What a time to be alive

Honestly, even for those of us who try very hard not to pay attention to all the news, and Facebook post, it’s very hard to escape what’s going on in our world right now. I get so overwhelmed just hearing all the news updates! I’m to the point where I don’t want to hear another new report, read another politically charged rant, or see another meme!

It’s not that I don’t have an opinion, it’s that I have realized when you constantly consume negativity it makes your thoughts toxic. Your thoughts become more negative and fearful, and then your thoughts become your words and before too long, your words become your actions! Before too long, those unchecked thoughts of hopelessness become words that we speak and unknowingly curse ourselves.

Which brings me to what I want to talk about with you today. In the book of Numbers chapters22-25 we read about Balaam and Balak. You guys are probably familiar with the names and even the talking donkey! As with most allegories that we read in the bible there is so much in these chapters that we can take away, but I want to focus on the obvious. Balak, the king of Moab, was distressed by the presence of the Israelites because he’d heard what happen to the Egyptians. He thought the best plan would be to go to someone who could curse the Israelites and get rid of them for him. However, it turns out that Balaam could not curse what God had blessed! Balaam actually ended up blessing the Israelites three times!

Friends, if God has blessed you, no one can curse you! There is nothing that anyone can say that can stand against what our God already said about us. If you read the first few verses of chapter 25 it tells you that the Israelites, “began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.”(Num.25:2-3) They began to worship other Gods and eventually the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. What actually cursed them or caused them to move out of Gods favor was their own actions. What I’m trying to say is just like the Israelites we must be mindful of our own words and our own actions.  Because they have a much greater impact on who we are and what we can accomplish than what others may do to us or say about us.

While it’s true that the decisions made by our government and those in positions of authority do have an affect on us, they do not and should not govern our spiritual lives. The minute you start confessing what you see on tv or read on the internet over your own life, that’s when you start having problems. Don’t take it in, don’t allow what others are saying or pushing your way to cause you to curse yourself. The real enemy of your soul is not after your hose, bank account, or your 401k, he wants your soul, mind, will and your emotions!

When you click on the news and all of that negativity starts pouring into your home don’t think that it just goes away when you turn off the tv. You have to make spiritual deposits, grab your bible and read out loud so that you can hear the words. Faith does come by hearing by the word of God. You have to set the atmosphere in your home.  You have to remember that you are in the world, but we must labor not to become of this world. We have to fight and pray to keep ourselves in the light. It’s so easy to think that the darkness is winning, but it’s going to be okay Friends. The bible says that the word of the Lord is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.(Psalm119:105)

No matter what we may be struggling with, or what news reports has got us feeling  like we’re living in the very last minutes of the last day! God has already called you blessed, and what God has blessed no man can curse. I can not stress this enough, we have to feast on the WORD of God. This is a time like never before and we must bombard heaven with our prayers and fill our hearts with faith.

No matter what this situation is, no matter how bad things look, let’s remember who’s in control. I pray that we always hear the words that Jesus spoke to the disciples,” Peace I leave with you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Jh.14:27)

Have you been fighting off the same feeling of hopelessness and darkness that I’m describing? If so, what are you doing to combat the Spirit of despair that seems to be consuming so many people in our world right now? What are yo doing to spread good news? More than anything people need to hear the good news right now. I want to hear about it in the comments!

Iron Sharpens Iron

I wish there was a pill that I could take that would give me self control immediately. I think there was a time when I was self-discipline personified, but now I’m starting to think there may be no hope for me! Knowing this about myself I’m making an effort to improve, so I decided to accept one of my friends offer to go walking with her. It turned out to be quite the experience, let me tell you what I learned about myself.

My neighbor who lives two doors down is a very health conscious person and I always feel so inspired every time I see her. Well we were talking one day while we were waiting for our kindergartners to get out and she mentioned that she’d been walking if I wanted to join her sometime. Normally I just smile and nod and say maybe, but this time I said, “sure let’s go tomorrow.”

