"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Bible is my go-to book, but not really

"Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do." Joshua 1:8

my son is entering the teenage years. Sometimes the things he does leave me flummoxed (verb: to bewilder, confound, confuse). It has really been becoming clear to me that I have no idea how to deal with a teenage boy. What to do?

As a stay at home mom I really want to make what I do in the home meaningful, consistent and welcoming. With my ADD sanguine personality, I can't even tell you how almost impossible this is for me. How do I keep from getting overwhelmed?

I love food. The taste, the processes of cooking and baking, the smells, the textures. All of it. And it shows in my dress size and fitness level. Why can't I control my eating and lose weight?

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Please someone say yes! 

To help me with these issues, I got books. I purchased "Got Teens?" by Jill Savage and Pam Farrell, "The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized" by Karen Ehman, "The House That Cleans Itself" by Mindy Starns Clark, "Reshaping It All" by Candace Cameron Bure, and "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst.

And I read blogs. Lots and lots of blogs!

Now, let me first tell you that I loved each and every one of these books. If I didn't, I wouldn't have listed them, much less linked them. They are packed full of encouragement, plans, lists, to-dos, to-dont's, booty-kicking and Scriptures. They are good books.

But they are not the Good Book.

As a Jesus-lovin' girl, I know and I mean know that the Bible is truth. It is strength, it is direction, it is encouragement. 

And sadly, it is usually the last self-help book I grab when I have something I need to work through. 

All the instruction I will ever need is right there. Every topic, every struggle covered and conquered right there in the pages of a love letter just for me. 

And you. 

I think I tend to turn to books written by people because i want to re-affirm to myself that i am not the only one who is or has gone through this. And if they did it, then I want their tips and tricks to get me through too. And this is good. 

But it shouldn't be our first step. This should be around step four in our journey.

If you are like me, then the first two are ones that generally get skipped.

Step One: Pray about it. Go to God first before anyone else. Speak it all out to him. The good, the bad, the things you feel are impossible. Tell Him everything, then sit still and listen. sometimes you will have to be still for a long time. Longer than you want. Keep waiting.

Step Two: Open your Bible. Make it your go-to book for everything. The best advice will always be right from the Word of God. 

Struggling with eating? Try doing a word study of food; Self-control. Providing. Sufficiency. Satisfied. 

Lost trying to be a good, godly parent? Try looking up the words children, lead, discipline, teach, guide, LOVE. 

Sometimes the Scripture will apply to your situation, sometimes it won't. But you will be reading from the true source of knowledge. You will be placing a lot of Scripture in your mind and in your heart without a middle-man sharing their impressions and learnings. It will be you and God, walking together. 

Step Three: Apply what you learned. This is the hard part. Not only in being willing to do what you have learned, but in figuring out how to practically apply it. Sometimes after I have learned something from Scripture, I feel like I completely understand and am ready to follow through on the why, but the how seems cloudy. This is the time to go for help. If you can't see ways to make the changes you learned, then ask a friend, find a group, buy some books. 

Step Four: Get Help. Godly counsel from friends, family and outside sources is  the best way to change your path. Once you know what you need to do, getting help doing it is not only wise, it can make it fun! 

Parenting a teen has days, weeks, even seasons when it seems like fun has died, but it hasn't! Get together with a friend who is where you are now, and a friend who has  already blazed a path and can stand up the road cheering you on. 

Get accountability for being a homemaker by getting together with another homemaker. Have your own accountability group. Do a Bible study together that is on a home-centered topic or read a book and have a micro book club to encourage each other. 

Develop a group to help you lose weight. My friend has a group that named themselves the Dirty Skirt Girls. They are Jesus-loving health freaks. They work out together, do walks and runs together, train together, cook together, and carry each other through major illnesses and struggles, all the time keeping each other on a healthy path. If I didn't live six hours away I would totally be in her group! 

There are thousands of good books written by Christians that are bible-based and will truly help and guide you through just about any and every struggle that you will face in your life. 

But don't just settle for good. 

Go to God first. Get His best for you before anything else. Step by step, in order, one at a time. And you will prosper and be successful in all you do.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why I decided to give up

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."                              1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
"I am clearly alone in a sea of insanity. No one is coming to help me, I will never get my brain to slow down. The thoughts are too numerous and too fast. And so unorganized. Like me. And what I can get done doesn't seem to ever be enough. Or just plain good enough. I am so inadequate for and at this."

"What in the world was God thinking?"

