Tag Archives: Mothers

Groaning Grief

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How do you react when you find out someone is going through a major trial like cancer?

There was a time when I would flippantly share Scripture like Romans 8:28. Though God’s Word is true, there’s also timing of our words as we are told in Ephesians 4:29:

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

Today I tend to react like Job’s friends first did:

“So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:13

My husband’s step-sister Gina has cancer.

I have no words to speak to her, but I just weep and pray. Being sad and weeping is not a lack of faith, it’s just deep sorrow.

Jesus understands. When her brother died Mary said to Jesus,

“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” (John 11:32-33)

When Jesus saw where they laid Lazarus, He wept.

The other reaction I have to guard against is not doing anything at all for fear of offending. Do you ever struggle with that?

Right now we live in California and she lives in North Carolina, so the most practical things we can do is pray, donate what we can, and share this with you…

As you read her story you will see she is loved and knows it. You will see her faith in God is firm. But you will also see a mama’s aching heart for her sons and for her family.

Will you take a moment to read her story and prayerfully consider making a donation for this beautiful young mother of three children?

‘Help Gina Battle Colon Cancer’ https://dm2.gofund.me/pm398s8k


{in}perfection

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His shoulders slump and his head is down in defeat as he shares with me a repeated sin he committed. He looks frustrated, weary and condemned. I too am frustrated ready to pile on condemning words, until I felt a tinge of compassion fill my heart. I was reminded of the confessing cleansing conversation I had with a friend about my sins just minutes before.

By God’s grace, I knew it was most important to share with my son the spiritual heart of the matter, to tell him the truth about the Truth-Jesus Christ.

To be transparent and share my genuine compassion for his sin struggle because I struggle too. It was a holy opportunity to share the Gospel. To share the gift of forgiveness and mercy that comes through repentance towards God and faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. To share the freedom that comes by power of the resurrected Christ. To walk him to God’s throne of grace.
It was a chance to remind us we’re not perfect and we need a Savior. Any righteousness we have comes from Jesus Christ in us. We are to practice righteousness, press on to maturity, but only God will perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus.
I write this stone of memorial to remind myself, we must practice patience–with ourselves…and one another.

***

When I was a new Christian I was naive to think I would no longer make a mistake. I read  that I was a “new creation” and given a “new heart,”and though I “knew” I was not perfect, I made an expectation for myself that I should be perfect or I was a hypocrite.

This led me to great frustration and even condemnation because I couldn’t understand the continual struggle against sin I was dealing with, let alone the number of times I failed. What I see now is any holiness I have is CHRIST IN me. I have seen my flesh and it’s ugliness to the point I’ve doubted my own salvation! The redeeming part is that my flesh and sin remind me of my need for a Savior. This gives me compassion for those that struggle, beginning in my own family.

A fruitful life comes by a daily walk of abiding in the one who is perfection: Christ.

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Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethen.


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...

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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!

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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.


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!


Wearing Or Bearing A Cross?

This beautiful prayer necklace was given to me by my husband seven years before I "pressed on to maturity" in my relationship with God 

This beautiful prayer wheel cross necklace was given to me by my husband seven years before I “pressed on to maturity” in my relationship with God and began to bear my cross

For over 30 years I would wear a cross around my neck but I would not ‘bear’ my own cross.

All those years the cross was just a piece of jewelry to me. I had said I believed in Jesus Christ but when my faith was tested through trials, it was evident in my actions I trusted in my own self sufficiency and not in God.

I had a shallow superficial faith because I never read the Bible for myself. Even when I did hear God’s Word from others I used His Word as band-aids to my ailments, an emergency self-help kit I took out whenever I was hurting or needed something.

Then one day I met a woman radiating the love of Jesus Christ and she didn’t even wear a cross around her neck! She bears her cross…For weeks I quietly watched her intently as she would deny herself daily and yet be so full of love, joy and thanksgiving even in the midst of hard trials.

I wanted what she had more than any jewelry could offer. I asked God how I can get my own flame and love Him as she did. He told me, and I have never been the same since–that was the day I breathed my last the day I “committed to the cost of following Jesus“, that was the day I BEGAN to bear my own cross.

The Bible teaches us intentional disciples of Jesus Christ are to bear our own crosses not just wear one:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”(Matthew 16:24)

The word ‘deny’ (aparneomai) means: “to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone; to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests”

The word ‘take up’ in Greek (airō) means: “to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to BEAR; to BEAR away what has been raised, carry off”

If we wish to come after Jesus Christ we must ‘lose sight’ of ourselves and BEAR our cross and follow Him.

