Faith Without Works Is Dead

James 2:14-26 Is one of those popular passages in the bible that many people seem to have read or heard at some point in their life. While there are so many good things that I could talk about with in those verses, I want to focus on verse 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

This morning I was thinking about all the different goals that I want to accomplish for next year and all the things that I want to be when I grow up, yep I just said that.  I stumbled across a quick motivational video of a woman giving a speech about why she thinks people don’t ever achieve their dreams. Her response was so true for me that it made me want to sit down and write about it. (I’m paraphrasing now, but it’s the basic gist of what she said.)

She said that fear is a reason, doubt and other things like finance and lack of opportunities, but the main reason she thought people’s dreams were never realized is because we wait so long with the perfect idea and never take action. Finally, that they just run out of time to do them.  Ladies, that is exactly what happens to our dreams if we don’t go after them…we die with them in or heart! After I heard what she said I decided right then that I didn’t want to die with all my dreams in my heart. However, it’s so easy to say that I want to go after my dreams, but it can be very hard to do.

I have been very open about some of my fears and the main reasons why I waited so long to start my blog or to write my book. Being vulnerable and transparent is not easy, but it’s so necessary to help others conquer their fears. Although, I didn’t start out trying to do that, I was just trying to get through my proverbial check-list of must do’s. I think because I finally took the leap of faith and did a handful of the things I thought I could never do, but the thrill from achieving my goals made me complacent.

I was talking to my husband and just telling him some things that I would like to do and basically day dreaming out loud. Then he proceeded to tell me that I need to stop wishing and hoping and start doing something to make it happen. I was naturally a little offended because, well who isn’t when the truth slaps them in the face? He began to tell me that Faith without works is dead, and that if I want something to happen I have to do more than just pray for it, I have to put a plan into action.

Honestly folks, I’m more comfortable praying for it and believing God for it to happen, than I am taking action. I don’t know why that is, but thankfully I married a man who is a doer. He pushes me to act no matter how much I kick and scream because in his heart he knows that faith without actions/work is dead. F.Y.I. I also have a rough time making decisions!

If you notice in the scripture it says that faith is dead if it is alone. It takes more than just faith, as much as I hate to admit that. The facts are right there in the verse. We can not expect to have what we are believing, hoping, or praying for if we are not willing to do some amount of work. Now, as with anything I would advise you to pray about what that work is and be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The work could be to believe, like Jesus told the disciples in John:6:29, or it could be to go and take action like he told the children of Israel when they were finally ready to go into the Promise Land.

I came to a crossroads and I had to decide if I was going to put action with my faith or just let all my hopes and dreams die. I chose action! I confess it will be a challenge for me to just put myself out there and work on going after what I hope to have someday, but I don’t want to die with potential! I want to do everything that God created me to do and I want to be the woman that my daughters admire most.

I want to hear from you ladies in the comments about the moment you realized that faith without works was dead. Have you ever been apprehensive about taking the next step to meet your goals? Do you have goals that seem too big for you to ever really achieve? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Room to Grow

If you would have asked me about five years ago if I would be sending my children to public schools I would have told you very politely, “Absolutely not!”  Why, because I was sold out for homeschooling, my mind was made up, and I could not be persuaded to think any other way. I mean I was convinced that everything about the way I was choosing to live my life was not only right, but perfect. Honestly, for me there was no other way, but when things changed for us I had a really hard time letting go of what I thought was perfect. You see in order to grow, we sometimes have to change our actions and opinions. We’ve all probably heard of the saying, “never say never.” The crazy thing is I was in my comfort zone and I would have never left what was comfortable if God had not forced us out by changing our circumstances.

What I found out the hard way is that being set in MY ways and never wanting to change is the perfect recipe for stagnation. By now we all know that nothing good ever comes from a comfort zone. If you want to learn something new, you have to do something different. However, in order to do something different we have to come out our comfort zones, and not only that we have to give ourselves some room to grow.

Whenever I look back on the things that I thought about having children or being married I realize that I put so many limitations on myself, my family and my marriage. The things that I said and the words that I used really limited me and weighed me down.

Seriously ladies, it was so hard for me to send my kids to public school at the time that did, because I had always said that I wouldn’t do it until they were in middle school at the very lest. I don’t even have enough room to tell you guys all the crazy things that I said and changed when the rubber met the road. Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes we start out intending to go one way, but then after we’ve lived a while and gained some experience we have to make some changes. We have to learn how to roll with the punches.

