A Time of Rest…

Our family was blessed these past few weeks with a wonderful vacation in Florida. It is something that we do every year, Lord willing, and I am amazed as how the God refreshes us during this time.

I believe that there are so many important things that come when we take time apart from our routine. You certainly do not have to go to Florida to experience the Lord’s refreshing but I do believe that there is value in stepping out of our normal routine if only for a couple days and getting a new perspective on things. God wants to take us to new places, to have new perspectives, ultimately to give us an ariel view of our lives so that we can see the bigger picture.

As I was running one morning in Florida, the Lord was speaking to me about giving me eyes to see what He is doing in the earth and how to be part of His plan. I was feeling so “stuck” in my own little world of being a mom, keeping our home in order, and feeling isolated and disconnected at times.  As I began to focus on Him and His word I began to see how my role fits into His master plan. Each of us have a part to play.

Imagine that God is the director of an incredible play, each of us are given a role in which we must perform. According to our gifts and talents he appoints us as different characters in the play. Each of us are given the platform at some point in His play to do what He casted us for. Life is the practice and rehearsal for this play. Each day we recite our lines, plan our costumes and rehearse our part. The final day will come when there will be no more dress rehearsals, no more practicing, we will be on stage doing the very thing we were created to do.

Are you ready? Have you practiced as much as possible? Do you know your lines?

Are you using the giftings that God has given you to be the best you can be?

Perhaps you don’t even know your part in the play…maybe you have never auditioned? It’s time. I encourage all of you to take seriously that which God has placed before you. Don’t ever let up, give up or shut up. See everyday as a rehearsal for what is to come. Let’s make our director proud!

God reminded me of a verse I’d like to share Jeremiah 29:10b,11 Msg “I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for”. Isn’t that AMAZING!!? Let’s trust Him to lead us everyday and allow His plans for us to become a reality!

May you be blessed as you see life from a new perspective, may you embrace your role in the master play! God help us to be faithful with what you have given us!

Growing our Spiritual Muscles

My amazing husband spoke a very profound and powerful message two weekends ago at our home church. I’d like to share with you, something that really challenged me.

The message was talking about growing spiritually and how we need to be a people who are prepared for what is coming in these days. We need to be “spiritually strong” and in order to be strong we need to exercise our spiritual muscles. How are we strengthen spiritually? How do we measure spiritual strength and what qualifies us to be spiritually strong? Is it the length of time that we are a believer? How much we know about the Bible? It is dependent on time or is it a function of learning? NONE of these are functions to measure our spiritual growth. Spiritual growth/maturity is a function of obedience in suffering.

True spiritual growth comes when EVERYTHING goes wrong in your life and YOU CHOOSE GOD! It is SO important how we respond to adversity. It is easy to blame other people or other situations when times of testing come. It is easy to give into our emotions and wrong beliefs and thoughts. It is hard to resist ourselves and seek God’s will in it all. But that is the exercise that truly brings growth and change. Just like intense physical exercise initially damages our muscles so they can get stronger so suffering brings pain and discomfort in our lives in order to bring about growth.

Matthew 16:24-25, Msg. Then Jesus went to work his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat. I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but loose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

How do you respond in suffering? What is your first reaction or thought when someone else wrongs you?

I have been really trying lately to look at trials and testing through a new and focused lense. I have been trying to see that each is an opportunity to grow my spiritual muscles so that I can prove to be strong. If we are strong spiritually then we are able to bear the weight of what is to come. We need to be a people committed to spiritual exercise and growth.

May you continue to obey in your suffering, as you are tested and tried, in order that you may grow spiritually strong. May your Spirit be strengthed as you endure sufferings and hardships. I pray that the eyes of your hearts will be opened and you will know the hope to which you are called in Christ. Bless you today!

The Fruit of the Spirit

The Fruit of the Spirit!

Today we tried a fun little activity for homeschool. I decided this week that we would focus on the Fruit of the Spirit from the book of Galatians in the Bible.

Mercy and Judah have been learning alot these days about loving each other and learning to serve one another. They are both at the ages now where they have their own STRONG opinions, ideas and thoughts about EVERYTHING and this leads to alot of arguing, complaining and fighting. We read the passage from Galatians 5 and discovered what the Bible says about our actions. We made a “fruit basket” with the fruit of the Spirit in it and placed it in the middle of the kitchen so we can remember to fill ourselves up with these fruit. This activity was a practical way to help me talk with them about the ways in which they can show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to one another.

He cut out the fruit and wrote most of the words:)

I gave them the example of how a fruit tree produces its own fruit; i.e. apple trees produce apples. I explained that in the same way we produce fruit according to our words and actions. This fruit belongs to either a “SPIRIT-filled tree” or a “SELF-filled tree”.They seemed to get the concept and I was challenged as well. It really made me think about what fruit I am producing in my life through my thoughts, words and actions. I desire to live a life that demonstrates a consecration to God and his Spirit!

