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Peace

December 10, 2016

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Truly my soul waits for God; From Him

comes my salvation. He only is my rock

and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall

not be greatly moved.

Psalm 62: 1-2

Peace often comes in the tiny moments, with children. It can be a drink of hot tea, a sliver of silence, worship music, a deep breath, reading a devotional, a Scripture, a prayer. Peace can be being outside exploring, jogging by the beach or lake, watching the kids love & have fun with each other. Peace can be a moment my husband &  I smile at each other, laugh or really hug. Peace can be a Scripture coming to mind or excitement for what another person is experiencing. Peace is recalling & trusting in the character of God & his promises. Peace is resting in His hands or simply opening your hands out towards Him. Peace is in not looking for more, but, relishing in who He is & what you have in Him.

Featured Heart

To the New Mamas

September 11, 2016

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Becoming, especially, a first time parent of a newborn, has a way of highlighting fears & insecurities you didn’t even know existed. I want people to be more honest & for moms to never feel alone when they question their ability to be a mother. I know I had moments, with our first, where I wondered if my lifelong desire to be a mom might have been misplaced. At times, I wondered if I really knew what I was doing or had what it takes. I don’t believe that anything can properly prepare you for the reality of having a newborn. I remember, so many times, thinking, “why didn’t anybody tell me this?” I felt almost slided that there was so much to pregnancy, birth, recovery, breastfeeding & sleep training that wasn’t more commonly spoke of. You just can’t fully understand the degree of challenges you’ll encounter until you are there. On the other hand, you cannot comprehend the inexplicable joy & love this bundle will bring to your life. The smilies, the thoughts, the prayers, the tears to your eyes from a new, pure love are innumerable. The awe that you have just staring at them. It’s an incredible opportunity to depend on Jesus. If you do it without Him, you’ll immediately feel like you are lacking. I can’t fully explain how miraculous & special newborns are. What they do to you, is change you. They add to your identity. They help you see life in a completely new way that almost makes you feel like a child again. You are learning & experiencing so many things for the first time, along with them. Remember grace dear mama, grace for yourself. Grace for you and your husband as you navigate these new waters. God gave you your specific child to be yours. Don’t be alone, reach out. I believe God wants parenthood to give you a greater depth of community. There are plenty of woman who have been where you are & so many willing, even hoping, to be there beside you. I know I love reminiscing about the newborn days.

Heart The Home

Can “No,” be Kind?

August 29, 2016

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Can “No” Be Kind?

We put so much pressure on ourselves as moms, don’t we? In a time where little kid birthday parties can look like they required a full year to plan and a bank loan, comparison comes easy. Ok, that may be exaggerating a bit, but you get my drift. Facebook is a huge means of comparison. We somehow forget that it’s not indicative of real, everyday life. Honestly, how often does or how long can your home look Pinterest perfect when you have small children living in them? That pressure translates into many facets of our mom and wife lives. Everyone has needs but not everyone’s needs are solely ours to fulfill. We extend ourselves so thin that there are days that I look at the clock and count down until I can crawl into bed. Are ya with me?

Saying “no,” can make us feel almost inferior or like we “should,” be able to juggle another obligation onto our already overflowing plate. Why don’t we feel ok with ourselves if we aren’t overloaded to the gills? Why is it so difficult to be honest and say that we are sinking right now and simply cannot take on an extra duty? I know not everyone struggles with saying no or feeling inferior, but I do, too often. It is possible to say no while being kind and compassionate. A lot of times we need to give ourselves permission, and not put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. We do it to ourselves. After all, we say more negative things to ourselves than anyone else does.

We are not failures if we don’t have the perfect home, children, marriage, if we don’t serve in a bunch of ministries, volunteer regularly, etc. There is no such thing as perfect since we are not Jesus. We are actually serving ourselves and our family better when we aren’t running on fumes. We can end up doing many things mediocre or more things wonderfully. Oh priorities, there you are again. There are people in our lives that require and deserve more than mediocre. We need to give ourselves permission to say no to some things. Then, we can give more of ourselves to the best and most important parts and people in our lives. Our marriages can only be put on the back burner so many times and our children will never be the age they are now, again. Truly believing these things will help you say no from a place without guilt or shame. There is so much freedom in that. Knowing you are not spreading yourself too thin and giving more to your most precious relationships will help the “no’s,” be kind. Release the mommy guilt. As a quote I’ve heard and bring to my own mind on a regular basis says, “I can have the courage to be bold and assertive while still being humble.” When playing a name game and finding an adjective that starts with the same letter of your name, mine was “timid Tiana.” Enough said, this is real for me. If you aren’t “bold Betty,” maybe you want to print out that quote and put it on your bathroom mirror. Say it out loud everyday until you believe it and see it working out in your life. Talk to Jesus about it. You can be grateful for saying “no.” There will be different seasons where you can do more of this or that. Make the most of yourself for your family. Besides, adding yet another thing to your calendar that you will do begrudgingly is not kind or honest. Do what you can with a pure heart that doesn’t cost those you dearly love.

