Praying For Our Children

A couple of years ago I began to feel a huge burden over the lives of my children. I felt like God was telling me that I needed to do more as their mom. He pressed on my heart to be intentional about praying for my kids and so every day, I prayed. I didn’t know exactly what God was asking of me, but I do know He was making me realize that my time with them is short and I needed to be more intentional in praying for them.

You can read the post here. I encourage you to read it. It has so much of what I have on my heart right now and struggling to put into words.

I always pray for my kids, but just like God did a couple of years ago, He is doing again. He has placed this huge burden again on my heart for my kids. And if I’m being honest, the focus is on the older two right now. They are in 6th and 7th grade, 13 and 12 and right in the midst of those dreaded middle school years.

If I can be honest, we’ve had a tough year. Not terrible, but tough. I feel like the enemy is roaming around trying to find ways to distract our children. It’s like this black cloud is looming over them. On Sunday at church our pastor asked those who needed a miracle in their life to come forward so that he could pray for them. We’d had a bit of a rough morning with one of our kiddos so I was super emotional. I looked over at Joseph and with tears in my eyes I told him that we needed to go to the front and have our pastor pray for our kids.

Now let me say, I have three amazing kiddos. They haven’t done anything out of the ordinary for teenage kids, but I do see the struggle in their lives. The struggle of growing up and being in their teen years. The struggle of trying to find their significance and acceptance in their peers instead of in Jesus. I also see their hearts hurt when they feel left out or rejected and for a momma heart that is crushing.

I know that when God puts a burden on my heart, I must pray. In the book, Church of the Small Things the author says this, “I know the darkness wants to come for our kids.  I know that evil is everywhere and looking for a chance to whisper to them that they are less than, that they’re inadequate, that they’ll never be enough, and that their lives don’t matter.” (Pg. 104)

This terrifies me. The thought of the enemy trying to entice my kids to believe his lies brings a fear into my soul that I’ve never experienced before.

As an adult, social media can be hard. I can get caught up in the comparison trap when I see the pretty, filtered and perfect pictures of someone else’s house, body and life. I can fall into the trap of believing that what I have to offer isn’t good enough and I’m not pretty or skinny enough. I can also fall into the trap of assumption and rejection. I can assume that I’m rejected when I see everyone at a get together that I didn’t receive the invite to. This is me, as an adult. I am almost 40 years old and when I am not careful, social media crushes my heart and I begin to believe the lies the enemy is throwing at me. So think about how our kids feel as they scroll through their social media. If it affects us this much, you know it affects them so much more!

This isn’t a debate over if kids should have social media or not. That is totally a decision for each parent and honestly I don’t think there’s a general right answer. What ever you choose for your family is YOUR right answer and that’s ok.

More than ever, I am feeling the saying that the days are long and the years are short. Everyone was right when they said these middle school years would fly by and now I have an 8th grader who is closer to high school every single day. The realization that I have less than five years with him in my house before he goes off to college is beginning to sink in. Shoot, it’s not beginning to sink in. It’s there!

So what do we do? How do we keep our kids from falling off the way of the Lord?

Well, we can’t keep them from falling. They aren’t perfect, neither are we! They will fall, they will mess up and make mistakes. But we can choose to love them through those failures and mistakes just as our Heavenly Father loves us. We can show them the love of Jesus by loving them regardless of what they do.

I also think that now more than ever we must remind our kids that their true identity and security are found in Christ. They need to believe that they are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for them to do (Ephesians 2:10). I think this is especially important for our girls. Tell your kids how beautiful they are and how God created them fearfully and wonderfully. Instill in them the confidence in knowing that they do not need to seek the attention of their peers to feel loved. They not only have our love, but the love of Christ Jesus.

Most importantly, we need to pray for our kids. We must take time every single day and be intentional about going to God and interceding for these precious gifts that He’s given to us. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have, but at times it’s the one we use the least. Be bold, be persistent, be specific and pray for your kids. Cry out to God. Tell Him their struggles and ask God to help them. Ask God to protect their heart, mind and eyes from whatever the enemy throws their way.

Yes, it’s true, darkness is after our children. It’s true that the enemy is looming around them, but you know what else is true? Our God is near to them and He is protecting them from evil. He is shielding them from harm, but we must do our part and pray. Will we keep troubles away? No. Troubles will come. But they won’t go through them alone. God will always be on their side.

My dad and mom prayed for me every single day. My mom still continues to pray for me and I know that their prayers kept me from so much. I was led astray, I was the rebellious child, but in the end I still chose Jesus. I always came back to what was true. The troubles and hardships that I experienced shaped me into who I am today and are now helping me parent my own children. In a way, I understand their struggles because I went through them too.

