Shepherding our flocks

Photo Credit: Expressions Photography

I have been thinking alot about shepherds these days. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s because we have been watching the Nativity Story and the shepherds are highlighted several times in the movie. Or, it could be that I was blessed with incredible insight from a good friend of mine, Jenilee, about a week ago on shepherding our children. Either way the concept of shepherding has been on my heart!

As I sit here this afternoon all I can think about is how tired I am. All three of my children have been sick for the past 24hrs and I am exhausted. Moments like these really take a toll on me emotionally. I often begin to doubt my mothering abilities and start to become frustrated with my children and our present “sickly” situation. Thankfully the Lord has been gracious to me and has given me the strength that I asked for. Much like a shepherd I am taking care of my flock, through the good the bad and the ugly.

Since becoming a mommy it has been a real challenge to find time to be with the Lord in the midst of my daily happenings. Especially when the kids are sick, I feel like I am constantly running from child to child, wipping noses, changing diapers and washing my hands in between. I am humbled and lowly. I feel like I am serving their bodily functions all day long! What purpose is there?

My dear friend Jenilee inquired of the Lord about this and this is what He told her, I believe that this word is for all mothers out there. “David was a shepherd, as you are.  He shepherded sheep, you shepherd your children.  He may have wanted to close his eyes and get lost in hours of blissful worship, as you do, but he couldn’t afford that.  He had many little sheep that needed constant attention.  He had to bring them to water, bring them to food, keep them corralled, chase them down when they wandered, keep a constant eye out for wolves, bears, lions, and then kill the beasts when they challenged the safety of his lambs…. much like you do.  You have to feed and nurture your children, keep them in safe places, watch constantly that the enemy is not attempting to prey on them, and then you must stand up against the enemy when he dares to touch your child.  You must constantly be alert, as a shepherd.  There are moments of quiet, but even in those moments of quiet, you are watching, listening, caring.  Just like my servant David.  Yet, he took the moments of love.  He sang while he watched.  He listened to my voice, while he scanned the herd for wandering sheep.  He drew on my strength and wisdom when he fought beasts.  He grew to know me, though his times with me did not look much like what you used to experience, yet he knew me and sought my heart, even amidst the distractions, the constant watching and tending.  And, though shepherding was a very simple job to the outside eye, I saw what it created inside him, and I saw him worthy to be established as a king.  You will shepherd children for many years, and it may feel somewhat aimless at times, and even like you’re giving up much of your greatest potential in order to just wipe noses or scrub behind ears, and it may feel that there is greatness within you just lying there, waiting, untapped.  Yet, at the right moment, those years of faithfulness and commitment and care are laying a foundation for you to step into the “kingship” seasons that you sense reside quietly inside.  When you feel your parenthood is an obstacle, the menial tasks of raising children “pointless”, remember my servant David, and continue on in your faithfulness, encouraged that it is not a waste, it is not fruitless, it is not wasting an ounce of what I’ve placed in you.   The greatest king of Israel spent the majority of his life raising sheep… and yet he made a great king of Israel because he seized the moments of love when they were available and allowed me to build him into a King.”

Photo Credit: Liz Lott, Snapdragon Photography

The great King David, written about in the Bible, was a shepherd before he became king of Israel. He would sit in the fields and take care of his sheep ALL DAY LONG FOR YEARS! He would fight off bears, bring back lost sheep, carry sheep that were sick, get them food, water and lead them all day long. Although he looked like a young boy, God was working in his life and training him to fulfill this destinee! After years of his service to sheep God saw fit to promote him to become a King! The King over Israel, a people whom God loved and cared for. Not only was he a king but he was also called “a man after God’s own heart”. How did this happen? From a pasture to a palace?

