Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A New Year -- starting reluctantly!

  It is a New Year!  I am actually struggling with getting going with our routine again.  I place all blame on Christmas cookies and Hallmark Christmas movies!  I am going through a little withdrawal.  I am, however, trying to get back into the swing of things.  And while I don't want to do school -- we homeschool -- and I don't want to do my chores, I must carry on the call that the Lord placed upon my life.
  That said, I am still working on the Triggers Bible study written by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.  It has truly taken the Word and started a transformation in my life.  
  The next chapter focuses on Angry Kids.  If you have been following this study, I am sure by now you have realized that this isn't a quick fix book on fixing our children, but rather it is a way for moms, and dads, too, to examine our own lives in the magnifying glass of scripture and see where we need to work on our own lives.  This book has shown me that I need to work on myself before being able to help my children.
  Angry Kids more than likely mirrors angry parents.  I realized this a long time ago with my kids.  I didn't have this intense anger until I had the three children.  Why is it that I had this anger?  I can attribute it to several things -- being tired, being under a lot of stress, being tired, being under a lot of pressure to do it all, being tired...LOL!  I think what it truly boils down to is my own lack of self control.  Being tired is my own fault for not stopping and going to bed.  But I am not going to focus on that point.  I want to focus on what this book has pointed out to me.
  No one likes having an angry child.  As moms who struggle with anger, we often fear that we are modeling this hotheaded beahavior and that our kids are picking up on it.  We may not like to hear it, but we ave to begin with examining ourselves before trying to help your children.  What is it that we do to provoke them to anger? (46)  The authors of this book have this list:

  • unreasonable expectations
  • inconsistent standards among siblings
  • favoritism
  • punishing them in anger
  • scolding or lecturing
  • physical or verbal abuse
  • discouragement or not praising them enough
  • conflicts in our marriage
  • our own inability to ask for forgiveness
  • not listening to them or hearing them out in a reasonable manner
  • restricting them too much or controlling their every move
  • failing to keep our promises
  • belittling them
  • constant fault-finding
  • overprotecting
  • taking our anger with someone or something else out on our kids (47)
They share that we must first take ownership of our part.  That is the biblical response to an angry child.  They share this scripture about pulling out the speck of your brother's eye while we have a log in our own. (Luke 6:41-42)  Yes!  We cannot fix that child or help them we walk around with an even bigger problem! (48)
  "Much of the growth in our own spiritual walk is a result of being refined by motherhood.  The great news is that God longs to help us and He always answers the righteous prayers of His children who long to do the right thing!  Don't be discouraged by any conviction that the Lord may be laying on your heart!  Allow holy conviction to catapult you towards spiritual growth.  Moms don't need to be perfect, but we must yield to being perfected in Christ!" (49) Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal to you His wisdom to become a more gentle and Christ-centered mom, so that neither you nor your children are displaying sinful anger. (50)

  This next area is from the Triggers Study Guide.  They share these scriptures to read from Colossians 3:21, Galatians 5:25-26, and Psalm 119:1-6.  They also share these questions that I am putting on here for you to ponder and maybe even write out and answer. (26)

  • What resonated with you or challenged you most from this chapter on Angry Kids?  How can you practically deal with this trigger in your own life?
  • Take a look back at the list of ways we may exasperate our children.  Which of these may be contributing to anger or resentment in your kids?  What practical things can you do that will help you abide in Christ and grow in your spiritual walk? And remember, there is ABUNDANT GRACE for us as we confess our part and yield to Christ's perfecting work in our lives!
  • Which of the above passages resonates with you today and why?(27)
  It isn't ever easy being faced with our own problem areas.  I think that I see in this for me that I try to do on my own what I so desperately need Jesus to help me do.  I cannot do this parenting thing without His help!  I am excited to see there is some progress in my own life because I know that on my own I can do nothing!  But we can Philippians 4:13 this!  "I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

  These ladies always end their chapters with a prayer.  But before I pray with you, I want to leave you with a song, "Nothing is Impossible," by Building 429.  I love this song and being reminded that with the Lord there is not one thing that we can't do WITH Him!
  I am going to pray Amber Lia and Wendy Speake's prayer with you.  "Father, I don't want my child to be angry because of anything I have done.  Reveal to me the ways that I may be provoking my child to anger and forgive me.  Help me to feel Your love for me, even when I mess up, and allow me to love and teach my kids in a godly way.  Soften the heart of my child, and help me to be patient as You transform my heart and theirs.  Thank you for convicting me, but not condemning me!  Thank you for promising to give me wisdom to reach my angry child.  In Jesus' name, Amen!" (50)

  Be blessed and know you are loved with an everlasting love!!

