Friday, February 12, 2016

My Most Important Role

I've had many roles and titles in my life...

Director of Family Literacy
Assistant Director of a Preschool
Teacher's Assistant
Administrative Assistant
Assistant Director of Women's Ministry
Business Owner

But none are as important to me as the titles of wife and mother.  Being a stay-at-home mom can feel a bit unimportant in this day and age where women are encouraged to make something of themselves, contribute financially and move up the corporate ladder.  And when you are the mother of older kids people often start to act as if there is something wrong with you if you are still at home.  I've heard things such as, "Now that the kids are grown, what are you going to do?"  "Are you going to get a "real" job?" 

When my children were little my primary job was to care for them.  I read them stories, rocked them to sleep, wiped runny noses, prepared their meals, and cared for their needs. Because I homeschooled for many years, much of their lives I also did the educating of them.  Now that they are older and don't need that kind of care anymore, I've been able to be more of a support for my husband.

I can work alongside him in ministry and visit and counsel people with him, as well as opening up our home for hospitality.  I've been able to also work on some of the things God is calling me to do and branch out into my own ministry apart from my children.    It's a new season of my life, but one I'm embracing.

I love being available to offer advice to my grown children when asked.  I like making meals and the special touches such as cloth napkins and candles at dinner time.  I still view my primary ministry as being to my family.  I like praying with my daughter each night before she goes to sleep.

Children grow up and life changes, but I love the time I've been able to be home.  One never knows what the future holds but I wouldn't change anything about my life.  I've held down full-time jobs and had many fulfilling roles in my life, but the one I think counts the most is that of a wife and mother.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Happy Birthday, Stephen

I want to wish my middle son a very happy 23rd birthday today!  Dan was supposed to go get him today for the weekend, but we woke up to 2 feet of snow and the promise of more today.  So the trip is postponed until tomorrow.

I miss Stephen and do feel badly that I didn't even send him a card because he was going to be home!  However, we will have his birthday celebration on Saturday.  He won't get home until tomorrow night (it's a 10 hour round trip and Dan can't leave until mid-morning).

In the meantime, I've come up with an acronym to describe him!

S = serious.  He has a great sense of humor and makes me laugh a lot, but he really is the most serious about life of all my children. 

T = tender-hearted.  I still remember the time a boy was constantly bullying him at school.  I got so mad that one day I said, "You just need to grab him by the shirt and tell him to KNOCK IT OFF!"  (I know.  Not very Christ-like of me).  Stephen left the room and about ten minutes came back into the room with tears in his eyes and said, "Mom, I can't do that."  "My heart tells me it's not the right thing to do." 

E = example.  He is an example to me of how to live your life with transparency.  He is not afraid to admit his faults and is quick to ask forgiveness.

P = passionate.  He is passionate about his walk with the Lord.  He desires to follow God

H = helpful.  He is always willing to give a helpful hand to whoever needs it. 

E = Empathetic.  He is able to empathize with people and understand where they are coming from.

N = nature-lover.  He loves the outdoors and anything to do with nature.  He is happiest when he is hiking or boating or doing a multitude of outdoor activities.

Happy Birthday, Stephen.  I love you and can't wait to see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

James 5:7-11 (NLT) ~

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

On Monday, I squatted down to get a pan from my bottom cupboard and my knee groaned in protest as I tried to stand back up.  Within a half an hour, I could hardly put any weight on that leg and the knee is tender to touch.  Bursitis has flared in my left knee.  I was in agony yesterday and though it feels a bit better this morning, it's still difficult and painful to move it.  To make matters complicated, I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot and it hurts to walk on my that side.  I've been hobbling around, wincing in pain.

To be honest, I start to feel very depressed when I'm in pain.  I'm struggling with my weight and it's frustrating that I cannot do the exercise necessary to lose it because of pain in my foot and now knee.  I start to wonder why God is allowing this.

My suffering is such a miniscule thing in the light of other people's very real trials, but I found comfort in these verses this morning.  We are to look to those Biblical examples of suffering and how they handled it.  Job is one of the examples given.

Job lost his entire family, his fortune and his health and was at the point where he wanted to die.  In fact, his wife told him, "Why don't you just curse God and die?"  She certainly didn't win any awards for wife of the year.  Yet, Job gives this beautiful response to her in the midst of extreme suffering.  He says, "You speak as a foolish woman speaks."  "Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?"

He is such a strong example of someone who views the goodness of God, even in the midst of everything being ripped from him.  That is my prayer.  That even in the middle of suffering, I can give glory to God.  My desire is to accept not just the good, but the bad and to stay patient in it.

I want to encourage you this morning to know how much God loves you no matter what you are struggling with.  He is merciful and kind.  We cannot see the end result and yet, God uses our struggles to help us grow. 

