Tag Archives: Mommy

It’s Not about Education…but Sanctification

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
With eyes wide open and gasps the women say almost in unison,

“Oh I can NEVER do that…you must be a very patient and organized person…” 

The temptation to broaden my shoulders and receive the compliment subsides with the realization of the opportunity to share the truth of my weaknesses and Christ’s power.  These women were referring to my conviction to homeschool.

I have fought the desire to write about homeschooling because I see how this subject can divide and stir others to conviction, and some to condemnation if they don’t remember they are in Christ.

Let me begin by saying as Christians we are on our own personal journey with Jesus, and that’s what distinguishes Christianity from any other ‘religion’. Ours is not a legalistic following of rules but rather a grace-filled living relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.  Daily we have access to the Wonderful Counselor. Only God knows our heart and yieldedness to Him, and only He knows the plans He has for us and our family so it’s best to get our convictions from His Holy Spirit and not other people.  I write to encourage and share God’s story, our testimony…

I first felt a conviction to stay home with my children in 2009 when God’s Word was illuminated in my heart as I read:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

At the time we lived a double-minded life, building façades and chasing mirages, seeking the things of the world and the things of God at the same time. I was more committed to life in the corporate secular world than the seeking a relationship with God.

When I read the verse ‘teach these to your children‘ I contended with God ‘reminding’ Him of my insecurities as a mother, let alone one that can teach them things about God.  At the time we had a Jesus loving Nanny for the children and she was teaching them to love God and love others, I felt it was sufficient to delegate this responsibility.

Eventually we partly yielded as a family and downsized to one income and a smaller home.  At the time my children were 2 and 4 and I had NEVER stayed home with them longer than the 4-6 weeks of maternity leave when they were born.  This was a huge adjustment for us to say the least.  After a few weeks alone with my children I had repented of all the ‘gossip’ and defiling words I said about all of ‘those stay at home moms’ and I was looking forward for the big yellow bus to come and take my son to kindergarten when the conviction came yet again…this time I was reading John 17:6-7.  For context, this is Jesus praying to the Father about the disciples He was given. I dared to ask that day,

LORD who do you give me to manifest Your name?

He answered, and I cried.  He already gave me two–my children.  I immediately wrote their names in my Bible praying someday their names will be in His book.

Since it was Eve that was deceived by the serpent in the garden I went to my husband and asked him to pray about ‘something’ I felt God calling us to do.

What is it?” He asked bluntly.

I held my breath cringed and clenched my teeth and barely managed to say, “homeschool our children…”

Without hesitation or surprise my husband said, “I have already been praying for three months and I’ve already researched curriculum.”

So began our ‘homeschooling’ adventure.

Let me be painfully transparent: This ‘adventure’ is HARD for me.

I am not naturally patient or kind. I do get jealous when I see other kids (especially younger) more advanced than my children, and yet I do brag to make myself feel better when my kids can do something no one else can.  I can be arrogant, and act unbecomingly. I have sought my own agenda many times, and I’ve been easily provoked to anger or giving up, and I have kept many records of my children’s wrongs. Yes, this ‘adventure’ has been a refining crucible daily revealing my need for my Savior Jesus Christ.

I remember one ‘spicy’ day when I was a ball on the floor weeping and asking God, “Why? Why am I doing this?” His gentle peace washed over me and I heard Him speak to my heart,

until Christ is formed in you…”

I look up in the Bible and see Galatians 4:19:

My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--”

Context: This is Paul writing to the Galatians but this was a reminder to me. At first I thought, “Yes, of course, until Christ is formed in my children…” but God said,

My daughter, until Christ is formed in you, for that is my will and purpose.”  That’s when I heard,

It’s not about education, but sanctification.” Jesus is LORD

 

We no longer call it home-education’ we call it ‘home-sanctification.’  God is the Principal, the Teacher, the Head-Master and we are all His students.  This has helped me renew my mind and gain an understanding of the purpose of our lessons:

We learn our ABC’s to learn to read
We learn to read so we can learn to Read the Bible, God’s Holy Word
We learn to Write to capture and record stones of memorial of God’s faithfulness
We learn Grammar to communicate the Gospel to others
We learn Math to be good stewards of time, talent, money and resources
We learn History to learn about the faithfulness of God and consequences of sin

We learn Biology to learn about God’s creation

We learn Geography to pray for the lost to be found and strength for the missionaries

That’s it.  These are the basics of what we are learning in our household–we can’t handle extracurricular studies outside of these subjects right now.  I’m learning to be OK with that and not strive to drag my children where I want them to be or where I see other kids.  I’m learning to be like Jesus and to meet them where they are at.