I just wanted to share with someone out there that it’s okay to realize that what worked perfectly two years ago doesn’t fit so well with who you are now. People change and we grow out of things that we thought would last a life time and that’s how life should be. It’s boring to stay the same right?

Truthfully, this is something that I’m still struggling with myself. Even though I know this about life and personal growth, change is still really hard for me to deal with at times. I don’t mean change like a different route to the mall, or switching the couches around either. I mean things that challenge my core values or long held beliefs that I have about myself and who I think I am. It’s harder for me to except that I can still be me, and change my position on something that I thought would never go out of style with me.

Let me ask you all the same question; are you giving yourselves room to grow? Do you ever think back on things that you once deeply believed and laugh because you see things so differently now? How has your perspective about life changed as you’ve added more real world experience? I want to hear about it from you in the comment section.

Also before I go I just want to thank all the readers here in the states and internationally as well. I love seeing that people as far away as Australia, Italy, Spain and South Africa are reading my blog!  Please leave a quick shot out and let me know you’re here! I can’t wait to hear from you!

The Price of Your Self-Worth

I though I would start out with a little story for you guys this week to introduce my topic. In February I ordered a pair of rain boots off line and they were pretty expensive considering their boots that you only wear when it rains. Well, as you might have already guessed when I got the boots they did not fit me well. I happen to have big calf muscles and long boots tend to fit me kind of tight sometimes. My first thought was to keep them and just lose weight to fit into them, yes you can insert a sarcastic comment followed by a laugh here! If you figured that I didn’t lose any weight, you would be correct! About two weeks ago I decided to sell them on a popular biding site. When I was trying to decide a price the computer generated a suggested price based off the information I provided. When I saw the price my first reaction was, “no that’s too high, no one will buy it if I ask that much!” Now keep in mind I had never worn the boots because I couldn’t fit them, so they were new and still inside the box.

I looked at the price and decided to price my boots significantly lower than the suggested price and my boots sold very quickly for less than half of what I paid for them. I started to look at other boots like mine on-line and I noticed that they were selling for much more than my boots had been priced. I was somewhat devastated that I had so grossly undervalued my boots. I was thinking that if I would have asked for a higher price, perhaps the true value, that no one would want them. I was thinking that no one would want what I had to offer if I asked for a higher price.

My question to you today is, have you ever undervalued yourself? Did you ever seriously miscalculate your worth and therefore you didn’t get what you truly deserved? Obviously, I have and honestly I do this all the time. I always seem to make myself less out of fear that no one will want me if I ask for what I really deserve. The funny thing is I didn’t realize this until I was telling my sister how much I had priced the boots for and how many people were bidding on them. My sister immediately said, “Why would you price them so low, don’t you know how much their worth?”

I did know how much they were worth, but I just didn’t think anyone else would. I hate that I do that to myself. I wish I wasn’t so afraid of someone rejecting me or not realizing my true worth. I wish I wasn’t convinced that I don’t have a high price, or that I’m not worth more than my weight in gold.

I am trying to work on this bad character flaw, but I would be happy to hear how you ladies deal with the value issue. How do you all deal with people who want you to discount yourself so they feel like they’re getting a great deal? How easy/hard was it to stand firm and demand that you get the respect or treatment you deserve? Let me hear it in the comment section.

Empathy Doesn’t Grow on Trees

I have mentioned to you guys how busy I’ve been lately and I mentioned in my last few blogs how pressed I feel, but some how I still managed to get into a very familiar roe with my hubby over, of all things, whose more exhausted.

Now I know a lot you ladies who read my blog are working moms, and many of you have husbands so I bet this argument sounds quite familiar to you too. We were sitting on the couch, he had just gotten home from work and I was in the middle of a very long day with our five children. We were both tired and hungry and my husband turned to me and said, “What’s for dinner? I don’t smell anything?” That my friends was the start of our very own Cuban Missile Crisis! We got into this back and forth debate about who had the more difficult job and who’s life was full of more work. We were both trying to convince each other that our day was longer, more difficult and more exhausting than the other person’s day. After about ten minutes I finally relented and decided to let the kids eat whatever they could find.

I would like to think that I won because he ended up cooking dinner, but I think it would be more accurate to say that everybody won because we all ate a hot meal. The thing is we seem to be competing for worst day ever more and more these days. I don’t know why that is, maybe because we’re both tired parents, or possibly because we both want empathy from the other person.

Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated, we all want to feel like our spouse understands how important our role is to the way our family functions. Yet, the question that I have to ask  myself is why do I feel the need to have my husband validate my worth as a wife and mother by always acknowledging that I have the harder job, or do the most work?  More and more I crave empathy from him and I think he needs that from me too. I want my husband to let me know that he understands how difficult it is for me to do the things that I’m doing day in and day out, and if he doesn’t I start to feel like maybe he doesn’t appreciate me enough. Even as I’m writing this I’m wondering does he need that same thing from me as well.

Although we’ve only been married for eleven years I think I have discovered that we both need a lot of the same things. The trick of the enemy seems to be isolation, and to divide and conquer. If he can convince you that you are all alone and that no one else is going through what you’re experiencing, and if he can divide us and make us think that the other person doesn’t want to understand what you’re going through, then our relationship will be in serious trouble.

The bible talks about two being better than one and how important it is that what God brings together not being separated. Unfortunately, not showing enough empathy and compassion for our husbands or wives(if you’re a guy) can really harm your relationship. After a long hard day, I don’t always feel like making sure my husband feels like I understand how hard his day was and that I care about his issues just as much as my own, but that’s how good marriages become great marriages. Love is long suffering and very compassionate. When you love someone you show them by freely giving your compassion and your listening ear.

Having said all that you guys know that I’m not a perfect wife or anything like that, but I am open to growing and learning new things. How about sharing some of your best advice in the comment section. I would love to know how you guys handle empathy and compassion in your relationships. Thanks for stopping by.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

If by any chance you are a control freak like me then you might be able to relate to my topic sentence. I don’t know why but I always seem to get hung up on the little things that won’t mean anything to me five years from now. The crazy thing about obsessing over the small things is it can rob you of enjoying everything else. You really do magnify what you focus on, and when you only notice things that went wrong you don’t celebrate everything that went right.

When I focus on all the tiny little things that did not happen the way that I planned, I tend to ignore all the many things that are perfectly fine. Without fail, if a hundred things go well, but ten things don’t my day is ruined! I came to this conclusion about myself because I’ve been really worried about a whole list of things lately and most of them are small.

I was cleaning my bathroom today and thinking about all the things that I’m worried about and I decided to take that opportunity to pray and talk to God about everything that was on my mind. As I began to fire things off one by one I couldn’t help but notice that I sounded like I was whining. I also felt like all the things that I was naming were all just so insignificant.

I feel like I am sabotaging my own chance at satisfaction sometimes, because I always seem to find the negative, or a tiny little unimportant detail and lock in on it like a missile.

Of course I’m not just discovering this about myself, I have known this for a long while, but I think I’m just now mature enough to realize that I need to make a change. It’s kind of like I just woke up one day and decided that I wanted to stop stressing over things that simply don’t matter that much.

The major question is, how can I do that? How can I go from worrying about every little thing to trusting that all things are working together for my good and that the God I serve is Lord, even over the details of my life? Friends, I could give you all the verses that I’ve ever read, but I think the simple truth is it’s a daily commitment to die to my flesh. Each day I have to make the decision to trust God with my obsession over details of my life. I’m a recovering/ struggling/ ex-control freak, so as you can imagine this is a true battle for me at times.

I will say that I find a lot of security in the thought that I can truly come to God and cast all my cares upon him, leave them there and forget them. I love that God doesn’t want us to be burdened and heavy with worry. God wants us to trust him with all the details and all the planning of our life. As difficult as it is for me I realize that my way is not working. I’ve done it this way for so many years and it’s never delivered me from trouble. Worrying about the problem has never actually solved anything. It’s so hard though guys!!! Trying to break bad habits is extremely hard, but in the case very necessary!

I want to hear from you guys on what you do to keep yourself from obsessing over the small stuff? How do you eliminate the worry so that you can enjoy the things that do turn out right? Share with me how you break free from worrying about things that shouldn’t matter? Do you have any tips on ways to deal with giving up control and trusting God.

 

A Firm Foundation

In my last blog I shared with you all about how I feel like I can barley keep up with my life these days. I have been really into listening to the bible on my phone while I get ready in the mornings or an inspiring message from one of my favorite televangelists. This morning I was listening to a message about how important it is to have a firm foundation. He made the point that before we can become what God wants us to be He has to build a firm foundation first. The best way to do that is with adversity and character building problems for us to work through.

The more I thought about how my family is transitioning right now and how we are working hard to overcome the challenges that we face, the more it dawned on me that God is creating in me a firm foundation. I mean there can be no other explanation for all the drama I’m going through right? Okay, I’m kidding, but I really do think that God could be using my trials to help create a strong foundation for my family and myself as well.