Be patient as you wait for the harvest.  You can't see what fruit you are growing now but when we trust God even in our suffering, we bring Him honor.  Use this time to draw close to God.  Cling to Him and He will help you as you endure through the pain.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Moving on Up

Once a month on Monday nights, a group of women from our church get together for a time of fellowship, food, missions and Bible study.  It's really a sweet time together and I always come away encouraged and inspired.

Last night was our meeting and once again, it was a great time of challenge and encouragement.  We are working our way through the study by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.  It's definitely thought provoking.

Dan and I were chatting this morning and discussing how often the Lord uses different experiences in our lives to stretch us and cause us to grow.  Being called to this church has been one of those experiences.  God is working on things in my life that would never had been addressed elsewhere.  It's as if He keeps moving me up to a higher level as we move to each new experience or church.

There will always be something that I need to work on and that only happens as I'm stretched and pulled in different ways. I'm thankful for the experiences I'm having now and in this church which will continue to help me grow spiritually and move forward.

This journey we are on is challenging but I'm so thankful for the different ways the Lord works in each of our lives and my desire is to keep moving on up!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Multitude Monday

I turned on my kitchen light and was faced with hundreds of tiny ants, crawling all over my counter tops and sink.  What a way to start a Monday!  I hate bugs, especially when they decide to invade my home!  And these ants are symbolic of all the little pests that can destroy my attitude and my joy.

My morning is starting out with not enough sleep, a sick and very cranky daughter, a not-so-nice response from me first thing this morning, the knowledge that our entire bathroom needs to be replaced because of a rotting floor, and a few tasks looming this week that are making me feel overwhelmed.  And then on top of it, the ants picked today to show up.  This could make for a rotten start to my week. 

BUT....I'm choosing joy; joy in the small things.  I'm choosing to focus on the blessings, and not the burden.  I'm making a choice to be thankful and not whiny!  I'm deciding to look for the way those "ants" can be a blessing.

Mondays are usually something I look forward to and the reason for that is my desire to find God's hand in my life.  That means looking for that even when things are a bit rocky and my attitude isn't the best and I really want to climb back into bed and start over.  So often, we think everything has to be going well for us to feel blessed.

But on this Monday, I'm making the choice to find the multitude of blessing in the mundane!.

This week I'm thankful for blessings #2661 - 2670.

2661.  The ant situation actually was a blessing because my countertops got bleached and clean.

2662.  My daughter doesn't have anything major going on today and there is no school tomorrow, so she has two days to get better.

2663.  My family is gracious in extending forgiveness when my attitude and responses are lacking.

2664.  I know that even though I feel overwhelmed with my tasks, I have a plan to accomplish them and they will get done.

2665.  We had an enjoyable evening with friends last night while we watched the Super Bowl.

2666.  Church facility managers who want to make sure our house is in good shape and see the sense of urgency in getting certain things done..  Two of them came on Saturday and fixed two of my kitchen drawers as well as replacing a broken ceiling fan that can't be replaced with a light in our bedroom.

2667.  My friends who encourage and pray.

2668.  I accomplished quite a bit on a project last week.

2669.  Even though I could use more sleep, I slept straight through the night which is the first time in a long time that has happened.

and finally...

2670.  Finding the blessings in the midst of madness and thanking God for those "ants" that show up in my life.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Rolling Up My Sleeves

I brought home the last of my items from the local shops yesterday and I felt a twinge of sadness at the closing of this chapter.  However, I'm also ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work on the new chapter of my life.

The first thing I need to do is find a place for all of this!  Yikes!  It seems as if I get one mess cleaned up and then another magically appears.  Stephen will be home next weekend so an even bigger mess will appear for a few days.  lol

This week has been great because I've been able to work steadily at revising and editing my new book.  It's taken me longer than I liked because of the fact that my laptop literally caught on fire one day about a month ago.  I had to go buy a new one and the computer store salvaged my old documents.  However, in transferring it to the new computer, the formatting went bonkers in my book  So I had to spend precious hours fixing those type of mistakes.

I have so many things coming up in the next few months and I need to buckle down and get to work on the task that God has placed before me.  In the midst of all this, I'm working through a study along with the other women in our church called, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom.  It's timely and I'm enjoying it.

So as I move forward in my life, I want to remember the words found in I Peter 1:13-16.

Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

And the Winner Is.....

I have been blogging for eight years and have enjoyed getting to know my readers.  I love doing these blog drawings periodically to show my appreciation for taking the time to read what I have to say.

I put all the names in a basket and drew a name.  The winner of the drawing is...

Linda Smith

Linda, if you could email me your address to, I will get your package out in the mail.  I'm putting in one of my books (if you have one of them already let me know which one so I don't duplicate), some handmade goat's milk soap, homemade soy candle and some other goodies.  Let me know if some scents bother you so I can adjust what I send.

Thank you all for participating. It makes it fun!