Enjoying Today 

It was one of those days, I was standing in my kitchen listening to my two year old scream at the top of his lungs because I told him he couldn’t have something. 

I found myself thinking of when would he grow out of his terrible tantrum days. 

I was exhausted and my ears hadn’t stopped ringing all day. 

Later that night my daughter woke up crying, because she couldn’t find her pacificier. 

As I sat in the rocking chair holding my not so little one year old, time seemed to have paused. 

I looked down at my baby, perfectly resting in my arms I realized I needed to savor the moment, the season. 

I can get so caught up in moving forward, what’s on the agenda for the next day, things I need to get done, etc. that I forget each season has a purpose. 

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬ ‭

Imagine if we lived each day knowing it has a purpose. How much more intentional would we be to find God working in and through the fabric of our lives?  

If I get too consumed with the next season I will miss the blessings of my current season. 

So enjoy today. Find those moments when time seems to pause and savor therichness  of your season. 

Balance

As a mom working in ministry I am constantly learning about balance.

One thing about balance that I have learned is that it’s not always equal. Different seasons require more than others.

Having a balanced life doesn’t mean equal amount of resources given to each area at the same time, it means understanding the ebb and flow of each season.

Let’s think of it this way: Imagine a tight-rope walker. They walk a thin line, using a pole (sometimes) to help keep their balance. The pole and the weight distribution is not always even. The pole moves slightly from one side to another, yet the person is always right in the middle.

The same goes for life. Each season requires different amounts of our resources (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally).

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

In order to achieve a healthy balance in our lives we need to understand our priorities and the demands of each season we are walking. It’s important to be realistic with our understanding of the seasons. What may seem like a high demand emotionally, physically it may not be feasible.

The best check for our balance is our daily quiet times with the Lord. If we make Jesus our priority He will direct our steps and therefore control the balance we have in our lives.

The only way I can “balance” being a wife, having four children, and working in ministry is having my priorities set and a clear understanding of the season I am in.

Joy

James 1.2

I love those moments when a scripture I’ve read a hundred times comes alive. It’s like a beautiful unveiling of something God wants to reveal to you.

I’ve read the book of James more times than I can remember. This time, however, right out of the gate I found myself staring at the phrase, “count it all joy.”

What did that even mean? There I was, in the midst of a daunting trial that I had no control over and I needed to count it as joy?!

I knew the end game. James tells us choosing joy would produce steadfastness. But what did that even mean?

The New Living Translation says to “consider it an opportunity for joy,” so that my “endurance has a chance to grow.” (Stop and think about those words for a second).

Everything I thought I understood about that verse went to another level of understanding.

We endure in trials because we change our view of the trial from some scary mountain that we would surely die (or at the very least be seriously injured), into a mountain that we could climb and shout for joy at the top.

I wanted that joy. I wanted to seize the opportunity. I wanted to give my faith a chance to grow. I wanted to make that choice.

It’s all about perspective. Every trial we face, we have a choice. We can choose to grow and allow ourselves the opportunity to experience joy. Or we choose to let the trial overtake us and defeat out joy.

The choice from the outside seems obvious. Of course we choose joy. However, in the midst of the trial, at the base of that dark, scary mountain it’s not so easy. It’s a fight.

But the joy that comes in the morning is so worth the fight! Stay strong and take that opportunity and grow. Count it ALL joy!

Rest

I have four littles under four. That is a recipe for crazy, I know.
At the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I yearn for silence. I don’t want to be touched. I have no more words.
I am in the midst of a season that demands so much of me; physically, spiritually, and emotionally. So it’s understandable I find myself run down and out of energy, having nothing left to give anyone.
It was only a few months ago I felt that utter exhaustion washing over me, holding me down. It was a fog I couldn’t seem to shake, despite my attempts to refuel my mind and soul. I spent time with the Lord everyday, but seemed I couldn’t rest enough to fill that energy deficit.
Rest. Slow down. Focus. Recharge.
Soon enough I found myself in a place where all I could do was rest; all I could do was be still and turn to the Lord. Time stood still and the only thing I knew to do was turn to Jesus.
Despite the unknowns and uncertainty I felt a peace and a recharging of my soul I had never experienced before.
I reached a point when the only way to keep going was to stop.
The demands of my life seemed overwhelming, but God was there and in Him I had all the strength and energy I needed.
Sometimes life’s circumstances force us to slow down and refocus on what is really important. Seasons will ebb and flow, some will demand more of me than others. But through it all, my crazy circus in tow, I find rest in Jesus.
I find rest when I surrender the façade of control I think I have, and focus on the One who truly is in control.
Psalm 62.5

