Friday, January 19, 2018

Pray without ceasing

Our cousin's precious wife and their sweet girl. When the Lord so graciously answers years long prayers. 💓  

This past year the Lord has impressed upon my heart His faithfulness. In His provision for our family, He has used a job that has forced me to stay quiet with my own thoughts, to be on my face in prayer, to cling with desperation knowing my own strength was nonexistent and to truly seek Him and who I am in Him. 

Realizing I am not in control of this life and that He truly loves me and hears me is priceless. Being able to have that peace and security of knowing He is for me has allowed me to begin to move forward daily with joy and trust. My husband and I have been pressing into the Lord with prayer and He answered some huge things in our lives that are unmistakably Him. But we had to go through the seasons we were in for Him. These were specifically with work but the Lord used them to refine us, to praise Him no matter what and, I believe, to bless others in the process. God does and is doing so much more than we realize and this is when praying without ceasing and letting go come in full force. 

I will be sharing in my next post about our crazy but amazing month of November. It is truly a sweet and huge testimony of His continued faithfulness. 

Bless you sweet ones, press into Him and if I may recommend, my friend posted on Instagram recently about her morning routine in the Word. I have been being intentional to read His word for 30 minutes everyday this week. I am quick to pick up my phone and scroll through social media or start the laundry or anything else thinking reading my Bible has to be a perfect time and place. But the truth is I need to stop and sit to start well (and it helps I also am reading Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World I am definitely on the Martha side, which can steal my joy a lot of the time.)

Any morning or evening routines you have with the Lord?

Happy and blessed week.

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 
Samuel 1:27

Friday, November 10, 2017

tomorrow is not promised

I'm thankful for God's continued grace and provision. It's been a season of layers slowly being peeled back on the onion. Heart and mind at His feet. His grace is above and beyond sufficient.

Yesterday, I opened my Instagram feed and read my sister had died. 
We weren't close but it still shook me. She has two babies that are our second son's age. 15. Babies still. She's gone and she leaves behind a husband and two sweet ones and dreams and hopes. But more importantly, did she know Jesus?

For a brief moment, when she was expecting we reconnected. She was expecting twins (their first and miracle babies) and us with our second. We talked about strollers and other baby things. Several months later hubby and I and our two littles had the sweet privilege to visit them and meet their little wee ones. It was the last time we saw them. We enjoyed a nice visit and I later sent her a few books, one, The Power of a Praying Mom. Her response was they didn't have any religious beliefs. And then communication went to Christmas cards, and eventually just me sending a Christmas card with no response back.

15 years ago. And now she's gone. And it was a wake up call to me. It was the reminder that everything here on earth is temporary. This is the one and only life we will have. So the social media, the job, the dreams, the plans, none of them matter. What matters is what I do for Christ. How I love these people with fierceness that God has allowed me the privilege to be with. What matters is that I live with joy, not anxiousness, fear, worry, doubt. Our days are not promised. We have our today. And on the day when I sit at Christ's feet I want Him to say, "well done my good and faithful servant." I want Him to know I lived in this world but not of it. I want Him to know I treasured His life and His death given for me. I want to be able to rest my head at night knowing my life is for Christ and not myself.

Let us wake up to the great calling God has upon our lives. To glorify Him. To lift one another up. To be a light in an ever-darkening world. To love. To rejoice. To speak Truth. To seek His kingdom first. To live with joy and peace, even in the midst of chaos. Because tomorrow is not promised, today is our today.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. 
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 
let your requests be made known to God.  
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:4-7

Friday, June 2, 2017

Daily life ... to thrive

This journey of life-daily routines... sweet one, do you see the sun peeking through? The Lord is always present, perfect in His steadfast love. So as you're going about your day, remember this is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Don't just survive, thrive. Thrive. There's this big beautiful story God is weaving and you are part of it. You are a main character that He loves and adores and He is for you!

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"-Romans 8:31

Sunday, July 10, 2016

to God be the glory


It has been over a year since I have written here. It has flown though. It has been a good year. It has had its struggles but God has been faithful. When I had first started writing this post I was talking about the struggles and, on a good note, the beauty God has brought from the ashes. But the truth is, I want to just get to the point.

I love Jesus and He loves me.

I love my husband and he loves me.

I love my kiddos and they love me.

And that's it. This is all that matters.

