Thursday, October 28, 2010

A thankful heart

A thankful heart is rarely a discontented heart. When life is hard and everything seems to be going wrong, it is easy to focus on the immediate circumstances. The negative, at times, can consume your thoughts and emotions. One day, when I was short on money, time and patience, I found myself overwhelmed, focusing on all that was going wrong in my life. All this accomplished was a feeling of hopelessness. In my state of depression I was reminded that God's Word says to "give thanks in all things." In my mind I scoffed, "Boy, like that will help anything. Live like Pollyanna . . . whatever." But I tried it. I found myself looking for things for which to be thankful. It wasn't long until my whole attitude was different. Instead of living defeated, I was living confident, not in my own abilities, but in God's promises. My circumstances had not changed, but my focus had. It made all the difference.
Now it is your turn! How has being thankful impacted you? What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If I Could Only Remember

Recently, I had the same conversation with two different ladies. They both told me that they hadn't been spending time with God, but when they do, they really are better wives and moms. One mom said, "After I spend time with Him, I get better. Then I forget God again."

I was right there with them, wondering why I too could spend time with the Lord, see the benefits, then forget to devote time to Him. I once heard Bible teacher Beth Moore say, "God delights when hearts, so prone to wander, choose Him."

It's a common thing for humans, especially moms, to try to handle everything on our own. Besides, there is so much to do that we think we don't have time for one more thing. The ironic thing is, though, when I stop and spend time with God, I accomplish so much more. It's like guaranteed help, and who of us doesn't need help?

Yet there are those times when I still forget to spend time with God. There are many things that can make our hearts wander, demands that consume our time. I found this entry in my journal and thought it might entice us all to turn our eyes back to Him. It can remind us of His faithfulness and help us remember the blessings that come when we give Him part of our hectic and chaotic days.

December 2004
About a week ago, I was low...very low. At a time that I felt I couldn't do anything right, I did do two things right: I started praying (those SOS prayers--"Please help fast, Lord!") and I began spending time with God, reading my Bible. I didn't feel better immediately, but I'm realizing the important thing is to know I will feel better. God has been so gracious to show me that over and over again. When I'm feeling down, if that low time draws me closer to Him--great! He is faithful to hold on to me and remind me of my purpose when I feel worthless. When I haven't been faithful in spending time with Him, He remains consistently loyal--always ready to take my hand and help me up. But I have to offer my hand and stop trying to get out of the quicksand of life and the mud of emotions on my own. He is my rescuer.

Are you trying to handle everything on your own? If you have never accepted Christ, asking Him to come into your life gives you someone to walk with each day, and it gives you hope when you're feeling down. No matter what you've done, He loves you. He really, really loves you!

If you are a believer, how long has it been since you made time for the Lord in your day? don't miss out on the blessings that await your willingness to turn your wandering, busy, sleep-deprived heart toward Him for even a few minutes today. Choose Him and then trust Him to rescue you when you find yourself downhearted. If it's been a while since you talked with Him, pray--even if you have to pray an SOS prayer. He loves hearing from you.

December 2004 (continued)
Thank You, Lord, for being so different from my "get what you deserve" mentality. It's hard for me to see past that thought to the truth of who You are: Love--simply love. Just because You want to love me, You love me. Thank You, thank You, thank You for calling me back to You again and again. I love You, too! Living and learning in Jesus' Name...Amen.

(from Sharon and Laurie's book Hold You, Mommy)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fun Monday

Welcome to fun Monday! Our kids say and do the funniest things and being there for the comedy routine is just one of the perks of being a mom! (And it helps us get through the days of "spills here and smudges there; dirty fingers, sticky hair!") We would love to hear some of your fun family stories to share here on Fun Monday. You can send your stories to shelly(at)MomAndLovingIt(dot)org.

Courtney shared this fun story with us about her son's first day of kindergarten.

So we get into the van and I asked Owen the following questions...

1. How was your day? Owen says, It was GREAT!

2. What did you think of your teacher? Owen says, Oh she is pretty! (Oh jeez)

3. Did you have fun playing in the flour? Owen says, YES we all got really dirty and got in the shower and put our clothes in the dryer!

