It made its appearance this morning. Actually, it raged in from no where and seriously interrupted our otherwise peaceful morning. Things were going along just fine, we had made it out the door just in the nick of time to get to school without being tardy... but then it happened. Mommy meltdown.
One short sarcastic comment from my daughter caused a nuclear explosion of words and emotions that caught both of my daughters off guard. In fact, it caught me off guard.
Why did I get so upset about this one statement, of which I had heard many times before? Why did I have to blow my top in the morning right before school? Why did I get so upset anyway? Why today?
The only excuses I can come up with are 1) hormones, or 2) frustration, and 3) having lost all tolerance for sarcasm, or 4) not spending enough time with God lately. Okay, I have to admit, that maybe it was a combination of all four, but regardless of the reason, the result was not pretty. Nope. In fact I think I will rank it up there with one of my less finer moments in life. One of those moments where you wish life was a camcorder, and you could just rewind and redo it all over again.
One of those moments, when sitting in the aftermath, I can do nothing but wish I had a do-over button, and ask God to forgive me. And fortunately, He does. Time and time again. Unconditionally.
But how easy it is for us moms to reach our final breaking point, even over something seemingly trivial. Sometimes being a mom is hard, exhausting, tiring and frustrating. Saying the same old things over and over every day, without seeing any changes occurring, gets... well... just plain old. And then as a result, something triggers our emotions, and "it" happens - as if one tiny rock landed on a huge pile of rocks, and caused the entire rock pile to crumble to the ground.
A crumbled pile of rocks, named "mommy meltdown". So after I dropped off the girls, I prayed all the way home from school for God to forgive me, and I know He did. However, God didnt stop there. When I turned on the radio, a preacher was talking about controlling our anger.
Ooooookkkkkkaaaaayyyyy, I would write that up as a coincidence, but I knew it was a God-incidence.
And then after returning home, I read my Proverbs 31 daily devotion for today, which was talking about how powerful Gods love is, and that when we continue to do things that we know are wrong or feel badly about, that it is only the powerful love of God that carries us through.
God gently reminded me that it is His conviction, not condemnation, that helps us seek forgiveness and restoration, and through Him, we can learn how to respond in love, even when we are on the verge of a meltdown.
The key verse for todays devotion was 2 Peter 1:3 "By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence." (NLT)
In my own power, I cannot hold my temper when my children cross the same boundaries that they have been told countless times not to cross.
In my own power, I will not feel guilty for sinning, if I feel that sin was justified, or my actions warranted.
In my own power, I cannot forgive those who hurt my feelings or made me mad.
In my own power, I cannot find the humility needed to apologize and ask for grace and forgiveness, not only from God, but also from others.
But in Gods power, I can still be the sweet and loving mommy that God has called me to be, even in a heated moment.
In His power, I can find the strength, humility, mercy, grace, patience and love, to bestow upon others, just as He has bestowed them upon me.
By His power, I can be forgiven for my messups (a.k.a., meltdowns) and ask Him to guide my thoughts, words and actions each day, empowering me to live a Godly life, because of His marvelous glory and power working within me.
By His power, I can have patience and tolerance that are NOT in our innate human nature, thus preventing, any future mommy meltdowns of epic proportions.
So I texted both of my girls this morning apologizing for my mommy meltdown. And they quickly texted back with words of kindness, apologies of their own, and forgiveness. Sometimes this texting stuff is not that bad afterall.
And sometimes, humility and apologies are the greatest gifts we can give to others, even if we are the mommy, especially when we consider how important those gifts are to us when we are the recipient of those gifts.
The truth is, meltdowns are not simply saved for two year olds. Yep, us mommies can have those too. It doesnt make us a bad mommy, just a human mommy. And if anything positive can come out of a meltdown, it is the realization that we dont have the power to do life on our own - and that we need Gods power working within us to keep us in line, and walking in love.
