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Category Archives: Not so random thoughts from God

I love the thought of having a garden.  I can just picture myself  in my flip flops and skirt ( a usual for me in the summer) with a pretty little apron in the kitchen thinking it would be lovely to have some fresh tomatoes to go with our dinner.  So I would head out to the back yard, Ice tea in hand, with a fun basket dangling from my arm to collect some tomatoes, peppers, and maybe even some berries for that new recipe I have been meaning to try.

I found myself in the garden today.  Plating our first garden ever.  I may have picked the hottest day to plant, but it did have a great breeze to go with the heat.  Well, maybe it was more of a gusty wind than a breeze.  Anyway, I set out to begin planting several different vegetables that I bought  in pretty little rows.  If you know anything about gardening, you know how much work they are.  I have never done a garden.

My first issue was with the hose.  We were recently given one of those long hoses wound up inside a neat little box, which is lovely when working properly.  Today, however it was not working properly for me.  My next issue was with the Preen, you know the stuff you put down around the plants to keep the weeds from coming up.  That lovely gusty wind kept taking my preen and whipping it around like a little flag in the hand of a two year old on the 4th of July.  After coaxing the kids into letting me take the sprinkler from them so I could wet down my hair once again to cool off, I managed to get 3/4 of a row of marigolds and tomatoes in by the time my hubby came home from.

He fixed the hose, and came over to survey any needs that I may have in my joyous venture.  He quickly pulled all the kiddos in to help plant the entire garden before the rain came at dinner time.  Before they stepped in to help I was wondering what I had gotten myself into.  I didn’t even have a clue what I was doing, let alone how I would keep it all alive.  ( I am still working on the whole “keeping it alive” thing).   At the pace I was going it would have taken me all summer just to plant the garden, no sweet  tea in hand.   They once again reminded me of how truly blessed I am to have such a wonderful family who comes along side me in my weakness and encourages me daily.

I can’t help but think about the harvest that we as Christians desire.  We want so badly to attain that close relationship with God that will pour out of us in our everyday lives.  We want to radiate Christ to those around us.  We desire to feel His presence in our lives, and see Him at work around us.  But do we really want to do the work?  Do we want to spend the time that it takes to build that relationship with God that can then radiate through us to others?  Do we see the need to cultivate His truth into our everyday lives?   Do we see it as a priority to maintain, feed, water, and weed our spiritual lives?

The fact is that though my wonderful husband and children can come and help me with tasks such as planting a garden, they cannot put in the work for me in my relationship with The Lord.  We hear it all the time “Well my family has always gone to church”  as though that has any bearing on our spiritual health.  True, my family can come along side me and encourage me in my walk with God, they cannot do the “work” for me.  I need to be the one digging in the word and taking it all in.  I need to be the one spending time with The Lord, building my relationship with Him.  Yes it can seem like so much “work”, especially when we live in a society that focuses so much on spending our time in other arenas.  But the blessings we will receive are worth the sowing….when we then reap those blessings.

There are so many little things that can make a house feel like a home.  New friends feel like old friends.  A church feel like family.  Here are just a few things that have made us feel at home…….

The sound of children thundering through the upstairs while imagining it is another world

Our walls being painted the same color as our previous home…we had no idea how much we loved these colors

The smell of laundry coming up from the basement on a very productive day

Hooks full of handmade hooded towels disguised as exotic animals at the end of the stairs

A  new apron..enough said

A kitchen full of chatter, kids, and clatter

Friends on Sunday mornings

Friends on Wednesday nights

Sweet spots to sit and have coffee with the Lord early in the morning

A full house every Sunday night

So many people, so eager to help

Wonderful little hills for sledding all around the house

New, beautiful bedding for the girls…sweet answers to prayer

The laugh and smile of a little red-headed baby boy

A cozy snuggle with my hubby late at night

The distinct smell of the church, freshly cleaned, reminding me of our first visit here

Cookbooks nestled next to the table so I can refer to them often

The possibilities of the den…soon to be a family gathering place

Teachers who truly love and care for our children

So many things and people have made us feel so much at home here…So excited to see what is yet to come.