You know when I think of some of the things that I have been through in my life and the fact that it was difficult to experience at the time, but I am a much better person because of those trials. I was talking to my little sister today and we were just  reminiscing about the dark days after my mom died and I felt like my life was over. However, it was during that time that I became a woman. The moment they rolled my mother out of my house on a stretcher and put her in the back of an ambulance, I was done being a child. I grew up that day in my yard watching her body being driven away.

We use to think that or Mom was so strict, but after she died everything that she taught us, came bursting through. Not only did my sister and I graduate from high school but, we went away to college and graduated from there too. We got married and had children; and yet, I know none of that would have been possible had she not been the no nonsense type of Mother who pushed us to be the best and never accepted less from us girls. Don’t get me wrong we had a great Mom and a pretty great childhood, which is why I feel so grateful to God that I had her to help create my foundation.

Now, even more things have been added to me, and some of them were good, some not so good. The reason why I’m sharing this with you is because now that I’m a Mother and a Wife I realize how important it is to have a firm foundation. It could be, that in your family the foundation is being built right now, and that is not always a bad thing. It’s so hard to endure trouble and weather the storm, but we have to remember that it’s all working together for our good. You see when you have the right foundation whatever you build on that foundation will be more secure. That house that is built upon the rock will be able to withstand the test of time.

That does not exempt the house with the strong foundation from being beat upon by the winds and waves. In fact sometimes it might feel like every storm comes your way to test the strength of your bonds, and to try the reigns of your heart.  However, all those trials do not destroy the rock, they simply remove all the hardness, and take away the rough places. I would even say that they help make the rock beautiful.

It just recently dawned on me that everything that was put in my foundation has a purpose and helped to make me a better woman. Every storm, every test and trial, contributed to the person that I am still becoming. I do hope at some point I can look back and say, “thank God those days are over!” Although a small part of me might miss these days having young children and being relatively young myself, I will always have the memories of being a young family.

My Crazy Busy Life

Hello Friends, did you miss me? I have been stuck on a never ending carousel of  back to school, homework, volunteering and pick up drop off! I confess that I am utterly overwhelmed with my new schedule right now! I feel like I’m in school instead of my kids! Every night we do homework for hours and then we go to bed to wake up and do it all over again. As a previous homeschooler we are still new to the whole school thing, and I feel just like a fish out of water. We have four teachers to deal with everyday, and four classes to volunteer for, four lunches to make every night and don’t even get me started on how many times I have picked people up from school because they didn’t feel well and they’ve only been in school for six weeks!

I think you can kind of see where I’m going with this…I’m tired! I feel like I’m being steam rolled and I then asked to run a marathon with a blindfold on and one arm tied behind my back! Okay even I had to laugh at that one.  My point is that I am out of whack and really struggling to make time for my writing schedule each week.

I truly enjoy writing and I’ve already started writing my second book and making plans for expanding my blog into something else as well. However, I can’t seem to get organized enough to find the time in my day to be super woman like I planned. In my mind I have a list of things that I can see myself accomplishing for the day, but in reality I seem to only get about twenty percent of those things done with fifty percent of my day being used just to do those things.

At this point I’m starting to wonder, how can I get this under control? When will my life calm down and settle into something that resembles a well oiled machine? I feel like my family is transitioning into a new phase of life, but I don’t have a rule book or a manual to tell me what to do. Do you guys ever have those thoughts? Do you ever feel like you’re barley keeping up with the pace of your life?  I do have days where I am the master of my day, but those days are few and far between.

Lately I’ve been thinking about things that I can do to organize my day and get my bearings back. Of course I have been trying to use my phone and that does help but, I think I’m the kind of person who really keeps up with things best if I write them down. The funny part in all of this back to school madness is that, my youngest child and I are hanging out more and she is a blast. I get to focus all my attention on her and let me tell you she is a ball of fun! I am convinced that she is like the smartest baby in the world! After having two boys back to back having a daughter made me remember why I wanted another little lady!

Maybe one day I’ll be good at this parenting thing, but right now I’m still learning as I go along. I never thought that a day would come when I would be racing to the school just to get a spot in the pick up line, or excited about baking cookies for the school bake sale while planning the next chapter of my second book!

As always I am open to any tips and tricks you ladies may want to leave for me in the comment section. What are your go to tips for a better day, or your favorite home remedy for a sore throat? As always thanks for reading and don’t forget to like this post!