My girls will be getting off the bus shortly - and I anticipate some serious hugging taking place, along with some home made brownies, of course. Nothing smooths over meltdowns, like chocolate.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It made its appearance this morning. Actually, it raged in from no where and seriously interrupted our otherwise peaceful morning. Things were going along just fine, we had made it out the door just in the nick of time to get to school without being tardy... but then it happened. Mommy meltdown.
at 2:43 PM
Monday, April 26, 2010
You cannot imagine how hard it was for our Executive Director to pick only one winner. However, we all know in our hearts and believe with great faith that if God has truly called someone to attend the conference at this time, then He WILL make a way for them to attend.
A great idea to consider is setting up your own scholarship fund. Proverbs 31 has already put together an amazing letter that you can send to your family, friends, church members, small group, etc., which can help you kick off your fundraising campaign. The way it works, is that tax-deductible donations can be made to Proverbs 31 Ministries and designated as scholarship money for the specified individual, which takes away some of the awkwardness of asking people to give you money. It may sound a little intimidating at first, but keep in mind, that each year we have 20 – 30 women attend She Speaks because they set up their own scholarship funds. You see, not everyone is called to speak or write, but some are called to financially help someone else answer the call to speak or write, and God lays it on their hearts to make a difference in His kingdom in that way.
If you are interested in how to get started with your own scholarship fund, just go to www.shespeaksconference.com Click on the green button that says “Scholarship Info” at the bottom left of the home page, and you will be taken directly to the scholarship information.
Have a wonderful Monday!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I hope that even if you are not chosen as the winner of one of the scholarships, that you will still consider attending the conference and trying to work it out somehow. My first attempt to attend She Speaks was actually in 2004, because my friend kept persuading me to go. I finally gave in and decided I would give it a shot, and it turned out it was booked and I could not go after all! I was so bummed - but honestly, secretly I was just a little bit relieved. I wanted Gods best for my life, but my fears were still outweighing ny faith. Looking back on it now, I can see that God knew I wasnt quite ready yet.
In 2005, I again hesitantly signed up early, and did get registered to attend. I mentioned yesterday that about how I was a nervous wreck before the conference - but upon leaving the conference, I truly was a transformed person. A person who had left all her weights at the foot of the cross that weekend, and felt free for the first time ever, to take that leap of faith.
If God is calling you to attend She Speaks, and it is time, His timing, you WILL be able to work it out somehow - but hopefully with a scholarship! How cool would that be??!! But if you are not selected as the winner, keep praying for God to pave a way, physically and financially for you to attend. To tell you that it is an investment well worth it, would be an understatement. :)
So keep those comments coming, and be sure to check Lysas blog on Monday for a list of the lucky winners! Dont forget to click on the blog links below from yesterdays post, because the more blogs you visit and comment on, the better your chances are for having your name drawn.
If you want to read more details about the story of my powerful, first She Speaks experience, click HERE. )
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Well, this is your lucky day! Proverbs 31 is having a tour of blogs this week, starting today, to promote the She Speaks Scholarship giveaways that we are offering this year. She Speaks is the very popular Proverbs 31 annual speakers/writers conference (a.k.a. life changing conference)that takes place in Concord, NC (on the ourskirts of Charlotte, NC). This years conference date is July 31-August 2nd.
Ten years ago, I heard Gods voice loud and clear about speaking. It was the first time I had ever heard God speak audibly to my heart, in such a way, that I knew it was Him. In a very powerful worship service, my heart was mended in the most amazing way through finally understanding how much God loved me, and that I was forgiven. For the first time in my life, I felt like just maybe, God could use me to glorify Him. Somehow.
Unfortunately, I did not obey Gods call at that time, but God continued to work on my heart, and five years later, with much hesitation and confusion, I signed up to attend She Speaks. I knew God had been calling me to speak and write, but at the time, I had no idea what that involved, or what that kind of life even looked like. Even while driving to She Speaks, I nearly turned around ten times to go back home, but the desire to see what God had in store for me kept me going - thank goodness!