His name is Elijah.  He was born in the midst of one of the hottest summers I have ever experienced.  Shortly after 4:00 pm that day, Elijah experienced life for the very first time.  He drew his first breath…he was born.  He did fine for a while, though he did not cry as much as we would have liked him to, but as time went on he began to struggle.  He began by moaning occasionally, and at times his tummy would pump up and down while breathing, and by the time he was three hours old he was grunting loudly, and his stomach would push out and cave in with every breath he took.  It was a sad and alarming sight.  There he was, born completely healthy, and yet he was now struggling just to breath.  The nurses quickly took him to the nursery where he was placed in an oxygen dome where they could make sure he was getting the right level of oxygen that he needed.  You see in the womb, he was used to one way of breathing, however after his birth he had a tough time transitioning into the new way to take in a breath.  His respiratory rate was too high, and he was working too hard to keep himself going, and they were afraid he would just tire out…After several agonizing hours of not being able to even hold my little baby boy he was able to come off the oxygen gradually and began once again breathing on his own.

While praying and asking God to show me something through  this difficult time, he reminded me of a friend of mine.  A new believer.  They had experienced a rebirth, drawn freely the breath of new life, and yet they were still struggling with some things that seemed so obviously against God’s will to me.  They may have even known what to do, but not sure how or even why.  They needed a little more help,  some assistance in continuously living out God’s will for their lives.  Someone to come along side and encourage, love and sometimes even explain.  This also is a tough transition.  I was also reminded of myself at this stage in my walk with God.  I had my old ways of living imbedded in me so deep, that I would easily revert back without even realizing it at times. This can also be a sad and alarming sight.  After a while it would even get hard to breath, knowing what I should do, but not knowing how to do it, or why I even should.  It is so important to take the time to walk along side one another and be that support system that we so often need.  To love one another and to be an encouragement and even saying to one another “It’s time to cry out” .  To give the appropriate level of “oxygen”  so that we don’t tire out…..and in time it will  gradually get easier to breath the breath of new life.

We have an 18 month old little sweetheart named Trinity. Whenever Trinity has a request for anything her little heart desires she calls out “Here ya go…Here ya go….Here ya go” with her little pudgy palms up and fingers motioning for the goods to come her way. So when she wakes in the morning she stands at the base of her high chair and bellows “Here ya go..Here ya go”. When she notices me take her cup from the fridge she sounds the trumpet of a “Here ya go…Here ya go” While playing ball with one of her older brothers she reminds him of her turn with a “Here ya go…Here ya go” And anytime anyone has any kind of food that has the potential to be appealing to her she makes her way to them “Here ya go…Here ya go…Here ya go”. Now, some may say this is a sure sign of a rude untrained child, however when I look at that little pumpkin with her tousled brown curls and her tootsie-pop brown eyes I can see that she means no disrespect…that is just her current language. As her moma, I know and understand what she is saying, and what she is expecting from her request, so I have to remember when there is a new babysitter or visitor that I should explain to them what she is saying so they too can understand her. So she toddles about the house with her little “Here ya go…Here ya go…Here ya go” as she follows me through my daily tasks.
How familiar this sounds….We have found ourselves in places in life when we mirror this scenerio with God. We find ourselves having a request, but not the right words. Sometimes we may not even know what we want…we just know it is something only He can provide. Instead of waiting until we have the right words, or the right way to say them, or instead of waiting until we know what we truly desire….we ask. We may say it in the quietness of our hearts, we may speak it aloud among close friends in a prayer time, or we may bellow it out in desperation. Then we may think to ourselves, Oh if I only made my request in a better way, in a more delicate manner, in a more urgent way…maybe then God would have known what I meant. But no, God knows. He not only can see into our big hopeful eyes, but He can also peer directly into our hearts.