Oh my goodness, I don’t know what I thought was going to happen, but it was probably something simple and very quick. I thought we would maybe walk a mile or two at a leisurely pace and that would be all. Well ladies and gentleman that is not what happened at all! We started walking and we were laughing and having a really good time and I thought we were almost ready to turn back and then she said oh I like to get on the trail, and I stopped right away. There’s a really long walking/running/biking trail that goes around the whole city. I just hate the thought of walking through the woods and something or someone jumping out at me, so I never walk that way. I explained this to her and she assured me that the trail was completely safe. Once again I said, “Sure, why not?”

After we had walked on the trail for about thirty minutes, I finally asked the burning question, “when are we going to turn around and head back?” That’s when she rocked my world and said, “Oh, didn’t I tell you I walk six miles everyday.” DUN, DUN, DUN!!! It was at this moment I knew I had been kidnapped. The look on my face made her literally scream with laughter, but I was devastated guys.

We actually walked up hills, down hills through the river and over the woods! However, when I got back home I agreed to go again with her the next day. You see what I learned is that I have fallen into some bad habits lately, and the only way to change the things that I don’t like about myself is by changing my habits. I have to change all of my little things that can ad up and have a huge impact.

It’s only been three weeks since I joined her and we started walking, but I look forward to spending time with them and It feels good to get out of the house. There have been mornings when I couldn’t go, but we’ve fallen into a great routine and I enjoy it, even if it is a really long walk.

I already knew that if you have negative influences in your life it could rub off on you, but I found the opposite to be true as well. Being around people who are positive and inspire you to be better is a side effect that anyone would enjoy. I believe the book of proverbs refers to this as, Iron sharpening iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.(Prov.27:17)

I want you guys to ask yourself a question, do your friends sharpen you, and make you better more than anything else? Are you hanging with a group of people who make yo want to be a better Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and Friend? If the answer is anything other than yes, why not?

Feel free to leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

 

 

Agree to Disagree

I’m one of those people who goes to the store for diapers and ends up buying clothes, makeup, shampoo, books, and toys for my kids! This morning I went to the store for diapers and wipes, and ended up in the childrens clothing section. All of the winter clothes happen to be on clearance right now.  I was browsing when an older lady came up to look at my 14 month old daughter. People just love babies!

Of course we struck up a little conversation which led to me telling her about my other children, and she told me about her grand children as well. Everything was all giggles and cuteness, until she said,” Now you know some of your children will turn out bad and some will be good, that’s just the way it is.” Boom!(picture a giant die hard explosion in your mind.)  I was actually shocked! I love speaking with older, more seasoned people and I firmly believe that you should never be disrespectful to your elders, but I could not agree with what she said for my children.

I had a strange look on my face, it was somewhere between a smile and pure shock. I could see that she could tell that what she said was not the best thing to say.  Immediately, she tried to clarify what she meant by that and why she said that statement. I firmly believe that what people say about others, or sometimes to others, refills more about them and what’s in their heart than you or your heart. I just smiled and said well each child has their own unique personality, that’s for sure.

Of course now that I’m not their I can think of several things that I wish I would have said, but the truth is this is not the first time I have experienced something like this. I run into to people all the time who say the craziest things. It’s funny when I look back at all the obscene questions and comments I get. What I am striving to do is to disagree in a way that is not hostile or overly aggressive. I am learning how to guide the conversation to a path that allows me to confess what I want God to do instead of what is being said or suggested. I never want to be in a situation where I allow the devil to cause me to use my own lips to curse my children, husband, family, etc.

Unfortunately, I have family members that fall into the negativity pool as well. They spew negative words like fire and I don’t think they even realize it. I challenge you to become more aware of the words you say and the fruit that you could be eating from your own mouth. I know I always say to guard your words, and to speak life, but it really does matter!

How would you have handled that awkward moment? Let me hear about it in the comment section!

I did it my way

When you first get married one of the most crucial parts of your relationship I think, is figuring out how you’re going to run your house. What kind of cleaning schedule will you have for your bathroom? Who will wash the dishes? Which one of you will do the cooking and don’t forget about the laundry?  Marriage isn’t all about holding hands and being in love, at some point you’re going to get hungry. Which one of you will buy the groceries? Growing up in my house my Mother did almost everything, all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and most of the child rearing. My mother also worked a full-time job as well, I could never imagine how much stress she was really dealing with. However, as we got older she passed some of those chores on to my sister and I, and we learned how to do those things as well.