I don’t know if this encouraged you today, but I hope it did. Honestly, I have so much going on in my head and my heart, but I’m having trouble typing it all out. I do know this, I am not alone and neither are you. We are all in this same struggle of raising good kids who love the Lord. We are all carrying similar burdens. So take heart today in knowing that you are not the only one struggling with this. And remember that in your struggles, God is with you. Our troubles may seem big, but we serve a God who is bigger. Our fears don’t scare him one bit and He goes before us in everything we encounter. Rest in that today.

I am praying Numbers 6:24-25 over my children every day just like my daddy prayed over me and I invite you to do the same.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”

May God’s presence go before us, behind us, beside us, all around us and within us. Remember this: God is for you.

Love you, friends. Thank you for reading along and letting me spill my heart ❤️.

XO

Trusting God In The Storms Of Our Lives

When I was a little girl, I hated storms. I especially hated them at night when all of a sudden you were awakened by thunder that was so powerful it shook your house and the lightning was so bright it looked like you were flickering the lights on and off.

I remember one particular night when this happened. My daddy knew how scared I was of storms. As soon as the thunder sounded and woke me up, I cried out “daddy!” And as I started to get up to go to his room, I heard, “I’m here my daughter.” My daddy was laying in the floor beside my bed. He knew the storm was coming and knew that I was going to be afraid. He was there before I even knew I needed him and as soon as I heard his voice and felt his hand on my arm, I instantly felt safe.

Last week I was reading a story in Matthew 14:22-32 where Jesus walks on water. The Bible says that after feeding the five thousand, He made the disciples get into the boat immediately and go before him to the other side. Jesus was dismissing the crowds and afterwards went up to the mountain by himself to pray. The boat and the disciples were a long way from land and the boat was being beaten by the waves. Matthew says the wind was against them.

I wondered when I read this, why did Jesus send them out alone? He must have known that they would encounter this storm. Why not go with them?

I don’t know how long the boat was in the storm, but the Bible does say that in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. I looked up what “the fourth watch” meant and found out that it is defined by the Roman Watch as a time spanning from 3am-6am. Isn’t that like the worst time at night? I don’t know about you, but anxiety and worry always seems to come knocking around 3 am.

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on water they were terrified. They thought he was a ghost and the Bible says they cried out in fear! Verse 27 says, “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

This took me back to the story of my dad coming to lay beside my bed when he knew the storm would wake me. I didn’t know the storm was coming, but he did. And he didn’t leave my side the entire night.

It was the same for the disciples. Jesus sent them on their way knowing that they would face the storm. He stayed behind to pray. It makes me wonder if He was praying for the disciples in that moment that their boat was being beaten by the waves. After all, Romans 8:34 says that Jesus sits at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

Jesus could’ve stopped the disciples from going through the storm, but He didn’t. He could’ve stopped the storm all together, but He didn’t. He knew that there was a reason for that storm. Just like in our lives when we go through hardships and trials. God could keep us from them, but instead He chooses to take us through them.

When we workout, we place stress on our bodies. If we are lifting weights that stress helps our muscles increase in size and neurological adaptations happen to give us more lifting power. This means we get stronger! It is the same with the trials that we face. As we go through hard times, our faith is strengthened. Our trust in God grows and we become more like Christ.

I don’t know what trials you are going through. I don’t know what is waking you up at the fourth watch of the night. But I do know that Jesus is interceding for you and is never too far away. He comes to our rescue and says, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” You are never alone even at three in the morning when you can’t go back to sleep.

Jesus is there before we even realize we need Him. He never leaves our side even when we don’t feel Him. He’s working in our circumstances when everything feels hopeless and when we are afraid, all we have to do is cry out to Him.

Friend, He is with you and He is for you. Don’t give up on Him and instead choose to fight. Fight through whatever hardship you are going through. Remember, you aren’t fighting alone. God has already won the fight all you need to do is ask for His help. Choose to pray instead of worry and choose to trust in His plan. We can’t see all of the details, but one day we will.

Levi Lusko puts it this way in his book, Through the Eyes of a Lion:

This is the war: every moment of every day, we must make the all-important choice of whether we will rely on the naked eye. Will we trust what we can see is there, or believe what God says is there? It’s a decision we are continually confronted with. The apostle Paul put it this way: “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT).

Fix your gaze on Jesus, today. He is right there with you no matter what you are going through.

I hope you have a great Monday, friends! Thank you for reading.

XO

Throwback Thursday :You Were Created For A Reason!

