There is something about a mother that is so divinely purposed by God – an innate ability to nurture, protect, and love her children. A woman of godly character that sees the value in, and invests in her children is something so precious, and so rare. The quote above is one of my absolute favorites because it recognizes the powerful influence a mother has, not only in her home, but over nations!
I have a confession to make. For the last twenty years I have been a working mom. I always believed it was harder to work outside of the home, and in some ways it is; but, I have been blessed by God to be a stay at home mom for the last 5 months, and I must admit that it seems harder on some days to be at home than it is to be at work! Maybe it’s the lack of adult conversation, the fact that there are no lunch breaks, or the never ending repetition of questions, crying, and correction – but there are some days I want to work just so I can have a break from my 24/7 job at home!
There was actually a video that went viral on YouTube that featured a man interviewing people for a job (the job was being a mom). They didn’t know what the job actually was, but as he described their duties, one by one, they began to declare this job was impossible to do. If you haven’t seen it, watch it below:
In honor of mother’s day, I just wanted to send out a big thank you to all of the mommies out there that give of themselves sacrificially to help mold and shape the character of the children who will be our future leaders, each in their own spheres of influence. Don’t EVER underestimate the value and inestimable worth of a mother in the lives of her children! What you do matters, and though what is done in your home with your children may only be seen by you and by God, it is to be acknowledged and praised!
“Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.”
This week, remember the important place that you have in your home. It is a place of strength and honor. It is a place of value and worth. It is a place given by God, and it is to be highly regarded and highly esteemed! What you invest of your time, energy, love, patience, and strength in this present time will one day be the very thing that is blessing you, and praising you before God and man. Mommy, you are a QUEEN with a powerful scepter, building the character of your children for eternity. You have a VERY HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
Shame and condemnation are confidence killers, yet we allow them to rob us of the joy and peace that belong to us in Christ.
Like a thief in the night, this tag team steals away our confidence on a daily basis with insidious little seeds of wrong thinking that, if nurtured, can produce the fruits of weakened faith, half-hearted joy, and fleeting moments of peace rather than the FULL MEASURE of what Christ died for us to have.
As believers, it is very important – I might even say critical – that we learn the difference between the voice of conviction and the voice of condemnation. When the Holy Spirit convicts a born again child of God of sin, it is from a position of love, and it leads to a place of repentance and restoration. When the devil (called the accuser of the brethren) attempts to condemn a born again child of God on the basis of sin, it is from a position of hate, and it leads to a place of hiding that is covered with shame.
When a believer listens to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the door to his or her heart is wide open, and God can lovingly come in to wash that heart and conscience clean, but when the accuser is given place to speak, the heart is closed, and the door shut tight with a sign hanging outside that says, “Do Not Enter – Unworthy.”
Confidence is very much connected to value, and when you allow yourself to think thoughts about being unworthy, unimportant, and insignificant, your confidence will begin to deflate like a balloon losing air. Has that ever happened to you? It happens to me quite often. That inner critic begins to speak to me about how what I’m doing doesn’t really matter, how I’m not measuring up to some self-imposed standard, how I’m not enough in some area or another (not enough faith, not enough smarts, not enough compassion, not enough of a woman, not enough of a mother, not enough _____ just fill in the blank).
So how do you combat those thoughts? What determines value? Value is determined by the price that someone is willing to pay for something…or someone. Jesus paid the highest price imaginable FOR YOU! He doesn’t just believe you are worth it, but His actions demonstrated that belief! You are worthy. You are significant. You are important. You are very, very valuable to God.
Confidence is very much connected to identity. Knowing who you are is as vital to the human spirit as air is to the lungs. Without a firm grip on your identity, you suffocate in a sea of question marks, an exposed stump occupying the space where your confidence was supposed to be flourishing. So how do you discover who you are?
If you have placed your faith in Christ, and are born of His spirit, the word of God can help you answer that question. According to Romans 5, our identity has everything to do with our location. We are IN CHRIST. According to 1 John 4:17, all that HE is I AM. In other words, I am not righteous, or holy, or accepted, or loved, on the basis of my behavior. I am righteous, holy, accepted, loved, strong, blessed, wise, an heir to God’s riches, and the very son or daughter of GOD – because I am IN CHRIST.
Doesn’t hearing that just begin to minister life to you already!? Isn’t your confidence growing with every affirmation of who you are in Christ? The best part is, even when you make mistakes, it does not affect who you are!!!! Your identity is not found in your behavior, or in some label that was placed on you, or in your perfect performance. Who you are is defined not by what you do or don’t do, but by what Christ has already done!