What kind of fruit are you producing in your life? Are there areas that need to be refocused?

May you experience the abundant love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that are yours in the Spirit. May you walk in the fullness of His plans and purposes for your life today! Blessings!!

Mothers and Daughters

I love my mom!

After having my sweet daughters Mercy and Atirah I have become increasingly aware of the unique relationship between mothers and daughters. Having little girls is so special. As I watch them grow I see so much of myself in them. I love being their mommy. Being a mom often reminds me of my mother as well. I don’t think I truly appreciated my mom to the fullest until I had children of my own. I never really took note of all the sacrifice and service that goes into being a mother. I’m not just talking about a woman who bears a child but one who completely abandons herself to nuture and care for that child. I have been blessed in this life with an incredible mother. She has taught me 99% of what is important in life and has been a constant example of what I one day want to be like!

Today is my mothers birthday! I wrote this blog in honor of her. She is my hero, my wise counselor, and my inspiration. She is a god-fearing woman. I celebrate her life today! All the countless hours of loving me, the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, the arguments, the hours spent driving to and fro, the millions of meals cooked, the money spent, the time invested. I could never have the words to thank or repay her. I honor my mother and I am humbled to have her in my life. Although I could never say anything that would equate to her service to me the one thing that my heart longs to do is to give my all for my girls. I want to serve, love and mentor them. I want to spend countless hours rocking them to sleep, playing dolls, teaching them about life, kissing their little cheeks, having tea parties, travelling the world, reading them stories, telling them that they are valuable and lovely. Just like my mom did for me.

My mom and my Mercy:)

There are not many people that I aspire to be like but there is one that I am sure that I want to be like, that’s my mom. She is compassionate and caring, humble, wise, discerning and full of love. She always listens, never judges, prays unceasingly, serves relentlessly and does it with joy! She is selfless and patient, kind and thoughtful, she is a leader and always follows God, she is nurturing and gentle, couragious and strong, a wonderful essence of peace. I wish these traits were genetic because I would love to inherit all of them. She has worked hard and been tried and tested. She has earned her character and integrity. I feel blessed to watch her grow! Her grandparenting skills are outstanding and all my children adore her. She is the woman that the book of Proverbs speaks about. The Bible talks about this woman’s children rising up and praising her and it would be impossible for me not to do so because “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!” Provbers 31:30. I will forever sing her praises!

Happy Birthday Momma Bear, I love you and I will spend the rest of my life trying to be like you:)

A Celebration of LOVE

My little lovebugs

Many people have asked me if we celebrate Valentines Day seeing as it is not “christian” holiday. My response: Absolutely!!! Any opportunity that we can get to celebrate LOVE we’re going for it! In our home “LOVE DAY” as we call it is a day when we can reflect on God’s love and remember His beautiful sacrifice for us. We do crafts, read bible verses on love, make hearts shaped cookies, sandwiches, and have a special Valentines dinner. (Heart shaped pizza with heart shaped toppings:) It is a day to reflect once again of God’s great love for us!

Raspberry finger puppets

I remember before I had children I would spend the entire day preparing to celebrate a nice evening out somewhere special with Jim. I would have a shower, dress up, do my nails and often wear heels. Oh have things changed!:) Today I have NOT showered, I am NOT dressed up, the kids made me wear a red shirt, jeans and red socks to be “like Valentines”, nails are unpolished and I will NOT be wearing heels:)

Dinner table

I now celebrate all day with the kids and when Jim gets home from work we have a fun dinner together. I think it is becoming a tradition in our home to stay home with the kids on Valentines evening and to tell the truth, I love it! During this season of my life I have learned to embrace the reality that being home with the kids is a blessing and sometimes it is much easier than trying

Jim bought Mercy her first bouquet of roses, she was so happy, she kept repeating "oh thank you daddy"

to get someone else to look after them or taking them out. I am sure that one day our children will grow up and Jim and I will once again go out of Valentine’s night. (At that point I’ll probably miss being home with my babies:)

Yummy fruit kabobs

I believe that as mothers we walk in a new level of LOVE. A selfless, and serving love. We use all our strength to serve our children and our husbands. We choose daily to let go of our own wants and desires to pursue a higher standard of love. I believe that this is the love we as humans are called to. To lay down our lives for one another, just as Christ laid down his life for us. I know that this is something I need to work on in my own life. Not always being concerned with myself but shifting the focus to others, and asking how can I serve? how can I help?

Getting ready to do a craft

When was the last time you had a selfless love for someone?