Love, {{hugs}}, and Blessings!!


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dealing With a Strong Willed Child - sharing from the book Triggers

  I am still reading the Triggers book by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.  It is such a help to me as I am in the process of parenting - along with my Mr. Benson - our five children.  It is an area that I am still struggling with.  One thing I will say that I have gotten a lot from this book is to look to the Lord for the words I need to say to my children.
  I know -- easier said than done!  That is true, but I think that as we read the Bible and study and try to plan what we can say in certain situations, it may help us in this journey.  If you are done with your parenting, it may be that you can help out another parent with their journey.  You may be in a time where you don't have any kiddos.  I can say that this information is still helpful because it arms you with how to deal with other people and different situations.
  The chapter I have read this time is called "Strong-Willed Children."  Amber Lia shares about a lady that shared about her daughter having a typical toddler tantrum and how she fought to get her own way. (41)  She says she leans in to hear what the lady has to say about how she handled it.  The lady proceeded to share stories of the daughter and how she is now a very strong, independent Christian.  She says that her daughter reaches out to non-Christians at her college.  Her point is this -- a strong willed child turns into a strong willed adult that has tenacity and can stand up against some of the bad stuff that is out there in this world. (42)
  I love these next words -- an encouragement to a mom of a strong willed kiddo -- God made our children strong willed so that once they put their faith in Him and submit to His will, they will not be detoured. (42)  Strong willed children were designed to cling tenaciously to the strongest will of all -- the will of God.  (43)  This doesn't mean that we just excuse and let them do whatever.  Oh no!  In fact it is through the love and consistent and long-suffering care that these children grow up to be world changers! (43)
  I love the way these two ladies said to address a strong willed child -- "God did a good job when He made you.  Now let's figure out how He would have you to behave in this moment." (44)  Going to Jesus and His ways is always the best!  Also approach them with the idea that they have the chance to control themselves -- as do we!  We have to be the ones that also model self control.  We cannot expect our children to lose it and then think they are going to learn to do the right thing when we just lose it along with them.  Are we just sinning along with them?  
  The ladies also go on to say "Let us not undo them in our attempts to redo them better, but let us partner with the One who made them for His glory - strong willed, tenacious, and fierce!"  They remind us that we need to not feel like failures.  "Because when all is said and done, and the beauty of His plan for their lives bears fruit, I won't be able to take any credit myself." (44 - 45)
  The very fact is that this journey we are on is a very hard one.  No one said that our lives were going to be easy.  But knowing that we aren't alone at any time is such a blessing and an encouragement.  Actually, I have found that when I try to do life without getting help from the Lord, I fail.  Aren't you so glad that we have the Lord Jesus along with us and sometimes carrying us along the way?
  It is in the valley times that we see the most growth.  We can remember that when dealing with that strong willed child.  In those times where we are frustrated, do like these ladies have suggested.  Instead of giving in to the flesh and sinning along with them, go to the Lord and pray.  Try out the methods they have suggested.
  Before I give you my song, I wanted to leave you a few thoughts and questions that come from their study guide.  Wendy Speake says, "I know that it often feels like things will never change, and the constant battle wearies you out something awful most days.  But we must press on!  Press on in doing good;  press on in good parenting; press on, one foot in front of the other!  Press on in cultivating (and exhibiting) the fruit if God's Spirit in your own heart, even when you're exhausted by the lack of fruit in theirs." (20)  She also states that"The more we believe that God has been purposeful in their design and is still at work in their lives, the more we're able to join Him, fighting for our children rather than against them!" (21)
  Now some questions --

  How can you plan to deal with your strong willed child? (21)
  Is there a strong willed personality in your home that rubs you uncomfortably?  When you get really still and talk to the Lord about that child of yours, are you able to catch a glimpse of His plan and purpose for their life?  What did you think God was planning when He created them just as He did?  And how might you partner with Him in these parenting years? (21)
  Why do children sometimes despise their mothers? Is there an area in your parenting that is despicable and worthy of despising?  Confess it to the Lord right now, and ask His Holy Spirit for the power and perseverance to transform into a more gentle, Christ-like version of yourself. (22)

I know these are long thoughts, but they have helped me to know how to better handle parenting a child like this.  And it has also helped me to also examine myself and see what I need to change.