Today is throwback Thursday! Every now and then I share one of my older posts. Today I am a sharing one from three years ago. I hosted a virtual bible study on my blog for the book, Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle. Such a good book! If you are struggling with feelings that your ordinary life of raising kids, doing the laundry, making dinner is insignificant then get this book! She shares how God uses some of the smallest, most ordinary acts of faithfulness and yes, those acts may look a whole lot like packing a lunch or folding clothes! You are made with a purpose and even in the mundane, God uses you!

This post is all about how you are made with a purpose! I hope it encourages you this morning.

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I don’t even know where to begin.  Everything Melanie talked about resonated with me.  I love how she reminded us that we are God’s masterpiece.  He made us carefully and thoughtfully.  We each have a purpose in this life.  If you are alive and breathing, there is a reason you are still here.

We go through life wondering if we are significant, wanting to be accepted.  We spend our time looking for meaning and purpose in all the wrong things when we know that Jesus is the “thing” that fills us up.  All the other things only bring temporary fullness.  But with Jesus we are eternally full.

But life is hard.  And finding acceptance in the worldly things brings us instant pleasure.  Sometimes filling up on Jesus means being patient and going through hardships.  It’s not easy to choose Him over things that bring us instant gratification.  I know I’m guilty of it daily.  It requires discipline.

Sometimes it means going through a period of time where we find ourselves in the “pastures” of life.  Seasons where we feel lonely, forgotten and insignificant. Those lessons are some of the hardest.  Those seasons are tough.

Melanie talked about how God sometimes teaches us the biggest lessons through obscurity.  I looked up the word obscurity and it means unknown, unimportant.  How often do we go through life wondering if anyone even notices the things we do?  As moms, I know, this is big.  We do so much for everyone and at times it can be exhausting.  We go through life making sure all of our children’s needs are met.  Wondering at the same time if we are even doing a good job.  We have different things pulling for our attention every day.  Work, bills, laundry, lunches, homework, deadlines…

But friend, God sees you.  He sees you in those hard, lonely times.  When you feel lonely, unworthy and like you can’t measure up.  He sees you trying your best to balance work and home life.  God sees us even when the world has forgotten us.  And it’s in those seasons when God is preparing us for the big things in life.

God called David to be king.  He wasn’t even in the line up when his dad presented his other brothers to Samuel.  He was a shepherd.  He was ordinary.  To the world probably insignificant.  But to God he was perfect.  He would use this ordinary shepherd to do extraordinary things.

Before David became King, he spent his days as a shepherd in pastures.  Probably alone with just the sheep.  I’m sure he had moments of feeling forgotten, insignificant and alone.  Wondering if anyone even noticed him.  My sweet friend, it’s in those pastures of life where we grow and come to know God in a more intimate way.  If you are like me, I tend to pull away when moments get hard.  I pitch a fit.  I really do.  So this reminder was huge for me.  To know that God sees me.  He hasn’t forgotten me.  The Bible says that in this life we will have troubles.  We will.  But God tells us to find peace in Him.  He tells us to take heart because He has over come the world.

God has a calling for your life.  And no calling is insignificant whether it be public speaking to a sold out crowd or washing dishes and laundry.  He has a purpose for each of us.  Going about your day, working hard in your job, being nice to the new kid.  All of those things are callings.

But maybe God has called you to something that you are not quite ready for.  Maybe you feel that uncomfortable feeling.  That feeling of wanting to say, “no Lord you chose the wrong person.”  The feeling of wanting to run away and say, “why don’t you call so and so.  They would do a much better job.”  Or maybe you know your calling, but God is asking you to be still and wait.

And the waiting….oh the waiting is sometimes the hardest part.  Melanie said something that really stuck with me.  She said that we are called to be faithful and trust even when we don’t want to.  That was such a real and raw statement to me.  I know there are days when I just don’t want to trust.  I don’t want to be faithful.  I want to fix things myself because some days I feel that will bring a quicker result.  But then that would be settling.  Settling for something under God’s plan.  And if we settle sweet sister, think of all that we are missing.  God has big blessings for you.  But when we settle we miss out.  Our pastor said something on Sunday that has stayed with me this week.  He said that God calls us to aim higher.  God doesn’t call us to settle.  Aim Higher girlfriend!  Shoot for the stars.  Embrace the woman God has made you to be and aim higher.  Don’t settle.

This was a hard post for me.  I started writing it on Monday and just felt like it wasn’t finished.  I let it sit for a couple of days and God turned it in a completely different direction.  Maybe someone needed this encouragement today.  Maybe you are in a lonely, feeling forgotten season of life.  Take heart.  God is there.  He sees you sweet friend.

Or maybe God has called you to do something you don’t want to do.  Aim higher and do it.  Experience the blessings God has for your life.  And if you are in the waiting season of your calling, be patient.  I know that’s easier said than done, but slow down and be still.  Enjoy life, even in the waiting.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Take heart friends and experience His peace today. 

