Light of His Love

Ephesians 2:8-9
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, let anyone should boast."

Ephesians 3:16-19
"that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts though faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in LOVE, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the LOVE of Christ which passes knowledge; that you you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

Shift your focus from your performance to My radiant Presence. The Light of My Love shines on you continually, regardless of your feelings or behavior. (Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling")

I am so prone to look ahead to my day and try to "do" everything right.

I want to keep my voice tempered.
I want to accomplish my "list."
I want to have dinner ready.
I want to have a clean house.
I want to have well-behaved children.

I am so prone to look at all of these things as conditions by which God gives me His love.

Oh the lie! Oh the selfishness.

God's love is not conditional.  It is abounding - who can know the width, height, depth, and length!?

Am I lying to myself today? Telling myself that if I never raise my voice then God will be proud of me?
Am I being selfish by saying if I do everything I want to do, God will accept me better when I lay my head on the pillow?

God, forgive my selfish, weak heart.  Make me strong, not to "do" - but to realize that Your presence is the most precious thing.  Help me to see that I do nothing to earn your Presence, nor will I ever do anything to keep your Presence.  It is mine.  Your loving gift to me. Amen.

And the beauty - as I realize and dwell in the Presence of Him - my actions will naturally follow.


Letting Go of the Illusion

I love my children, but they are complete interrupters!  I have my day's To-Do list, but it never gets done! I have goals and aspirations for the day, but many days I lay my head on my pillow and sigh will all of those goals unmet.

Letting go of control is an on-going battle that I face.  I like to have things going my way (who doesn't?)  I think that my type-A, OCD, and perfectionist tendencies are all working against me.  I struggle with frustration mainly because I want things to go my way and they aren't!

I think that I am entitled to certain things.
Children disobey _ I want them to obey!
Children make messes _ I want a clean house!
Basement floods _ I want to do laundry.
Those are all wants, not needs.

They are flesh. Not, Spirit.

The truth is that no one has control - but letting go of that illusion that we do have control is so hard.

It IS an illusion! We hold so tight to that false sense of security!

We say "all things will work together for good."  We think WE have to do the work!
We don't. God does the work.  We hold on to Him.

As Sarah Young says, in her devotional "Jesus Calling:"

November 7
Your sense of security must not rest in your possessions or in things going your way. I am training you to depend on Me alone, finding fulfillment in my Presence.

It is in God's Presence that we find our peace - not in our circumstances. 
It is in God's Presence that we find our peace - not in our possessions.
It is in God's Presence that we find fulfillment.

Psalm 27:4 rightly says:
"One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple."

I pray that for my life, but specifically for today. 
I can only live one day at a time.

I pray that I seek God's Presence today.


Mercy in the Time of Need

November 1
Each time you plow your way through the massive distractions to communicate with Me, you achieve a victory. Rejoice in these tiny triumphs, and they will increasingly light up your days.
Hebrews 4:14-16
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Striving to live in God's presence is no easy task.  It is not a feeling to obtain, but a state of mind.  There are so many distractions! I have laundry piled up. I have closets cluttered.  I have dishes dirty.  Floors sticky.  Messy counters. All the while a baby likes to be held and two toddlers who always want the same toy!

Spiritually speaking, I have struggled to stay nourished lately. I have found that I have duties at church that take me away from attending services. I have sick babies, so I must stay at home. 

When I was young, I had always thought that someday I would be on the mission field somewhere (Africa maybe) and instead of being fed from God's Word, I would have to feed myself. 
Today, while emptying the dishwasher, God whispered to me: "This is your mission field."  (And sometimes I feel like I am in Africa - with  naked little boys running around the house and peeing in the yard!)

Oh, of course I had told myself (and others) this many times.  I had read it in books, blogs, and Bible studies.  For four years it was a theory, and not a practicality. Motherhood is my mission field.

Today it hit me:  If this is my mission field, I am struggling spiritually partly because Satan is attacking (any good work, he attacks) - and partly because it is time I feed myself. 

I may not get to attend every Bible conference available, or sit in the service (without interruption).  I must open my Bible.  Force myself to ignore all of the "To-Do's" and tune out the screaming to read and pray.  I must do this. 

Thankfully, I have a High Priest that knows all my weaknesses and sits on God's throne, ready with mercy and grace to help in the time of need!