We used tape, less mess:)

Today we made these fun mobiles to decorate at the table. They were a great craft idea from our Awana cubbies book. The kids loved it and it was easy, no mess, no clean up! I’ve included a couple pictures so you can see them.

Finished product!

The Bible is full of verses on LOVE. I was read some of them this morning and I’d like to share a few with you.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. Om tjos way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out all fear.” 1 John 4:16-18

Heart-shaped Grilled Cheese

“The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Gal 5

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how high, how long, how deep and how wide his love is!” Eph 3:18

Pizza prep, I used the easy pizza dough recipe and it tastes amazing!

“We love because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19

“We should love one another” 1 John 3:11b

Heart Pizza

May to feel His love today, may you come to know the depth, height, width and length of this deep love He has for you. God loved us and sent His son! This is worth celebrating!!

Happy LOVE Day!

The Weight of Worry

Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?Matthew 6:26 NIV

If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Matthew 6:26 Msg

Have you ever worried about you life? What you will eat? Where you will live?  Will you ever get married? How many kids you will have? How will you be able to afford a home?

This verse in Matthew serves as a continual reminder to me that worrying about my life is really pointless. When I sit back and consider things that I worry about, thinking about them isn’t going to be bring resolve and worrying about them is definitely not going to accomplish anything. I often struggle with faith in God and truly trusting Him with every aspect of my life. I worry about my children, my future, the youth, and our finances. Many days I will sit in my living room and watch the birds eating off the feeders in our backyard. They are well fed, beautiful little creatures. And here I am sitting in the warmth of my home, completely clothed and fed, worrying about my life. What’s up with that??

Why don’t I trust God? Why do I feel the need to take control and make things happen? Why can’t I just wait patiently and watch Him move mountains before me?

I think our human nature likes to be in control. We think we are so smart and have it all figured out. We believe lies that say: “If I don’t take care of it, it won’t get done”, “If I don’t work hard enough I will go without”, “if I obey God now I will have little in my future”, or “if I don’t have a plan or working knowledge of something than I can’t go ahead with it”. Imagine the birds said that? What would happen if all the birds stopped flying around because they wanted to store up their energy incase they didnt get food that day? How silly would that be? The fact that they fly around in faith is what brings them into the provision of God. If they didn’t fly through our backyard they would never find the abundance of seed we have out for them. The same is true of us. If we choose NOT to fly until we are certain of the outcome we will never enter into the promises that God has for us!

I want to fly into the unknown. I want to be a woman of faith. I want the ability to trust no matter what. I want to be able to give credit to God for all areas and situations in my life whether they are simple or difficult. The future is uncertain to all of us. God is waiting for us to stretch out our wings and fly into the open skies, free of any cares that hold us back. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you 1 Peter 5:7. Imagine trying to run a marathon dragging a 50lbs weight? That is what it looks like to carry our worries with us. Let Go!

I am going to choose to relinguish control of that false sense of control. My sense of control is NOT reality and is NOT biblical. Last I checked in the book of Proverbs 3:5 we are called to “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean NOT of your own understanding, in ALL your ways acknowledge HIM and He will direct your steps”!

Let’s be woman of faith who trust in God, who lean on Him, and who choose not to have full understanding or comprehension of all of our ways.

What would your life look like if you gave it all to Him?

Don’t trade the freedom that Jesus bought for a 50lb weight of worry. I pray that you will have the courage to let go of that which holds you back and run free from and hindrances. I pray for faith and hope in what is to come. May you enter into His rest and His peace. May you experience the complete freedom that comes from a life surrendered to him. May to trust Him because he cares for you!

The Truth Behind the Fruit Snacks

I love how my children are always challenging me to evaulate my heart motives and my convictions. As a parent, there have been several times where I have chosen to “raise the bar” in certain areas of character and integrity. As leaders and influencers in our homes our ceiling will be our childrens floor, in other words, our highest standard has the potential to be the foundation for their lives.

My mother’s heart longs for my children to excel beyond where I am, I want them to go further than where I’ve been. I want my life to be an investment into theirs so that the return will be even greater. God has been challenging me to stand firm in my faith and to uphold His standards in our home. I dont’ know about you but I find it difficult NOT to compare myself with other mothers and woman who I look up to. I think it is great to have examples and role models in our lives but ultimately the word of God needs to be our greatest influence!

My son, Judah spearheaded another amazing challenge yesterday when he asked me to give him some fruit snacks in the morning. He told me that “daddy said I could have some”. I confirmed this statement with him several times and he kept giving me the same answer. Although I knew in my heart that Jim probably didn’t say that, I went along with it. I told Judah that I was going to ask daddy once he came downstairs if he did in fact tell him that. He said “ok”. I noticed at this point he looked a little sheepish and got very quiet as he ate. Once he was done we had a conversation with Jim. Jim’s response was that he told Judah he could have some fruit snacks “at some point today, not necessarily in the morning”. However, Judah assured me that daddy said he could have the fruit snacks right then.

