Be a Good Friend Mags: Session Five

Good morning ladies!

I normally try to kick off the week with a video post, but that is not going to happen.  Let me give you five words….Kids are out of school. Ha!  Everytime I tried to start the video there was a scream or a fight beginning between the kids and then I would hear a “MOMMMMMMM!!!!!!”  So I gave in and decided to write a post instead.  The screaming and “Moooommmmmms!” are still happening, but at least now you can’t hear them. Let’s just say all electronics have been taken away and they are in their rooms indefinitely!

I really do enjoy my kiddos being home.  This morning was so amazing.  We turned the fireplace on and the girls played nicely while I read and watched session five’s video.  But then they turned into evil monsters and decided they were going to hate each other for a couple of hours.

But such is life with kids right?

Enough about that, let’s kick off session five!

I am so excited for this week.  I always struggled in the friendship department.  For years, I would beg God to give me a friend.  A person who I could hang out with, be close with, do life with.  I went through a very lonely season a couple of years ago.  I didn’t really have any close friends and I remember dropping Mary off at Pre-K one morning and crying the whole way home.  I specifically remember asking God to help me be ok with being alone in the girlfriend department.  I remember repeating through my tears, all the way home, “You are enough, You are enough for me God.”

And that season lasted a couple of years, but God truly worked in my life, teaching me to enjoy my husband and my children.  I really am blessed with Joseph.  We were best friends before we started dating.  Our relationship is super unique because he is not just my husband, he truly is my best friend.

But as a women, we all need our girlfriends.

In the last couple of years, God has brought some pretty amazing women into my life.  For years I tried to force friendships.  I would put up a front and pretend like I loved everything you loved because then I felt like you would think I was the best person in the world ha!  If you loved pink, I loved pink.  If you loved to craft, I loved to craft.  Newsflash…..Maggie IS NOT crafty!

During that lonely season, God taught me to be ok with me.  He taught me to be happy with the life He blessed me with and be content with what I had.  It took many years, many tough lessons, but I finally learned to be content.  Now that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with contentment, because one of my biggest struggles is comparison and jealousy.

I loved Melanie’s video and I took a lot from it.  It is so important to have friends.  People in our lives who we can relate to and feel normal around.  People who know the real us and still love us.

God places people in our lives on purpose.  Just like He brought David and Jonathan together, He does the same in our friendships.  I loved how she made mention that Jonathan not only chose David over his father, He chose David over himself!  Wow!  In this season of life, God is really teaching me to be selfless in my relationships.  As a wife, mom and friend.

Being loyal and trustworthy is so important when it comes to friendships.  We’ve all been burned.  Even Jesus was hurt by one of His disciples.  He knew what it felt like to be betrayed.  I’ve been there too.  This is why I kept that wall up for years.  When I would feel myself getting close with someone, I would sabotage the friendship because I had been hurt so many times. In the last couple of years, God has challenged me to work past this and has allowed me to have some pretty amazing frienships.

Our friendships should be a safe place.  We should love our friends as we love our self.  This being said, Melanie talked about comparison and jealousy.  We all are unique, we have our own gifts and we are walking our own journey. But with social media these days, it’s so hard to not compare our lives with others.  Melanie says, “And I know for me I never get more distracted than when I start looking at somebody else’s life and what they’re doing.”

Isn’t that the truth?  We can be going about our day so happy with life and what God has given us.  But then with a tap of our finger and a scroll through Facebook we can go from content and happy to thinking we are the worst wife, mom, friend ever.  Why?  Because we compare ourselves with the best version of others.  All while not knowing what they are battling because you better believe they have struggles.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side…this is something that has taken me years to learn.  We are all human.  Life isn’t perfect no matter how perfect it appears.  We have struggles and hardships.  Every single one of us.

Theodore Roosevelt said it well when he said, Comparison is the thief of joy.

Ladies, do you want to know when I am the happiest?  When I am not worried about what everyone else is doing and I am focused on walking my road.  When I set a limit on my social media time. When I invest in the people around me.  When I try to bless others and make someone else’s day better.  When I focus on my home and getting things done. This is when I’m the happiest.

We all want to know the secret of being happy.  We are constantly reading books about being happy and not comparing ourselves with others but it is simple.  Look to what God gives you.  Walk your walk.  Be happy for others.  Realize that your friends’ successes take nothing away from yours.  You are you.  Focus on what God has given you and realize that the life you are living right now, is the life God intended you to live.  He wants you to be happy with what you have.  Look around, name your blessings, thank God for those blessings and be happy for others.

