The Anxiety Train and How to be Free

Picture yourself, standing at a train station. It’s crowded, loud, busy, and yet it’s a lonely place. Although many are surrounding you, loneliness still encapsulates you. The train stops and it looks familiar. Although you have taken this train too many times, and dread the course, you still get on, because it’s familiar territory. On the train you go, taking your same old seat, next to the same old people. One’s name is Fear, the other Worry. Across the aisle from you is Doubt, and Doubt’s friend Defeat. You lift your chin to see who is in front of you, and once again Anxiety is dressed in the brightest, most deafening of attire. Depression sits next to him, sulking in the shadows. You turn and look out the window, ready for the trip. Knowing it leads into a darkening spiral that seems to never end. During your trip, your fellow passengers ask you the same questions, “How can you go on living like this,” “Who do you think you are,” and the all covering question, “What if…..”.

 Fear asks you, “What if you die from this? What if you will never be free of this trip?” He looks at Worry who asks, “What if you cannot afford your bills when you get off? I have heard you aren’t quite making enough these days. Not to mention, what if you never lose the baby weight? Surely you are worried if your husband will still find you attractive?” Doubt walks over, interested in the conversation, and asks, “Yeah, what if God never answers your prayer for healing, and what if God does not even hear your prayers? Surely if He heard your prayers you would be off of this ride. What if God does not even love you?” You take a deep breath, ready because Anxiety and Depression walk up. Anxiety says, “What if you always take this trip? What if you never get off this ride? What if you never achieve anything in life?” And Depression adds in, “What if life is not worth the hassle? What if you never find hope for joy again? What if… what if… what if…. “

This ride seems to take a lifetime, and your reserves are emptying. Exhaustion, weakness, loneliness, isolation, hopelessness, darkness. You feel as though there is no end in sight, yet at the same time the end is all you hope for. I have been in that place. I have taken that train ride way too many times. The train stops, and relieved, you get off, hoping to be delivered from the heavy presence of Fear, Worry, Doubt, Anxiety, and Depression. You take a step off the train watching your feet so that you do not stumble and look up. It is the same station you left from. Busy, crowded, lonely. The train leaves and you walk around seeing steps ahead that you aren’t sure where they lead. Behind you arrives the next train, that takes the same route, to the same destination. Will you get on again?

Above is an excerpt from a book I am writing. You see fear and anxiety controlled my life for a very long time. I had automatic returns to fear. When something happened, fear was my companion. When there was unknown, anxiety was my answer. I was so smothered with the never-ending cycle. Until I became free.

You see I read all kinds of stories about people dealing with fear and anxiety. And my heart breaks because there never seems to be any hope present in them. When I was going through it, I couldn’t find anyone to tell me, “I made it through.” And that is what I craved!

I promised that when I made it through, I would tell the world so that they could have hope! It was a slow process, but God freed me from fear and anxiety. It took everyday renewal of my mind; every day taking captive every single thought that came against the knowledge of Christ. Every day making sure I didn’t let a single negative thought go through my mind without telling it to go away and answering it with the truth.

It was a lot of hard work. I wish there had been an easy way out. But it took understanding the roots of my fears, the fruits of my fears, and the answer to my fears. There are 3 things I would tell you to do today if you want to begin freedom towards peace.

1. Understand the Roots

Fear and anxiety are not overnight processes, they are thought patterns and behaviors that take years to form! So it won’t be an overnight process to be free from that way of thinking either. Anxiety is not a character trait; it is a thought process.

So first you have to understand what it is that is causing you anxiety. At first I believed there wasn’t a clear reason, I just felt anxious. But as I continuously listened to triggering thoughts I realized my root of fear was a wrong view of God; I was so afraid to fail Him and that He would punish me if I messed up, that I was afraid to take any steps in life. It wasn’t until I understood this root, that I was able to start my healing process.

2. Understand the Fruits

Roots always grow fruit. Anxiety, depression, and fear are all fruits of something. Whether it’s wrong thinking, believing, trauma, you name it, there is something that has led to your mind believing that anxiety, fear, and depression are it’s answer.

I was in my undergraduate studies, studying abnormal psychology at the height of my anxiety. I was so terrified I was mentally unstable; that because I was dealing with anxiety I was somehow a bad Christian and something was wrong with me. I thought I was broken.

I was not broken but my thinking was broken. Joyce Meyer calls it “Stinking Thinking”. Our brains filter our experiences; what we think, we do and feel. Understanding that my anxiety was a fruit of wrong thinking helped me to know how to fix it.

3. Know the Truth, and You Can be Free

John 8:31-32 says, “If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Even though I have my degree in psychology and counseling, I actually didn’t go to one counseling session during this time. Not that it is wrong to, it just wasn’t on my path to freedom.