Photo Credit: Sara Crowe, Sara Naomi Photography

I am convinced that something happens to a person when they are put in a position of “shepherding” a flock.  When we are shepherds we become lowly and humble. We realize there there is nothing in ourelves that is worthy to serve, it is a priveledge and an honour. When we give ourselves completely to the life of another individual and expect nothing in return our heart and character is exercised! Embracing shepherdhood allows us to become all that God intended us to be! Humble, kind, generous, sacrificial, loving, forgiving, patient and the list goes on. Essentially we become more like Christ, the good Shepherd. He is the one who shepherds us on our journey and teaches us how to love others. What an amazing man He was and what an incredible example He left for us through his life.

My children are my flock in this stage of my life. God knows what I can handle. He knows when I am weary and tired. When I feel like I want to give up. Shepherding my kids is the most difficult job on the planet because it constantly tests my heart motives and character. Mommas are dealing with sickness and heart issues, with selfish toddlers and crying babies, these little people who do not know how to give back at this point in their young lives. I hope and pray that through the example I live as I shepherd them that they too will desire to be people to give of themselves daily to meet the needs of others. No matter what happens everything I do is unto the Lord, as I follow him, my children will follow me.

Photo Credit: Liz Lott, Snapdragon Photography

Who is your flock? How are you doing at shepherding them? I believe that all shepherds will be rewarded in this life or in the life to come. Think of the lowly shepherds living outside of Bethlehem, God sent an angel to them to announce that their savior was born, that is a pretty big deal considering that they were considered social outcasts in those days. God does not overlook anyone! King David was a shepherd who was overlooked by his own father and brothers. He became the great king of Israel and a man after God’s own heart. I am encouraged that one day I will see the fruit of my labour. That these tiny children who are coughing and sneezing all over me today will grow to be mighty servant of the Lord.

May you experience peace and rest as you shepherd your flock today!

Preparing for Advent

One family activity that we do every year around this time of year is Advent. Advent can take many forms and can be done in SO many creative ways. In our home, during this season of having small children, we have a fun advent activity tree that we do every day starting on December 1st leading up to Christmas eve. Included in each insert on the tree is a scripture verse of the Christmas story and a small gift. Every other day Judah and Mercy take turns opening the advent numbers.

We do verses from Luke 1:26 to Luke 2:11 throughout the month of December. In the past we have pasted them on the wall or fridge and on Christmas eve we read the entire story together as a family. This year we are going to put them on paper, let the kids draw a picture of the story and we will make an advent book to read together. (Plus it will be a fun memory for me when they get older)

We also include a small gift, and when I say small I mean it. I have wrapped several little things that are fun to open but are necessities that the kids will use. They are colour coded and one of them is placed in the insert each day. (If I put them all out they would be opened for sure! – we are working on self-control:) I have included things such as; a tooth brush, playdough, art supplies, colouring books, hair bows, trail mix, a veggie tales DVD’s, pencils, stickers, etc. These are all things that could be found in a stocking but rather than being overwhelmed on Christmas with a bunch of stocking stuffers we do one per child, every other day, leading up to Christmas.

The most special part of Advent is that we get to explore the entire story of Christmas as well as ponder it for the whole month. It prepares our hearts to recieve the revelation of Christ and the beauty and mystery of His birth. It allows the kids to take it all in and to learn the remarkable the events leading up to His birth. We are excited for tomorrow as it marks the first day of our advent activities.

May to experience the awe and wonder of the birth of our savior!

Influence

Have you ever been amazed at how one drop of dish soap can disperse an entire sink full of oil? How just one tiny spark can ignite a raging and unforgiving forest fire? Or how one small stone thrown into a still body of water can cause a vast ripple effect?

Even the smallest most subtle interruptions can have enormous effects on their surroundings. Just like these natural cause and effects we too can experience this in our spiritual lives. As belivers can have a profound influence on those around us by simply being that small drop or spark. We can affect our entire surroundings by simply living the difference that God has made in our lives. We are called to be those who share God’s love EVERYDAY to EVERYONE we come in contact with. I have heard that it takes 7 positive words to dispell one negative word spoken into the life of another individual. Maybe today is your day to speak LIFE into someone else.