So don’t feel the burden of selfishness sneaking up on you when you feel the urge to request the desires of your heart.  And if you may not feel like you have the right eloquent words to say, go ahead and ask anyway….ask in your language…ask from your heart.  God knows your heart and is the only one who can answer your request.

Yesterday was a wonderful Saturday.  As the day before Mother’s Day, I did have a lengthy list of to-do’s in preparation for a lunch with family.  Now, in years past, I would have been tempted to kick the children out of the kitchen, barricade myself in, and get all the cooking done, then kick them all upstairs so I could clean the house in peace.  However God has definitely changed the way I view how I make our house a Home.  When my kiddos leave the nest years from now, I need to have passed on the ability to keep a home neat, as well as my cooking skills.  So it was a wonderful sight. First we worked on the strawberry shortcake, Maddison and Jaiden washed and chopped the berries while Zoe worked on “quality control”.  Levi measured and smashed the berries as I added the sugar, and then he carefully ladeled them into the container to be frozen for later enjoyment.  Then on to potatoes, I gave Maddison and Jaiden a 10lb bag of potatoes and each a peeler.  I then walked away, and by the time I came back to them, they had perfectly peeled the entire bag!  So, we made our potatoes for lunch on Sunday, and another pan full for the freezer since we had so many!  I was amazed at how much we got done in such a small amount of time, and the kids had a blast.  They all wore an apron of their choice, and ate more berries than their tummies could handle.  It was so much fun!

That’s when I remembered a recent report I saw that talked about the new way that young moms (with young kiddos) were choosing to celebrate their Mother’s Day.  The whole idea was based on the thought that they spend all year serving, and chasing, and caring for their young children, and so they felt as if they deserve the weekend away.  Away from those very children that gave them the title of “Mommy”.  They would go to a spa, or on a nice shopping trip with their girlfriends, and enjoy leisurely pampering activities.  Meals without interruption, and being lavishly served by a wait staff.  My heart breaks for these women, I see them on a regular basis…complaining about their children’s constant nagging and needs.   Over-burdened by the constant “mommy, mommy, mommy”  that often bellows  from the mouth of a toddler.  But this took the cake, for moms to decide to run from their “beastly” children, to escape from all that they have to constantly do for the ungrateful beings at their side….because they have earned it and they deserve it!  Really….can this be ??  On the very day set aside for celebrating the title of Mom…let us realize that this is merely a season of life.  There will come a day, all too soon, that we will look in our rear-view mirrors and find that those one filled car seats are now empty.  Our children will grow into adults with their own families and children, and careers.  They may move away, or simply choose to be celebrated themselves as moms and dads on such occasions.

So mamas, enjoy this season, it may seem at times it will never end, but it will be gone before we know it.  There are so many women out there who would do anything to be in our shoes.  Yes our nose-whipping,  baby bathing, answering questions you don’t know where they even came from shoes.  We are blessed to be called mom, or mama, or mommy…whatever the title in your home.   God chose you to be that women in the lives of HIS children.  If the bible tells us to be like Christ, and die to ourselves, how then can we justify that we “deserve” to be  pampered and far removed  from the “chaos” on the very day set aside for honoring motherhood?    I am not sure  that attitude is Christ-like at all.  I challenge you, as well as myself to cherish every moment with them while they are still young. You may need some time away to refresh and be recharged, but please not on Mother’s Day…..let those little ones show you their love for you in their own special way on this day!

While chatting with friends, I find that the topics of wife, mother, and homemaker often surface.  I very much enjoy these topics, as well as these titles I hold in my own life.  I also enjoy what the Bible has to say about these rolls in our lives, which is why I am disheartened when so many women buy into the lies of this world.  The ones that tell us that what the Bible says is no longer relevent to us now.  Genisis says:

But for Adam [h] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs [i] and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib [j] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman, [k]
for she was taken out of man.”