Relaxing to Be Ready

**Quick disclaimer, I know months have passed since my last post.  I have had (in the meantime) my third baby.  I forced myself to take the time away, but now am ready to go.  Wasn't she worth it, though?

I have been reading from Sarah Young's devotional book "Jesus Calling."  I would encourage anyone to go out and buy it.  It reminds me of My Utmost for His Highest, but from a very unique perspective.  I have decided to record some of my favorite quotes and verses from her devotional to share and then occasionally add my own reflections.

October 29

"Relax with Me while I ready you for action."
Hebrews 12:3 - "For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls."

It is so vital in my life that I spend time with Jesus, praying and reading His word daily.  It is also much more beneficial for me if I do so in the morning.  Unfortunately, having three little one's, doing it "first thing" never seems to be able to happen.  But as soon as I get everyone fed, dressed, and set for the day, I try to sneak away for 15 minutes and spend some time alone.  I am learning to be more disciplined in staying off the computer at this time, as it distracts from my time. 

It is vital that I "relax" so that my heart, mind, and spirit can be ready for whatever the day will bring.


Already All I Need

I have been nesting lately.  I do like that I get things done when these "nesting" tendencies overcome me - but I do not like the feelings of being overwhelmed.  It causes me to take my eyes off of my Savior and Sustainer.  I look at all that I want to get done, and I get discouraged and irritable. 

So God sent me a little reminder this past week in a song by Christy Nockels
"Already All I Need"

Asking where You are, Lord.
Wondering where You’ve been.
Is like standing in a hurricane, trying to find the wind.
And hoping for Your mercy to meet me where I am.
Is forgetting that Your thoughts for me, outnumber the sand.
You filled the sun with morning light.
You bid the moon to lead the night.
You clothe the lilies bright and beautiful.

You’re already all I need.
Already everything that I could hope for.
You’re already all I need.
You’ve already set me free.
Already making me.
More like You.
You’re already all I need.
Jesus, You’re already all I need.

Walking through this life without Your freedom in my heart.
Is like holding onto shackles that You have torn apart.
So remind me of Your promises.
And all that You have done.
In this world I will have trouble.
But You have overcome.
And every gift that I receive.
You determine just for me.
But nothing I desire compares with You.

In Your fullness.
You’re my all in all.
In Your healing.
I’m forever made whole.
In Your freedom.
Your love overflows.
And carries me.
You carry me.


Living One Day at a Time

Living One Day at a Time
(taken mostly from Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young)

·         1. Follow Me one step at a time. "That is all I require of you. In fact, that is the only way to move through this space/time world.  You see a huge mountain looming and you start wondering how you’re going to scale those heights….But you don’t know what will happen today, much less tomorrow. Our path may take an abrupt turn, leading you away from those mountains. There may be an easier way up the mountains…I will equip you thoroughly for that strenuous climb.” (Feb. 1)

o   God is lighting your path.  Ps. 18:28-29 – For You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall.

o   Faith is essential, not sight.  2 Cor. 5:7 - For we walk by faith, not by sight.

·         2. You can find Me only in the present. (Feb. 3)  We look to the past and have regrets or even joys. We look to the future for joys or trials. Instead, we should look at our present. What is God doing in my heart right now? What is God doing in my life right now? No matter if you are in a trial or a season of joy, God says to focus only on the present.

o   What we face now, God has already overcome. Rom. 8:31 - What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

o   He is the God who sees. God was found to Hagar, in her moment of need, as the God who sees. Gen. 16:13-14 - Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” Therefore the well was called (The Well of the One who Lives and Sees).

·         3. The best way to get through this day is step by step with Me. “Continue this intimate journey, trusting that the path you are following is headed for heaven. (Feb. 4) We know where we are headed. We know the end of the path. It is when we try to take the “bird’s-eye” view that we sometimes get overwhelmed with the journey.  Get out of the clouds and look only to the next step. This day. Not even until the end of the week. Take it one day at a time.

o   God will give strength – it is a promise! Ps. 29:11 - The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.

o   God’s salvation and mercy are given daily. Ps. 13:5 - But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  Lam. 3:22-24 - Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

·         4. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. “Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life…Start with where you are at this point in time and space, accepting that this is where I intend you to be. You will get through today one step, one moment at a time. Your main responsibility is to remain attentive to Me, letting Me guide you through the many choices along your pathway.” (Feb. 7)

 o   Even the really hard, exhausting movements are worked into good. Rom. 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

o   Hope in God. Ps. 42:11 - Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.