And lastly, our true friends should strengthen our grip on God.  Melanie says that friends are small everyday miracles that God gives us.  Every person in our life is in our life for a reason.  We need friends who are also walking close with God.  Friends who are like-minded and will encourage us and pray for us.  Friends we can do life with.  Girlfriends that will cry with us, laugh with us, rejoice with us.  Friends who will be there for us no matter the time of day.  Friends who show us the love of God through their actions.

You know…God has taught me so much in the last couple of weeks.  But one thing He is teaching me currently is that He restores.  We learned last week that nothing is too far gone for Him.  He heals us and uses the broken pieces of our life and makes us whole again.  He can do this for you and for that relationship you’ve given up on.

There is nothing more beautiful than letting God work in our lives and our relationships with others.  Nothing, absolutely nothing is too far gone for God.  Maybe you need Him to restore a relationship in your life.  Ask Him to help you.  You may find out that He wants you to work on you first.  This is what happened to me. Maybe there’s something in your life that prevents you from being a good friend.  Like me, you may struggle with comparison and jealousy.  Ask God to heal your heart.  Ask Him to help you be content with the life He has blessed you with.

What is God revealing to you about your friendships?

Dear God, I ask that you will be with us this week as we talk about friendships.  You show us throughout the Bible how important it is to have people in our inner circle.  People who will pray for us and encourage us, but that will also challenge us.  Lord I ask that you will help us look at our frienships and reveal to us what you want us to see.  Help us be better friends to those around us.  Whatever our struggle may be that seems to sabotage our relationships, I pray that in Jesus name you take it out of our life.  Help us focus on the race you have set before us.  The journey you are having us walk.  Help us stay focused on the blessings in our life so that we can be happy for others.  Help us be genuine, intentional and happy for others’ successes.  Thank you Jesus for being the perfect example of what it is to be a friend.  There is no friend like you.  Help us be more like you.  In Jesus name…

-Maggie

A Word Fitly Spoken: Session Three

Session three!  We are halfway there ladies.

Last week was very encouraging…this week is very convicting ha!

In all seriousness though, this week is something that I struggle with…my mouth!  Am I alone here?  I hope not.  I am one who speaks before thinking and then feels awful about what I said.

I have asked God to do a mighty work in my life.  I have characteristics that I’ve settled with.  I’ve basically said, “well this is who I am and I’m never going to change.”  But in reality, it’s because I’m still hanging on to those characteristics.  I haven’t given them to God.  I want control and I have a hard time letting go of it.

So this week I am asking God to help me think before I speak.  To remind me that the words that come out of my mouth our powerful.  It’s hard for me to write this post y’all.  It’s hard because this is not a strength of mine.  This is probably one of my biggest weaknesses.  But I am believing that God will work in my life this week.  I am asking Him to help me be more aware of my words before they come out of my mouth.

Luke 6:45 says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  

This verse reminds me that I must store up good in my heart.  I must fill my heart with things of God.  It is so important for me to read His word, to go to church, to surround myself with like-minded people.  Not because this saves me or is the reason that I will go to heaven.  Not at all.  It’s important because I need it.  Because it encourages me and keeps me accountable.  His word is a reminder of what I want to be.

Our words are powerful.  They have the potential to ruin lives, relationships.  Just as our words affect others, the words spoken to us do the same.  How have words spoken to us affected our lives?  I love what Melanie said about not letting the rest of our lives be determined by words that were spoken to us in the past.  Whatever words you are believing in your life right now, rebuke them.  Rebuke them in His name and ask Jesus to fill you up with His Words.  You are worthy, you are beautiful.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You are worth His life.  He died for you.  You can do all things through Him.

Don’t let past words determine your future.

I think about my childhood and how I was affected by words.  And it makes me think about my kids and how quick I am to say negative things to them.  Who else is going to encourage them if not me?  My words should uplift, encourage.  The same goes with my spouse.  How often I am quick to shoot out negative words?

I am praying that God will help me start within the walls of my home.  I want to be a safe haven for my children.  I want them to know that I am proud of them no matter what.  I want them to feel loved and accepted.  I don’t want them to have to look for that somewhere else.  They are at such a crucial time in their lives.

Goodness…this is a tough subject.  But one that is much-needed.  I am thankful for this conviction and reminder.  If you want to watch my video recap, you can visit my Facebook page here.

I am praying for all of us this week.  May we be an encourager to those around us!