Featured Heart Uncategorized

In An Instant

June 8, 2016

Are you one of those people who leap out of bed ready & excited to start the day, AKA a morning person? I am not . . .  In the slightest. I’m pretty sure my morning stink eye displays this all too well. Having 2 young children who like to get up between 5:45-6:15am, I am now up early. Before kids, my idea of a pleasant time for rising, on a Saturday,  would be 10am. This morning I was still laying in bed trying to get my son to stay a few more minutes before my feet had to hit the ground. Our daughter had already been in our room and then went out to the living room to play, or so I thought. Our son was just in the last few seconds of me staying horizontal when our daughter comes in and says, the very dreaded, “I went poo poo & pee pee in the living room.”  A look of terror sweeps my face & my heart rate jumps up several beats. I think I even started to get a light sweat going on. Um, there’s no potty in the living room. I say, “what do you mean?” She just says that wretched statement again & I know I’m in trouble. I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet. I haven’t washed my face either & I most definitely have not had my tea. Low and behold, she has gone on the floor, in the living room. Good morning mama!  I was traumatized for almost an hour. I truly couldn’t believe she went on the floor. What can ya do? There’s breakfast to be made, teeth to brush and a husband to get lunch made for work. Lucky me, the hubby was home & took the first half of clean up duty!

The morning improved dramatically & I had an instant heart change. I was in the bathroom & the kids were laying in our bed. I hear the absolute sweetest exchange going on between them. Y’all, my heart was mush. I was so proud of our daughter I could hardly stand it! She was praying with her little brother. She thanked Jesus for him(yes, for her brother. My heart turned to putty.), toys, animals, food, etc. She prayed for her dad and I. What a sweet, tender heart she has. Our son was shaking his head, in agreement, with each thing she prayed for. They are three & a half and one & a half. Oh my, so cute. Proud mommy moment was in full effect. Her little voice was enough to cause me to thank Jesus, simply for the gift of her, but wow, the prayer. The prayer, y’all! That was my, “in an instant.” In an instant my mind was no longer thinking about poop & pee. What’s a little(ok, a lot) of poo poo & pee pee when that happens?! Thank you, Jesus! All we could do was thank Him.

Featured Heart Uncategorized

Magic Glasses

May 26, 2016

Today I took my children to the local library for preschool play and story time. They read Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses to the kids. I had my two kids and there were another 30+ kids so I didn’t get to listen to every word, but, I’ll can tell you the gist of it. The cat was having a grumpy sort of day, seeing the negative in everything. Then, Pete the cat gets his magic glasses and everything changes. He becomes an optimist and spreads his cheer to other animal friends along the way. This made me think about what we have available in Jesus. We have those “magic glasses,” in Him. It doesn’t always, or often, feel like it’s as easy as it might be to just put on a pair of glasses but, we have something so much greater. Jesus can change us. He is mighty. He can change our outlook, our attitude, our heart . . . If we let Him. That’s the hard part for me. I’m just always getting in my own way. Am I alone in that?

Featured Heart

Babyness

December 9, 2015

Isaiah 15 months

Our 15 month old still has a little bit of babyness about him. I am holding on tight to every inch I can get. I love little tiny humans and stand in sheer awe that they go from newborn to adult. Watching them grow is a mesmerizing gift, but watching them grow up can also be tough on the heartstrings. They change at what seems like warp speed and once they are on to the next stage, the last stage is forever finished. My babies have almost vanished before my eyes and morphed into a little girl and little boy. It’s something quite amazing how quickly they change and learn new things. There is something so special to me about the baby phase. I just love it. They are utterly dependent on you and you can tell just how secure they feel in your arms. The source of comfort we provide our children is pure joy to my soul. It’s like your heart getting the best hug of your life when they put their little head on your shoulder and snuggle in. Melt me like butter with that babyness! It gives me such a beautiful picture of our Heavenly Father. He is Comforter. He is our Rock and Refuge. He fulfills those roles much better than we, as sinful parents, do. So snuggle up and cuddle in, He’s always there!