Thank. you for reading today! Have an amazing Thursday.

XO

PS – this post contained an affiliate link… thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!

Love and Respect in Marriage

Good morning, babes!

A couple of years ago, I read a book that really changed the way I look at Joseph. Joseph and I are high school sweethearts. We met in middle school and slowly became best friends. We hesitated to date each other because we were terrified that it would ruin our friendship. But Joseph finally decided to ask me out on October of 2000 and the rest is history!

I cannot believe it’s been 20 years!

Our relationship has always been one where we both choose eachother before anyone or anything. He is my best friend, truly.

20 years is a long time and with the years, the struggles most certainly came. When I went through anxiety, depression and panic attacks, it was hard. There were days that he just wanted to walk away. We were newlyweds. It was supposed to be marriage bliss, but instead it was a nightmare. As hard as it was, I am so thankful for the journey because it made us who we are today. And I tell him all the time that I’m thankful he stayed.

The book I read is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I recommend it to everyone. Whether you are going through marriage bliss or you are struggling, read it. It will change your marriage!

Ephesians 5:33 says, “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Love and Respect.

Dr. Eggerichs talks about the crazy cycle which is this: Without love, she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love. This book made me realize how my actions were being disrespectful to Joseph and made me understand why we would end up in heated disagreements. It also opened my eyes to realizing a huge fear of mine. Which was losing Joseph’s love to other things.

Example… golf. Raise your hand if your husband loves golf. Then you’ll probably understand where I’m about to go with this. Joseph loves to play golf. But every time he went to play we would get into a huge argument. HUGE!! I couldn’t figure out why it aggravated me so bad for him to play golf and honestly I hated myself for being such a crazy wife about it.

The aha moment came as I read this book while he was gone on a golf trip to Cabo. I was so mad at him for going to Cabo on this golf trip and I couldn’t figure out why. I am not one to cry, but y’all I cried! I cried the entire day he left for the trip. It was ridiculous really. And it ruined his day because Joseph loves me so much and his desire is always to do what makes me happy. He knew I wasn’t happy and it completely crushed him.

As I read this book I realized that I feared him loving golf and hanging out with the guys more than me. I remember sitting there crying my eyes out and asking God why I was having such a hard time with this and it came clear as day. I didn’t want to lose Joseph’s love and him choosing to play golf with his guy friends made me feel like he was choosing something other than me. I remember calling him the next day and spending about an hour on the phone crying and confessing all of my feelings to him.

I realized the enemy was stirring the pot by feeding lies to me. Joseph loves me. Him playing golf is not him choosing it before me. Such a silly thing to think, but for me it was serious. I developed this fear that Joseph was going to stop loving me and y’all….that produced this deep ache in my soul. This fear the devil was using was torturing me to the core. And it was causing terrible arguments in our marriage. I also realized that the way I was acting towards him was making him feel disrespected which was causing him to react in a way that made me feel unloved. Such a crazy cycle! I remember reading this and cringing….

“No husband feels affection toward a wife who appears to have contempt for who he is as a human being. The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect.”

Gosh…I was making Joseph feel like he was a failure as a husband. But I was also putting him in a corner and expecting him to not have a life outside of me for fear that he would pick it over me. Dr. Eggerichs also writes, “….when men hear negative criticism, it doesn’t take them long to start interpreting that as contempt for who they are as men.” Who was I telling Joseph he was with my actions? I was telling him that he was a horrible husband who didn’t love his wife because he liked to spend a couple of hours on a golf course with his friends. Ugh…

“Respect does something to the soul of a man. God made him that way.”

“A wife who brings shame on her husband is like sickness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4

I realized that I was saying ” I need your love,” but instead Joseph was hearing “I don’t respect you.”

I confessed this to Joseph and felt so free afterwards. This lie that the enemy had used to torture me was finally out in the open and no longer keeping me captive.

I remember reading the chapter about his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship and being completely convicted. Dr. Eggerichs writes that men communicate by sharing experiences and women communicate by talking about the experiences to each other. Men share their experiences by sharing an activity. He gives bullet points of ways that our husbands will feel that we value their shoulder-to-shoulder friendships. Here are a couple of bullet points that he shared that I felt were directed straight at me.

  • You respond to his invitation to engage in recreational activities together or you come along to watch him (you don’t have to go every time, but just now and then will energize him more than you realize.
  • You encourage him to spend time alone, which energizes him to reconnect with you later.
  • You don’t denounce his shoulder-to shoulder activities with his male friends to get him to spend more face-to-face time with you. Respect his friendships, and he will be more likely to want you to join him shoulder-to-shoulder at other times.