-Maggie

 

Virtual Bible Study: Recap of Week One

Hi there!  I am super excited that you have joined me on this bible study journey.  I believe there are about 20-25 ladies who are signed up and are following along.  This is so awesome y’all.  I look forward to hearing from you during the upcoming weeks.

Each week I want to take some time to recap what we’ve learned.  I will post a short video and a blog post to share a little bit about what resonated with me during the week.

I went ahead and bought the Church of the Small Things book along with the study guide.  You do not have to read the book, but I’ve enjoyed it so far.  I read chapters 1-3 this week.

Throughout the week we talked about a couple of things.  The first was about remaining in Jesus and what that means to us.  I believe that remaining in Jesus goes along with trusting Him.  When we remain in Jesus we bear fruit.  We make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Many times when we are doing the small things we find ourselves frustrated, angry and just really fed up.  Remaining in Jesus keeps us focused.  It reminds us to be joyful in all things.  This week tested me.  I had a bad day where I let my frustrations ruin my day.  I had a bad attitude and really had to fight hard to change it.  I went back to reminding myself that the small things matter, but they will not make a difference if I am grumpy doing them.

In the book, Melanie Shankle talks about Abby Wambach.  She played for the US Women’s National Soccer Team.  Gatorade aired a commercial as a tribute to her and in the background she says these words, “Forget me.  Forget my number, forget my name, forget I ever existed.  Forget the medals won, the records broken, and the sacrifices made.  I want to leave a legacy where the ball keeps rolling forward, where the next generation accomplishes things so great that I am no longer remembered.”  (Church of the Small Things, page 43)

Wow.  What humility.  She had great success, but all she wanted was to make sure that those behind her accomplished great things as well.

But I agree with Melanie when she says that it’s hard to forget those that have come before us.  When you have lived life to the fullest, taken advantage of every opportunity, enjoyed the small and the big things and “you have carpe diemed the heck out of who and what God has created you to be, you leave an incredible mark on the people around you and on those who will come long after you’re gone.” (Church of the Small Things, page 43)

We leave an incredible mark on those around us.  And you know what?  Sometimes it’s the small things that make the BIG difference.

I think about my dad and the legacy he left behind.  You know, my dad was not perfect.  But he did take advantage of every situation to show God’s love.  Whether it was our waitress at a restaurant or the cashier at the store, he always took the opportunity to tell them God loved them.

He did those small things and those small things impacted the lives of many.  It took me to a memory I have of him growing up that I shared in the video.

I hated storms as a kid.  Especially the ones with loud thunder and crazy lightning.  One night during a storm, I woke up in the middle of the night and cried out for my dad.  To my surprise, he was already laying in the floor beside my bed and he let me know he was there.  “Aqui estoy hija,” he said.  (I am here my daughter)

That small thing that he did, to come lay on the floor by my bed, will be something I will never forget.  All of the little, daily, mundane tasks we do each day, they all matter.  We may go about our day thinking nobody notices, but they do.  You are making an impact on everyone around you.

Nothing is wasted when we look at it through the lens of what God has for us.  Everything we go through, everything we do is all part of who we are.

“For some, that may be a public role on a big stage, but for the vast majority of us, it’s about being faithful in the small stuff: going to the grocery store, volunteering in our kid’s classroom, befriending the new girl, coaching a Little League team, showing up for work every day, being kind to our neighbors.” (Church of the Small Things, Page 25)

What we do is important.  Big or small, it matters to those around you and most of all it matters to God.

We go through life looking for that big moment.  We pray and ask God to show us what His will is, what His purpose for our life is.  We desperately need Him to show us that big thing that we are waiting for.  But we forget that life isn’t made from just one thing.  Life is in all things, every single moment of our life.  That is where life is.  The small things may seem insignificant at the moment, but they are making a big difference in the lives of those we encounter every single day.

“A life isn’t made from one thing, one big moment, or one huge success.  It’s created moment by moment, often with pieces that don’t look like anything beautiful on their own but are the very fabric of who God meant for us to become as we pack lunches, raise kids, love our neighbors, and simply be who he created us to be; nothing more, nothing less.” (Church of the Small Things, page 15)

We finished up the week reading Ruth chapter one.  Ruth and Naomi were embarking on a journey on their own.  Naomi had lost her husband and sons.  She told both of her daughter-in-laws to return home, but Ruth chose to stay with her.  She took a risk and chose to be loyal to Naomi.  She was faithful in one small moment.  As we go throughout the study we will see how the story unfolds.