The day I committed to follow Jesus Christ I put myself on His altar and told Him I would go wherever He would send me, do whatever He would ask of me, and talk to whoever He wanted me to talk to. I began to let go of everything that is of myself and prayed He would increase and I would decrease.

My adventure of walking closely with Jesus Christ is a novel in itself but let me share the very first radical transformation in my life.

Through His Word, God told me to stay home and raise my children. You would have to know me personally to understand why this was a huge test of faith for me.

*I was raised by a single parent Marine Daddy

*I was paralyzed with fear and insecurities to be a mom since I wasn’t raised by mine

*I saw my children less than 15 hours a week and didn’t know what to do with them on the weekends

*I believed the lies that I made a better mom working outside the home especially since my high paying job would help pay for their future tuition

*I was the mom that dropped her children off first and was the last to pick them up {it hurts to admit this but He wants me to}

*I was the biggest persecutor and made fun of stay-at-home moms {and I said I would NEVER stay home}

*I had finished my Masters degree and was making a six-figure salary and absolutely ENJOYED my job

This was a test of my husband’s faith too. When I told Him about my encounter with God and that I felt God calling me to stay home full time my husband’s response was,

“It will never happen. It is impossible.”

It was impossible for us because we had a half-million dollar home, a Harley Davidson, Mini-Van, Truck and over $100K debt. We were the rich young rulers.

To get over my own insecurities, fears and desires was one thing, having the reality of the golden handcuffs of debt was quite another. I started to sink into an area of doubt and asked God why would He change my heart but not my husbands’? I then stopped asking questions and began to be still and serve God while I waited.

I would not forget the deep conviction God gave me. I knew He had asked me to stay home but I didn’t know how it was going to happen. I stood on His Word and chose to trust God.

I look back now and see God was teaching me submissiveness to Him and my husband. I did not nag my husband. I didn’t not bully to get my way {as I used to} but I submitted to God by submitting to my husband.

Instead, I would pray Deuteronmy 6:5 over my husband’s head while he was sleeping. I would pray with my spiritual mentor that my husband would love God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. Then it happened!!!!

It just took five months from the time I encountered God for my husband to hear from God too! God told my husband through His Word:

…the righteous will live by faith

Five months from when my husband heard from God we were moved from the VA/DC area to Alabama and I began my full time ministry of motherhood.

I am empowered by God's Holy Spirit to be a momma to my children for God's glory!

I am empowered by God’s Holy Spirit to be a momma to my children for God’s glory!

I am filled with humility and gratitude when I think of the day I breathed my last breath and was filled with His Spirit. I am humbled when I think about how God was drawing me for so many years even when I had been pushing Him away and denying Him. I smile when I think of my husband’s words when I told him I wanted to leave my job and stay home with the children, “it is impossible”. I smile because I remember what Jesus Christ said of the rich young ruler who wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven:

“…with people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

By God’s grace my husband and I have gone from rags to riches…from our filthy rags to God’s glorious riches!

By God’s grace I am growing in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I am learning, we bear our crosses when we genuinely say Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

And do you know what else I’m learning? We CAN NOT deny ourselves in our strength, we can not believe we have been crucified with Christ in our own strength and we can NOT press on to spiritual maturity unless God permits (Hebrews 6:3), we NEED His help, apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5)! My hope is in Jesus Christ alone, I know I can not hope to change myself or others, He is my all in all!

Yes, for 30 years I just wore a cross.

However, I realize I just ‘wore’ a cross and never bore my cross because the truth is I can’t bear my cross without the grace of God’s Holy Spirit.

It is by God’s Holy Spirit I am equipped to deny myself daily…whether it is leaving a job I enjoy, canceling ‘alone’ time because a friend is in need or pause my writing even at the climax of completion because a child wants a drink of water–His Spirit empowers me to do what He’s asked of me. I have learned the Spirit must come before the fruit.

Let God’s Word examine your hearts, are you bearing the cross or are you just wearing one around your neck? May we press on to maturity!

“For I am confident of this very thing, that HE who began a good work in you will PERFECT it until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6

I am sharing my ‘Hazardous Faith Story’ as part of a synchroblog connected with the release of Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper’s new book Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus. To discover more about the book and to read other Hazardous stories, click here.

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