That first She Speaks conference changed my life. I not only walked away with the motivation, information, and tools to begin exploring being a speaker and writer, but God confirmed in my heart that His plan was much better than mine, and that all I had to do was say yes, and He would take care of the rest. Ever since then, God has walked me through an amazing journey which has just begun, and blessed me in ways that I didnt even know I wanted - and it all started with one weekend at She Speaks.
Have you ever considered attending She Speaks, but hesitant to sign up? Have you wanted to attend, but just didnt have the finances? Have you never heard of She Speaks before, but now you really want to go?!
Well now is the time to embrace an opportunity to go for free! You could be the winner of one of ten free scholarships available, donated by Cecil Murphy. Each one is nearly a $600 value! But much more important than the monetary value, is knowing that this conference transforms hearts and lives and equips ordinary women, to do extraordinary things in Christ.
If you are interested in the scholarship, simply leave a comment on my blog this week, stating what winning would mean to you in terms of answering Gods call to speak (contest is for speakers track only). Then visit all the other blogs, be inspired by their She Speaks stories, and comment on their blogs too! (Please do keep in mind though, that this contest is for women who have never attended She Speaks, and for women who would otherwise not be able to attend. If you can afford the conference – please do not enter to win a scholarship.)
A randomly selected winner will be drawn from all the blog comments from all the speakers and ministry blogs below, on Monday, April 26th. So the more blogs you visit and comment on, the greater your chances of winning!
Wend B http://www.wendyblight.com/
Wendy P http://www.wendypope.blogspot.com/
She Seeks http://www.sheseeks.org/
She Reads http://www.shereads.org/
Monday, April 19, 2010
Here are just a few of the pictures I took of the natural bridge made by the hands of God, and some of the beautiful fresh streams running through it:
It truly was beautiful. An awesome reminder of the beauty that God blessed us with He created the world. Its not that often that I take a whole afternoon just to stroll around in the woods and enjoy nature, and it truly blessed my heart.
To be honest, I am surprised my heart could take any more blessing! My heart was filled up to the brim this weekend through seeing how God was working and moving in the hearts of so many women. Nothing is more motivating and uplifting than to see women cry tears of joy, as Gods truth of unconditional love and forgiveness melts their hearts.
To all the ladies of Old Dominion Baptist, thank you for embracing me this weekend and making me feel like a part of your wonderful group of sisters in Christ. Smiles and hugs to all of you.
Now that spring is full swing, maybe we can focus this week on setting aside time to not merely drive past by Gods beautiful nature, or look at it through our kitchen window, but to actually devote time to really enjoy it. Think about somewhere in your town or state where you can really slow down the pace of life, and just sit back and relax, while breathing in the smells and sounds of all the newlife that spring blesses us with each day. What better way to praise God this week for who He is, by remembering all that He created as well, which is something we all too often take for granted.
at 10:13 AM
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Today I have a Proverbs 31 devotion running, called Choose Where You Will Stand, which covers the topic of standing up for our faith in a world that now seems to be completely against the mere thought of Christianity.
In this devo, I referenced Proverbs 20:5, which says, "Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within" (The Message).
This "well within" is referring to that deep place in our hearts where we have tucked away Gods truths, promises, and Words. That secret place where all those spiritual things we have learned throughout our lifetime and our Christian walk are stored. That special place where spiritual wisdom and discernment resides.
Each one of us who have professed faith in Jesus Christ, has this well within our hearts. A well that upon our acceptance of Jesus, was enthusiastically built and passionately filled to the brim with Gods love.
But at times, regardless of how deeply or how long we have loved the Lord, life can drain our wells.
The anxieties and worries that we experience every day as we face problems in marriage, parenting, finances, work, family, health, the economy, the culture, etc, can eventually cause the wells within our hearts to seem dry and dusty.