I realized that day how crazy I was being. Joseph always encourages me to have my time and here I am degrading him and making him feel like a terrible human for doing something he loves to do.

It’s taken some time, but I have really tried my hardest to be better at my response when Joseph plays golf. Through this experience, it allowed both of us to talk about ways to help us love and respect each other better.

Now, all of this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for God completely being involved. He brought this book to my life and He spoke to me through it. We are at our best when God is first and we are each other’s second.

I share all this because on Monday while we were in Hilton Head, we had some extra time before dinner and I knew my hubby was dying to get on the golf course. He offered to go shopping with me and told me to go get a pedicure while he played a couple of holes. But you know what, instead of doing what I wanted to do which he would’ve been just fine doing, I let him choose.

And by now, you know exactly what he chose! We spent a couple of hours doing what he loves. Or better said, I watched him do what he loves to do. And y’all, it was so good for the both of us. It reminded me that I need to let him choose more often.

And after we played we went to dinner and then he took me to TJ Maxx to buy a couple of my favorite things!

Coffee mugs and Sand and Fog candles ha!

I don’t know if you find yourself in marriage bliss or in a nightmare, but I do want to encourage you today. Hard times will come but don’t give up. Now, you may ask what about Joseph? I’m sure he had some faults, too. Of course, he’s human, but what I’ve learned is that I’m in charge of me. I have a choice to respond or react. And if I focus on working on me and choose to pray first verses nagging or complaining, God will take care of the rest.

Dr. Eggerichs puts it this way, “In the ultimate sense, your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with your relationship to Jesus Christ.” Remember what I said about God first and us second? God must take priority in your life, your marriage and your family. Only then, will you be ready to face those difficulties and trials that will most certainly come.

Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling. Things are great at first, but you must choose to love even when it’s hard to love your spouse. The enemy wants nothing more than to destroy your marriage. Declare war on the enemy and the lies that he feeds you and choose to trust and believe in the promises that God gives you. Choose to stay. Choose to fight. Keep your eyes on christ and build your marriage on the rock so that when those storms come, it will not be swept away.

Of course this doesn’t apply when there’s any kind of abuse….if that’s happening then please seek help.

I do hope this encourages you today to fight for your spouse by putting God first always. And I also hope that this helps someone see the lies that the enemy is feeding you are just that, lies. Talk to God about it and then be open with your spouse. Only then will you experience freedom.

So today, find something that your husband loves to do and join him! Whether it’s golf, playing video games, fishing or just watching sports on tv.

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Thank you for reading today!

XO


Oh! And order the book Love and Respect!

PS – this post contained an affiliate link… thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!

Monday Musings

Happy Monday, babes! I hope you’re week is starting off great. We were up bright and early this morning and headed to Hilton Head for the day. I shared last week how we decided to test the market and put our condo up for sale and it sold within 30 minutes! You can read the full post here.

So we are headed down to look at a property that we put under contract without seeing in person (eeeek!!). Thankfully, we put in the contract that if it’s not something we definitely want, we can back out today. Y’all this property has huge potential!! I can’t wait to share it with you. Follow me on Instagram for some live updates today!

On Friday morning, I shared a little bit of my heart on my Instagram stories. I had so many of you message and text me about how you are going through similar situations. It definitely made me thankful that I shared! Sometimes when I share I feel silly and a little scared to be so real and raw with my followers because of fear of what they may think. But when God presses on my heart to share and I am obedient, He always confirms it. And He did that this weekend through so many of your messages and texts.

Joseph and I have been talking about sharing more of our story and what we did to move forward after suffering through years of financial crisis. We’ve gone through foreclosure, we’ve lost our cars, we’ve lived paycheck to paycheck and eventually had to file bankruptcy just to be able to move forward. We’ve never shared our whole story and honestly it’s a little scary. But if it can help one person move forward then it’s worth sharing. As our pastor says, when you share your story…it helps somebody!

Our story begins 16 years ago when anxiety, depression and severe panic attacks took over my life. I shared some of my story on the You’re Not Alone Podcast a little while back, but I wanted to share it here for those of you who don’t know me or haven’t heard my story before. It’ll give you a little background on me and hopefully encourage you today. You can listen to it here.

Joseph and I will work on some upcoming posts with the rest of our story. But until then, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate in reaching out. We are an open book. We’ve learned that when you keep your story hidden it gives the enemy power to torture you. Believe me, we experienced so much shame, embarrassment and fear of people knowing for years. Telling our story equals freedom. And like I said, if it helps one person move forward then it’s totally worth it.

Thank you for visiting my blog today! I hope you have an amazing Monday.