May you spread the love of God in your sphere of influence today. May you not overlook the amazing power that comes from speaking simple and beautiful words of encouragement. Let’s make a difference that counts for eternity today, one life at a time!

Encouraging words…

While I was doing my daily devotionals yesterday I came across an amazing article by best-selling author, speaking, teacher and mother, Angela Thomas. I wanted to share it with you, it is from her book Prayers for Mothers of Newborns. It has been a real encouragement to me today and I want to share it with my readers. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the task at hand know that there are other woman walking in your shoes and we can be an encouragement to eachother in these days. May these words bring comfort to your heart and rest to your busy days…

In the words of Angela Thomas;

“Dear God of Solomon, Our disheveled bed remains unmade another day. It’s lunchtime, and I still haven’t eaten breakfast. I’ve attempted to unload the dishwasher for hours now; just a dew more free moments and it will be done. Diapers and blankets and spit-up clothes clutter every catchall place. The garbage can is full…well maybe I can cram in a little more trash. It’s Thursday,and Sunday’s paper waits to be read. A new baby. How can one precious, cherub-faced newborn bring such devastation and disarray? I thought It was all ready for the challenge but here I sprawl, knocked flat. My greatest daily accomplishment is survival. My kids go through the day semiclothed and partially fed. We quickly gave up on the goal of getting anywhere on time. We are just about ready to leave, and there’s another poopy diaper or spit-up incident. Spit-up is the worst. Most of the time I have to change my clthes as well as hers, then clean up th car seat and any other objects within projectile distance. My preoccupation with accomplishment is freed by the words of Solomon: “What has been done will be done again (Ecc 1:9).” Some things take lower priority. “Catching up” lasts only for a moment. These are the days of mothering my baby. Caring for the family is important. Loving You is important. Everything else can wait. Nothing else really matters right now. Thank You for the release from accomplishment. Help meto focus on the things that matter. There is rest in the truth of Yor word. Amen.”

I really thought that these words from Angela Thomas were so uplifting and encouraging. There are days where we measure our worth by what we accomplish. We need to remember that in this season of motherhood we are not called to accomplish, we are called to love God and our families! So savor these moments, don’t worry if the dishwasher isn’t unloaded yet or all the laundry is done. Snuggle your little ones and enjoy their giggles, and laughter, smell the baby and give her lots of kisses. May to experience the fullness of motherhood and the patience and grace to love the Lord and your family today!!

Bucket of Rocks

This past weekend was absolutely beautiful, it was a cool and crisp, but warm and sunny. I love the fall, such an incredible time of year to reflect. I find myself really stopping to look at the leaves, smell the fresh air and thinking back on all the wonderful memories of the summer. The fall always promps me to want to nest, organize and prepare for the upcoming year. I went through and organized all the summer/winter clothing for myself, Jim and the kids, sent 5 garbage bags to rebuilt resources, organized my entire walk in closet, sorted through the playroom purging all the unused toys and reorganized my tupperware drawer; it feels so good! My husband, Jim, and I also decided that we were going to clean out and organize the garage this weekend and we did! It look amazing and we can actually both park our cars in there. Since moving into our new home last winter our garage has been the go to place for junk and other unwanted parafinalia. Now it is neat and organized!

In the same way I like to organize my physical surroundings I also feel the urgency to organize matters in my heart. I love how my children end up teaching me life’s most valuable lessons;) And thankfully my son Judah was the teacher this weekend:) While Jim and I were our organizing the Lord showed us an incredible picture of the importance of unloading and organizing our hearts and the things in life that weigh us down! My son Judah kept yelling at Jim to come to the ditch infront of our house because he wanted to tell him something. Jim was trying to clean out the garage and he couldn’t keep running back and forth so he told Judah to come and talk to him in the garage. Judah explained that he couldn’t come over, he kept yelling “daddy come here I want to talk to you”. (We didnt realize it but Judah had taken a large bucket out of the garage and was filling it up with his favorite rocks in the ditch. Many of these rocks were large and really heavy but he “loved” each one. Judah couldn’t move the bucket of rocks so we wanted Jim to come to him). Judah finally told Jim that he had a bucket full of rocks and they were too heavy to move so he couldn’t come talk in the garage. Jim encouraged Judah to get rid of some of the rocks or leave them and come and talk to him but Judah refused. He wanted to bring them. He continued to whine and complain that his bucket was too heavy to carry. He was frustrated and the whole neighbourhood knew it. Jim continued to encourage him again to leave the rocks but Judah wouldn’t he wanted to bring them. This carried on for a while until Judah finally dumped the bucket and came to talk to Jim.