I truly became free through the Word of God. Even when physically looking at the Word gave me fear and anxiety, I still read it. Because I knew that it held Truth and that Truth was my answer.

The day it all clicked was the day I read 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgement] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].”

You see, my fear came from expecting punishment from God and not being perfected in His love. When I realized how much He loved me, that He had good plans for me and not plans of destruction, I realized there was nothing to fear. Sounds real easy right? I still battled anxiety after initially reading this scripture, but it gave me my answer. I sought God’s love and Truth, and renewed my mind daily.

If What if showed up with a negative present, I answered it with a positive what if. What if you never get married, it said. I answered with, What if my husband is waiting on me tomorrow. What if you are never free of anxiety? What if my God delivers me and uses my story to heal others!

Your mind is a battlefield so don’t allow it to flippantly think and feel whatever without realizing that it is going to affect you.

So I hope that this testimony brings you hope. That it lets you know freedom is available to you!

The Top 5 Gifts to Buy Your Hubby for Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….. I am so excited. Christmas is my favorite time of the year for many reasons: family, decorations, Christmas movies, hot chocolate, the list goes on and on. But my favorite reason for Christmas (other than the reminder of the best Gift of all our Lord) is gift giving myself!

I love to give presents. It’s a game for me to listen all year to the people I love for hints of something that will light their world up when they open that present! It is NEVER about how much the gift costs, but the thought behind the present.

One thing that we may have in common however, is that sometimes those special men in our lives are hard to buy for. In my case, my husband is one of the most selfless people I know. He RARELY mentions anything he wants and barely does anything for himself. This gives me a huge incentive to buy him awesome presents for Christmas, because if anyone deserves it, he does!

But at the end of the day, our men are exactly that: men. And I believe there are basic things guys would absolutely love to receive at any time! I am going to share with you my Top 5 List of Gifts to Buy for your Husband (or father or brother or friend) that include different gifts for different types of men! Hopefully it gives you an idea or sparks a creative gift for the special man in your life.

1. Multipurpose Multitool Mini Tool Kit

Rose Kuli 7” Portable Multipurpose Multitool Multifunctional Pocket Mini Tools with Axe Hammer Plier Set Wooden Handle for Camping Hiking Outdoor Survival Gear Kit, Gift for Men Women

So MOST men love anything that has to do with tools or fancy little trinkets that are useful, or let’s face it, just fun to play with! This would be a perfect gift for your man if he often works with his hands, loves trinkets and tools, and just wants something cool to play with! It runs for $14.99 and is an affordable awesome gift that is also useful! I definitely think it will put a smile on your man’s face.

2. 3D Wooden Puzzle Game Box

Fun Games for Adults 3D Wooden Puzzle Brain Teasers and Educational Games in Set of 9 Wooden Puzzles to Challenging Puzzles for Adults and Brain Games for Kids Suit for Living Room Decorations Table

So maybe your man isn’t much of a tool man but still loves to use his hands and brain! This is an awesome gift to give! It’s tricky, fun, and just a fun gift to receive! I got Tyler some of these last year and he loved them! I even joined in with him and had fun myself! I definitely recommend this gift in particular or similar gifts. Even if your little ones like brain games, they even have small ones that are great for stocking stuffers! Definitely a great gift!

3. Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker

Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker

So let’s say your man is obsessed with Star Wars and you’ve exhausted gift giving in Star Wars t-shirts, socks, mugs, and pens. This is a great gift idea for your Star Wars lover! It’s fun, affordable, and he may even start making you breakfast! This gift will get laughs, excitement, and lots of yummy waffles!

4. Beard Grooming & Trimming Kit

Beard Grooming & Trimming Kit for Men Care – Beard Brush, Beard Comb, Unscented Beard Oil Leave-in Conditioner, Mustache & Beard Balm Butter Wax, Barber Scissors for Styling, Shaping & Growth Gift set

This gift is for the man who is obsessed with growing out his facial hair! We also are following behind “No-shave November” so your man may be carrying around a lot of facial hair that needs a lot of grooming! Men love to take care of their facial hair, it connects them to a past masculine self that reaks of testosterone. Make him look clean cut and give into his beard fantasies with this awesome gift!

5. Hot Sauce Making Kit

Hot Sauce Kit (Makes 7 Lip Smacking Gourmet Bottles) Featuring Heirloom Peppers From 5th Generation Farmers, A Full Set Of Recipes, Storing Bottles & More!

Last but not least, the hot sauce connoisseur. My brother is obsessed with hot sauce and cooking and to be able to make his own and have everything in a pre-ready kit would be an awesome gift!