Another version is this:

God said, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.”……

I do firmly believe that my Husband has a very specific calling and that my calling is to be his “helpmate” .  I am often greeted with defensive friends who think differently, however they very strongly believe the Bible IS relevent to their husbands in Ephesians when it says:

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

How is this so?  We are not able to take pieces of the bible and stand firm on them as “Whole Truths”  and at the same time look at other passages and say they are simply not relevent to us today.  Satan feeds us lies….and it is easy to listen to when everything and everyone around us seem to go against what the Bible says.  I was made to be that loving encouragement for my husband, to help his be the very best at what God has called him to.   Now, take those negative “cave-man” thoughts out of your head for just a second!  The ones that say “well are you just going to sit around and be at your husbands beck and call?”  or “so you don’t get to do anything you want to do with your life”.  It is quite the opposite, I have the honor and joy of walking through life with my very best friend, working together with him to accomplish God’s purpose.  Our lives compliment each other in such a unique and beautiful way.

Another passage that has been on my heart lately is in Titus:     4Then they (older women) can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

another version is:

Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.

Notice this passage talks about being ” busy at home”.  This is yet another passage that I receive so much flack on!  I love being busy at home.  Working to create that atmosphere that we as a family crave.  There is so much work to be done in the home, trust me when I haven’t been busy at shows.  My systems are all out-of-order, the house is messy, the clothes are not cleaned, and food is not prepped…etc.  There is however a greater worry here.  If you are not busy at home, are you busy away from home?  Carting kids form one play-date to the next, exhausting everyone along the way?  Or if you are still home but not busy, then are you idle? Proverbs 31:27 says, “27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Sitting idle allows us the chance to do so many harmful things through, well boredom, not to mention the gossip that often ensues on these adventures.  So whatever the “busy” is for you, enjoy the blessing of that in your home.

When talking with a  dear friend of mine recently on this very topic her words were” I am more and more convinced that Satan wins a victory every time He convinces one of us to believe the lies of the world. We are surrounded by people with the view that our worth comes from what we do, not who we are and most definitely not who we are in Christ. I often get the eye roll, either openly or internally,  from people when I share my conviction that my husband was made for what he is doing and I was made for him. How archaic, right? But no! God’s design for us and for our families has not changed and I am convinced that we become ineffective (and Satan wins!) when we lose sight of that to which God has called us and for which He has made us!!! Some say it is easy for me to say because I have a good husband, a good marriage, etc.  No! I say we are blessed because of our obedience. I say we fight, as you said, for marriage and family (where Satan targets most often), and we trust that God knows better than the world and Satan, the prince of this world and the father of lies, what is best for us. God’s word is for us today . It is! It is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.”

I had to quote her because I cannot agree with her more..nor could I word it better.I often receive that very same reaction, “It is easy for you to do because you have a great husband and a great marriage”  I cannot agree with my friend enough, we are blessed by our willingness to obey God in his calling to us.  I am not willing to conform to this world and it’s expectations of me, I will strive to conform to Christ and His expectations.

So, what if the world is wrong and the Bible is right… there’s a thought…..

Mindless tasks often fill my day. Fold the laundry, wash the windows, do the dishes. I remember a time when those mindless tasks would take my mind to a world of hurt. I would be folding the laundry and instead of enjoying the warmth and lovely smell of fresh linens, I was suddenly reminiscent of a comment I had heard that week. A negative comment about the way I raise my children or the way I wore my hair, it didn’t really matter. I found myself hurt all over again by the comment, and often the person who delivered it.
So what changed? did I stop receiving negative comments and feed back? I can only wish. I began to take a verse in the bible to a litteral level.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (New International Version)

5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Take captive every thought!  I love that!  I see it as if you were holding a butterfly net and able to reach up and catch each thought, take it down to your eye level, and examine it.  Examine it to see where it came from, if it has any blemishes, and what the motive was that sent it.

The  ability to align your thoughts with those of our Heavenly Father is a daunting task at times.  But our Father loves us so much that He gives us a guide to compare and contrast them to. The Bible.  We can ask ourselves if these thoughts are ones from God himself?  If they are ones that He would like us to ponder, that it may spark a change in our lives somehow?  Or if these thoughts are simply not of God at all, and He has no use for them to build us up, or use them to develop us in any way.