Confidence is very much connected to a sense of purpose. Where you find a person who doesn’t have any sense of purpose for living their life, you will also find a person with very little confidence. The good news for every person is that God creates with purpose in mind:
“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].”
God created you. You are His masterpiece, His work of art. He planned you. He prepared your path ahead of time. He prearranged and made ready a good life full of good works – just for you! You are no mistake. You are not a result of chance. You were not created without purpose! The next time that voice in your head says that you don’t matter, that you are not important, that nobody would notice whether you live or die, GO TO THE WORD! Begin to say what God says – there is a plan for you, honey! The more you look into Who Jesus is, the more you will begin to see who you are, and why you are here.
You Were not Made for Shame and Condemnation
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” ~ Romans 8:1a
Learn to listen to the right voice, and to respond the right way. Repent when the Holy Spirit convicts you, and let the love of God lift you up, dust you off, and cheer you on. Resist when the accuser condemns you, and remain confident in who you are, what you’re worth, and why you are here. I can feel your faith, your joy and your peace rising already!
If this blessed you, pass on the love and share it with a friend!
So, my son has recently learned a new word, and what’s so interesting is that I believe he learned it from a Bible App that’s made for little ones. The app is interactive, and it tells the story of creation, the fall, the birth of Christ, and a few other major story lines from the Bible. The depiction of the fall of man is played out complete with background music, sound effects, and narration. We see Eve, the serpent beguiling her, and Adam following suit. Adam and Eve hide in fear and shame when they hear God, and when God calls Adam to the carpet for eating of the fruit of the tree, Adam looks at him with a blank stare, says, “Huh?” and he points to Eve. (This is where the blame game started my friends!)
Well, my precious 2 year old will now use this word when I tell him to do something that he doesn’t particularly care to do.
It goes something like this:
“Don’t touch that, please. It could break, and mommy doesn’t want you to get hurt.” – “Huh?”
Then, looking right in his eyes, I repeat, “Don’t touch that, please. It could break, and mommy doesn’t want you to get hurt.” – “Huh?”
I might repeat it one more time, and then I look at him, and I say, “You know what I said.”
When Your Children Won’t Listen
Did you know that anyone who teaches people about the word of God gets the best illustrations by watching their own children! You may think I am going to now head into a discourse on toddler behavior problems, but I’m not. These several verbal exchanges with my son have brought to light scriptural truth, and you might get some answers here for yourself if you have been wondering why God doesn’t seem to be answering your prayers, or why it seems hard to hear His voice these days.
Just as your children sometimes have selective hearing, God’s children can also sometimes look at God with a blank stare, and say, “Huh?” when it comes to doing something they don’t particularly want to do. Oh, yes, God will be gracious and merciful, and He will repeat what He told you in case you didn’t quite get it the first time, but there comes a point that He says, “You know what I said.”
Most of us are enlightened far beyond the level of our obedience, or in other words, God has shown us things we must do, but we’re not doing them. Many times when we are seeking direction, answers, solutions to problems, or wisdom for the future, and it seems that heaven is silent, we need to go back and check to see whether we are doing the things that God has already directed us to do.
I can tell you right now, if I spoke to my son and told him that we were going to drive to the store and get some ice cream, he would emphatically say, “Let’s go!” and proceed to the door before I could even put his shoes on. This same child, in the same moment, could get another directive, “…but you have to clean your room first,” and to this he might say, “Huh?”
How can the same child, with the same ears, listening to the same voice, hear one directive so clearly, and be so dull of hearing with another?
Many times we pray, “God, show me what to do. God, I’ll do anything, I’ll go anywhere. God, I need wisdom. God, I need answers.” Then God prompts you to go to someone and apologize for something, or to forgive another for a wrong committed against you. He may lead you to give of your finances to a person or project, or to give of your time doing something that will require sacrifice. HE IS SPEAKING, but we pretend not to hear. Internally we say, “Huh?” and we convince ourselves that God is choosing to be silent for some mysterious reason. Do you see that our receiving correction is connected to our receiving direction? Our receiving answers is connected to our obedience? That DOING is connected to HEARING?
I believe the Apostle James had something to say about this:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” ~ James 1:22
When we hear and we don’t do, we can become capable of deceiving ourselves. Deception simply means to be led astray. When we don’t do what we know to do, we don’t walk in the light we’ve been given, and we begin to walk in darkness. That’s why people become confused about the will of God, the direction of God, the lack of solutions to their problems, and a number of other areas of life.