These are all thoughts that were running through my brain after six days of spring break. I was counting down the hours until school started up again and in the back of my mind, beginning a dread and terror of what will happen in a few short weeks when they are out for summer break. 10 weeks. Are you kidding me!? I couldn't even handle six days! Oh, Lord. Help me.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Lately I have been struggling with my abilities as a stay at home mom. I struggle with discipline. I struggle with feeling like a good spiritual leader and role model. I struggle with my ability to help my children academically. I struggle with my house keeping and organizational skills. I struggle with .... well you get where I am going with this.

I am very sure that I am being obedient to God by leaving my job and committing to staying home. I couldn't have had more confirmation unless the Lord Himself came down, took my hand, and wrote my resignation for me then lead me home with a fanfare of angelic choirs.

 I am quite sure I am where I am supposed to be.

But.

I have been thinking it would be better if I did go back to work. I have a list as long as my arm (folded over, alphabetized and dot-pointed) of all the ways I am not good at this. I think of how I am not capable. I read all these wonderful blogs and websites of women that seem to have no struggle or question about what they are doing, or more importantly, their ability to do it. And I feel less than. And so alone. I see put-together moms out and about with their well dressed and clean and nicely mannered children. And I want to run home and hide. If I could have figured out how to give up, I am sure I would have.

But God.

One day a stay at home mom friend made a comment about how her family has been struggling with some of the same things we (I) are. What? Really??!

Then I read an amazing blog from Proverbs 31 writer Tracie Miles. (Linked below)

Then there was a blog from Orange Parents that made me cry. (Linked below)

Then my email updates sent me an article from Mom Life that opened my eyes. (Linked below) #s 4, 10, 14, 15, & 28 really spoke to me.

Then my daily devotion was about seeing clearly. (Linked below)

Then the focus verse for today popped up in my mind. You might think it out of no-where but really, who are we kidding?

Sometimes God tests us. He gets quiet and waits to see what choices we make. What direction we will go. Who we will turn to to get us through. If we have enough trust in him, and faith, to make it through.

Other times God can see we want a way out. We are drowning and can't seem to figure out which way to reach. We have lost our perspective and our faith is running thin. Can I just say that He will never never NEVER leave us in that place?

As you can see above, God didn't leave me in a place of self-doubt, fear, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed about my ability to be a good mother. Quickly, clearly, and leaving no room for doubt that He was talking to me, aware of me and helping me, God gave me back my direction and reminded me of some truths I have lost sight of.

  • No matter how many times I commit my life to him, I am going to lose perspective.
  • No matter how many ways I try to be perfect, I will never reach perfection.
  • No matter how many times I stop looking to Him first, he is always ready to get me back on track.
  • God chose me to be the mother of these kids. He loves them more than I do. He won't leave me alone to raise them.
  • God would never say a single one of those hurtful things that were running through my thoughts. Never.
  • I am a chosen child of God, holy and dearly loved.
 I tend toward perfectionism in many ways. By this I mean that I expect things of myself that are unrealistic and when I can't obtain them, I consider myself a failure. I get really hard on myself and God can't get a word in edge-wise with all my negative self-talk. Sometimes He has to be really obvious to get me back on track.

Been there? Are there now?

If any of this strikes a familiar note with you, give up! 
  • Give up trying to be perfect.
  • Give up trying to do it all alone.
  • Give up thinking that everyone else is doing so much better than you (as I am now reminding myself: NO ONE is perfect so quit trying to project it onto people! They mess up just like me!).
  • Give up listening to, and believing, the lie that we as mothers will single-handedly screw up our kids.
  • Give up believing that we are supposed to be a perfect mom if we stay home full time and also believing that being a Christian should in some way make us perfect in this calling.
  • And last but definitely not least...give up control!
 A great song is Kari Jobe's "My Beloved". If you have time, google it and listen or watch it. Let God sing over you. You will see you are not alone. You can do this. And He loves you.

Links:  
 


28 ways to connect with God ( let me know which ones you really connected with!)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

City on a hill


Sometimes the most profound thing you will hear is also the simplest.

I am posting a video by Kari Jobe. It is a song called We Are. The lyrics are based on some of my very favorite verses.

I am posting this on Good Friday because this song spoke of Jesus' love in just the right way to me, and is calling me on to share it. I hope that it might do the same to you.

This song simply says:

We are the light of the world

We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine
Let the light shine, let the light shine
We are called to the spread the news
Tell the world the simple truth
Jesus came to save, there's freedom in His Name
So let His love break through
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others" Matthew 5:13-16
"So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me." Philippians 2:15-18