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

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

Embracing Every Season

Every morning this week I’ve been sharing a picture of my coffee mug with a quote from something I read during my quiet time. I started the week determined to get my morning routine back and be more productive with my days. I’ve been so convicted about my habits and how I spend a lot of time on my phone. I am a very disciplined person, but I am also a huge procrastinator. When you mix that with my all or nothing attitude, it can be a recipe for disaster. I really have felt God teaching me during this season that I need to be more productive with my time.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been working with my trainer on not being so hard on myself when I am not at a 100%. Life happens and we can’t always have those perfect days. I’ve had a lot going on since I started working with her and at times I’ve almost told her we will try again at a later time when life isn’t crazy. But seriously….when isn’t life going to be crazy?! She reminded me that being consistently good enough is better than doing absolutely nothing. I’ve really taken that to heart and have practiced giving myself lots and lots of grace.

As I started the week, I decided to go back to list making. This keeps me on track and helps me be more productive. Not to mention the success I feel to mark things of my list feels so good ha! It’s helped so much and I have found myself getting things done this week. But let me tell you, I’ve been so tired by the end of the day. I even told Joseph yesterday how being productive is great, but gosh it’s exhausting.

This morning I didn’t have to do a my “Blaire Strength” as I call my workouts from my trainer lol! So I knew that I could sleep in a little longer. Of course, I slept in a lot longer than I hoped and found myself rushing to get downstairs to get in a little bit of my quiet time before having to wake Mackenzie up. As I went to take the picture of my mug, I noticed the background full of the dishes I couldn’t bring myself to put away last night and the dishes from this morning in the sink. I almost moved my mug to a more “picture perfect” location, but then I thought about my reading for the day and chose to post the real instead of the staged.

In The Fight to Flourish by Jennie Lusko she wrote about being present in the moment and immersing ourselves in the season that we’re in right now. You know, it got me thinking about how exhausted I’ve been at the end of each day and how hard it can be to adult some times. Life is crazy at our house right now with three kids in three different sports going three different directions. Some days I wonder if this season will ever end, but this morning I realized I needed to embrace this season. I can’t be perfect, the dishes will still be there some days and that’s ok. Grace, grace right?!

I love how Jennie puts it in her book,

“If you’re in a season that feels insignificant or especially long, look up. Set your gaze on who Jesus is. Ask God to help you see this season differently. Remember, you’re already living from the finish line, but you’re still in the middle of the process right now. This time in your life is part of the soil that is enriching your life and your future. Be here now.

When we engage in the daily fight and embrace the present moment, we will flourish. It’s the little wins that change the course of our lives. We can live and love in the small moments of our everyday lives, knowing that there’s an eternal significance to whatever God has called us to. So, when you’re feeding your baby in the middle of the night and feeling run down by sleep deprivation. Take a mental Instagram photo of that moment. Your baby is not going to eat like that at night forever. Or, if you’re tired of being single and want to find your soulmate, remember you won’t always have the kind of time you do currently. Savor where you are right now.”

Yes, some days are long but it’s true that the days are short. This season isn’t going to last forever and I find myself thinking about that a lot lately. Having two in middle school with one going to high school next year has really made me realize how fast time flies. So I will embrace this season and the exhaustion that it brings. I will celebrate those little wins and live and love in the small moments of my everyday life because there is an eternal significance to what I’m doing. And the same goes for you! You may not be 100% everyday, but that doesn’t mean you get to give up! Look up, look to Jesus! Find your strength in Him and ask Him to help you see your current season in a different way. It’s not going to last forever and it’s preparing you for the next season of life!

So here’s a picture of my coffee mug with my mess in the background to prove to you that I don’t always have it all together, but I am going to choose to embrace it and enjoy it!

I hope you have a terrific Thursday!

-Maggie

To My Sweet Momma Friends

We finally spent some time at the beach yesterday.  The wind was bearable and it was a beautiful day.  We loaded our wagon with a couple of beach chairs and our cooler with a couple of drinks and snacks.  I brought my big beach bag with some towels, sunscreen and a book.

We walked down to the beach, set up our chairs and the kids took off into the ocean.

I couldn’t help but sit and reminisce about our past years at HHI.  The first time we came, Mackenzie was only five months old.  Oh my goodness at the stuff we needed to pack before heading to the beach.  From diapers to bottles and formula, snacks, a change of clothes for the baby.  The jogging stroller you have to push through the sand, a tent, chairs, sand toys and a cooler….you get my drift.  So.  Much.  Stuff.  I was exhausted before we even made it out the door.

I sat there holding my book and watched my kiddos play in the ocean and build sand castles.  It made me think of the saying, “the days are long but the years are short.”

When we are deep into the baby years of motherhood this saying doesn’t seem true.  All we focus on are the long days and oh how long those days are.  Diaper changes, feedings, teething babies, the terrible threes, potty training.  We are always trying to remember when the last time we showered was and if we even brushed our teeth that day.

We are exhausted both physically and mentally.  Not to mention the mamas working outside the home.  Praise you mamas.  When we are at home still in our pajamas you are working it in the career world.  All us moms, we work so hard.  We are stay at home moms, work from home moms, work outside of the home moms.  It doesn’t matter what we do I think we can all agree that being a mom is exhausting.

But with the hard days come the good days.  The moment our little one holds their head up on their own, takes their first steps, says mommy or daddy.  So many wonderful milestones that make those long days worth every minute.  A sweet embrace, kiss on the check and a “I love you mommy” is enough to forget how rough the day was.

As I sat there and watched my kids play, I began thinking towards the future.  Life will be so different then.  As we approach the teenage years (help us Lord), I know life will once again change.

So many seasons of life, each different, but perfect.  Each season is meant to mold us and make us into the moms we are today.  And today’s season will do the same for the future seasons.

With every season there are new hardships, challenges, frustrations.  But there are also those beautiful moments filled with love and memories.

I began to thank God for his sweet grace as I sat there on the beach.  So many times I’ve messed up, wondered if I was doing this mom thing right, yelled at my kids for no reason or had a nasty attitude.  But today was a sweet reminder that I am doing my best and my best is enough.

A friend of mind recently shared that she had a hard mom day and it reminded me of God’s word that I would repeat almost daily through those hard momma years,

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23

Oh sweet friend.  Momma out there having a hard day.  Give yourself some grace.  Take a deep breath in and release.  Look at those sweet babies the Lord has given you and take a moment to thank God that His mercies are new every morning.  He loves you and He is right there with you.  Through every diaper blowout, temper tantrum, talk backing, whining and rude attitudes.  He is there.  Giving us grace.

Rest in Him.  Take all thoughts captive to Him.  Don’t live life full of regrets and wish I would’ve moments.  Embrace every moment, every season.  Because no matter what season you find yourself in, His mercies are new every morning.

You are doing a wonderful job.

-Maggie