Sweet friend, you may be going through life, moment by moment wondering if what you do truly matters.  I want to tell you that it absolutely does.  I know you are probably tired, exhausted and worn out, but hang tight.  God is using you right where you are.  You may think your life is small, but the impact you make each day is big.

Live each day to the fullest.  Choose to be faithful in all things because one day our kids, grandkids and great grandkids will be talking about all the little things we did for them and what a big difference it made in their life.  Just like my dad coming to lay beside my bed is something I will forever remember, your kids will do the same.

Love hard.  Offer grace.  Enjoy every moment.

What resonated with you this week?  How did this week impact your life?  I would love to hear from you!

-Maggie

 

 

Virtual Bible Study: Church of the Small Things Introduction and Session One

Good evening everyone!

I am super excited to finally kick off our first Virtual Bible Study.  I am so glad you have joined me on this journey.

You should have received an email to get started with session one’s video link.  Go ahead and watch the video.  It is about 17ish minutes long.

Here is how this will work:

Each week on Sunday I will post a video on my Facebook Page and a blog post on my blog.  I will introduce the week and go over the week’s discussion questions.  You will be able to comment with your responses and interact with the other ladies that have signed up.  I encourage everyone to comment and participate.  This will be a great way to get to know other ladies that we would never have met had it not been for this study.

During the week you will work on the “on your own” section.  This is kind of like “homework,” but please don’t feel bad if you don’t finish it all.  Life is busy and some weeks we will get it all done and other weeks we won’t.  Don’t let that discourage you at all.

On Thursdays, we will come together through FB live to go over the week and share things we learned or felt that God showed us.  The live will be at 8 pm EST and will last about 15-20 minutes.  If you can’t jump on during that time, you can still view the video later.

We will do this for six weeks.

If you have any questions, please message me, email me (myeterno@gmail.com) or if you have my number shoot me a text.  This is not meant to be stressful.

I am excited that you have decided to join me and I can’t wait to see what all God has for us during the next six weeks.

So let’s get started…

After you watch session one.  Answer the following questions.  You can comment using the comment section here or go to Facebook and comment there.

1. What is your name and where are you from?
2. Which of Melanie’s thoughts from this session’s video resonated most with you, and why?
3. What kind of person do you want to become?

What really resonated with me is that the small things are just as holy as the big things.  I’m a girl who always felt that my accomplishments defined me.  I lived for those big moments and when those big moments didn’t happen, I became seriously disappointed.  It showed in my life through depression and anxiety.

I was constantly asking God to show me His will and His purpose for my life.  But all along, I was ignoring what was right under my nose.  My family.  They were my purpose.  I was a wife and a mom and I had to be ok with the fact that my calling at that moment was just that.  A wife and a mom.

Melanie reminded me that the small acts of service that I do for my family are important.  But more important is my attitude towards those small things.

As far as what kind of person I want to become…I want to be joyful.  Life brings so many ups and downs, but I want to experience the joy of the Lord at all times.  I want to be intentional with my day.  I want to obey in the little things.

What about you?  What spoke to your heart from the first session?  And what kind of person do you want to become?  Share in the comments or click here to go to my Facebook page.

I’m going to try to add my videos to my blog, but I’m having some technical difficulty.  I’m hoping to get all of that figured out this week.  I think my video was a little too long so I’ll have to make sure the ones to come are shorter.

As I head to bed, I want to leave you with one more thing.  Take the following verses and write them down on a note card.  Take the note card and place it where you will see it every day.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Matthew 10:29-31

Every detail of our life is important to God.  Don’t think for a moment that your daily requests to Him go unnoticed.  He cares for you.  You are worth more than many sparrows.  Don’t be afraid my friend.  Trust in the love that God has for you.  He will take care of you no matter the need.

-Maggie

Tuesday Talk: Bible Study Sign Up Reminder

It has been a crazy couple of days around here. Nothing has gone as planned and I’ve found myself hanging on by the coattails of the day. Today I am linking up with Erica and Ashley for Tuesday Talk.

I am waiting on Mary’s softball game to start and wanted to jump on and remind everyone about signing up for the Virtual Bible Study. You can read all of the details here.

If you want to join us, comment with your email and I’ll send you all the info. I have a coupon code for the book and the link to sign up for the session videos.

We will “meet” once a week via my blog or Facebook page (Maggie Eterno Blog). Be on the lookout for a short video on Sunday with all of the details.

I am excited to share this journey with you and looking forward to all God has in store for us.

Until then, like my Facebook page, buy the book, sign up and get ready to be encouraged, challenged and blessed!

-Maggie