Naturally, I thought that gender determined the role that each person had in the marriage. I thought that as the woman, I was supposed to do everything, and that my husband should do very little. Things like change light bulbs, take out the trash, things like that. When I actually got married and it was just my husband and I, me doing everything was perfect, but after ten years of marriage and five children things had to change!

I found making adjustments to how I  managed my household to be very difficult. I remember hearing different friends and family members give me lots of advice on how they thought I should do things. Whenever I went to someone’s house I would take note of things like, their floor plan, laundry schedule, and try that out in my own home. What I eventually realized was that I had to do what was best for my family. It’s okay to admire someone or love their style, but you have to find the right balance. You need to accept that your family may be lactose intolerant and need for nut-based milk makes your family feel loved and healthy.

As it just so happens, my hubby and I share the family responsibilities, and that is what works best for us. We do have some bumps in the road that pop up every now and then but, we are confident that we can conquer any challenge! Funny thing is, we’re not even ashamed of how we choose to live out our lives. (Anymore!)

What type of household challenges did you face when you first got married? When did you just say I don’t care about what everyone else is doing, this is what I’m going to do in my house? I would love to hear from you ladies about this.

Release For Peace

In my effort to be more friendly and make more time for personal growth and what not, I joined a friends Women’s Christian Study Group. Well tonight I was at our Bible Study class and we’re reading this book by a really awesome woman, Lysa TerKeurst. The book is called, The Best Yes, and we always have discussion questions that help us talk about what we’re feeling and one of the questions really resonated with me. The question simply asked, what things we were willing to release so that we could have peace? All I could think of was nothing and everything. I became floored by that question! I could not think of one thing that I could release that would bring Peace to my life.

As we got further into the discussion, though I did start to come up with some things that I could let go of for the sake of having peace. I have come to the realization that I need to release worry. I think now that I have children and that I have come to know that the world can be a dangerous place, I worry about so much more. I don’t think I was ever a totally carefree person, but I do remember a time when I thought life was so much easier. How on earth can I just give up worrying you ask? Start trusting God more.

Trust in the Lord and lean not to my own understanding, (proverbs3:5) Now this is so easy for me to type and not so easy for me to do! I know all of these things that the Bible says, that people say and it’s all true, but so hard to implement. I’m sure many of us have heard of the trust exercise where you fall back and you trust your partner to catch you. In a way that’s how our relationship with Jesus works, we trust that if we should fall He will be there to catch us. They say the best relationships are built on trust, well I would like to add that the longest relationships are built on trust too. The thing that I love most about my Husband is how stable he is, how steady and even he is. When I’m worried about things and going crazy over things I can’t control, I can count on him to be my solid rock. Even when things are bothering him, he still knows how to remain calm and that causes me to feel calmer too.

I actually heard a Pastor once talk about how worry is faith in the Devil!! He pointed out that when we don’t fully trust God with our whole heart then we allow the devil to have space to operate in our lives. You’re all probably familiar with the joke about the  angel on the right shoulder and the little devil on the left, right? Well that’s basically how I feel when I’m wavering between worrying about a matter and trusting God!. You may laugh, but it’s truly something that I know I have to eliminate in order to have some real peace in my life. I want to actually pray about everything and worry about nothing, just like the t-shirt says.

I love the saying if you’re going to worry then don’t pray, but if you’re going to pray then don’t worry. I want to please God by demonstrating that I believe in his word and His ability to take care of me and keep me from all harm. I guess what I want is to have more joy and peace and in oreder to get that I have to be willing to let go of my worrying, and grab on to the fact that the God who created the universe really does know my name. I have to believe that God can keep me as the apple of his eye(psalm17:8) and that He’s holding me in the palm of his hand.  I know that my name is written in the palm of his hand(Ish49:16). I have to hold onto the fact that God, my good father, is not going to forget about me. No He will always remember me, hear me and rescue me when I call on him.