We then have a choice, afterall, we took the thought captive, now what do we choose to do with it?  We can ask God to show us the truth in our hearts, and mold us in the way he sees fit.  We can decide that the thoughts are ones that are brought to our minds for a reason, and focus on aligning ourselves with the path that God desires for us.  Or we can decide that the thought is not of God at all and throw it out, to get caught and carried away by the wind.  Holding on to that thought will do us no good.  We will just ponder it, and possibly repeat the offense in our minds and hearts as if  the poor unknowing deliverer has said it to us time and time again.  It is our choice..Take captive every thought!

I realized today there are so many things I love about spring.   In the past I have never really cared for the season, what with all the muck and mud, and the in between snow gear and flip-flops of it all.  I think the joy of children seeing the first buds of the season, and feeling the warm sunshine fill the front porch may have changed my mind for sure.  So here is a list, of things I surley love about this spring;

I love the smell of lilacs….a smell that can fill a home with a slight breeze wafting  through from the back yard.

I love how Trinity calls out our names when she wakes in the morning..there is nothing more joyful to wake to than her deep little voice calling out “Mama, Mama” or “”Daddy, Daddy”  with anticipation behind it.

I love that two of my girls were able to dress themselves with a sundress and flip-flops.

I love that tomorrow we will find out if our 7th child will be a boy or a girl.

I love the wet leaves and dirty foot prints that have mapped out a path from the back door, through the kitchen and to the basement.

I love that 10 spring seasons ago, Matt chose me to spend the rest of his life with.

I love to hear the giggles from every room in the house with windows wide open and children circling the house while at play.

I love the crisp clean home from all the spring cleaning and de-cluttering.

I love sipping sweet tea on the front porch while thumbing through a good magazine or book.

I love that my husband’s voice can make even the most boring business ethics text book sound interesting.

I love cleaning the church while a fresh breeze flows through the building for the first time since early fall.

I love these children God has entrusted us with.

I love wearing skirts and flip-flops on a regular basis once again.

I love it when a bug lands on the picture window and Zoe tries to tickle his belly through the glass.

I love my new sassy haircut.

I love that my plants made it through the winter, and that I did not manage to kill them last summer with my lack of knowledge and care for them.

I  love spring cleaning. Especially the windows with the sun beaming through unlike it has in months.

I love that we can once again fire up the grill for our favorite meals.

I love the chance to reconnect with friends after a season of hectic family gatherings and cold weather hibernation.

I love a spring morning; birds chirping, kids sleeping in from being up too long because of the mixed up time change, and the smell of fresh coffee waiting to join you for some quiet time with the Lord.

I love the fact that Christ loved us so much that He laid down His life for us, and we can now live in a newness and freedom through Him.

I think it is official, I do love spring.  Never thought I would enjoy it so much, however I am filled with gratefulness and blessings!

What can I say, I am in love.

I must admit there are times when I get offended.  I hate to admit it, but I must.  I often, then feel the need to defend myself, or writing a sly rebuttal on-line.

Then I remember Christ.  He was slighted, disregarded, and more than simply put down.  He was beaten, spat on, and had insult after insult hurled at him for a much longer time period than I could even imagine to endure.  Yet he said ….nothing.

He had no rebuttal, but to ask our Father to forgive.  He offered no defense for himself, but rather offered a love that we can not fathom.

Yet His pain and heartache were so much more…what have I the right to be offended for??

So what do you do?  At home, how many loads of laundry do you do a day?  Do you always have dinner ready at a certain time?  Must you mop everyday, or once a week?  And what about you, how you dress, do you do your hair and makeup every day, and what about even getting a shower on a daily basis?