XO

Just When You Thought God Was Done…He Shows You That He’s Not

I’m going to be an aunt, again! We are so excited to welcome this sweet baby into our family.

My sister and her husband tried for years to get pregnant. During their struggle with infertility, we lost my dad to cancer and then almost a year later my brother in law lost his mom to cancer too. The years that followed brought a lot of grief, hardship and trials.

God worked a miracle in their marriage and then again when He gave them their sweet miracle baby, Mila.

They fully expected Mila to be their one and only, but God! Y’all, my sister is expecting again and we found out tonight that it’s a BOY!

I am just so amazed at the way God has moved in their lives. My sister shared her story on the podcast You’re Not Alone last year and I wanted to share it with you. It’s a story that will encourage you to not give up on God in the midst of life’s tragedies and hardships.

You can listen to her story here. I hope it brings you hope and encourages you to continue to walk close to God and trust in Him.

I watched my sister walk this journey with a confidence in Christ that I aspire to have. Thank you Gabby for sharing your story.

Monday Motivation: Girl, You Are Doing An Amazing Job!

This weekend I finished The Fight to Flourish by Jennie Lusko. I know I sound like a broken record, but I loved this book so much! As I finished it this weekend, this journal entry Jennie shared really spoke to me. And I think it will speak to you, too.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:4

Jesus defeated the power of death. But on THIS day, death will die.

Today:

  • Have confidence in Christ.
  • Walk close to Jesus.
  • Don’t let anything be wasted.
  • Be a good wife.
  • Be a fun mom.
  • Take your role seriously, but not yourself.

Lord, have your way in me today. Open my eyes to see how you see.

This is my prayer for today and I encourage you to make it your prayer, too. Lord, help us be confident in you, walk close to you and make the most of every moment we have. Help us be the wives and moms you call us to be and to have fun while doing it!

If you are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed today, stop and breathe. Girl, you are doing an amazing job! We are so hard on ourselves and we are our own worst critic. Today, see yourself as Jesus sees you. You are special, loved, His masterpiece, His daughter. You may not be strong, but He is. You may not feel like you are enough because you are not. No one is. But we serve a God who is more than enough!

Rest in Him, embrace your journey, love those around you and stay close to Jesus.

Have a great Monday! Let’s get this week started.

XO

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1

A couple of days ago, the kids and I were in the car heading home from school. I don’t know what it is about afternoon pick ups, but they bicker the whole way home. You would think that after not seeing each other all day, they’d be a little nicer, but nope! One of them says something to irritate the other and the other one has a comeback to get back at the first one for saying what they said.

I know it’s a season and I try my best to remind them that we are family and that we should choose to be kind. The other day I told them that our tongue is one of the strongest muscles in our bodies. It has the power to completely crush someone’s spirit. I reminded them that we should always choose to think before we speak because words hurt. Words cut deep. Words destroy relationships, reputations. But they can also encourage, empower and bring life to someone. And it’s up to us to choose to think before we speak, to respond instead of react, to stay silent instead of exploding with anger.

This morning my devotional went right along with this conversation. Levi Lusko says, “There are things that matter much more than temporary vindication. As good as it feels to unload on someone in the moment, the pleasure is extremely short-lived and you’re left with a mess. Don’t trade what you want for what feels good right now.”

I must admit, I’ve not always been good at keeping my mouth shut. And when I feel hurt, threatened or embarrassed, I can resort to passive aggressiveness to defend myself. Earlier this year, God really convicted me of this and ever since then, I pray daily for God to guide my words. To give me the strength to pause before I say a word when I feel upset or angry. And I can tell you that I am not perfect, I still fail but I am getting better.

I’ve learned that it’s not worth it. It’s not worth saying something and risk losing my testimony. How can I share a bible verse on my instagram story and then cut someone deep with my passive aggressive comment? I’ve done that before and God has really had to work on this with me.

In, The Fight to Flourish, Jennie Lusko talks about how the enemy hates when women gather together because he knows how powerful we are when we have each other’s backs. He knows we are unstoppable when we are united and serving God. That is why he does everything he can to keep us throwing jabs and punches at each other. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can choose to be kind and lift each other up. “It can be easy to throw out a snarky comment or put someone down in a passive-aggressive way. It’s much harder to fight to be honorable, to believe the best about others and assume they’re not out to hurt us.” (Jennie Lusko)

A lot of time when we throw out those passive aggressive comments it’s a deep reflection of our heart, our insecurities and our struggles. It’s sad, but true and I can tell you that because that’s how it is for me. I jab and throw punches when I’m feeling insecure about myself or I feel angry or threatened. And that’s the enemy! When we allow ourselves to be provoked by things that others say or do, we are handing over control of ourselves to them. They have the power over us when they are able to do or say one thing and it sets us off. I don’t know about you but I was done giving people and circumstances power over my life. Levi lusko says that he has found freedom in realizing that regardless of what someone else does or says, we still have a choice and can respond in a way that is completely different than our initial impulse. I want that freedom and self-control! Don’t you?