4. What did you say? (As I turn the volume to the radio to OFF!) We took showers as our dirty clothes were drying!

5. What about the other kids/girls in your class? Owen says, Mom we took turns nobody saw me naked!

So I get home and call a friend who has a son in the same class and her son says, We dusted off outside. I call the school and ask for the teacher and proceed to tell her what Owen says as she is BUSTING A GUT!!! She said that has to be one the FUNNIEST stories but NO it is NOT TRUE!! I confront Owen and he says, Mom I made up a funny story so you would laugh and you were laughing on the phone!!!

Thanks for sharing a laugh with us Courtney!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Come Join Us!

Mom, do you know how valuable you are? Do the endless tasks of motherhood have you asking, what am I really accomplishing? Join me for an amazing conference that has been transforming women in all ages and stages of motherhood. The North Central Hearts at Home Conference, Mom’s the Word!, is being held Nov. 12-13th in Rochester, MN. Register by Oct. 20th for the best value. Late registration ends Nov. 5th. Visit or call 309-828-MOMS for details. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you will be inspired, refreshed and recharged to continue on your parenting journey!

Sharon and Laurie will be there! If you are in the area and can go, we would love to see you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

At their conferences, Laurie and Sharon speak about being content. Being content with who we are, with our husbands, our children, and our lives in general. A big part of that attitude is being grateful for what we have and where we are. In that spirit, we are going to start a little something here on the blog where we share something that we are thankful for this Thursday.

I was talking with a friend the other day about how I'm thankful I'm in this time period where I can go down to Wal-mart and buy chicken ready to cook, and I don't have to chase, kill, or clean it first!

Sharon said this week

I'm thankful that our dog and cat get along. They are so cute! Instead of chaos, they make us smile!

She tried to get a picture of them greeting each other in the morning with a "kiss," but of course, this week they were not feeling photogenic! Maybe another day!

What makes you thankful this Thursday? We would love to hear from you!

posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministry assistant

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

He cares

Did you know that God knows how many hairs you have on your head? (See Luke 12:7.) Do you care how many hairs you have on your head? I don't. But God cares about the little things in our lives. He cares that you need a good parking space at Wal-Mart when you have small children, or that you want your child to hit the ball instead of striking out, again. He cares about it all--relationships with our husbands, children, in-laws, friends, co-workers. Talk to Him about anything that concerns you. Thank Him for what He has done for you. (I really do pray for a parking place at Wal-Mart, and you would be amazed at the spots He has provided.) When we trust Him with the little things it is easier for us to see His answers to the bigger problems in our lives.

Lord, You not only know the number of hairs on my head, but how many steps I take, when I sit down and when I stand up. You go before me and behind me. You protect my coming and going. Your love for me is absolutely more than I can imagine! Today draw me closer to You, knowing that You want to be with me. Teach me to trust You with the little things and the big things. Thank You for loving me! In Jesus' Name we pray...amen.

(adapted from Sharon and Laurie's book Mom...and Loving It!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fun Monday!

We are going to try something a little bit new, and we need your help! As moms we have a hard job that is tedious and mundane at times, very fullfilling and rewarding at times, difficult at times, and hilarious at times! I'm so glad God gave us the gift of laughter to brighten our days. That is one of the best parts about being a mom is having the front row center for the comedy show, starring our families! They say and do some of the funniest things!

Sharon shared a recent funny moment at their house...
Davis had been rude to one of his sisters, so I told him, "If you don't have sweet things to say to your sisters, you can't have sweets for today." He went outside upset and played in the backyard. Later, when he came in he told me, “I asked God if I should climb the fence and run away. He said, ‘No.’” Good answer, God!!

It doesn't take much to make us smile sometimes! Sharon, Laurie, and I can think of some stories that made us giggle. But we want to hear some of yours too! So every Monday we will share a fun family moment from one of your families or one of ours. To participate, just send your story (and picture with it if it needs a little illustration) :) to me, shelly (at) MomAndLovingIt (dot) org. We can't wait to hear from you! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bad Day?

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Things were not going as planned! I had been busy all morning but had nothing to show for it. I had intended to get up early, but instead I slept late. I had been ugly to my kids. It was afternoon, and I hadn't even had time to take a shower. I was feeling really low, primarily about myself. I was in a funk.

Alec, my ten-year-old, hugged me that day and out of the blue said, "I'm so glad you're my mom. I wouldn't want anyone else." I returned the hug and commented, "Sometimes I think someone else could do a much better job." He looked at me with a horrified look and said, "Why would you say that?"