I am leaving you with this song, "Breath of Heaven," because it reminds me that I am not alone, I am loved, and I am chosen by the One who made me to be who I am right now in this life for this time and parent these precious children that He gave us.

I hope you have a wonderful day and feel the love of Jesus!

Love, {{hugs}}, and Blessings!

Lia, Amber and Wendy Speake, Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses.  Roanoke, Virginia:  BRU Press, a division of the MOB Society, LLC, 2015.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Dealing With Disrespectful Children

  It is November 1st - I can't believe it, but October is over.  That month is probably my favorite fall month.  I am not a huge Halloween person, so it isn't that -- not that we don't get out to get the free candy!  But, I just love the smells in the air, the thought of fall leaves, and school has found a bit of a groove.  Some days it isn't too hot, and it isn't too cold.  We get out our flannel shirts -- we're country/mountain people, so it is a requirement :0)
  Time is swiftly passing by.  The time I have with my children, giving them the foundation stuff for life, is so very precious.  I see the world and how it is becoming worse and worse, but I take heart, and so should you, that the Lord is in control.  He knew it would be like this.  Mankind is lacking in respect for each other, and frankly, they lack concern for themselves.
  That is why this chapter, to me, is so very important to read.  I am getting it now.  It isn't solely about the children when it comes to parenting.  Parenting causes us to stop and listen to the Lord and hear His voice.  It drives us to our knees and to His Word to help us parent as Jesus would.  
  This chapter talks about the child that treats you with disrespect.  In the chapter it defines respect as "Valuing someone else more that we value ourselves."  Philipians 2:3  "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;  but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."  I like the next verse, too.  Philippians 2:4 "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."  (Triggers, Amber Lia and Wendy Speake, 32)
  The ladies in this book point out that when we parent, we must keep in mind that we are parenting immature kids.  "They need our kind instruction and humble example to grow in this area."  They go on to mention that when we are disrespected, it often "feels like a personal attack."  As hard as it is, and I know it firsthand having five little people to parent, show them unconditional love.  Matthew 7:12 "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so to them;  for this is the law and the prophets." (32)
  I appreciate the steps that they share in the book.  They call these steps "How to act like Jesus when our children are disrespectful." 
1.  Remain calm - Jesus, even in the many times that He was persecuted, remained calm.  They shared these references that tell about this -- Luke 22:63-65; Luke 23:8-25;  Luke 23:36-38;  Isaiah 53:7;  Luke23:34-35. (34 - 36)

2.  Speak the truth in love.  This is a suggestion of what to say, "Son, your tone of voice comes across as unkind and I don't think you are showing me respect.  If you would like to talk in a calm and normal voice about this issue, then you can come and find me in the other room when you are ready to speak nicely so we can work this out." (36-37)

3.  Pray! - Jesus prayed fervently.  They share that "it's not our role to change the hearts of our kids.  It's God's job to do that.  We fight the battle for their hearts in prayer!" (37)

4.  Forgive (38) - Jesus forgives us time and time and again.  If He can forgive us, we can forgive our children -- we must!