Does this sound familiar to any of you? Is your bucket full of rocks? Have you ever tried to hold onto something or carry something that you were not strong enough to carry? Do you get frustrated and complain when you know there are areas in your life that you need to “leave behind”?  I’ll be the first to admit that there are times I find myself struggling to get to the Father because I refuse to leave my sin behind. I whine and complain that God won’t meet me but it’s because I refuse to move. Just like Judah was so determined to hold onto his rocks I am so determined to hold onto my sin. I make up excuses for my sin trying to justify them. I can’t leave behind the “rock” of anger because then I won’t feel justified, or the “rock” of comparison or bitterness, hatred or pride, performance, envy, jealously, idolatry…you get the idea. We try to explain how much we love these “rocks” and we may even dress them up to look so nice. (See picture above – Judah’s pet rock, orginally named: “rocky”!). Regardless, we all carry around these heavy rocks and when the Father asks us to leave them and we refuse. We get frustrated and begin to grumble and complain, much like the Israellites. We need to realize that we were not meant to carry these “rocks”! We need to let them go. Are there some “rocks” that you may be carrying around that God wants you to leave so that you can get closer to him? He says in his word that if we draw near to Him, he will draw near to us, James 4:8. So I encourage you to leave them, empty your bucket and move forward, it’s worth it!

May you experience the fullness of a close relationship with him, free from any “rocks” that are weigh you down!

Building…

Wow I feel like it has been ages since I last blogged, although it has really only been 2 weeks. For me, that is a long time, I am used to journaling and writing down my thoughts daily. Life has been busy with the Wilson tribe. We are currently building a home and with building comes much sacrifice! Our family time is sacred during these days as Jim is often working in the evening at the house. We had a wonderful Father’s day yesturday and are gearing up for another exciting week!

The entire foundation of our home is now complete, praise the Lord! It has felt like a long time, although I am told that it was actually faster than normal.

It amazes me as I stand back and observe this large amount of concrete in the group that this will one day be the foundation of my home. Our lives will revolved around this place, it will be where my babies grow up, where we make memories, where the walls of our house and lives will be built. I am in awe of how much sweat and labour has gone into this part of the house (and money). The foundation is completely buried underground yet the true test of its strength depends on what we see above ground. I feel a spiritual parrallel coming on:)

Isn’t it true that the foundation of our lives is what really matters? The exterior can be beautiful and decorative yet if the foundation is faulty EVERYTHING will crumble! We need to be people who a committed to developing a firm foundation and making sure that we are connected to God who is our strength! I firmly believe that we cannot rush our relationship with Him. Just like we cannot lay the foundation of a house quickly, we cannot rush through our relationship with Him – our foundation. It takes time. Life takes time. To heal, to be made whole, to trust, to love, to have faith. It takes precious time to build these things, just like it takes time to build a home. If you rush you will miss important steps that could jeopardize the security and stability of your home.

We live in a culture that craves speed, power, and efficiency. We are constantly stimulating our minds on computers, cell phones, videos, games, and various types of multi-taking in order to accomplish as much as possible. We need to make time to rest. To be still. To be quiet. To know that HE is God so that all nations will be blessed! Our physiological make up is designed for down time, if we deprived our body and our minds of sleep for long enough we would actually die! I believe this is true spiritually as well, if we do not slow down and rest we will run out of steam. Take a couple minutes today to be still…rest your Spirit and listen to the Lord…what is He saying?