Why would I say something like that? I guess because I felt like a complete failure. I was not being patient with my kids. I had raised my voice one too many times. A harsh scowl seemed to be permanently chiseled into my face. I was comparing myself with other moms. I don't deserve to have kids, I thought.

Guilt weighs heavily on most of our shoulders at one time or another. It seems to go with the title of Mother. No one prepared us for how challenging this role would be. Nor did they tell us how connected our hearts would be to our children.

I heard a friend say one time, "God wants me to be a 'good' mom, not a perfect one." But sadly many of us are striving for perfection. What we don't realize is that these ideals we have ascribed to ourselves are impossible to keep, and they only make everyone (the people around us as well as ourselves) miserable. Nobody likes to be around people who think they are perfect or won't admit they're wrong. So why put ourselves through all that?

I want to encourage you today. The next time you're having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, remember: The only "code" we are to be patterning our life after is God's Word. We are to base our self-image on who He says we are. Ephesians 2:10 says it well:
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which
God prepared in advance for us to do."

Don't fall into the trap of self-defeat. Let God untangle the web of lies you've believed about yourself and set you free to find who you are in Him--a daughter of the King, worthy because of His shed blood, forgiven by His grace, and strengthened by His strong hand.

Lord Jesus, I feel like such a failure at times. I don't feel I even deserve to be a mom because of how I've acted toward my family lately. Please forgive me, Lord, and restore me to a right relationship with You. Help me find myself in You. Help me sift through the lies I've believed for so long, and replace them with Your truth of who I really am. Thank You for covering me with Your righteousness, so that I am not continually trying to be good enough on my own. In Your strength I'll seek to focus on You and not me! Amen.

(from Sharon and Laurie's book Hold You, Mommy)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

You are Not Alone

(Because of the way this one starts, I want you to know upfront that it was taken from Sharon and Laurie's book Hold You, Mommy. No less relevant today in new stages than it was 6 years ago, but neither of the girls have a newborn at the moment!)

As many of you know, I have entered the world of diapers, strollers, and middle-of-the-night feedings again. Most of the time "I'm loving it," but other times I think "I'm losing it!" I don't know about you, but I find myself forgetting things (primarily my children's names), or I'll go to another room to get something and forget why I'm there. Sometimes thinking of a simple word can bumfuzzle me! And have you ever put something away and then for the life of you, you can't remember where you put it? Please tell me you can relate...or am I just getting old? I prefer to think that it is postpartum brain loss.

Feeling "confused and disoriented" is a problem for most moms. A common occurrence in our house that can almost bring me to tears is when everyone needs me at the same time. The baby awakens from his nap, crying because he's hungry, and my five-year-old is in the bathroom calling, "Mommy, I neeeeeeed you!" My eight-year-old, standing on her head, determined to keep her balance, is breathlessly saying, "Mommy, Mommy, look at me, look at me!" And at the exact same time, my ten-year-old is asking, "Mom, can I buy these new bracelets off eBay? The deal goes off in five minutes."

Of course all this is happening as I'm preparing dinner. And while working quickly to put out the various family "fires," I find I've started one of my own on the stove! I've often had the thought, If one more person calls my name, I'm gonna scream, only to hear my husband say, "Honey, have you seen my glasses?" Aahh! I can't take it anymore!

There are days I think, Lord, I can't do this. I don't even have the energy to try anymore. Some days the challenges of motherhood are too demanding, too overwhelming, too exhausting.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Is your burden too heavy? Are you afraid because you feel out of control? Don't worry--you are not alone.

Isaiah 41:10 says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (emphasis added).
It isn't all up to you. God longs to fill us with His strength if we'll just let Him. It is in recognizing our weakness that we realize God's strength. Isaiah 40:29 says it well: "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

In The Message, Isaiah 41:9-10 reads like this:
"I've picked you. I haven't dropped you. Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm you God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."

Just remember: When you are out of control, He is in control. Get close to Him. Seek Him, and He'll empower you to handle the challenges that overwhelm you.

Lord, I want to stop trying to do everything on my own. I need you to calm my spirit, to give me strength, to hold me steady. Give me self-control so that I can respond gently instead of harshly, set loving limits instead of rash rules, and seek to understand before making demands. Lord, I am weak, but you are strong! Thanks be unto God! Amen.