I’m learning to yield myself to His Spirit so He can lead and guide us into all Truth daily.  I’m learning the greatest ‘lesson planning’ is done on our knees after confession, repentance, cleansing and revival in our hearts.  I’m learning that when I boast and share my weaknesses with my children and others, the power of Christ is manifested in me and God is glorified.

Our family’s vision is Jesus Christ. Our most important desire for our children is that they know and love God with all their hearts soul, mind, and strength and love their neighbors as themselves. This does not mean we do not care about education, we do! We acknowledge we must be good stewards with the minds God has given us, and keep our perspective heavenward remembering “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies,” and we must remember what God delights in as shared in Jeremiah 9:23-23.

This is my holy conviction written on a stone of remembrance for those days when I will forget why I am doing this….for sanctification, not education: May Christ be formed in me…

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Thessalonians 5:23


Reconciliation: A Mother/Daughter Story For God’s Glory

my mom and i

Mother’s Day was always an awkward ‘holiday’ for me since I was not raised by my Mother. For years I was bitter and angry allowing the circumstances of my life to determine my identity. I wallowed in self pity and brooded over my insecurities and the life I never had.  That was until I saw my Mother and myself the way God does…with grace and love. This is God’s story of reconciliation...

***
It was a breezy Spring day in 2010 when my Mother and I sat on the swinging bench of my front porch–there were no more awkward silences.  Instead we were giving thanks and rejoicing in the Truth of God’s Word, “how nothing is too difficult for Him” how He IS a God of reconciliation and we knew it from the depths of our souls…

Just weeks before I was at a Mother of Preschoolers (MOPS) event listening to a young Mom’s testimony of how she struggled with insecurities of being a Mom since she was not raised by her Mom.  I knew this story all too well, it was mine too. I wasn’t expecting her similar testimony to confront a wound I had pretended didn’t exist, but there it was. I sank low in my chair, while my body trembled from my attempt to hold back tears stored up in my heart. That day I  let it ALL out and allowed God to heal a hurt.  I unclenched my hands that were holding onto the ashes of my past and gave them to my Abba, believing He would turn them to beauty.

I was in the beginning days of being a stay-at-home Momma, and now I can see that God was doing His work of sanctification to prepare me for this ministry of Motherhood.  The LORD showed me, He would heal what I would reveal…After surrendering to the conviction of the Holy Spirit I confessed to God my bitterness, anger, and my sin of un-forgiveness I still had toward my Mother.

My Mother. The woman who carried me in her womb for 9 months after being told she couldn’t have any more kids. The woman who named me Arcelia, rocked me, and cared for me until I was three, then she was gone.

The circumstances and reasons she left were irrelevant to my rejected heart, and I built a impenetrable wall around it.  Five years later Jesus Christ found her and with godly sorrow she turned back to reconcile what was lost, but it seemed too late.  I was eight years old and I had moved on, and considered her a stranger, someone I kept further than an arms distance.  When I did see her occasionally I took advantage of her guilt and shame by manipulating her to get my way.  Still she never stopped loving me and never stopped praying.

Two of the most influential items of my life...my Mom gave me: God's Word and a Prayer journal.

Two of the most influential items of my life…my Mom gave me: God’s Word and a Prayer journal.

When I was eleven she gave me a prayer journal with our pictures in it, encouraging me to write my thoughts to the God she now knew.  For my twelfth birthday she gave me my very own Bible, I hated it because I didn’t like pink and I didn’t believe. But still she loved and never gave up.

I remember hearing her sing songs about Jesus Christ and some days she would spontaneously say, ‘Thank you Jesus‘ and it made me cringe. When I finally asked her why she said that ‘all the time’ she would say, “I’m just so thankful He saved me and He let me to have time with you.” I made fun of her and her faith…she suffered much and yet she never stopped loving me and never stopped praying.

When I turned 20 I decided I would forgive her but it was on my own terms and in my own strength so it never lasted.  It wasn’t until Jesus Christ found me and I was born again in 2009 that this sad story took a turn for God’s glory!

Swinging on the bench that Spring 2010 I shared with my Mother a testimony of when I heard God speak to me.  How in 2008 I finally read the Bible she gave me, and how God sent a vessel of mercy and grace to pray for our family and disciple me–the nanny that prayed herself out of a job! God used this loving praying nanny to open our eyes, ears and heart to the unseen.