Survial Day

I wrote in Lesson #5 that a goal as mothers should not be to "survive." We are to remember to enjoy this time with our children because time marches on and they will grow. 

Ok, I still believe that with all my heart, but today is a Survival Day.  We all have them.  I am not going to be self-righteous to think that just trying to love each moment and embracing each day with joy solves all problems. 

Mothers strive.
Mothers survive.

Today is a survive type of day for me. 

We will all have those days when the sun comes up, and 10 seconds later so do our children.  And we just feel like covering our heads with the blanket and drifting back to sleep. 

Mothers strive.

Mothers survive.

Today my goal is to have happy, healthy, dressed children. 

Whether we get to practice letters and numbers may or may not happen.  Whether I clean the basement as planned, is not the priority.  I will strive only to survive. Whether I have dinner or not is not my concern.

Lots of reasons will come through your life that cause you to have Survival Days. 
It may be a day that your loved one passed away.
It may be a day that a child is sick and demanding.
It may be a day that is just raining and depressing, and so is your mood.
It may be a day in the middle of the week and you think, how can I make it until Saturday?

Mothers strive.
Mothers survive.

It is ok to only survive today.  Give yourself a day, or two at the most. Rest.

But tomorrow - wake up and ask the Lord to give you more strength than to just survive.  Ask Him to wake you up and help you embrace the day.

Just don't beat yourself down if today is a Survival Day.


Lesson #5

Lesson # 5 - This is a season.

Everything I go through is simply a season of life.
The author of Ecclesiastes was right that everything has its time.
Time is measurable.
Time begins and ends.
Grieving is a season.
Life itself is made up of seasons.

I remember a time when I had my first born and he was about six weeks old. He cried a lot then. There were times when I would have to lay him down and walk away. He would cry in his crib and I would go and sit on the couch and cry.

Somewhere along the way I realized that this would not be my life indefinitely. (Maybe it was the little old ladies at church who would constantly tell me to "enjoy" this age.) I made up my mind that I would focus on the fact that eventually things would change. 
Children grow.
I would grow.
And I did grow.

Now, I have two toddlers. Surprise to me that when my second one came, the crying did not bother me near as much. I had changed, grown, and matured.

When I am overwhelmed with thoughts of my life at a "dead-in" because I'm not teaching or my days seem to be on "repeat." - I tell myself that this is a season.

I can tell you from my little 3 years of experience that life may seem to go really slow when things are hard, but instead of focusing on those things that are not "right" - focus on the One who is beyond time.

My God holds time in His hands. There is no beginning or end with Him. He is seeing the big picture and changing you to be more like Him. The goal is not to "survive" all the time. Although, it is ok to live days just surviving. The goal is to be more like Christ. After a hard thing, look back, and pray God changes you through the hard thing.


Lesson #4

Lesson #4
A clean room is something children are supposed to mess up.

Children play.
Children make messes while they play.
Exceptions of course are those rooms and things that don't belong to them, that have been off limits.

A "toy room" and their own bedroom should be messy. It should just be an everyday thing for you clean those rooms (most often more than once a day).  Older children can help, but if you have younger children who have a hard time just focusing on a task for more than 3 minutes, then it is up to you.

A messy room is hard for them to play in.  They see everything out on the floor and are so overwhelmed as to what to play with, that they won't play in it. 

Who wants to play (or work for that matter) in a dirty, cluttered room? I don't. Why would I expect my children to?

A messed up room is something of a compliment. It means they approve of your cleaning and appreciate it. You are making a "home" for them.


Lesson #3

Lesson #3 - Children will learn more from what you do than what you say.

I have learned this the hard way.
I was taught as a young teen - "Those little kids are watching you! Better be good!"
Instead of taking the lesson to heart, I became instead a perfectionist that let nobody see anything bad about me.
When I had children, unfortunately I couldn't keep up the charade.  They are with you all the time. So, they see the good and all the bad.

Instead of trying to discourage you, I really am trying to encourage.

My point:
If children learn from watching and observing - then I can teach them things that I do want them to learn as well, by living it out.

Some things in my life will be easy to live out as they grow up.
My faith.
My love for my family.

Somethings in my life I need to work on, so they will see a good example.
My patience.
My kindness.