5.  Just do the right thing - "be long-suffering.  When we love them like Jesus does, it's very hard not to change with time under the power of loving-kindness."  (38)

6.  Commit yourself to your Heavenly Father - Like the ladies said earlier, we aren't responsible for the outcome of our children.  That we have to leave to the Father.  We can work on our own heart and life and live out the fruits of being in Jesus.  I love this that they said, "...trusting God to transform the lives of your loved ones in His timing."  That moves my heart!  (38)

  Amber Lia writes, "When my kids' disrespectful actions trigger my anger, I can tun reflective instead of reactive.  I can use it as an opportunity to reflect on my own deference to Christ's authority over my life when I was immature and lost, and how He bent down to lovingly restore me anyway."  The times they are disrespectful are "opportunities for me to consider whether or not I value them enough to hold my tongue and treat them with the respect that they are not showing to me." (39)

  I don't know about you, but I have really been challenged in this chapter.  Like I said earlier, I have had an "Ah-ha" moment.  I realize that the parenting is not a one-sided deal.  It isn't getting them to conform to me and what I say, but they need to take on the mind of Christ and conform to Him.  In parenting we need to be doing and modeling this for them.  I am excited that the Lord sent this book and these ladies along to share and speak to our hearts.  It is a time for me to reflect on my own heart and to take time to see where I am in my walk with the Lord.  I am not a finished project, yet!  He is still working on me and breaking me and heating me up and purifying me -- you know how the potter does!

  I am praying for you as you are walking in the way.  You may not be in the parenting season, but I think there are nuggets that can be taken away from this book.  We deal with immature people, so I think these words can be applied to a lot of situations.  I have heard this song on the radio lately, and I love it.  It is called, If We're Honest."  I know that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."   Take your area that you are struggling in to the foot of the cross!  Jesus is there and wants to take that burden.  Just remember, you are not alone and you are loved!  

Love, {{hugs}}, and Blessings!

I encourage you to purchase the book and study guide.  They are both awesome tools in this journey on parenting.  And I am not getting paid for this, I just think they are excellent tools!


Friday, September 22, 2017

Triggers -- A Book by Wendy Speake and Amber Lia

  I have mentioned in prior posts that in the past I have dealt with anger, especially when it comes to parenting.  I think it is because I have never taken time to research.  I think that the "Fly By the Seat of Your Pants" parenting technique is not good -- not at all!
  This book, Triggers:  Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses, is going to be a huge help for me, and I hope you, too.  I encourage you to buy the book and the workbook  I am not being paid at all for recommending this study but just think you will get more from having it.  The chapters are nice and short - easy to read.

  Anyway, I am going to get started with some areas that spoke to me. From the forward that is on pages 10 - 13 by Brooke McGlothlin, she writes "Getting out from under the anger when things didn't go the way I wanted them to was an act of God...actually, it's an ongoing act of God in my life, even today." (11)  This book, Triggers, "is not just for moms of little ones.  It's for all moms who are ready for a change, ready to replace angry reactions with gentle biblical responses that have the power to work miracles in the hearts of their children." (12)
  In reading this section, I see that it is a problem that we need to have God's help with.  It isn't something we can do all on our own -- we need His divine intervention!  We need His strength when we are weak!  It also shows me that this area can be applied to not just the early years when we are so exhausted and overwhelmed.  It spreads over into all the years of parenting.  As I have only had children up to 15, I don't have the experience of young adult children. But I think that even in those years, we can use tools in dealing with our own anger and helping our young adult children manage theirs.
  In section one titled "External Triggers  When it has everything to do with them," several statements stood out to me.  The triggers that they mention in this first section talk about "the most common things our children do in their childishness that drive crazy and make us angry." They mention "talking back and ignoring our instructions to angry fits and whining meltdowns." (19)  Another statement that they make is that "parenting is anything but easy."  They share that they can tell us methods and approaches "But what might be missing personally in our quest for obedient kids?"  I don't know about you, but that just hit me square in the face!  Read on -- "We may very well miss an opportunity to become more like Christ ourselves."  Can these ladies be hitting the nail on the head???  I am totally not saying that it is all of our faults and the children have no blame.  The book goes on to point out some verses that I love, 
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." 
Ephesians 6:1
"Honor your father and mother, that you may live a long time in the land the Lord your God is giving you."  Exodus 20:12  

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this 
pleases the Lord."  Colossians 3:20

In order to keep this brief, I am going to just share the remaining statements that spoke to me:

"God wants us to obey because obedience gives birth to blessings." (21)