God is Faithful

Pastor Mike Ayers

Our lives are full of unknowns; we are not guaranteed tomorrow. But God is faithful!
My world is so different now. The past month has been one of the toughest months I’ve ever gone through. But it has also been the most spiritually fulfilling and encouraging months I’ve ever gone through.
I believe without a doubt that God has prepared me for such a time as this. I have experienced first hand the truth of how much God prepares us for any season we will face. I would not have remained above the water this past month if I had not spent years diligently and intentionally spending time with the Lord.
Through this season I am learning so much more about who I am and who God has called me to be. I am learning more about the importance of prayer and quieting ourselves before the Lord. I am learning lessons God has slowly been showing me and through this season the words of the Lord came alive in my soul.
God chose me to be Abigail’s mommy and He has been preparing and pruning me to be the mommy she needs. God is faithful; I have no doubt.
Where is God requiring faithfulness from you? God asked me to keep walking one step at a time, all the while reminding me 
He was there to walk through the fire with me. God is faithful.

Hope Continually

In the middle of busy, crazy, stressful seasons it’s so easy to become distracted as the feeling of hopelessness rises within.

Just when we feel like we may be getting our feet underneath us it seems we get hit again, then again, and again.

But all is not lost. All is not hopeless. When things are not going the way you’d hope they would go, it’s important to stay mentally aware.

We are in a fight. But just because it’s a war zone does not mean there is not beautiful blessings all around us. And we are not alone.

Psalm 7114

I chose to hope; God is constantly showing me the family I have all around me. There are so many people around me who bless me, probably more than they know.
 They are the reminder of the hope that I have and the reminder to keep fighting for that hope. To fight the good fight.
In every season we go through, we have a choice to make. Will we choose to hope? Will we choose to hope, despite all the odds that may seem to be stacked against us?

My world turned upside down

Two weeks ago my world turned upside down…  
We had been home with our newborn daughter two days when she stopped eating well and started breathing really hard. After a couple of phone calls to the doctor on call, we headed to the emergency room. 

That’s when it went from 0 to 60…

At first, we didn’t know what the cause was. We soon learned it was her heart. As the night progressed every update seemed to be worse and worse. Our sweet little baby had a broken heart. 

And it was really bad. Her body was shutting down. Her kidneys, intestines, and liver were in shock. 

Five days later she went to the operating room to have her tiny little heart operated on. It was a complicated surgery. The magnitude of how bad her heart was hit us when the surgeon met us after the surgery and the first words he said to us was, “she had a really sick heart.” 

All I could do in that moment was thank God we were here. Thank God we were in Texas so close to an amazing hospital. Thank God my parents were out here to help with the kiddos. Thank God for this surgeon who was skilled enough to operate on a heart the size of a strawberry. 

As I sit here now, staring at my precious baby, nine days post surgery, it’s amazing to see how well she is doing. We are in a much better place than we were just a little over a week ago. 

These past two weeks have been so difficult AND so beautiful. 

My mama’s heart hurts because my hugs and kisses can’t make her better. My heart hurts because I have three other kiddos at home who miss me. My heart hurts because I don’t understand why this happened. My heart hurts because I feel helpless. 

But I have seen so much of God’s hand throughout this whole situation. God protected my baby and is still protecting her. 

Because of my sweet baby so many people came together to pray in unity over her healing. So many have rallied beside us and we have seen how much family we truly have. 

I understand so deeply the peace that God gives. I have a deeper understanding of God being close to the broken-hearted. 

During these past two weeks there has been an overwhelming peace washing over me. I have no doubt that God perfectly knit this little baby together. He has BIG plans for her.

I feel as though I am wrapped in a big, warm hug, shielding me from the arrows of the enemy. I know my refuge and strength is in the Lord. He is guarding my heart and mind and holding me together. 

I didn’t choose this, I didn’t want this. 

But I choose joy. I choose to rejoice in all my circumstances. I choose hope. I choose to believe that God has big plans for my sweet baby. I choose to believe God will use this for good. 

Never Alone, but Lonely.

I never thought motherhood would be lonely.

But I am finding there are times when I find myself never alone, but lonely.

I spend all day with little humans demanding my attention, stealing kisses and hugs, giving laughs and love. I am surrounded by these little whom I love so much, but still craving something more.

As moms, we long for deep connections. We were made to connect with others. We were not meant to do life alone. In the stage of parenting little ones, motherhood can become a bubble that we build around ourselves, typically unintentionally. We are limited by the times we can go out, where, when, and who we can go out with.

Not only are we limited in our outings, but motherhood is exhausting, physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. With so many aspects of our lives demanding so much of us it’s important we fight against the loneliness of motherhood.