I told my Mom before Jesus Christ, I never had the confidence to be a Mother since I was never raised by her.  I believed the lies that I was a better Mother working outside the home and it was best to sacrifice time with them to invest in their future.  I ran away from my role as a Mother and numbed myself to the calling—and I put my work before my family.

After my encounter with God in 2009, He gave me a new heart and put a new spirit within me and “removed my heart of stone from my flesh and gave me a heart of flesh” and I was no longer afraid to be a Mother.  She listened as I recounted how in just 12 months God transformed my husband and I from the inside out and we began to closely follow Jesus wherever He would lead us…the first move was from Washington D.C. to Alabama.

I told her about my prayer to God that day at the MOPS event when I vowed to God if He ever gave me another chance I would cut loose the noose of un-forgiveness I had around my Mother.  I told Him I would forgive and love her the way only He could and how He responded to that prayer by having her call me the very next day! After years of rejection from me I realized why she rarely called other than Birthdays and holidays but this day was a different kind of phone call.  She heard I was born again, a woman of prayer and she asked ME to pray for HER! I told her I knew her current trial had a specific kingdom purpose, and she was to come and spend a week with me.  She came!

As I drove to the airport I was excited and hopeful and thankful because this would be the first time in my life I would be alone with her.  I finally understood why my Mother used to say, “Thank You Jesus.

It was a glorious week of healing and redemption by the power of God’s Holy Spirit! Now, the day before she was leaving we sat on the swinging bench sharing our hearts and tears allowing God’s Holy Spirit to guide us to healing.  I asked for her forgiveness for the years of bitterness and anger I had toward her, and she quickly told me she had already forgiven me.  I was thankful for the opportunity to tell my Mom God gave me a new song and no longer am I singing the ‘woe is me, my Mother left me’ song because love keeps no records of wrong.  I told her I would never again hold her sins above her head.

She shared with me her past concerns of my life: when she heard I was first pregnant she thought it would be difficult for me because I didn’t have her growing up to show me how to be a Mother–how would I do it? She was also concerned because I was very ambitious and career oriented and thought the children would get lost in my achievements (she was right).

Then with tears she told me the most recent concern she had about me being a stay-at-home Mother…she said she thought it would be impossible to turn a once Air Force Captain and Business Consultant to a full time Mother…would it be too much for me? After all, I used to make fun of stay-at-home moms. But nothing is impossible with God.

She said after spending a week of shadowing me in my new life in Christ she saw for herself the testimony, “If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come...” She saw that God’s power is made perfect in weakness and He is glorified!

We swung in the bench of my Alabama home as the wind blew the butterfly chimes that Spring of 2010 and we joyfully laughed and lifted our voices with thanksgiving, praising God for His lovingkindness and faithfulness!

**
I used to lament over lost years with my Mother but by God’s grace, not anymore. I see even in our unfaithfulness God was still working, knitting our hearts together in love through her continual prayers and enduring love–it was all matter of time when I would awaken.

God healed our relationship! My relationship with her is so loving and we now communicate often and she even read this entry before I posted it.

"All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them.  And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

When I first told her I wanted to write about what God had done in our lives but was concerned about dishonoring her by bringing up the past she said, “Write it. Tell others. It’s not about me. It’s about God.”

She courageously and selflessly said she is secure in the grace and forgiveness of God and in the relationship  we have today.  She said “People need to hear what God has taught us to help those that may be in the same position right now.”

She’s right. People need to know how to reconcile relationships—it is through the power of Jesus Christ (John 15:5)!

God is not done with this story for His glory…In the near future my Mother is moving closer to my sisters and I so that she can spend more time with us and her grandchildren.

Do you see? If God can restore what the locusts have eaten, don’t you believe He can restore anything?

God is interested in reconciliation of relationships. God wants to be reconciled with everyone, and wants us to be reconciled to one another. Who do you need to be reconciled with today? Is it God or is it another? I have prayed for all who will read this…May the Holy Spirit guide you into all Truth and may you be set free!

A Blessed Mother - Page 001


Hear O Biblical Hearted Parents: The Christian Parenting Handbook {And Lots of Give-Aways}

Deuteronomy 11:18

” Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Psalm 34:11

{This post contains an affiliate link–your support is a gift to me.}

I have written many posts about the ministry of Parenting and how God is teaching me how to raise my children in the way they should go, and how being a parent requires a lot of humility with sanctifying second chances.