"He is the God of 70 times 7 chances.
He doesn't whack us upside the head continually or deal harshly with us from the get-go.
No more condemnation.
God is not cookie cutter, yet His character is consistent.
...I see far more evidence throughout both the Old and New Testaments that support an overarching attitude and character of patience, mercy, kindness, and grace extended towards us from a Holy God who loves us and gave Himself for us.
Even while we were yet sinners.
Even when we were enemies.
Even when we reviled Him as He died on the cross for our sins.
I'm so thankful God didn't treat me as my sins deserved - I missed out on blessings by my disobedience, for sure.  But God, in His grace, drew me in with His loving-kindness over and over and over again.
Proverbs 10:12 reminds us, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses."
As mothers, we often forget that our kids are immature.  Yes, they will also be outrightly defiant at times; but I find that often, we are dealing with our own unreasonable expectations for obedience.  These expectations lead to biting and cutting punishment, instead of training our children in the way they should go by pointing them to Christ.  We are tough on our kids because we can be - because we are the authority.
Iron fists chisel stony hearts, but graceful hands shape responsive hearts.  (23)

Let's tweak our parenting perspectives a bit.  View ourselves more like coaches.  A coach is an authority figure, too.  A coach is part of a team....if we coach our kids through life, we become their cheerleaders too, offering them hope and confidence to become more like Christ. (24)

Let's embrace what it means to be a Mom as Coach, patiently and lovingly training our kids toward the blessings of obedience. (25)

  I don't know about you, but I want to have a peaceful, happy parenting experience.  When I am yelling my head off and acting out myself, that is definitely not peace.  In fact I fuel the chaos when I indulge in that behavior.  It is like I am a child myself - fussing and fighting with my own children.
  I am so thankful the Lord put these ladies in my life for such a time as this.  I agree with them -- parenting is not easy, but I think with the help of the Lord, support from friends, God's Holy Word, and the teachings from these ladies, I think it can be easier.

Let me pray for us -

Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your sacrifice that You gave for us.  We thank You for these children that You have indeed given to us to train. Please forgive us for failing in this parenting.  Please forgive us for words and actions that did not reflect You.  Please give us grace and mercy for our own children as You give it to us on a daily basis - sometimes on a minute by minute basis.  You are a good God and blessed Heavenly Father.  We ask that You bless the ladies that wrote this book.  Help us to use it wisely and help us to be the parents that lead our children in grace!  We are thanking you in advance for all that You are going to do in our lives and our children's lives.

In Jesus' name I pray,

As I always do, I like to end with a song.  Let's remember we are not perfect, and "He Didn't Throw the Clay Away." 

Blessings, {{Hugs}}, and Love!

All the references I have made with page numbers are from the book, Triggers, by Wendy Speake and Amber Lia.  The words in quotations are from them, and I take no credit for it.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dealing With a Flaw

   Greetings!  I am about to embark on my 10th year of homeschooling.  Savannah is going to be in the 9th grade this year.  She only has four years left and then off on her own adventure.  I pray that as this year goes by that I will equip her well.  I am a bit of a tenderhearted person, so I have to say this makes me a little sad.  Man!  I just didn't think about that until just now -- I mean, I did think of it back when she was tiny, like 6 months old.  The song, "Butterfly Kisses," came on the radio.  I literally began to weep.  The years were truly going to fly -- and they have!
  Anyway, what I want to talk to you about today is something that some people don't want to admit that they have a problem with.  For some it is more serious with drug and alcohol abuse, while others it is with food and body image.  While I haven't had the issue with drugs and alcohol abuse, I have dealt with food and body image, BUT I am on a good path with this.  No, the area I want to admit to is angry reactions.
  Some years back I realized that it had become a problem.  It really, truly was my own lack of self-control.  Ouch!  That hurts to admit.  I recognized that I needed the Lord's help. When this got my attention, I took it to the Lord at the altar.  I confessed this area to my Pastor, his wife, my parents and some close friends.  They prayed for me, and I learned that I wasn't alone in this area.
  I am pleased to say that since then I have not had the intense rage that I once experienced. The Lord healed me in this area.  However, I still felt rather unequipped for the task of parenting in grace rather than in rage.  It just so happened that I got to meet a lady and sit in on her seminar at last year's Great Homeschool Conventions.  Her name is Wendy Speake. Check her out at her site -  Anyway, she and a friend wrote this book called Triggers.  Here is a picture of their book:
Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses
I have just begun reading this and already can tell the Lord is going to use this in a mighty way. Read just a few things that are from this book by Wendy Speake and Amber Lia.  I give total credit to them as this is from their book.  These are their words that have spoken to me.  I will indicate where I found these quotes.

Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses (1)

"Getting from under the anger when things didn't go the way I wanted them to was an act of God...actually, it's an ongoing act of God in my life, even today.  (2) 
"But don't be deceived:  this book is not just for moms of little ones.  It's for all moms who are ready for a change, ready to replace angry reactions with gentle biblical responses that have the power to work miracles in the hearts of their children." (2)

"Let yourself imagine a home where your words set a tone of loving-kindness.  A home where your first reaction is compassion instead of annoyance.  Where you replace the fiery cycle of anger and guilt with conviction and spiritual growth.  A place where you draw the hearts of your children towards grace and where every one of you thrives."  (3)  
  Wow!  I don't know about you, but this little tiny bit already convicts me.  I think that I am going to see a real transition in my Christian walk.  I know that it is going to take time and commitment, but it is like any other change.  Weight doesn't get gained overnight.  Attitudes are the same.  I don't know exactly where you are in your walk with Christ or if you are even on a walk with Him -- I hope so!  I feel like this is something that the Lord wants me to share as I journey through my own transformation.  I shared about the fact that I am trying to become healthier.  So I am now adding another area of transparency.  I know that I am not alone in this area.  So as I read and study, I want to share things that stand out to me.  I may even begin some type of Bible study for our local people.
  I am really excited to see what the Lord is going to do as I journey on.  I am going to put one of my favorite songs here, "My Story."  Please know that I am praying for you as you are on your own journey with the Lord!!

Love, {{Hugs}}, and Blessings!

1  (cover)
2 (p. 11, 12 forward by Brooke McGlothlin)
(introduction, p. 17, Amber Lia)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The State of My Being

  I have been without a computer for a month!  I am laughing on the inside because I somehow managed to go through high school and a tiny space of college without one.  Amazing, I know!  And then couple that with a syndrome that I seem to have gotten -- short attention span -- or as one of my buddies calls it, "Squirrel!" -- equals not posting in June.
  Why does this matter to me?  Well, I have been posting here for over 4 years!  I know - it has gone by so fast.  It has been a fun-filled, eventful four years.  So where am I now, emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually?
  Emotionally-speaking, I am in a better place.  I still have some mommy-meltdown moments, but I am happy to say they are getting fewer.  I am still, sadly, set off by spills.  Silly, isn't it? But I tell you the moment a liquid or little tiny particles spill everywhere, I explode like Godzilla. I am almost 100% sure that I am not alone.  Let us take on the attitude from my mom, a lot of you know her as Bertie -- "Chandra, don't look at the spill as a mess but rather an opportunity for making a clean spot!"  Ever the glass is overflowing perspective :0)
  Mentally -- now I am almost laughing here.  Let me just share my children's ages and let you judge for yourself.  Savannah is turning 15 soon;  Siler is 12 1/2;  Sarah is turning 10 soon; Sully, our little guy with special needs, is 7 1/2; and then last but not least, Seth is turning 6! So, mentally I would say that I am here.  I hardly ever get time without someone calling me "momma," but that is really ok.  In fact it is part of the job.  Since we are out of school and I am letting them sleep in some, I am getting to watch shows and read books.  I am not sleeping in much so that the school year won't be a shock, but I have been sleeping longer on Saturdays. But, I don't like sleeping past 9.  I will share this bit of wisdom from a dear friend of mine.  I used to sleep in until the children were all getting up.  My day was awful!  I talked to this Momma Guru, and she told me that she always got up before her kiddos - unless she was sick. This made sense to me, so I have been doing this ever since.  So mentally, I guess I am okay :0) - LOL, better than  few years ago!!
  Physically, I am not better than a few years ago, but I am not giving up!  I have a support group of friends that while they aren't coming out and saying I need to lose weight, they are, in fact, helping me get inspired to do so.  One of my dear lifelong friends, the Momma Guru, is in the best shape I have ever seen her in.  She is healthy and happy - not perfect - but looking great!!  She is an inspiration to me.  I have other friends that are where I am, and they are not giving up either.  I have decided to change some things because what I am doing right now is not changing me.  I am not wanting to be a certain size but to be a healthier version of myself. That makes me feel like I am in a pretty healthy state of mind.
  Spiritually I know we will never be finished until the Lord takes us home.  I am going to church regularly, getting spiritually fed and renewed.  I am teaching Sunday School and working with our young fellas.  I love to get to retreats and conventions because they help me to stop and listen.  I leave my regular life and get to just go and rest in Him.  I don't do that as often here at home because my life is ultra busy.  However, I have scripture and encouraging words throughout our home.  Words from the Lord really help.  I especially love having them in the kitchen, or as so many call it the Center of the Home.  I like to have them there because not only does a lot of my life happen here, but sadly sometimes, a lot of complaining happens there. But, like in the other areas of my life, I haven't given up.  The Lord is right there with me every day, every step of the way.
  So, dear friend, this is just a glimpse of how I am today.  Lol, it may be totally different this time next year.  I want to leave you with a song to listen to, You'll Never Walk Alone by David Phelps.  It is just the song you need to hear, especially if you are in a challenging time.  I also want to encourage you to read Ephesians 3.  It is just wonderful and moving to me.  I found verses 17 - 21 especially moving --