Or maybe our heart wells are running dry, simply because we have not made our relationship with Christ a priority in our lives. We have become too busy, our plates are too full, and we are pulled in so many directions that we inadvertently forget to turn to God along the way.
Or, maybe our wells have run dry, because it seems that Christianity is slowly but gradually getting pushed to the back burner in our nation, while the work of Satan and the voices of those against God are seen and heard loud and clear. Maybe hopelessness and despair for what we wish our country could still be, are the culprits.
In any case, the end result is a dry well. A heart thirsty for God. A mind that knows what is right, but that fails to tap into the well in tough decisions. A walk that does not exemplify God. An increased level of tolerance for what is not right in Gods eyes. And a decreased ability to stand up for our faith in every day situations.
I think I can safely say, that none of us want to walk around with a dried up heart well! So how do we deepen the waters of our heart again, with the living water that only God can provide? How do we dig deep into our wells, and draw refreshing water out that helps us shine as a light for Christ every day?
Thank goodness Jesus did not leave us to figure out this question on our own. 2 Peter 1:3 says, "Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!" (MSG)
Hebrews 4:12 says "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
These verses portray that all we have to do to fill up our wells so deep that Gods strength and power exude from every ounce of our being, is to store His knowledge and promises away in our hearts. To memorize His Words. To get to know Him intimately, and personally. To love Him with such passion, that if anyone dares to speak out against Him, that we will stand up for our faith, without regard for what others think.
That kind of faith is powerful - but rare. None of us want to be ridiculed, judged, misunderstood or shunned, because of our love for Christ. But it is those common fears, that have led our country, and our world, down a road that is getting farther and farther from the one where Jesus treads.
Those common fears are the sole reason that our children can no longer pray in school; that our government wants to remove "in God we trust" from our currency and remove the word "God" from the pledge of allegiance.
Those common fears are the reason that abortions are common place, gay marriages are legalized, businesses no longer acknowledge Christ in Christian holidays; and governments, schools and business bend over backwards to tolerate every religion under the sun EXCEPT for Christianity.
Isnt it high time that Christians start standing up for what is right in Gods eyes, instead of accepting the wrongs because we are afraid of what other eyes might think? Through Christ, we can have a faith that is stronger than those common fears.
I think it is high time that all of us, as children in the Kingdom of God, begin to speak up, and stand up! As Christians, we need to have a bold faith. A faith that is overflowing from the wells in our hearts, and be willing to take on anyone who tries to speak out against what Gods Word claims to be true and right.
The word Christian simply means Christ-like. We can never be perfect, or anywhere near capable of living up to all that Christ was, but we can strive to be like Him. We can strive to honor with Him our lips and our lives. We can strive to be transformed by His power within us.
We can strive to glorify Him through our actions, by clinging to our faith as if it we were our only lifeline, which actually, it really is.
At the rate things are going, eventually God, our God, the God of Israel, the Father of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac, is going to be out of the picture. Are we going to let that happen?
You know, it is hard to even imagine what this world would be like today, if the Christians in all the decades past had vigorously and endlessly stood up for what is right and made their voices heard loud and clear, rather than being drowned out by the few voices that opposed all that God stood for. Hard to consider what our society might look like today, if me, and you, and every other Christian alive, vigorously and tirelessly stood up for Christ every day - locally, regionally, and nationally about the downfall of morals and values and Godly decisions in our government and society today.
Hmmmmm..... I can only imagine.
Lets bind together today, as sisters in Christ, and start filling up our heart wells with the knowledge of all that Christ Was, Is and will forever Be. Then lets stand up and fight the good fight of faith - in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, our cities, our states, our country.
It only took the voice of one woman in 1973, to get abortion legalized. She had an opinion, that was completely opposite of Gods Word, and her one voice was heard loud and clear. Since then, millions and millions of innocent babies have died.