Heart

Eternity Changers

November 11, 2015

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Parenthood is an eternity changer. Parents shape and teach their children in ways that literally change eternity. That
is a lofty thought. I heard that a few times before that truth began to sink in. We can raise children who are part
of eternity, or conversely, who are not. Our children, have children, who have children, who have children. They will
pass down what has resonated with and influenced them the most. Many traditions we impart will be passed down.
That creates multi-generational change into eternity. This is why one of my hearts passions is Titus 2. If we are not
modeling the commands of Titus 2, who will? Of course, it is not all in our hands. God does the ultimate work in
everyones lives and we are saved by His good grace. We certainly have a sobering responsibility to do our part in
teaching our children about Jesus(Ephesians 2:8-9).  For so long I had wrapped too much of my identity into my
former career. It’s quite easy to do considering the typical questions people ask upon meeting you. Asking what you do
is towards the very top of the list. Our culture places a lot of worth on our careers. I always longed to be a stay at home
mom. I fell, and sometimes still fall, into the place of feeling
like I wasn’t reaching some of my potential or ambition. I have felt like I wasn’t giving all that I could offer. Little did I
know that I just needed a shift in how I was
being used. I now have a better understanding of the high calling God has placed on my life in my “career.” What an
absolute privilege to work at a job with an eternal impact! I couldn’t ask for a better employer either. It’s a job that
while I fail daily, I should want to please my boss more than any other employer I could ever have. Unfortunately,
being a stay at home mom is not a job that is often glamorized by our culture.  I believe it should be. We can change
eternity. How much
more could we hope to attain?
Featured Heart Lifestyle

Marriage: You Above Me.

November 6, 2015
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I have a friend who was talking about his girlfriend. He’s one of those people who is a straight shooter. He tells it like it is. I’m fascinated by people like this and admire that freedom. Sometimes it can give you a little shock, but, it’s the kind of honesty that is refreshing. He’s not trying to please man. He is confident, yet, humble enough to receive feedback. When speaking of his girlfriend he said, “most of the time I pretty much hate making decisions based on her.”  That was enough to give me a little jolt. My first thought was, “oh my, do not get married and do not have children!” The more I pondered, the more I thought that I was likely being arrogant in my thinking.  He was confessing what was difficult, what goes against our flesh. He was recognizing something I don’t think I really would have, before getting married.
 It can be quite burdensome to put others above ourselves and our desires. Marriage has given me a bigger glimpse into the bold terms used like, “die to yourself.” Another, “take up your cross,” is one with a sting. The cross was an instrument of death. How pleasant does that sound? We count the cost as followers and the reward is much greater than our sacrifice could ever be. We are committed to Jesus and we are committed to our spouse. Considering others above ourselves is not always natural, it’s a command. Philippians 2  tells us to think of others before ourselves. Be imitators of Christ. Jesus is the example to follow.

 

 

Heart

Discovering a Deeper Level of Christs Love Through Motherhood: Part 2

November 4, 2015

As a mother, I’ve experienced the Scriptures speaking of joy coming from serving others, in the most tangible ways. Now, it is most certainly gratifying to fulfill your own desires. We have no shortage of wants. I know I don’t. Like  Scripture says, nobody ever hated themselves, we really think quite highly of ourselves. We think about what we want all the time and think we deserve a lot. I’m not saying that’s all bad or sinful. God has just called us to more than living a life completely for ourselves and we actually get to experience Him through that. He does that for our good. It seems counterintutive, and, that’s why it’s divine. Only God could create true joy from serving others. In motherhood, serving is on the daily agenda. When I don’t allow myself to get in the way of serving my children and I am attuned, I experience that true joy. There are countless moments throughout the day for this messy, beautiful, undeserving joy. I so often look at our children and think, “how did I ever become so blessed?” A look, a laugh, a smile, a coo, seeing your child enjoy life, learn something or love. Marriage has given me many opportunities to serve and put my husband above myself(not that I always take those opportunities or take them cheerfully) but, motherhood kicks it up exponentially. There’s something completely different with a child who actually needs you for everything. You don’t have as much of a choice as you might with a spouse.