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
  I hope you have a wonderful day and that the Lord continues to bless you and keep you and give you peace!

Blessings, {{hugs}}, and Love,

Friday, May 19, 2017

Trusting Him in All Things

  So have you been like me and lately, I don't want to say worrying, but I guess thinking about our children and their future?  I am a homeschooling momma, so I am responsible for educating my children.  I get to where I think, "What is Siler going to do?  What are Savannah and Sarah going to do?  What will Seth end up doing?"  And good grief, who will take care of Sullivan?  These things stay on my mind and then I end up thinking and a little bit of worrying and immediately Proverbs 3:5-6 come to mind.  I know you know these verses:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
Lean not unto thine own understanding
In all thy ways acknowledge Him
And He shall direct thy paths 

  Looking at these verses I have to think to myself am I doing that right now?  It is just like the song, "I Surrender All."  It is so easy to read this and say okay, Lord, I am trusting in You.  It is another to actually do it.  I think that I at times am fully trusting in Him.  I am peaceful feeling and although there may be storms, I am feeling confident He has things under control.  Then there are those times that I let life get the best of me and cave in -- usually this includes momma meltdowns and a lot of crying.  It is in these times I realize that I haven't been in the Word and in prayer enough.

  How can I fully trust Him when I am too busy trying to do it all on my own?  Not praying, not spending time in the scripture, getting too busy -- put these together and you have the perfect storm.  I know I don't have to stay there!  Praise the Lord we don't have to stay there!  Just typing this out, talking to you, has made me feel a little bit better.  A little bit more peaceful.

  Dear friend, I hope that if you are like me and are in the midst of a storm - even a really big one -- please know that He is there.  He is able.  He is carrying you through this.  It may be that He has ordained you to go through this storm to grow you, to perfect you, or maybe to just show other people that in our weakness He is strong.  Again, we don't understand His plan, but we can trust His heart.

  Just having typed that made me think of a song that I love -- "Trust His Heart".  Click on that song title and listen to these wonderful words.  Normally I don't put lyrics, but I wanted to today.  These are so good!  

All things work for our good
Though sometimes we don't
See how they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth
Our Father knows what's best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just don't see him,
Remember your never alone


God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When don't see his plan
When you can't trace his hand
Trust His Heart

He sees the master plan
He holds the future in his hand,
So don't live as those who have no hope,
ALL our hope is found in him.
We see the present clearly
He sees the first and last
And like a tapestry He's weaving you and me,
To someday be just like him


He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you


When you can't trace his hand
When you don't see his plan
When you don't understand
Trust His Heart

I am praying for you and asking that the Lord minister to you as you need Him.  I love you and am sending you hugs from up here on the mountain :0)

Love, {{Hugs}}, and Blessings!