These are just a few of the questions I receive from other wives and mothers wondering how to order their days.  This is a concept that has taken me years to understand.  I fell for the “Martha Mentality”.  You know, the thought that I can be perfect at everything I do and always be on top of things,  Just like Martha.  What I never took into account is the many people she has working for her, behind the scenes.  Yes, if  life came pre-measured and prepped, cleaned up and primped, I could do it all with ease.  However, was it ever God’s will that my home be perfect? I knew I had a huge issue with this when someone told me my home looked “lived in”.  Lived in?  LiVeD In?  I thought this was one of the most offensive things I had been told, I spent so much time cleaning and organizing, all to have my house look “lived in”?  That’s when God showed me the pride spilling out of me about our home.  I always chose cleaning over playing, I would even say no to friends who wanted to get together, because then the house would be too messy.  I realized that my ministry is to my family and to other PEOPLE…not to my house!

What is my role as a wife and mother?  If I stay home all day, What is the expectation of my day?  What should be my top priorities of each day?  Alas, the answer is all too easy, yet taking the answer and applying it everyday is the most difficult part for me.

Be busy seeking God.  Intentionally imitate Christ.  Create an environment where the Holy Spirit can work in the lives of you and your family.  That is my calling.  Wow…no list of to-do’s to check off as I go?  Sure keeping a home in working order falls into place here, but seeking God is the focus.  Imitating Christ is the goal.  Seeing the Holy Spirit at work in our lives is the result.  Not the kudos from visitors on the polished look of a house.  So how?  Here are a few things I’ve learned to do,

Meet with God.  Meet with him in prayer, study and worship.  If this is the only thing you accomplish in a day, meet with Him.  Invite God into your home and ask him to help you order your time. Understand that you can continue your conversation with him ALL day.

Know your family, understand what helps them function well through the day and what stresses them out.  For my husband, one of the ways I can bless him is by making the phone calls he asked me to make.  I could procrastinate all day on that one task, cook a fabulous meal and have  a spotless house, but the biggest blessing to him would have been the calls being made and mac and cheese and a messy house.  That is one example. Go the extra mile and ask “How can I bless you today?”  And actually do it!  I tend to be quite the procrastinator, so for me this helps me remember to focus on one key thing that I can do that day that is out of the ordinary busy work.

Pray.  Pray for your children as you fold their clothes,  pray for their future as you tidy their rooms, pray for the choices they make at school as you file their homework.  So many things we do throughout the day can be accompanied by prayer, and what an impact that makes in the lives of our loved ones.  Keep scripture in a highly visible place in your kitchen, at the sink or above the stove, so that you can pray that scripture while doing dishes or making dinner. Pray out loud with your children as you drive them to school, this will be a blessing that will stay with them through the day.

Pray for your husband the same.  Pray for the future of your family as you prepare meals and clean up from them.  Pray for the future spouse of your child while you prepare special events, asking God for a full and joyful home in the future.

Set the atmosphere.  Help create a playful atmosphere when it its time to be playful, and a serene atmosphere when it is time to rest.  For some reason women set the tone of the home weather we mean to or not, so be intentional about how you set the stage.  The best days for me are those where the home is set to the atmosphere of peace and rest, since that is what I often view our home as, a place to find peace and rest.

Teach your children.  Play with them, show them how to love and how to enjoy life.  Dance with them and paint with them.  Teach them to cook, read with them.  Spend time loving on them, they will remember it for the rest of their lives and that is what they can pass down to your grandchildren.  Dishes won’t even remember being dirty, let alone the fact that you cleaned them.

Be passionate.  Find out what God gifted you to do and do it with passion.  Love the lord with ALL your heart soul strength.  Pass that on to your kids.  Talk about your faith with them at home and when you are out.  Impress it on them.(see Deut.6:4-9)

So maybe my floors aren’t mopped every day, or every week for that matter.  So maybe my home looks “lived in”.   So if you come by and see the lack of perfection in my home just know, it is because I have spent more time with The Lord and the ones I love than I have spent with the cleaning rags…and that is the joy I have found in everyday life!