I believe God has called me to disciple my children and this is one calling I am growing in grace and knowledge every day. I don’t have much time to read many books other than the Bible and I agree with Ecclesiastes 12:12 “…be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.” Therefore I choose my books wisely.

My husband and I were graciously given the opportunity to review ‘The Christian Parenting Handbook” written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. The Scripture that kept being brought to my remembrance when I was reading this is:

“The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd.” Ecclesiastes 12:11

This book is packed with wisdom with practical examples and encouragement to raise children and yet it is full of grace and freedom, acknowledging the truth that “every child is unique, and every family has its own set of dynamics.” This book helps us to fully implement and put our ‘ideas’ into practice! It is refreshingly Biblical, focusing on the heart, and the importance and profit of using Scripture to teach and train our children. I was most thankful for the Authors acknowledgment of the role and power of the Holy Spirit and how we must not depend on human traditions to raise our children. The Authors write:

“Paul warned in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” That warning is important for parents, because our world is full of ideas, and many of them are unhelpful, resting on tradition instead of godliness. Instead, you can develop a parenting philosophy that’s based on a solid theology of God and His plan for life.”

Dear readers, if you want to be challenged to think Biblically about parenting, allow the Holy Spirit to convict you where necessary and adjust accordingly: read the Bible and read this book! I know I am not alone when I say this because the books are SOLD out at all the major retailers and Christian books stores! The only place you can get it now is here.

I could write for hours on how God has used this book to convict and redirect my parenting but I want you to be able to post this quickly so you will NOT miss out on the opportunity to get one at a discounted price AND the opportunity to get the $400 in Biblical parenting resources just for purchasing the book this week (April 29 to May 5)!

You can purchase the physical copy of the book or the eBook in order to qualify for the $400 in free gifts. Personally, I’d get the physical book since one of the gifts you’ll receive is the eBook.
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Here’s what you’ll receive as a thank you gift for buying this week:

• The Christian Parenting Handbook electronic versions for iPad, Kindle, Nook or any mobile device ($29.97)

• Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, in You and Your Kids Lesson #1 Complete Package including Lesson 1 on Video, MP3, Study Guide, and Children’s Lesson. ($59.95)

• Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, in You and Your Kids Lesson #2 Complete Package including Lesson 2 on Video, MP3, Study Guide, and Children’s Lesson. ($59.95)

• Teach Kids to Listen and Follow Instructions on Video, Workbook, MP3, Study Guide, and Children’s Lesson. ($59.95)

• Correction Ideas that Touch the Heart on Video, Workbook, MP3, Study Guide, and Children’s Lesson. ($59.95)

• Addressing Bad Attitudes in Kids on Video, Workbook, MP3, Study Guide, and Children’s Lesson. ($59.95)

• Everyday Parents CAN Raise Extraordinary Kids Session #1 on Video, MP3, Study Guide, and Children’s Lesson. ($59.95)

• How to Use The Christian Parenting Handbook 30-minute Video ($24.95)

That’s $414.62 of biblical parenting resources for FREE. A tremendous gift as a thank you for helping with the launch.

Here’s how you receive your $400 gift:

1. Purchase The Christian Parenting Handbook during Launch Week, April 29 to May 5, 2013
2. Email, fax, or mail your receipt to The National Center for Biblical Parenting. Be sure to include your email address so that they can tell you how to obtain your free gift. Email: Gift@biblicalparenting.org Fax: 609-771-8003. Mail: 76 Hopatcong Dr. Lawrenceville, NJ 08648.
In addition, you can get The Christian Parenting Handbook Companion Guide (This is a workbook with audio clips that will help you apply the material in The Christian Parenting Handbook.) for free if you purchase 5 copies or more of the book.

To claim your premium, simply forward your purchase confirmation to Gift@biblicalparenting.org and we will send you your special product code for the $400.00 package. If you purchased 5 or more copies of the book, we’ll send you the PDF version of the Companion Guide.

That’s not all…today just add a comment below with your email and I will enter you in a raffle to win ONE of the following:

  • The Honor Multi-Media Package ($59.95)
  • A set of 5 Parenting shifts e-books ($49.95)
  • One free Biblical Parenting University Online Parenting Course ($99.95)
  • 1 electronic copy of Disciplemaking at Home. ($16.99)
  • 1 Print copy of The Christian Parenting Handbook and 1 PDF copy of The Christian Parenting Handbook Companion Guide ($49.95)

*Winners will be selected and notified May 5th and I will NOT share your email with anyone other than the National Center for Biblical Parenting for you to receive your prize.

Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22

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As a member of The Christian Parenting Handbook launch Team, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and the opportunity to promote related giveaways and activities to my readers. All opinions are my own.


Sanctifying Second Chances

Pursue peace with all men

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”       1 Peter 4:8

I was giddy to have time alone with God, and was on my way out the door when my seven year old son asks if he could join me. I politely tell him, “Not this time.”

He pleads with me and I shamefully redirect his attention from investing time in our relationship to his inanimate toys.

I leave him. And I began to swat away convicting thoughts replacing them with a justifying one:

I’m home all day with the kids and they see me all the time. I deserve this time…”

I was five minutes out, and I could no longer ignore or numb the conviction of the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart gently showing me I did not choose what was best.  I repented of my selfishness and turned the car around to swoop up the son of my vow.

I felt as though I couldn’t get to my son fast enough and I was full of gratitude, thankful it wasn’t too late to undo my poor decision.

I ran to his room and see him tacking a note to the door.  I got on my knees to look into his hurt eyes and speak to his rejected heart:

I came back for you! God showed me I wasn’t choosing what was best…”

As I say these words I read the note he tacked to the door, which confirmed the urgency of my conviction and his bruised heart:

“I hate Mommy!”

My heart sinks and aches of this revelation and I see his embarrassed look of regret as he tries to tear off the note and I ‘cover‘ the note with one hand and gently place my other hand on his, and say:

Oh this. Yes. I understand my son, Mommy is not perfect, and I did not choose wisely, do you forgive me?”

He nods, and hugs me tightly.

I shove the note into my pocket as a stone of remembrance to remind me not to miss out on future opportunities to sow God’s unfailing love. Holding hands we race to the car as giddy children of God, excited for the opportunity for our reconciled hearts to communicate over coffee, milk and cookies. 

***
I tell my children about God every day. I tell them about His great love and how Jesus Christ laid down His life for the world, so that we can be reconciled to have an intimate relationship with God the Father.  I tell them about the conviction of the Holy Spirit, how He will guide us into all Truth helping us to trust and obey God’s Word. I tell them how Jesus Christ is alive in me.

Yes I SPEAK of God’s love often and God gives me ample opportunities to SHOW my children this type of love…of laying down of my own selfish desires to listen to their hearts.  If you could see more than a snapshot of my life you would see I have missed many opportunities.

For our flesh, to love is easier said than shown–but not for God, God IS love! The same Holy Spirit dwelling in Jesus Christ dwells in me so the Truth is I have what it takes to love the way God has called me to love.

I’m thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness and for His Holy Spirit guiding me into all Truth, and I’m thankful we ‘get to’ show the Lord Jesus Christ to others:

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

Mother's Prayer Card April 2013 - Page 001


A Mother’s Anthem: “Desperate Not Defeated”

Desperate not defeated

“I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

I want to introduce you to a humble servant of God, a mama that was willing to be transparent with her struggles so that God may be glorified in not only your lives but the lives of all you come in contact with. This mama, Sarah Mae has shared her struggles of motherhood at her blog and now by God’s hand she has written a book with a Titus 2 woman of God Sally Clarkson. Sally Clarkson is a woman of the Word that has gone before us young mamas in motherhood and is willing to share her experiences, confessions, pearls and treasures from God’s Word.

Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae are raising an anthem call, “Desperate, Not Defeated” in their new book “Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe“. They remind us the breath we need is God’s Holy Spirit gently guiding us in the plan He has uniquely designed for your family. Written unlike any book I’ve ever read we have the perspective of a young mama and a wise ‘older woman’ answering the questions most of us mamas have but are too embarassed to ask.

This book is not just for moms that stay home it is for ALL MOMS, MAMAS, MOMMAS, MOMMYS, MOTHERS! Throughout the book Sally lifts the arms of Sarah Mae and all of us mommas, encouraging us in the LORD reminding us of His banner over us ‘LOVE‘ and reminding us where our strength and help comes from: God.

I have been mobilized by Sarah Mae exhorting older moms not to forget what it’s like in the early days of motherhood:

“Let’s remember, so that we can be the Titus 2 women that our generation is so desperate for.”

This January marks three years that I’ve been staying home as a full time wife and momma. I was answering a call God had put on my life that I ignored because of my insecurities, fears of inadequacy and selfishness. This calling was Motherhood.

I want to tell you mommas out there: I remember.

I remember what it was like being a momma that worked outside the home. Yes, I know it is very hard!

