be confused, so busy that we can’t take the time to discern for ourselves, distracted, and consequently exchange the truth for a lie.

The takeaway: Don’t allow yourself to be fooled and duped. Seek out the truth by studying God’s Word for yourself, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He loves to give us wisdom and knowledge but we must ask for it.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)

Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, that I may not sin against You.            (Psalm 119:11)

 

 

Aside
hApPy??? NeW yEaR!

Most likely, you fit into one of two categories:

One, you love, love, love the blank slate of a brand-new year laid bare before you and you’ve already outlined your goals for the 365 days ahead. Or two, you’re a little fearful and possibly a little anxious about what the new year may hold and resolutions are the furthest thing from your mind because in your estimation they will never materialize, so why bother.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, I tend to lean more toward the second category. After all the excitement of the holidays, time with family and “get togethers”, I tend to feel a little blue once December 26th hits.  Possibly due to the fact that when I was growing up, it meant time to take down the tree, all the decor, and very quickly getting back into “the (dreaded) groove”. Then, there’s the weather which tends to be grey and gloomy with or without snow. The days just seem to melt one into another. At this point, I’m ready for summer. Heck, skip over spring! I’m ready for longer days with more sunshine and time to be outside.

At the heart of the “post Christmas” blues, at least for me, is the fear of the unknown. I am a little afraid, if I’m being honest, of what the next year may look like; or maybe, I’m just anxious about what the Lord may require of me in the year to come. What I fail to remember, however, is that God goes before me. He’s already in my tomorrows. He gives me the grace to face whatever comes my way when I need it. No, this grace doesn’t come early or late, but right on time. In fact, when I think back to times in my life when things did look quite grim, all I can recall is that God carried me through those times. He put people in my life (I call it ‘God with skin on’), to minister to me, to help me, to encourage me; sometimes in person and sometimes in the form of a cheery card, or a meal, even a meaningful prayer. The Lord is with me. He never leaves me or forsakes me. I have to make a conscious effort to factor God into all of my days.

A very wise former co-worker of mine used to remind me that most of the things we worry about in our lives never come to pass. They don’t materialize. They don’t come to fruition. So, why do we put ourselves through the torture of buying trouble for our lives? Why do we torment ourselves with such anguish? I’ll tell you why: the enemy wants us to forget that we have the Lord Jesus Christ at our disposal. He wants to render us useless and have us while away our days wringing our hands in disbelief. We need to remember that God is on our side, as believers in Jesus Christ. If we truly put our faith and trust in Him, we have nothing to fear!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

 

 

hApPy??? NeW yEaR!