So what’s the problem? To some it may appear that Judah was telling the truth: Jim DID say he could have the fruit snacks at some point, right? Wrong. In actuality Judah was lying BECAUSE he was trying to twist the truth to decieve me into giving him the snack when he wanted it. Ultimately, he was trying to deceive me in that moment. The definition of lying is: the intent to deceive. Whenever we try to twist the truth or hold back the entire truth we are lying. This definition takes lying from mental awareness to a heart/soul awareness. It begs the question of our true heart motives whenever we speak to others. It makes us responsible and accountable to be truthful in ALL circumstances.

This is a principle that our children NEED to learn in order to have pure hearts before God. The Bible is clear in the book of Matthew that “blessed are those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God“! I want to see Him and I want my children to see Him too!

Have you ever thought of lying as the intent to deceive?

In the above example with Judah, he was not given a consequence because we had not taught him this principle yet. Although, it was obvious, from his countenance and behavior that deep down he knew what he was trying to do, deceive me, and he knew it was wrong. Going forward he is now responsible for what he knows. If he chooses to lie in the future he will be accountable to his words and actions. This is the same with me, I am, as a mother, responsible and accountable for my words and actions, with my husband, my children and all the people I influence around me.

How can instilling this knowledge to your children be beneficial?

May you be blessed and honored as you live a honest and transparent life. May God give you the strength and the wisdom that you need to encourage your little ones be ALL that God created them to be. May all of our hearts to be pure and truthful before the Lord!

In the silence…

God is speaking…in the quiet and the stillness of my heart.

This new year has brought with is a deep longing to hear the voice of God. I am dreaming of a new level of mentorship and closeness with my God. I feel like I am being awakened to a new season of desperation and hunger for the Lord. I am not sure if it is because I feel more out of control of my life than ever before, or if my soul is just plain thirsty for Him, whatever it is I feel like my brokeness is making way for new levels of healing and wholeness in Him.

I can sense a new level of awareness of the presence of God as I sit in the silence of my home. In the evenings and afternoons when the children are quiet, I love to sit in the silence. There have been several nights this week when I just awaken and lie still in my bed and sense the Spirit of God with me. As I have been reflecting on a life that is completely consecrated to the Lord I have begun to realize that this is the true longing of my heart. To devote myself to God. I am choosing to hear His voice, obey His leading and focus on His words.

I am awakening to the reality of how much I have to be thankful. I have caught myself grumbling and complaining over the past couple days and have had to repent of my selfishness. I want to become increasingly aware of what is on the heart of God and find out how I am become part of the solution. I think often I try to complicate my destiny or purpose, when in reality it is right in front of me. I am called to be part of the solution to those who are troubled around me. God show me the opportunities that I can help others who needs  to be encouraged.

Who is troubled in your sphere of influence? How can you bring resolve or encouragement to them?

May you be awakened to the reality of who God is. May you embrace the opportunities right before you. My prayer is that we would all follow Him with our whole hearts, not seeking approval from man but from God himself. Lord make us more like you so that we can be an example to our children and those beautiful people you have place in oursphere of influence!

Be Still and Know that I am God…

Be still, and know that I am God!

I will be honored by every nation.

I will be honored throughout the world.

Psalm 46:10 NLT

This verse in Psalms can be a challenge for us busy woman, wives amd mothers as we tend to the many needs of our husbands, jobs, studies, and little ones during the day. So many things are causing us to be anything but still! I have been challenged by the Lord to take whatever moments in the day that I get to sit in the stillness and know that HE is God. To be aware of how great he really is!

When I get these quiet times I am NOT to be on the phone or the computer, NOT reading emails, facebook, catching up on blog comments, NOT doing chores or striving to make my house look spotless, but giving myself the freedom to STOP and BE STILL! (At least for a few minutes each day). All the other things will always be there and I can get to them later. Being filled up by the presence of God keeps me going each day. The more of God I have in me, the better momma I am to my little ones and wife to my husband.

When was the last time you just sat in the stillness to know that He is God?

I think that many times we forget to read the entire verse of Psalm 46:10. We read the beginning; “Be still and know that I am God”, but the second part of the verse is equally as amazing; “I will be honored in every nation, I will be honored throughout the world”. God is God. He is amazing and powerful. He is the reason we have breath in this moment. Be still and know Him. He WILL be honored by all nations and throughout the earth, let Him start to be honored in your heart today!

Honor Him today by recognizing Him in the moments of stillness. Believe, trust, and depend on His presence. May you be flooded with the knowledge of God today. May you be blessed beyond measure and may you truly know that He is God!