How about you? Are you in a place today where you feel that you can’t hear God’s voice? Does it seem that you’ve been seeking answers, and you aren’t getting them? Are there areas of your life that you seem to be navigating blindly – areas that leave you feeling confused and frustrated? I want to encourage you to go to God with a willing and open heart, asking Him to show you whether there is something that He has already directed you to do that you are not doing. God is so merciful, so patient, and He so desires to give you the answers and direction that you are seeking!
In one moment of honesty and surrender, the Holy Spirit can pinpoint an action that can be taken TODAY, that will bring clarity and light where you have been experiencing darkness and confusion.
You can start by praying this prayer in faith,
“God, I am asking you today to show me whether there is anything you have directed me to do that I am not doing. If you’ve given me light and revealed to me things, and I have not obeyed, I am asking for mercy, Lord. Show me again, and I purpose in my heart to do those things that you tell me to do, even if it’s hard. I am asking you for the truth, Lord, and I am willing to see, and I am willing to hear, and I am willing to DO. I believe, by faith, that you hear me, and that my prayer is pleasing to you, and I believe that you will answer. Amen”
So, being that I am a health conscious person, and I appreciate the beauty of what raw fruits and vegetables do for the body, I have been really trying to get my toddler to eat his veggies (and not just corn). The only problem has been that he will usually begin to chew on some veggies, and then he’ll spit them out. We’ve tried spinach, broccoli, asparagus, kale, carrots, bell peppers, and a number of other veggies, but mostly he likes corn!
I have tried cutting things very, very small. I tried hiding some veggies in pizza sauce, but he detected that! I’ve gotten away with spinach in some things, and steamed carrots with some butter and brown sugar, but in the past he’s had a real aversion to the greens!
One thing that I have found is my best strategy for getting the greens in him is smoothies! He really, REALLY, likes smoothies, and I can add a variety of veggies and greens in the right amounts so as not to throw off the sweet, fruity goodness. Almost every day we share some smoothies for breakfast or as part of lunch, and we both feel good about what we’re eating!
I wanted to share one of our favorite smoothie recipes to inspire you to try making your own! This recipe is for a Mango Peach Smoothie with Kale.
1 C Frozen Mango chunks
1 C Frozen Peach Slices
1 C Apple Juice
2 Leaves of Kale (Pulled from stem and chopped)
1/2 C Fat-Free French Vanilla Yogurt
2 Tbs. Milled Golden Flax Seed
Mix all ingredients together in a blender until pureed and smooth! Drink & Enjoy!
Here is some awesome nutrition information on some of these ingredients:
Just 1 Cup of Kale has:
- 329mg Potassium,
- 133% of your Vitamin A
- 134% of your Vitamin C
Just 1 Mango has:
- 72% of your Vitamin A
- 203% of your Vitamin C
- 20% of your Vitamin B-6
- Rich in Fiber
Just 2 Tbs. of Flax Seed has:
- 3.6g Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Good source of Fiber & Protein
In addition, yogurt is rich in Calcium & Vitamin B-12, and is great for aiding in digestion and the absorption of nutrients; peaches are a moderate source of antioxidants, Potassium and Iron, and Apple Juice is another good source of Fiber & Iron (the cloudy apple juice is the healthiest).
So that’s my trick to getting my toddler to eat greens! What’s yours? I’d love to hear some more ideas in the comments below!
Get More Done in Less Time
…and be happy while you are getting stuff done!
If you are like me, and you are a mom with a lot to do (and what mom doesn’t have a lot to do?) – then you are probably as interested as I am in getting more done in less time. For the past twenty years I have either been working, in school, or in ministry full time. This past January, I joined the stay-at-home-mom gang, and began working from home with two little ones by my side. Needless to say, it has required a learning curve on my part. With so much to do, and having to be strategic with timing (because of the littles), my brain became a very messy place!
Perhaps you have a messy brain too. Even if you aren’t “working from home”, being a mom is a career in itself. In addition, many may work part-time, or home school, or serve at church, or a number of other things that add to the brain clutter! So what is a woman to do!?
Personally, I prayed, and God delivered an answer to me through the website of a Christian businesswoman/stay-at-home-mom/homeschooler/entrepreneur/millionaire – hey, no one ever said to reinvent the wheel! I want to see what’s working for this woman! As I watched the brief teaching on being more productive while working from home, I was getting some revelation! I started applying what I heard that day, and this last week has been more productive for me than ever! Not only that, I feel better because I am being productive, and taking action, and getting stuff done instead of thinking about all of the things I need to get done!