I remember what it’s like to be a new stay at home momma. Yes, I know it is very hard!

For the first four years of my sons life and the first two years of my daughter’s life I worked full time. In fact, I worked so much I hardly saw my children less than fifteen hours a week and weekends (if I didn’t send them to my sister’s). I was one of the biggest persecutors of stay at home moms, thinking they were lazy and wasting their time and talent. For years, I felt this way. Then God changed me. That was the ONLY way this could happen. God.

This book encouraged me to revisit my journal entries from those early days of desperation.

Here are a few:

12-21-09 (I was still working outside the home when I wrote this):

“I am humbled in my role as a mother. I can’t do this without You God, and anything good that comes from this is from You, not anything I do or will have done.”

1-30-10 (Just a few days in this new role)

“Already I am tired. I’m trying not to look back or forward, but trying to just be present, open to hear what You (God) want to teach me.”

2-3-10

“Father, I do see my new role here…no longer working outside the home but now I am able to concentrate on shining the love of Christ to Billy, Benjamin and Annaleigh. To teach out children to love You and love one another. Help me to see each of them as You do. May this service of wife and mother be an offering and sacrifice to You God as a fragrant aroma.”

2-9-10

“I need Your help! I can’t raise Benjamin and Annaleigh without Your guidance and discernment!” God’s response to me: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:12-17; 1 John 3:1

2-16-10

I keep hearing negativity about being ‘just’ a stay at home mom and how hard it is, I can’t speak fully about it now because I’ve only done this for three weeks but I’d like to think I will continue to enjoy this because it is an offering for You Father and I want to raise Benjamin and Annaleigh to know You through loving them. Father, I want to be led by Your Spirit so I can obey Your Word. I accept the full power of Your Holy Spirit and release and yield myself to You as a living sacrifice.

2-16-10 Later that day…

The kids became tired and fought and I sent Benjamin to his room and he threw another fit…he doesn’t like me. He even tried to barricade the door. Help me Father, help me to hear Your Holy Spirit on how to react and what to say!

2-22-10

Today I felt so tired and I didn’t want to wake up. I didn’t make Billy’s breakfast, coffee or lunch. The kids woke up before me and wanted breakfast right away and our normal routine. I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep. I don’t know if it was warfare or me being lazy. I confessed my bad mood and tried again. Things were well until Annaleigh cried because she didn’t want her hair brushed. Now Benjamin is testing me again–not taking naps–I need Your help, I can’t do this without You! Thank You!

I sometimes feel like Moses, He had a relationship with You and was leading the Israelites to the promised land but they complained often and Moses cried out to You for help, as I do. The whining and complaining really get to me, but I suppose that’s how I sound to You right now. Sometimes I feel like the giant in Gulliver’s travels when the little people pinned down this giant and danced around…I guess like that giant I didn’t know the strength within me…but I’m learning. I’m learning to yield to the power of Your Holy Spirit and to listen to what You are trying to teach me through Your Word and through my children and current cirumstances.

These journal entries are special to me because they are cries of a mothers heart to God, asking for help.

When I read Desperate I was reminded of what God has been teaching me these past three years as a Mother and these lessons have been confirmed by a mother after God’s own heart Sally Clarkson:

“Motherhood is God’s creative and original idea, and He desires us to take joy in His intricate handiwork. He longs for us to seek Him, to rest in His love, to flourish in His acceptance of us, and to understand His ways for us with our children. When we follow the voice of God and rest in His ability to sustain us as mothers, we will find a true and lasting peace.”

“Following voices without rooting them first in the voice of God can lead to legalism, which starves the soul of grace freely given by God. Legalism is rampant amongst Christian circles today, and many children have turned away from God because of harsh and arbitrary standards set forth by people who feign to speak authoritatively, but who either have no grounding in Scripture, or abuse interpretation of it for their own agenda.”

“There is only one voice to obey, and His voice brings life, joy, and freedom. God, as the designer, knows exactly how to guide us in our parenting. He is the only one who can help us pull off our lives with grace and freedom from guilt.”

The book Desperate reminds us we may be desperate but we are not defeated! We are desperate for God’s help and must remember the battle has already been won by Jesus Christ! We must remember God’s grace is sufficient for us and His power is made perfect in weakness(2 Corinthians 12:9)!

The first two years I stayed home as a full time mama I only read the Bible. I believe His Word is what gives life, and I choose my books and what I read wisely–through prayer. God has been teaching me He uses sanctified vessels to share His Words in many forms (like blogs and books). Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae are God’s sanctified yielded vessels full of mercy and grace and it is evident in what they write, for out of the heart the mouth speaks…and pen writes.