This is my story. This is what God has shown me over the past year. And this is good, so, so good.

So I think I will continue to write here. Maybe. I want to bring glory to God with the time I spend here. And there are some sweet creative ideas I have had milling around in my mind and heart for a while that my sweet man has encouraged me to pursue. Fear has held me back forever. But no more. This is not honoring to the Lord. It is for His glory and not mine. There is freedom in that. I am not going to make light of fear. It is a nasty, ugly lie from the enemy, but Jesus has defeated him! And Christ lives in me! Amen (insert huge heart emoji)!

If I continue here then be on the look out for changes to this blog - good changes. Definitely still family happenings, but the addition of some of those creative "things" I mentioned before and more of Christ. More of His Word. Diving deeper and digging into His love, truth and grace. Seeing Him in marriage, motherhood, the church, friendship... living intentionally.

Happy weekend friends! To God alone be the glory!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

art, family and creating...

Photos from this Mother's Day visit to the Chrysler Museum 
The last few months, possibly six already, I have been slowly embracing that idea that it's ok to feed my desire to create. All the way up through high school I did art. I was even accepted to a prominent art school in New York but because of a couple factors (and my lack of patience) I decided to go to school for culinary arts instead. Despite how that college season of life turned out (not so good), God used it for His glory as the ashes were turned to beauty. The Lord took this broken girl and blessed me with a God-loving husband; a man who made me feel loved, special and worthy. He then blessed us with a son and a few months later my new life in Him. A year later, quite pregnant with our second, He called to my heart and I wanted to publicly confess my precious belief and need for Jesus, my Savior. I was baptized at that moment and sobbed (it was quite comical at the fear in the pastor's face at this sobbing pregnant mama lol.) The story, His story, slowly unfolds from there on, like layers of a sweet onion being peeled. This is pretty much reflected in this blog. For the most part this is why I wanted to start this. I wanted an outlet. Now, truth be told, I had some sort of high hopes and dreams of having one of "those blogs"; something that would be famous, insightful, money generating, fabulous photos, exquisite words. Oh how patient God is with me. Little did I know, God would use this blog instead for so much more. Blogging has allowed me to journal, to see God's workings in my heart, to help me see my heart (always helps to see your thoughts written out, gives a fresh perspective and hopefully a better one than your own), and truthfully just a sweet record of our family with pictures. I am thankful for this blog and for the creativity it allows. I am also thankful for the connection it's availed to so many other mamas, their creativity and the encouragement I have received from their walks with the Lord.  

Some things I have been embarking upon to add to the blogging outlet have involved reading The Fringe Hoursand this mama's sweet blog The book rocks. I haven't finished it yet, it's more of a slow read, depending on where you are at in life, savoring the chapters. But it was eye opening to see how many of us women think alike and that nasty burden of guilt most of us live under (that's for another post though ;) ). I have also started regularly reading the blogs I have on my side bar, several of them artist mamas learning to balance life, family while still being creative. They are embracing how God has made them, using the gifts He has given them. Mostly, what I have gleaned from these past few months is learning  that it is okay to spend some time creating, I need to be intentional in making the time for it, whatever I create is not going to be perfect (so just do it!), and actually acknowledging that it is something that makes my soul happy. 

So there you have it. Create. Use what God has given you for the main purpose of His glory, not man's. If you end up benefitting financially or some other earthly way, awesome! As long as it is for His glory, then He will use it for what He wants, whether it's just for a filling in your heart or for the benefit of others. :)

Happy and blessed Sunday to you! I am so thankful to have today off, to be able to spend time with our family, go to church, plus have lunch with some of hubby's family and their five wee ones (they were diligent in gently mentoring us as newlyweds and baby Christians) and later, a visit with my cousin, his wife and their sweet little girl.

To God be the glory.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

His will, not my own...

This week...hmm, maybe actually these past two years, I have been learning:

1. God hears my prayers
2. God answers my prayers in His ways, not my own
3. He is faithful
4. He really does love me and my (His) family
5. One step at a time (and this is SO hard)

Like Dory says, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV

Despite what I want or experience here on earth, eternity has been bought for my life by the shedding of Christ's blood. And life in this fallen world is truly only temporary. Despite it being hard, I can have joy here and now because of His Spirit. He loves me! He cares for my needs and when my focus is on Him my perspective is fresh and new-it is His! Our circumstances are not ideal and our continued efforts are yielding such small fruit it seems. But I believe, not in a wishy-washy oh-so-spiritual-way, but in Truth, that God does have the bigger picture and plan. Proverbs 16:9 says, 
"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." My prayers are not going unheard. Hubby and I are trying to do what we think is right and what would be best for these sweet boys God has entrusted to us. But I also know...and trust...that He is closing doors that are not on the path to where He wants and knows is best for us, and for this, I am forever grateful and can have peace.