Walking in the Spirit is where we receive the fullness that God gives. We think we know what will truly satisfy us by walking in our flesh, but, we are so wrong. I know that by experience and, somehow I still need constant reminders of this. I battle my flesh daily. Walking in our flesh often gives us a very temporal happiness but, not a true, lasting joy. It does not completely fulfill us, only God can do that. Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence there is fullness of joy. I feel like I have experienced more of Him through the children He created and has allowed me to mother. It’s amazing to see and spend so much time with little ones He created specifically for us. The whole way He designed children to come into the world, how they learn, grow and develop could only be done supernaturally. It shows Christ’s divinity in countless ways. He has shown me a deeper glimpse of His love through the love He gives me for our children. The moment our first was born, I knew, without a doubt, that I could die for her if ever needed. The very second I met her, I knew I could put myself aside for her. That is exactly what God did for us. He gave us the ultimate sacrifice. He gave us His son and that was for every single person He created. His love is a million times more pure than mine. He is love. He created love. The gift of experiencing more of Him in becoming a mother is nothing short of exceptional. Thinking of Him as Father, who loves me more than I love my own children is remarkable. I hope you know Him as Father and know that His love is incomprehensible.

 

Heart

Discovering a Deeper Level of Christ’s Love Through Motherhood

November 4, 2015

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I’m a mom so, I wanted to talk about how in becoming a mother that I’ve come to know and experience another layer of Christ’s love. It’s truly one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve received. I feel so honored and privileged that God has allowed me to be called mama. I know not all of you are mother’s. My hope is that each of you will still be able to know more of the love that Jesus has for you, and others, through my ramblings.  When I start to write or communicate my thoughts, they tend to go here, there and everywhere(My husband knows this all too well). You might want to, kindly, muster  up some patience for me. I’m hoping and trusting that God will do something through this blog.

Having children is a game changer. It literally changes almost every single thing you do. A teeny tiny newborn will absolutely rock your world. Sleep deprivation takes on a whole( I mean, a W-H-O-L-E) new meaning. You would have never thought you could survive on so little sleep for so many days/weeks/months. You’ll also be amazed at how incredible your multi-tasking skills become. You’ll do things with only one hand that you would’ve never thought possible. This efficiency could have come in handy before kids, if only I knew.

You have all these ideas of what having kids will be like. You’ll imagine the kind of parent you’ll be. In reality, you’ll do things you would have never thought. Priorities change drastically. They change so significantly because your priorities change so greatly. You and your desires no longer constantly comprise the top spots of your thoughts. Thank you Jesus! Anytime we truly put someone above ourselves, we can begin to change. When we do it more often than we don’t, this can make way for great sanctification. You have this tiny human who needs you for everything, every single thing. They need you to love them, clothe them, protect them, help them sleep, bathe them, feed them, change them, cuddle them, etc. This happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your priority of “me,” begins to melt. It’s as if you are muddy head to toe and the shower begins to bring back your color. The mud is you getting washed down the drain. This may sound sad and, at moments, it is, but, it’s really quite beautiful. It’s like Jesus is cleansing you of self to draw you closer to Him and to make you more like Him. He’s the one who said the last will be first and who showed us what a true servant is.

The rewards of having a child will also rock your world, in ways you never imagined. When Jesus talks about God giving the best gifts, that children are a blessing, that the Holy Spirit gives love & joy, all of these things become truth that you know deep in your soul. It seems so backwards that you can give every ounce of yourself(and then some, and then some more) to someone but, simultaneously receive the most inexplicable joy. It’s joy in its most pure form. It’s pure because babies can’t speak yet, they can’t tell you the things things that make you feel good, they don’t know how to love you in your love language, they can’t even hug or kiss you yet. They really can’t do much for you, and, they require everything of you. Romans talks about presenting your body as a living sacrifice. Mothers can surely relate to this, in ways that others might not fully. Housing a little human inside your own body for 9 months, delivering that child, the healing process your body goes through to recover, nursing your child, being awake at all hours of the day and night to take care of your child. Those are just a few ways you begin to see your body as a sacrifice and not own solely of your own. How can someone who completely strips you of yourself, give you joy in a capacity you didn’t know existed? This is exactly how God works! There is not much we can do for God. We have come at a great cost to Him. He had to give his only Son for us. We can easily grieve and hurt Him. We disobey Him. We can forget to include Him in many of our thoughts or plans. We don’t give Him all the praise He is worthy of. But, He loves us. He loves us so much that He chose us and formed our inner parts & knit us together in our mothers womb. He loves us with a love that we can not fathom. He loves each of us. We are what He created. He wants His best for us, not what we think is our best. He is faithful to us & to His promises.

Part 2 Coming soon . . .