May to experience a time of peace and quiet where you can reflect and know that HE is God!

When it rains it pours!

Today it was pouring rain in my world! It is funny because I have recently been telling people that motherhood has been fairly simple these days. The kids are at nice stages as they are both sleeping at the same time, eating well, and playing together. But in the last 24hrs, it has been a different story! Mercy woke up at least 4 times last night – she is teething, they were both cranky this morning, Judah was drama king and extra emotional, they both cried at the same time on multiple occasions, fussy about eating, Judah woke Mercy up and at nap time Mercy woke Judah up, everything was a fight and no one listen to mommy! Judah kept telling me to go to work, he wanted to see daddy. (love that line, can’t you feel love and appreciate in those moments:) – NOT)

What did I do? What happened? I kept trying to pinch myself all morning wondering if I was sleeping and needed to be woken up from this nightmare. I often see this pattern in motherhood, things go ALL wrong at the same time and also at the most inconvenient times! Hence the saying “When it rains it pours”!

Once I finally got these two little angels to sleep, for their afternoon nap, I sat alone in peace, quiet and stillness, ate my breakfast (it was now 1:30pm) and had a little debriefing session with God. He knows my kids better than me so I often go to Him for advice:) I really believe that when life challenges us we can do one of two things:

1. Complain and wallow in our frustration

Or…

2. Reflect and learn from the situation

I chose the latter and as a result I really learned a lot about my perception of life. Everything was chaotic this morning because inside of me I had a plan or a picture of what things should look like, it was an EXPECTATION of my babies and our day. The Lord slowly and graciously helped me to lay down my selfishness, my agenda and my desires and remember that in HIS kingdom selflessness and humility come first! I truly believe that my reactions to the day and what I was telling myself had everything to do with the difficulty level. I was tense, stressed and negative. I now realize this. Next time I am going to be calm, relaxed and positive.

Kids are unpredictable. Life throws us curve balls. You are NOT alone! God is in control. Our priorities are to love Him and love our kids! May you experience the peace that passes all understanding today, may it guard your heart and mind in Christ!  May the Lord bless you and your household today!

Magnificent Mothering

Hello to all you wonderful mothers out there! I feel compelled to let you know, that in this day and age, your role as a mother is so important. We have the power to shift a nation and to raise children who are God fearing, confident, whole individuals. I have been challenged with the thought that any woman can be a mom, biologically, but it takes a woman who desires to love, nurture and see their child excel, beyond their own accomplishments, to be a mother. Mothering is not an easy task, in fact, it is the most multifaceted, complex, demanding job on earth and it takes much skill and selflessness to master! This morning I was reflecting on my role as a mother. Often, people tell us to not do anything on mothers day, to take the day off, but I feel like today is an opportunity to, in all I do, remember how blessed I am to be able to serve my children and my family.

 I thought it would be nice to include a little humor, seeing as the majority of my days are spent laughing at myself or my kids, and the silly things that seem to happen and change when you become a mother. So here are a few scenarios you may be able to identify with. You know you are a mother when:

You spit on your hands to clean off the faces of your children.

You wear jogging pants for a week straight

You can talk on the phone, pack a snack, wash the dishes, and breastfeed all at the same time.

You cannot remember the last time you painted your nails.

Your washing machine never stops running.

You have thousands of pictures of your children but not one of you.

You never leave the house without snacks.

You reach into your purse to pay for groceries and you pull out a soother.

You often think and feel that you are not capable to do this job but then realize that you wouldn’t trade it for the WORLD!

I cannot explain the overwhelming joy that comes to my heart when I sit down and think about my children. The emotions, the desire and the love are too much to express in words. They can only be demonstrated through a life of expression. I began to wonder that perhaps all of these emotions, evoked in my relationship with my kids, are a way of God expressing His heart towards me. Is that possible? If I am only human, could that love and desire for me be even stronger since He is the creator of those emotions? Could my relationship with my kids be an example, on a small scale, of the passionate, burning, undying love of God? I do believe this to be true. As a mother, I am experiencing a picture of God’s heart for me. How I see my kids, love them, express my heart towards them, etc., are all examples of how God feels towards me. Wow! In realizing this, one thing becomes evident: I NEED HIM to show me how to love my kids. I want His guidance and mentor-ship on this road of motherhood. May all the glory of motherhood be given back to God because He is the one who made me a mother. He is the one who created my children and gave them to me. 