Here on my blog I hope you all can see that I like to be honest and open about some of the things that I’m struggling with as well as some of the things that I have overcome by God’s grace. I hope I don’t come across as a person who has it all together, because believe me, I do have it all together…pushed into a huge pile and stuffed into my closet and under my bed!!!!  What things are you willing to release so that you can have real peace in your life? Please drop me a few of your thoughts in the comment section. I heard some great tips and suggestions tonight and I would love to hear a few more.

Wealth Wednesday

I want what she’s having

If you’re a Mom, which you probably are if you’re reading this, then you’re sure to be familiar with the argument that starts because child A took what child B was playing with. When you ask child A why they took what sweet little child B had, they will simply say, “because I wanted to play with it.” This my friends is the argument that I hear way too often at my house, especially between my two younger boys. It never seems to mater that I always buy them each a toy that they claim to need and can’t live without, because they always, always, always, fight over toys! I can not understand it, I feel like they must enjoy it because they do it so often. Like any good parents, we try to talk to them and explain why we can’t take things from other people that do not belong to us, and we tell them how when you want something that’s not yours you must ask for it and wait until it’s your turn.  However, the strange thing is, when they finally get the toy that they had been clamoring for, they play with it for five minutes and then they’re done with it. Why is that?

What is it that causes us to see what someone else has or what someone else is doing and decide that we want what they have? Paul said that without the law telling us thou shall not covet, we would not know what lust was.(Romans7:7) Jealousy, Envy and covetousness, has been around for such a long time, it’s nothing new. I’m sure we all know what it’s like to experience looking over at another woman, thinking she’s got everything that I wish I had, or I wish I could be more like her. Some might even say that this is normal and it happens a lot, but is it okay? The Bible tell us (2Cor:10-12) not to compare ourselves to one another, but  I catch myself doing it all the time. I compare myself to someone who I think is thinner than me, or prettier than me.

Maybe that’s not your problem, perhaps you compare the way your children behave to the way your neighbors children behave in public. It could be that you compare your husband to your friends husband. Whatever it is, it’s self destructive and we shouldn’t do it to ourselves. Why is it so hard for us to be satisfied with what we have and who we are? We know that God made us special and beautiful ,and that this world needs what we have to offer. We get the fact that there is no one else exactly like us on the planet, and yet we still strggle with wanting to be someone else.

I believe we have to understand first that no matter who it is, they have problems too. Their human and everything doesn’t go their way all the time. The more we can realize that we’re not lacking in any area; moreover, that the things we have fit perfectly with the life we live, maybe we could be more satisfied with who we are. Sometimes my bestie and I are trading Mommy war stories and I often tell her, “your the perfect Mom for your children,” because I want to make sure she hears it from someone. Truth be told we all need to hear it every now and then. We Moms, all need to hear that we’re beautiful, we look like we lost weight, our house is clean, our food taste great and that our laundry is immaculately clean! Did I forget to mention that we also need to hear how well behaved our children are?

I know we’ve all heard the expression, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. While that may be true, what if the grass is greener? How did your neighbor get it that way? They probably did more than just water it, and we have to ask ourselves are we willing to do what they’re doing to have what we think they’ve got. Blessings and Burdens go hand in hand. I was talking to someone who I just adored! I thought of her as my Fit Mommy Hero. I wanted to work out hard and look just like her! At the time we both had the same amount of kids, and we’re very similar in body shape and build. I was telling her how frustrated I was that I didn’t currently look just like her and she smiled sadly, and began to tell me why she looked like that. She’d had a terrible medical emergency that led to several surgeries and the removal of some vital organs. Well you can imagine how terrible I felt for, number one,  coveting her body type and number two, when she told me why she look like that I felt silly and superficial. All that time I had spent thinking she was on some strict diet, with a crazy hard work out routine, she wasn’t. She was recovering from a few major surgeries and trying to take care of three small children.

We just never know what people are going through, or what problems their dealing with in their life. After she told me about what she had been going through, I was sad for her experiences, but I was also grateful to God for my health. Suddenly I didn’t feel the same way about carrying around these extra pounds. I started to think, “you know I can always lose this weight.”  I began to realize that there were people out there with real problems that couldn’t be solved so easily. To her the weight that she lost was a symptom of her illness and the battle that she was having with her health. For all I know she could have been looking at me thinking that I had it all and wanting to look like me. Okay I realize that might be stretching it, but you get the point!