This book really impacted me! Not only did it confirm what God has been teaching me about being a mother but also about being a mentor, afterall I am an older woman to someone right? Let us encourage one another to love and good deeds, shall we?

I whole-heartedly recommend this book and pray you will be as blessed as I am with it!

Movement - desperatemoms.com


Prideless Parenting

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

We were having an enjoyable time at the beach when my daughter became frustrated because the waves kept washing away her artwork on “God’s chalkboard” {the sand}.  She was tired, hungry and her patience was slim, therefore she did the only thing she could do to express her irritation: she cried. And cried, and cried.  I discovered the quickest way to clear a beach is having a child cry for ten minutes straight. Now was the test…

What was I going to do?

My flesh wanted to satisfy the captive audience around me, and discipline her in public, my flesh wanted to scream. Actually, my flesh did scream {inside}.  Then I held her close to me and I prayed.  I prayed for God’s Holy Spirit to help us both in this witnessing opportunity.  I prayed we would both look only at Jesus Christ and not at each other or our sins.  I prayed we would be still and remain in Jesus Christ remembering God is already pleased with us because of what Jesus Christ has done, not anything we have or haven’t done.  I prayed we would take full advantage of this opportunity to give thanks to God even in this sanctifying moment.  I rocked her in my arms and felt as though everything and everyone else melted away.  I sang softly to her, and I remember I can act the same way inside when something I’ve worked hard on is destroyed or taken.

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3

I am on a journey of letting go. God is teaching me to let go of pride and perfection.  God is teaching me to deal gently with others, and to be compassionate as our High Priest Jesus Christ is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.  When these sanctifying moments occur I am learning to silently pray and look to God to comfort my children while restraining any temptation to use worldly things to threaten or console them.  I am learning to wait, be still…I’m learning to hide and abide in my Rock Jesus Christ. At one point my daughter disrespected me during her sorrow and I told her:

“you are not allowed to disrespect me, God says children must obey their parents for this is well-pleasing to Him.  I understand being upset for lost work but now you are crossing over to disobedience and that’s not the path you want to be on.”

She nodded her head. She understood.  Another five minutes of praying and allowing God to comfort her through me and the Hulk {in both of us} was gone.  I now had a calm lamb in my arms remembering the words of Jesus, feed my sheep and ‘tend to my lambs‘, reminding me we are all His sheep in His pasture and He is the one that restores our souls. When my children bicker, cry, fight instead of hearing a whining noise I am choosing to hear little lambs ‘baaaing’ because they are turned over and need help to be restored.  Before God can work in and through me I need to be abiding and hiding in Him so His Spirit can work in and through me for His purpose.

I am letting go of ‘striving’ to be a perfect parent and resting in His grace which is sufficient in all things, even a fit at the beach.  To God be the glory…again, His giving, His glory!


A Stone Of Remembrance Never Collected…Until Now

“Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

This is a letter {stone of remembrance} to my 16-year old self:

Hey you, beautiful young lady—yes I called you beautiful.  I see you. I see you hiding in the family pantry contemplating death.  I see the wounds you cover up with anger, jealousy, hatred fueled by insecurities and perfectionism.  I see your sadness and perpetual feeling of loss from a broken home, not having your mama to raise you. I see your tear stained pillow. I weep with you right now.