I am learning the things I can do to combat the feeling of loneliness. I have not mastered this at all, I am in the midst of it. But what I do know is I am not alone, we are not alone. It’s encouraging to know there are other moms who have been here before and survived and moms who are going through this season at the same time.

Here are some things to consider in the fight against the loneliness of motherhood:

1. Spend time with Jesus!

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Our strength should come from the Lord. In our weakness He is stronger. If we are not taking care of ourselves first not only do we suffer, but our children suffer as well. It’s important we give every day to Jesus, sometimes we need to give Him each moment.

Deuteronomy 6 tells us that we, as parents, need to teach our children about the Lord and how to walk with him. They will never understand what that means if we are not first doing it ourselves. It’s an intentional time that we must carve out of our day to spend at the feet of Jesus. You can do it in the morning, during nap time, after you put the kids to sleep, whatever the time, it’s just important you spend time with Jesus and in His Word.

2. You and your husband are in this together.

The fight is not against each other. You are both parents to your children and on the same team. It’s important to stand together.

“And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him-a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Your husband is on your team. God calls us to be untied. When we are able to realize, an act upon, that we are on the same team we can accomplish anything! It’s amazing what we can do when we are moving in the same direction.

3. Cultivate your circle of friends.

Friendship takes work, like all relationships. We are not meant to go through life alone, and that is not limited to a spouse. Our friends are those who will encourage us and sharpens us.

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

It’s ok if you have a large circle of friends and it’s ok if you have a small circle of friends. However great or small, remember you have a circle of friends. Work at cultivating those relationships. You may not see each other everyday like you did before kids, but that doesn’t mean the friendship is gone.

Reach out. Remember, we all need someone. And remember how you feel today, one day you may just be that friend that helps another who feels lonely.

4. Do not give up! 

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test of time he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

It’s so important to never give up. When we are stuck in the mommy bubble it’s easy to stay in the vicious cycle of day in and day out. Make the choice to break through the walls of the mommy bubble and reach out to someone.

It takes vulnerability. It takes courage. It takes strength. It takes willingness. It takes more than we have on our own. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit who is able to strengthen us. Lean on that and draw from the Lord’s strength.

Cherish every moment with your littles. This season won’t last forever. When you make it through, remember how you felt and reach out to another mama who may need a comforting hand.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

 

Choosing to Abide

john 15

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

There are so many seasons we go through in life. In everything we have great seasons of reaping and seasons of sowing. Through it all, if we are not connected to the Lord we will be thrown this way and that and we end up on the ground looking up wondering what happened.

In order to thrive as a woman, wife, parent, friend, leader we have to abide in the Lord. The fruit of our labor only comes when we are connected to the one who gives to us the wisdom and strength to bear good fruit.

I have been through alot in the past few years. My husband and I have had doors slammed shut in our faces only to turn and hear the Lord saying to follow him. We’ve struggled with finding jobs and providing for our family. Our family has been growing, and growing, and growing. We have struggled financially and physically and emotionally. But through it all I have remained connected to the Lord.

Every day I make an intentional effort to spend time with Jesus. We cannot truly abide if we do not open up the Word of God and make an intentional effort to open our hearts and ears to the Lord.

The secret to thriving through each season is how intentional we are to spend time with Jesus and allowing His Word to penetrate our hearts. It’s a daily choice we need to make if we are going to thrive at all in life through all the seasons we go through.

Courage Doesn’t Always Roar

Courage

In this season of parenting for me, it seems I have more days where I find myself at the end of the day finally putting my head on the pillow saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” There are many times I feel like I’ve failed, like I am the worst parent ever, and thankful I made it through the day.

It takes courage to parent. It takes courage to walk through the day and fight through breaking apart each wrestling or yelling match or constantly being called upon. Our children deserve to see their parent’s courage, even in the midst of exhaustion and failure.

Courage is a choice. We can choose to fight, run away, or pee down our leg. Courage is not easy, it’s not always loud either. Courage is getting up every morning, taking each day one moment at a time and making the choice to keep moving. Courage is choosing joy in the midst of it all.

God has called me to motherhood. He has blessed me with three beautiful children and another one to add to my crazy circus.. Courage in the midst of my world comes from turning to Jesus and saying I cannot do it anymore, please carry me. And He will!

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with yo wherever you go.” 

My strength comes from the Lord. Thank goodness because most days I am in short supply. So today I will choose courage. I will choose joy. I will choose to fight.

Today I will fight to spend time with Jesus, at His feet. I will fight to fuel my heart and energy with the strength and joy of the Lord. I will fight for my children. I will fight for their eternities, because in the end that’s what I have been called to do.