“Your intentions don’t matter; your behavior does. No one can hear what you say; we hear only what you said. The impact you have on the world is what you’re accountable for.” ( Levi Lusko)

What impact do you want to make in the world? Do you want to leave every conversation feeling the regret of putting your foot in your mouth once again? I’ve been there! Or do you want to leave the conversation feeling at peace with yourself?

You choose.

Here are a couple of things I read this morning in my devotional, Take Back Your Life, that I’d like to share:

  • Gentleness and friendliness are stronger than fury and force.
  • It’s when you humble yourself as a servant that people want to follow you as a leader.
  • Being nice is one thousand times more effective than being a jerk.
  • No one cares what you know if they don’t know that you care.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

I hope this has challenged and encouraged you today! Let’s be better. Let’s choose to lift and encourage with kindness and not allow the enemy to steal our peace. XO

Monday Motivation: One Bite at a Time!

Happy, happy Monday! I’ve got to admit that when the alarm went off at 4:10 this morning, I wished that Mondays really were optional ha! But I sucked it up and got up and got going.

After a lot of conviction and nudging from God, I set out last week to be more productive with my days. I am all about a “lazy” day, but I had let myself get to a place where I was having more lazy days than non lazy days. I am, by nature, a very disciplined person but I am also a huge procrastinator.

I found my days sitting around, looking at my phone and then looking at the clock and an hour had gone by. I began to feel God telling me that I was not being a good steward of my time. I put things on the back burner because in my mind I didn’t have the time, but in reality, I wasn’t making the time.

I always know when God is speaking to me when everything points to the same thing. In my devotional and book I am reading, it talked about habits and doing the hard things. In the message yesterday our pastor reminded us that we make time for things that are important to us. It was definitely a “ok God, I get it already,” moment.

So last week I set out to be productive and I wanted to share with you what I did in hopes that maybe it will help and encourage you.

The first thing I did was wake up and get up when the alarm went off. I forced myself to not hit the snooze button. Some days were definitely easier than others. I decided that I would wake up at 4:10 so that I could do my “blaire strength” workout and then make sure that I could have my quiet time before waking Mackenzie up to start her day. I reminded myself that I would be so happy that I got it in early and didn’t have to find the time later in the day.

I had my quiet time everyday. This is a non-negotiable for me. It is a must. My time with God is something that I desperately need everyday. I love devotionals that I can do each day, but they are so hard to find. The one I am currently doing is called, Take Back Your Life by Levi Lusko. Y’all, it has been such a game changer for me. It goes right along with what God has been showing me lately and I look forward to it each day. If you are looking for a devotional, I definitely recommend this one. I am also reading his wife’s book, The Fight to Flourish. I try to read a couple of chapters a day, but some days I only have time for a couple of pages. I feel that they compliment each other very well.

The other thing that I set out to do each day was to go back to making lists. I love lists because they keep me on task. And I love marking things off when I complete them. Every night I would pull out my calendar and see what I had going the next day. I would write my to-do list, schedule for the day and lists of items I needed to pick up that day. I found myself forgetting things all the time… making these lists helped so much. I also took the list with me so that I could stay on task when out and about. So often I will get somewhere and completely forget an item. It also helped me drive my day verses the day driving me. I stayed in control and I was productive.

I made my bed every day! A bed made makes for a better day ha! At least in my book. My mom is huge about this and I am too. Something about a bed made just makes me feel more put together and like I accomplished something.

I did 1-2 loads of laundry daily and folded and put away each one right then. I hate laundry. Not so much doing laundry… I hate putting it away so it piles up. We will have loads of clean laundry that are folded in a laundry basket in my room and I was just so over it. So I forced myself each day to put it away. Y’all, it was crazy how everything in me wanted to leave it there because I swore I would do it later. It’s the procrastinator trying to take over ha! But I fought it and forced myself to do it. It was so nice to start the week caught up on laundry!

Last but not least and so important was that I gave myself lots of GRACE. I am an all or nothing gal so often times I just don’t do something because I can’t do it all at once and I find myself overwhelmed. It’s easier to not do it than to do it if that makes sense. I took the eating the elephant approach. You’ve probably heard this analogy. You eat the elephant one bite at a time. Many times we don’t do the hard stuff because we are so overwhelmed that we don’t know where to start. Just start! One step at a time. I was so behind on laundry when I started the week and normally I would get overwhelmed, but instead I just started it and gave myself small goals. I did the same with other tasks. I reminded myself that small steps towards a big goal are better than no steps at all. And on the night when I was so exhausted and went to bed instead of putting away the dishes from dinner that night, I gave myself lots of grace the next morning and thanked God for extra sleep the night before. A grateful heart always keeps me in a positive mindset.