Let us never forget that our voice matters. That our faith, our willingness and our passion to stand up for what is right, can make a difference. It only takes one voice to glorify God, and it only takes One God to make amazing things happen through that one voice.
Jesus has already won the battle, but in the meantime, lets stand up and defend His mighty victory!!! Lets start filling up our heart wells to the brim, so that we can faithfully stand up with power, passion and purpose for Christ.
By filling up with God, and standing up for God, we CAN make a difference.
Have you stood up for your faith in a special way? Have you defended God in your home, community, city or state? Are you considering doing something radical for God out of pure passion for what He stands for and who He is? Has your voice made a difference for Christ in any small or huge way?
If so, I would love for you to share those experiences by leaving a comment! Nothing is more encouraging and motivating than to hear how others are fighting the good fight of faith, to see how God is using ordinary people to do extraordinary things, and to know that none of us are not in this battle alone.
at 5:00 AM
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
We had a wonderful time on vacation last week. Actually, the word wonderful does not even do justice to the fabulousness (is that a word?) of our week.
My husband and I and the kids, even though we spent about 25 or so hours in the car cumulative, had a sweet, memorable week together. We stayed busy each day, with different activities, hanging out poolside, playing on the beach, shopping and sight seeing. All of those things were great - but the greatest thing about the week - was time.
As I have grown older, in the past few years I have come to recognize within myself that my love language leans strongly towards time. Nothing means more to me than a special date night with my husband, or some quality time with the kids. I truly love being together, regardless of where we are or what we are doing. In fact one of my favorite past times, is sitting on the deck with my family in the warm weather, listening to Jimmy Buffet on the CD player, watching Michael cook chicken wings on the grill and the kids jumping on the trampoline.
Dont get me wrong - I love me some vacations now! My amazing husband, who always takes us to great places, will attest to that. But time with my family is what I truly treasure.
I started thinking this evening, how much God treasures time too. He is the creator of time, and holds all time in His hands, but what is truly important to Him, is that we spend time with Him.
Nearing the end of last week, I woke up early one morning, and felt burdened and restless. I realized that I had not spent any time with God that week. I had been too busy enjoying the blessings that God had brought into my life, to enjoy spending time with Him. Even though I had taken my Bible with me, with every intention of doing my daily reading, each day seemed to pass without my doing it. So I laid there, in no rush to get up, and talked to God for a while. It was good. :)
But I wonder, if while I was scurrying throughout my week, if God longed to spend time with me, the same way I long to spend time with my family, and husband? Knowing how much time is important to Him, I feel confident that He did.
1 Corinthians 1:9 explains that God desires to spend time with us, when it says "God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful." (NIV) The NLT Bible reads that he invited us into partnership with Him.
God desires for us to spend time with Him, enjoying fellowship with Him, and when we do, we engage in the most important partnership, and friendship, in our life.
The good thing is that as a result of the many hours in the car that we spent driving last week, I had plenty of time to get caught up on my daily reading, and it was great! Now I cant exactly say it was quiet time, thanks to the 3 kids in the back who thought their sole purpose for the day was to disagree on what movie to watch, where to get food, who used whose IPOD, who has to sit in the back, and who gets to hold the fuzzy blanket - but it was time with God, nonetheless!
I have finally come to understand the importance of daily quiet time with God. I so regret all the years I spent not doing that. It regenerates me, and excites me. It helps me feel lighter, and more hopeful and joyful. It helps me keep the hardships of life in perspective. But most importantly, it helps me feel refreshed and renewed.
Today, I am feeling refreshed, from my vacation time to my quiet time.
Refreshed, from the physical body, to the emotional heart.
Refreshed, from time spent with the most important people in my life, to time spent with the One who refreshes me from the inside out.
I would say last week, was time well spent. Smiles.
at 11:25 PM
Saturday, April 3, 2010
It is obviously apparent that I was MIA last week, while trying to plan for my family vacation that we are taking this upcoming week, because I have not had time to sit down and blog in a while. But I am thrilled beyond belief at getting to spend some much needed quality time with my husband and family this week, and looking forward to lots of sunshine, white beaches, delicious food, new adventures, and lazy days by the pool!