My heart groans for your sadness and hurt and how you numb yourself and put on masks trying to be all you can be for everyone. There are so many truths I want to share with you but I only have time for a few:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. You know that one girl that you have compared yourself since sixth grade? You know who I’m talking about—you say, ‘she’s everything I am not.’ Stop comparing…you will find out later at graduation day she signs your yearbook saying how much she admires you! Run your own race sweetheart—one day you will learn to keep your eyes fixed on Someone else.
  • Stop letting your insecurities keep you from loving others. See yourself and others as God sees you; God has gifted each of us differently, celebrate the differences don’t envy others or wish yourself away—someday you will be free to enjoy the Butterflies!
  • Stop trying to please others and force friendships. Don’t you feel like you’re trying too hard? It only makes you feel rejected and lost when they don’t respond to your friendly smile or notes.  God wants you to have friendships too—one day you will learn ‘The Gift and Purpose of Friendship’!
  • Stop being distracted by the things of this world. Yes, it’s difficult to be a United States Marine Corps  ‘base kid’ in a school full of students with wealthy two parent homes. That is one of the reasons you end up throwing yourself into making money…and you do make over $100K before you turn 34 but one day you fall in love and follow Someone very special exchanging worldly rags for glorious riches!
  • Keep Writing! You have written journals and stories since you were eight years old—don’t stop I enjoy reading them and seeing how God has transformed and made a redeemed life beautiful—I call them stones of remembrances.
  • Don’t live in fear. I know the near fatal accident of your Daddy when you were five left you living in fear of losing someone you love.  I know how you keep a distance from people because you know they will someday leave but sweetie, just let go and love without fear because God will give you the grace to go through any loss.
  • It is not OK. You learn some hard lessons at an early age. You are trapped by lies and insecurities and allow the first boy that showed attention to you take sacredness from you.  He berates and hits you eliminating any confidence you have. My heart hurts to remember this. He has hurt you real bad and you are like a worn timid puppy thinking there is nothing better than this—he tells you that but don’t believe his lies. It will hurt to leave but you must, and you do. You will see God helps you, though you don’t see it that way…at first. You do end up marrying a wonderful man and learn the true purpose of marriage.
  • Forgive. There is a lot you are holding in your fragile heart poisoning your heart, darkening it, you must forgive. In time, and with Someone’s help, you will.
  • God is real and He still speaks! You have heard about God and it is evident all around you. You finished your catechism, made your first holy communion when you were eight but this moment you are unsure.  You don’t believe there is a God–though inside you wonder if you could be wrong, especially after meeting several ‘different’ teenagers that seem to radiate a Light. But, right now your heart is so hardened and you think if God does exist He really wouldn’t want a worn out sinful teen as yourself—you’ve already messed up in so many ways.  But God does want you.  He’s drawing you right now.  All those people He’s sent into your life telling you the greatness of Who He is—but  you run the other way.  You make fun of these Christians. But He’s still with you. He’s with you right now. In three years you begin to seek Him hesitantly and in your own terms.
  • Don’t just wear the cross around your neck bear your own.

The ultimate Truth is you can’t do anything of these things on your own.  In fact it’s not what you know but Who you know that will heal you.

You need a Savior, you need Jesus Christ. Bring your brokenness to Jesus Christ. Sweetie, I know you make fun of Jesus lovers right now but you become one in seventeen years, and it’s the best decision you ever make. You will learn apart from Jesus Christ you can do nothing.  You will learn to know God the Father and Jesus Christ IS eternal life.  You will learn God’s Spirit must come BEFORE you can produce eternal fruit. You only need to believe on the Lord Jesus, turn from your sins and turn to Him and you will be saved. You cannot earn this GIFT of salvation, it is grace.

I know you are still reeling from receiving that Scholarship from Horatio Alger Association.  I also know deep down inside you feel they made a mistake.  You feel unworthy.  Especially after they flew you to Washington D.C. and you met all of those beautiful intelligent students from across the States—I hear your words, ‘Surely, they made a mistake.’ But they did not. “The lot may be cast into the lap but EVERY DECISION IS FROM THE LORD.” This was another gift of grace from the One that created you.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!” 2 Corinthians 3:17

But still you will spend many years trying to prove to others you deserved that scholarship.  Just like you will spend so many years trying to clean up and ‘be good’ to prove you deserve salvation—but the truth is, you don’t deserve the gift of salvation, none of us do.  We all deserve death, but Love came down—God incarnate, Jesus Christ came down and walked among us and died on the cross making the final sacrifice for the sins of everyone—the FINAL sacrifice. It is finished.

Aren’t you tired of trying? Draw near to God through Jesus Christ and you will taste and see the Lord is good and you will see how all this time God has been with you.  I know you want to do great things and before you were encouraged to make an ‘investment in America’s future’ but you will do even greater things…you will make an investment in God’s kingdom as you teach your children and sow God’s Word to those around you through your life of worship.

*One more thing…do you remember when your English teacher Mrs. Judi Conroy said, ‘Arcelia, you are beautiful, you are like an enclosed flower that is having a hard time growing but one day Someone would lift it and you will blossom.” Well, that Someone is Jesus Christ! You are free sweet one, your faith has healed you—now go and tell others!

**

This letter was inspired by Emily P.Freeman’s invitation to write a letter to my teenage self, in celebration of the release of her new book, Graceful, for teenage girls.

What would you say to yourself, as a teenager? This was very revealing and encouraging for me to write. I encourage you to do the same–even if you don’t share it with anyone else 😉


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