I know all of these are practical things, but they are what helped me get myself back on the productive wagon. I have seasons where I completely fall off and that was the season I was in. These small little habits helped get me back on track. Will I fall off again? Absolutely! I am human, we all are. Nobody is perfect and life happens! But when I fall off, I will get back on again and I will be ok. Grace, grace!

You may find yourself in a funk. Looking at your day at night wondering what you got done or wondering where all your time went. You may also be like me and spend way too much time on your phone when you could be doing something else like laundry ha! That was me! This week I tried to set a timer when I would start to scroll social media and it worked! It kept me on track and once the timer went off, I would grab my book and read instead.

A verse that I’ve had on my mind has been, Colossians 3:23-24 that says,

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

I’ve reminded myself as I do the laundry and my daily chores that feel so mundane that I am doing them with all my heart working for the Lord. It has helped change my perspective and my heart when I pick up someone’s shoes for the hundredth time! As a mom we can look at our tasks as mundane and not important, but they absolutely are. We serve God as we serve our family and doing the laundry and cooking dinner is serving our family. This crazy season isn’t going to last forever and one day the laundry won’t be as bad because it’ll only be you and your husband. One day the dinner table will be just you and your husband because the kiddos are grown and in their own homes. So embrace this moment and do all things as you would do them for the Lord!

I hope this encourages someone today. Remember to not be so hard on yourself. Take small steps towards your big goals instead of no steps at all and do all things as you are doing them for God.

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday! XO

Friday Favorites {9.25.2020}

Happy Friday!! I hope you’ve had a great week. I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad today is Friday. We have our first free Saturday tomorrow in a while so I’m looking forward to it! Maybe I can convince Joseph to take me to pick up mums and pumpkins for our front porch.

On Fridays, Andrea and Erika host a Favorite Fridays post where they share some of their current favorite things. I love reading everyone’s posts and sometimes like to jump on the bandwagon and share my current favorite things. So here we go! Grab your coffee and scroll to see!

If you follow me on instagram then you’ve seen me sharing some of my favorite quotes from this book. It has been a long time since my heart has attached to a book that I am reading. Jennie Lusko and her husband Levi, unexpectedly lost their five year old little girl a couple of years ago. In this book, Jennie is so transparent in talking about her struggles and even shares excerpts from her journals. She talks about fighting through the hardships and becoming who God wants us to be. The chapter I read this morning had me in tears. It was about how much God loves us and how His love isn’t based on who we are, it’s placed on us. Y’all. You have to read this book. Especially for my friends who have experienced a loss of a loved one. This book will help your heart heal and remind you to fight in the midst of terrible circumstances.

You can purchase it on Amazon and have it on your doorstep the next day! The book is called

The Fight to Flourish,

I promise you will love this book.

A couple of months ago I shared an outfit I wore to church and so many of you bought it! I loved this dress and I’m so excited to share it again because I just ordered the same dress in a “fall” color! It’s supposed to be here tomorrow and I am so excited. They have so many options that can definitely go in your transition into fall wardrobe! Dresses on Amazon make me nervous because I’ve ordered some that did not work for me, but this one totally did. I also love these sandals and have multiple colors. They are super comfortable! I wore them to a work lunch with a black jumper and my jean jacket. They are totally worth the price!

Another one of my favorite products is my new mascara, primer and lash serum! A couple of months ago, a friend told me about a lash serum that helps your eyelashes grow. I just can’t do lash extensions. I sweat entirely too much and they just feel so “fake” on my eyes. I have used this serum for almost two months and have seen some growth. But what I am really loving is the primer and mascara. I LOVE my lashes when I use this product. Next time I wear it, I’ll post a pic so that you can see how long my lashes look!

Here’s the primer. This goes on before your mascara.

This is the Lash serum and Mascara. The serum goes on once a day consistently for 12 weeks.

And last but not least! This girl cheered in her first middle school football game last night. We weren’t sure if there was going to be a season this year so we were so excited. It poured on us, but we loved watching her cheer on the Dragons! On our way home I looked over at Joseph and told him that I can’t believe this is our season of life. For so long we would say things like “can you imagine when the older two are in middle school?” And here we are…. one in 7th and one in 8th. Goodness, time sure does fly!

And that does it for the week! Thank you for reading! I had fun sharing all my current favorites with you! Have a GREAT weekend!

XO

PS – this post contained an affiliate link… thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!