I pray that, today, each of you will feel a strong sense of God’s pleasure with you as a mother. You play a vital and important role in the lives of your children and your family. The impact you have now is like an investment. The long term return is far greater than what you see now. If you plant seeds, you will reap a harvest! So in the mean time, between the planting and the harvesting, may you experience the joy, inner peace and contentment that comes from being a mother. May you realize, that out of your sacrifice, lives are being shaped, personalities affirmed, and world leaders are in the making. May you know that no one else, in the WORLD, can be your child’s mother and that NOBODY loves you like they do! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY. Bless you as you continue to embark upon this journey of motherhood!

“Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will NOT depart from it!” Proverbs 22:6

Overwhelmed with Emotion

If there is one thing I know about being a woman, its that I get easily overwhelmed with emotion! Somedays I feel like I am falling apart on the inside and my skin is all that is holding my body together. I want to cry, laugh, scream and smile all at the same time. If I had it my way today I would melt into a pool of tears on the floor. Somedays I somehow manage to hold myself together long enough for my husband to walk through the door and then I melt. After many tears are shed and I gather my composure I begin to explain the events of the day and what has led up to this melttdown. As I continue on something inside of me feels somewhat embarassed that I was upset at all. I begin to look at my day and realize it actually wasnt that bad, yet the strong emotions that I felt caused everything to be augmented 100 fold. I again realize the power of my emotion. It can literally dictate my day if I allow it to. Today is one of those days except I have begun to catch the overwhelming feelings before they get the better of me. The Lord showed me this amazing verse and I am certain that it will be one that carries me many days through, it goes like this; “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8 Somehow when I read that my God is full of grace and compassion, that He isnt easily angered and that He is full of love…I feel peace and I can take a deep breath knowing that He is not up in heaven completely disappointed in me. I feel like I disappoint myself enough and the feeling of having GOD upset with me as well is completely overwhelming. As a mom I need a cheering sqad, I wish I had my own cheerleaders in my corner shouting “you’re gonna make it”, “you can do it”, hang in there”. As I woman and especially as a mother I know that emotion is my middle name. I feel like I can experience 10 different heightened emotions within a 30 minute span. Life is so full of drama when you involve children and it can be really difficult. Add on the sleep deprivation lack of adult interaction and WOW its not always pretty! I am sure that many of you can relate. So let me point you in the direction of the one who gave you emotion and allow him to help you through.

In closing today I want to speak over you what the Lord said to me today, I believe it is for us all; “My child, I AM gracious and compassionate, I am slow to anger, I AM love and I long to satify your desires with good things so that your strength is renewed. Do not allow your emotions and feelings to get the better of you, know that I am your biggest fan and in my books you are a success, no matter how you feel. You are an amazing woman, wife and mother, I am so proud of you and no emotion that you feel can ever change that.

All mixed up!

Today I feel as though my thoughts, emotions, and life plans resemble a rubiks cube, that is incomplete! I stand back and examine all of the current events in my life and realize that everything is out of place. My to-do-list continues to grow no matter how many tasks I accomplish, the housework piles up, my personal goals fade away. It seems as though everything that should be organized is not and I cant help but think about how much more is to come in the near future. I am choosing today to solve what I can and be ok with what I cannot complete. There are only 24 hours in a day and there is no point in me trying to do so many things that I loose the joy and contentment that each day has to offer. Because I am slightly OCD when it comes to  having my household in order this is quite difficult for me. I want things to be efficient and organized. I want to maximize my time and energy. However in doing these things often I loose sight of what is most important…people!