Finally, two recent events that God has used to greatly encourage me, continuing to reveal His faithfulness.

This past weekend I was blessed to help set up for our church's upcoming VBS. It was a bunch of mamas, most whom have been friends for quite some time and I am new to the group. But we had a lovely time and I realized that I was thankful to have been asked to help. I tend to not want to "bother" people and try to do everything on my own. But the Lord opened my eyes to see how this other mama asking me to help (truly because she needed help) blessed me. I had never considered asking someone to help would be a blessing instead of a hindrance. God is so good! 

While I was setting up at the church, hubby and four of the boys were traveling to NC for his cousin's wedding. I can't tell you how much his family means to me. My husband's aunt has such a precious testimony of God's redemption and I think of her often as I walk this road of motherhood, career, the boys' education. The wedding was a precious reflection of Christ being at the center of parenting despite the world and circumstances. The parents' lives have been far from perfect; one set a lineage of pastors, the other first generation Christians. But here stood two beautiful people, reading their vows to one another, promising to love Christ first and then each other; vowing to encourage and support one another and the dreams God has given them individually; vowing to love, not in the feely mushy way, but in the way God commanded us to- with their whole being and not just when they "felt" like it. My frequent fears of "messing up" by not homeschooling, missing family meals, being in public school, working outside of the home, not being the "perfect Christian family" (hello?! seriously??) are put to ease by this family's living testimony of the truth that Christ is bigger than my small mind can comprehend. Yep, deep breath. Please don't misunderstand me and think I am not saying these things are important because they are! However, we must bow to Christ and live the life He has given us and watch Him work. It is in our weaknesses we see His glorious strength. What is the most important thing in this life? My relationship with Christ. When I am at His feet, the rest falls into place. What is the most important thing for my husband and my kids and those I encounter? They're relationship with Christ and them seeing my relationship with the Lord. Life is not perfect. We live in this fallen world where we make mistakes and there are consequences. But God can redeem and bring beauty from the ashes. Oh, how His love is so sweet.

Here is to a new week and His glorious will, mercy and grace in our lives. May I bow, without fear, but with the security of being under His wings. In Jesus' name I pray this, amen.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Boot straps...

Chrysler Museum
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

Life is not easy, but He gives you the courage to pull your boot straps up and start a new day. There's more than what we see. He knows the bigger picture and we move forward with trust in Him! I have started a new job. It is hard. But I can either press on and be courageous giving it my best, or quit. And I don't want to quit. I won't quit. Just like my sweet L said to me yesterday, comparing my job to MMA class, "When you first go it's hard and a lot of people don't come back. But if you keep going you start to get it and then it becomes fun." The precious wisdom of my 12 year old. Today is a new day and I will not wallow in the lies of the enemy. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and giving it my best, and that is the best. To God alone be the glory.

Pulling my boot straps up for a new day with my Father!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Being a wife and mom...

Yes, randomness for the pictures. Some funny, mostly older but the sweetest memories of daily life through the ups and downs. It is because of this man and these five precious boys the Lord has blessed us with that I can be called "Mom." I say often in my mind that marriage and motherhood is not for the faint hearted. It is a gathering of sinful people trying to work together and love each other more than themselves. It is a process of humility, constant grace, forgiveness, courage and learning of the true meaning of love...something only done through Christ.

I love these six people madly. They teach me daily. They show me Christ daily. Our days are not fuzzy and sugar coated but they are real and full, most times with joy, but some with tears and disappointments. It is here I cling to Christ, to His Word and His mercies being new every morning. We live, we love, we forgive, we extend grace, we pray, we do over, we laugh, we breathe.

Thank you, Father, for blessing me with the privilege of being a wife and mom.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:13-14 ESV 

Pray without ceasing

Our cousin's precious wife and their sweet girl. When the Lord so graciously answers years long prayers. 💓   This past year the...

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