The weeks leading up to this week have been hard, with many struggles, stressors, hurts, losses and worries. In fact, my husband and I have both asked ourselves if we really should be taking a vacation at all. But honestly, it is usually the times when we dont think that we should get away, that are the times when we need to get away the most. Just like a coke bottle will eventually explode if you continue to shake it up, our hearts and minds will do the same thing if we dont allow time in our life to settle down and slow down, and just breathe.
As a corporate trainer on stress management, I know full well the effects that stress takes on the body, mind, heart and soul. And trust me friend, it is not pretty. Stress affects us emotionally, physically, mentally and even spiritually, and if not dealt with, it can have negative affects that affect our health, our relationships, our life, and maybe even our future.
How easy it is for my husband and I to become passing ships in the night, while he is pulled by constant stressors at work and putting in a lot of hours, and I am pulled by the needs of the kids, house and home, plus ministry. How easy it is to forget the importance of real conversation, when I am running the girls to tumbling practices and he is taking our son to football practices. If, in the midst of our busy life, we didnt take time to love God and love each other, then eventually, we may find ourselves as strangers, not recognize who our children have become, and wondering what happened, and how to fix it.
If you ask me, there is no better time than the present to make family, health, and a little bit of rest and relaxation a priority. Maybe doing so will require some sacrifice, but it be well worth it in the long run. The truth is, it might be easier, and even cheaper, to just keep plugging away day in and day out doing the same old things without taking to reflect and relax, but the costs could be high, in more ways than one.
Family time doesnt happen just on vacations, in fact, those times are usually few and far between. But family time can be enjoyed on an evening sitting on the deck, cooking out chicken wings and talking about everything under the sun; or in the car on a trip across town; or on a weekend when all activities are pushed aside in order to make spouse and family a priority.
This is a wonderful time of year, the week after Easter, where we have celebrated our Risen Savior, to really put God and family at the top of our priority lists.
Easter is also a great time to reflect.
To reflect on who Jesus was, is and will be. To reflect on the sacrifice He made for us. And to reflect and be thankful for the gift of eternal life that we receive as a result.
Easter is a great time to start fresh.
A time to breathe in the intoxicating aroma of spring, from freshly cut grass and sweet flowers, to warm air and honeysuckles. A time to recognize how everything is new, starting over, experiencing new life. A time to consider how each day we are given another chance to focus on the things that really matter. How exhilirating to remember that every day can be a new beginning in Christ.
Easter is a great time to relax.
To allow stress to melt away and Gods peace and reassurance to fill those empty spaces. To recognize that Christ gave His life, so that we could have life, and have it to the fullest. To relax, by remembering that He holds all of our tomorrows, and that anxiety and worry will not accomplish a thing.
The Bible tells us that God is to be our first priority, above all else. Secondly, our spouse, and thirdly our children. Easter is a wonderful time of year to focus on all three of these, and that is exactly what God placed on my heart over the weekend.
What things did you think about this Easter Sunday? What did God place on your heart that you feel prompted to focus on this spring - a new beginning of some sort, a second chance, the sacrifice that offers forgiveness, a desire to spend more time with family, a yearning to rekindle a marraige relationship, a longing to feel His peace amidst the stress of life, a fresh passion for Christ?
Whatever you are thinking about, tis the season for reflection, re-energizing, rest, and relaxation through Jesus.
Tis the season to focus on not only what Christ did, but how what He did is impacting our every hearts, and how we are given a fresh start each and every day, because our sins are forgiven.
Tis the season to rest, knowing that Christ has already paid the price for our sin, so that we can focus on glorifying Him by living His priorities every day.
Tis the season to relax - and this week, I will be doing just that. Smiles.
at 11:28 PM