From now on, knowing what we know about coveting and being envious, whenever we’re tempted to want what the next woman has let’s stop for a minute. Take a few minutes to thank God for what we do have instead of coveting what someone else has. If we can start being more consistent about having a grateful heart and honoring God for the more important things in life, than perhaps we can free ourselves from being so materialistic. It’s dangerously easy to get sucked into thinking earthly treasures are more important than our souls prosperity. If this has ever happened to yo share how you overcame those feelings. Let’s talk about it in the comments!

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Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Growing  up we cleaned the house every Saturday morning. No, matter how we murmured and complained. If we asked why we had to clean up, my mom would always say the same thing “Someone might drop by,” my Mother always said. I grew up thinking that you needed to have a clean house because you couldn’t have guest over if your house was dirty. If someone wanted to come over to our house and play the first thing my Mom would say is, “Is your room clean?”  For my Mother, a true neat freak, cleanliness was next to Godliness.  I dreaded cleaning and putting things away as a young girl, because all I wanted to do was play, have fun, hang out with my friends, anything but clean! I was constantly saying, “When I grow up, I’m going to be rich and hire a maid to do all my cleaning for me!” Of course my Mom and Aunts use to have a good laugh at my expense! My Aunts still tease me about what I said as a young girl. As I grew into a Woman and went away to college the thing was, I couldn’t study if my room was dirty. I noticed that I felt calmer, more relaxed, and that I could think much clearer when my room nice and was clean.

I see the connection now; I understand now why it was so important to my mother to have a clean space. In a lot of ways I believe our physical houses represent our spiritual house. I feel that we can learn so much about ourselves and how we function if we just look around our environment.  I am a bit of a clutter bug, but only when it comes to my night stand! It just drives my husband crazy, because he likes neat, clutter free spaces, where everything is put away. Well that’s how his personality is too, He is a clear thinker who makes sound decisions because he doesn’t have a lot of junk filling up his mind and his spirit. He is one of the most intentional and disciplined people I know;however I am his wife so I could be biased(haha).  I always seem to have little piles around me no matter what! The funny thing is my brain works like that too! When I get all cluttered up with all the cares of this life, all the little things that I have let pile up I start to feel a bit scatter brained. I notice that I feel like I can’t get anything done, or I struggle to focus on what I really need to accomplish.

Those are the times when I have to start cleaning out my Spirit. Those are the days when I have to unplug from social media, the news, gossip, television, and any other thing that just clogs me up with worry, negativity, and fear.  I don’t like to admit it, but I really do let too many things bother me.  I’ll watch the news and then be super upset about a new disease or a terrorist attack, or an earthquake, anything!

All these things can make deposits into our Spirit and at some point we have to close the door to all those things because their just weights that bind us an weigh us down. We have to clean our spiritual house and we have to do it regularly! How do I do this you may ask, I get alone with God and I pray about my fears, and my worries. I read the word of God and let it wash me, and make me clean. I always feel so much better when I pray and spend the time seeking God. I sometimes talk to seasoned, trustworthy people who love God and who I know will give me sound advice. For me, that is the best way to clean my spiritual house, it truly makes me feel closer to God and helps me to refocus.

I also feel like when I’m less cluttered spiritually I can be a better Wife and Mother to my family. I feel like when I am thinking clearer I make better decisions for my family and myself. It’s the same concept in the natural, when you have a nice clean house you can function more efficiently because you find things faster, you can breathe easier when you don’t feel the pressures that come along with a dirty house.  Being organized and putting everything in it’s place is the backbone of a large family! Trust me, if you want to start a total melt down in a household of seven, all you have to do is not clean up; or do laundry for a few days!

This is just one of the things that work for me when I’m feeling overwhelmed, but for you ladies it may be something different. Let me hear from you, how do you exchange your burdens for lighter ones?  Do you like to work out, read a book, or maybe knit a sweater? Share some of your stress relievers, or the things that get your Spiritual House clean in the comment section. Maybe I can learn something new to try!