It’s a pretty simple process, and I am sharing it simply because it has worked so well for me. I know everyone is different when it comes to how they structure their days, but this might be the thing that you’ve been looking for!
So what’s the key to getting more done in less time?
Get everything out of your brain! Sit down and do a “mind dump.” Write EVERYTHING down that you have to do, or want to do, from organizing the Tupperware drawer, to taking the kids to dance, to re-tiling the kitchen, to making a dentist appointment, to planning a family vacation. SHOCKER: Most people have about 200-300 things they are storing in their brains. I wrote about 150 things in an hour! No wonder my brain felt messy!
Take all of those things that were in your mind and begin to process them by organizing them into four categories: Tasks, Projects, Events, and Information. (See the flow chart below for more detail)
Get your projects and tasks ready to be executed! Yes! This is where the productivity begins! Get your events written down on whatever type of calendar you choose (electronic, paper, dry-erase, etc.) Get your information filed away for future reference.
Invest a Little Time to Save a Lot of Time!
Yes, it will take a little time to write down and organize all of those things you’ve been carrying around in your mind, but get in the spirit of the season, and “spring clean” your brain! Trust me, it has freed my mind up to act on one of its primary functions: executing tasks. Our minds are not primarily places to store heaps of information. When we try to do that, we tend to forget things!
So what does this look like in action?
When I get up, I do devotions, pray, drink some coffee, and now I ask God which tasks and projects from my lists I should tackle today? I factor in any events on my calendar, and which tasks/projects are needing to get done sooner than later. When I know what needs to be tackled, I write my “to-do” list for the day, and I have a plan of action! When the babies are up, I’m not still meandering around my messy brain, and thinking about a million different things I need to do at some point! It’s so awesome!
As new events, tasks and projects come up, I write them down immediately, and can plug them into the system later. This can be something as simple as a thought that says, “I should go through the kids toys and give some away,” or your husband saying, “Can you drop off this payment for me?” or a friend calling and saying, “Let’s have lunch.” Write it down and don’t just add, and add, and add to the clutter in your mind!
I find that I have more ease of mind because I don’t have to remember everything! It’s in my head, and then out of my head, and I’ll get to it when it becomes the priority of the day! Guess what else? When I am playing with my kids, I am not thinking about all of the things I need to do! I am able to give them more undivided attention, and it is so nice! Isn’t the goal to enjoy life while you’re doing life!?
I hope I have given you some inspiration, and practical steps you can begin taking today to get more done in less time! If you want more detail watch the video at the link I gave above – it’s more thorough. In the meantime, here is a graphic I got from the site:
OK ladies, whether you are reading this as my mom, my sister, a friend, a co-worker, or someone I don’t even know – LET’S GET REAL! Let’s think about what we have thought about! Let’s talk about comparison and all of the ways it robs from us when we give it any place in our lives. Have you ever thought something like this…
“She sure seems to have it all together.”
“She lost her baby weight faster than I did.” “She lost her baby weight.”
“She’s such a good cook, I can’t even pull off a good plate of spaghetti!”
“Her skin is so perfect.” “Her house is so nicely decorated, why doesn’t mine look like that?”
“Her boobs are bigger” “Her butt is smaller”
“Her hair is nicer”
“Her kids seem to behave better than mine do.”
“Where does she get all of those designer clothes?”
“Where does she find time to do all of that?”
“Her baby is talking sooner, walking sooner, reading sooner, potty trained sooner than mine is.”
“She’s more spiritual than I am.”
“She prays more, serves more, does more for God.” “She’s a better mom.”
“She’s a better wife.” “She lives a better life.”
“She’s more beautiful.”
“She’s more everything!”
Stop the madness! Stop comparing yourselves among yourselves – it is not wise! Now, some of us are better at getting rid of those thoughts when they come, but they come to us all. If you say you’ve never had a thought like that, you need to repent and ask for forgiveness because you’re not being honest with yourself.
WHY do we have these kinds of thoughts? The enemy of our souls would love for us to grab hold of them and allow them to defeat us, discourage us, dis-empower us, and dishearten us. He uses lies to get us in a trap, and the comparison trap is one of his go-to weapons with women!
You are unique, beautiful, amazingly talented, and gifted, and strong! You are perfect – a masterpiece in God’s eyes because He already sees you as a finished work! PLEASE get your daughters if you have them, get your girlfriends and listen to this short video below. Listen to it every morning if you need to and BELIEVE that you are AWESOME!