The bottom line is this:
If I want my children to be children of faith, love, mercy, kindness, and patience - I need to be all of those things. Of course I am not perfect (nor will I ever be). But I can strive, with the help of God and Jesus Christ. I do have the Holy Spirit living inside me, changing me to be more like Christ. As I change and grow, I pray my children see Christ and want that for their life.


Lesson #2

Lesson #2 - A crisis usually only last a few minutes.

Sometimes things are so crazy that you want to scream, cry, or hide away - and mostly you want to do all three.  I did not experience this on a daily basis until I had two. I can only imagine what number three will do to change it up.

A typical crisis:
The baby has a huge dirty diaper. My toddler won't stop screaming and crying because he has lost something. The phone is ringing. I have dinner in the oven and the buzzer suddenly just went off. The dog is barking. The cat is scratching on the back of the couch.

I read an awesome book this past fall Loving the Little Years - by Rachel Jankovic. She made the observation that has changed the way I try to look at a crisis.  She observed that usually a "hairy" moment lasts no more than twenty minutes.  She suggested that when something is starting, look at the clock and figure that in twenty minutes it will be over.

It has helped me not to be so overwhelmed and paralyzed during a crisis. I get to work and try to do only one thing at a time. (I am only human, even though I am a mom.) In less than twenty minutes all is passed.  It is true.  The crying does eventually stop. I can call anyone back (or they can call me back). Dinner won't burn in two minutes and if it does, there is always pizza!

If you are interested in the book, check out this website as well.

Lesson #1

Lesson #1 - "Smile and pretend its on the lesson plan" - a quote from someone who was a teacher or a mom. 
Nothing goes as planned.
I knew that, but I didn't really know that! :)
What is deceiving is that sometimes things go as planned and you get your hopes up that maybe you have turned a corner with your kids and you can guess how things will turn out.
Sometimes things go as planned, and sometimes you plan on things going wrong and that's usually how they "go as planned."

I don't mind that I make lists and don't get it all done.  When I was working, Saturdays were my days to do laundry, clean the house, and do my errands.  I felt as if I needed to get it all done in one day.

But I don't need to now.  I can take all week to do laundry, doing one or two loads a day.  I can sweep one day, dust the next.  I can run to the store one day and then to the post office the next day. I do have goals for each day, but I have learned to keep the goals small and manageable. If I get everything done on my list - Praise God!  If I don't, Praise God I survived the day anyway!

I have little ones.  Reality is that.  I will not always have little ones, so I am not going to spend my days stressing over the dishes. I am going to laugh over the silliness, like my 3-year-old wearing his blanket as a cape and running around saying "Superman to the rescue!"

Daily Goals that I do have (by the time my husband gets home):
Toys straightened up
Bed made.
Dinner in the works.
Most of the time, I am just winging it - only, don't tell my boys!



Having two children (and #3 this summer) - surprise surprise that I have less time to spend writing here.  I am going to make more of an effort.  My life is probably not overly exciting or incrediably interesting for anyone else - but it is for me!

I love being a mommy.  My two little boys make me laugh, stretch me, exhaust me, and challenge me.

It is no surprise either that children change you.  What has surprised me is how I've changed.  I would have never guessed my heart, mind, and soul would be in this very place just three and a half years ago.  So, maybe in the next few posts I'll try to list some things that I have learned.  In just three and a half years, I am sure my list will be small compared to those moms out there who have been there and back again.  It is important for me to record these years - so I can look back and see how God has changed me.  For it is He that is making me more like Him.


New Year

I know it is January 31, and writing a "New Year's" post is very late, but I will do it anyway.

New Year means:
New Beginnings.
New Struggles.

Our new beginnings:
a new little one to welcome to our family and the world.

Our new struggles:
financial difficulties are piling on and it is only January.

I have been reminded lately of God as Jehovah-Jireh.
It means that "God is Provider, or provides."
It does not mean that God will provide, it means that He already has.
If you want the full story, read Genesis 22.

Going through struggles and having to trust God is something that all Christians should expect.
Yet when the struggles, trials, and temptations come - we act surprised and completely taken aback.
Do not let our culture fool you.  We are not entitled to a problem-free life.  We are not even promised a problem-free year, or month, or week, or even day!

Instead, see God in His sovereignty and wisdom. See God working everything our to our good.
Not good in our circumstances, good in our hearts.