If your man loves to cook, eat spicy foods, or just try new things, this would be a great gift for them! Not to mention it would make for a fun at-home date night idea as well!

Although this is by no means a complete list of possible gifts, these touch 5 areas that most men have interests in! Each gift has a link underneath for the product but you can also just click and search within the same group! I really hope this sparks some ideas for you, making your gift giving that much easier!

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and as usual, Happy Homemaking!

The Top 5 Things I Loved for My New Baby

I became a first time mom this year with my precious baby boy, who is now 8 months old (wow how time flies). One of the things I remember the most during my preparation time for his arrival, was panicking about what I needed to have for him! So many opinions, so many differences, so many options, and so much money! I didn’t want to spend tons of money on things that I would never use and regret the purchase! So I waited (which was against my nature) until the baby came for a lot of the things I fell in love with!

Because each baby is different, he told me what I needed rather than some stranger on the internet who had a different baby! So, I know I sound like a hypocrite by giving you a list of what I found useful for my baby, but honestly it’s just to help you out if you want other’s opinions on the matter! If you find your baby is similar to what I describe, then you may love it too!

1. Playtex diaper genie

Some people will say that this is a stupid purchase and you may agree. However, I found it so handy and am still using it 8 months later! I will definitely keep mine for future babies, so all-in-all this is a gift that keeps on giving!

I noticed that middle of the night changes led to diapers piling up on the changing table which sat there all night because let’s face it, my goal was to change, feed, and sleep.

What I found was the next morning the room smelt of whatever contents were in those diapers: pee, poo, pee and poo, you get the picture. So I decided to try the diaper genie and it is everything I hoped for and more! I change it maybe once or twice a month and it holds so many diapers at a time while keeping the stink way down! Traditional trash bags don’t do the job, and unless you feel like running diapers to the trash outside all the time, the diaper genie is for you!

Also, you can get it in different colors too! We chose a mint green that matched little mans nursery and it really tied everything together. I love the diaper genie so much!

2. Munchkin Wipe warmer

So this is actually a product that I said I would NEVER buy prior to having an actual baby. Because obviously we know everything about parenting before actually even having children.

However, you will change your tune if your baby is in any way like my baby was when he was smaller. He ABHORED diaper changes, especially at night. When the cold wet wipe touched his sweet little bottom, my sweet little baby turned into a sweet little nightmare.

My sister had had the wipe warmer and so I thought, why not? It’s very affordable, you can use any wipe brand in it, and it may solve a huge problem! We found baby John absolutely loved having warm wipes on his bottom, and no joke nighttime changes became quicker and easier, and he even fell back asleep faster (not making any promises, just our experience).

So, I definitely recommend a wipe warmer for your little baby’s tush. We love it!

3. dr. browns bottles

So one thing you will learn very quickly, especially if you’re breast feeding, is little babies are VERY gassy. It is so easy for their tummies to build gas bubbles and the littlest thing affects them.

We tried so many different types of bottles before finding Dr. Browns. John constantly had gas at first which led to so many nights of tears and tummy pains. We tried Dr. Brown’s after some research and finally had an answer! Once we switched around 4 months we haven’t turned back! We will definitely buy Dr. Brown for future babies and save tons in money from buying all the other kinds too.

4. formula dispenser

So I breast fed for about a month and realized that baby John ate way too much for my body to handle. So formula came in and saved the day! However, nobody wants to carry formula around with them every where they go; they’re usually pretty bulky and trust me you need the extra room in your diaper bag for all the extra clothes that are absolutely necessary (just ask John about his recent Cracker Barrel blow out).

This allows you to prepare four formula servings at a time and all you have to do is spin the top and empty into your bottle. It’s perfect for traveling with baby, or just preparing ahead of time for nighttime feedings or busy days. It really comes in handy when baby is crying and you only have two hands to get everything ready and quickly.

These are so cheap but very underestimated. I love it so much and truly don’t know what I would have done without it!

5. Zip-UP FOOTLESS PAJAMAS

You have probably heard this one already but it is so true. If you are going to by clothes for your baby, buy zip-ups only! When you’re trying to get them back in their outfit during the night, you don’t want to deal with all of those snap buttons. I promise.

I remember reading a post about it before having a baby and I was like, “It’s not a big deal.” And then I realized as I was choosing outfits for John, especially in the early stages, I always went for the zip-ups because they were so much easier.

I say footless because if your baby consistently stays in the 95 percentile for heighth, they will outgrow quickly footy-pajamas. Footless zip-ups allowed some room for growth so I saved money in the long run. Not to mention I had his little feet out in the open for extra kisses. Definitely something worth buying into!

So, that is my list of my Top 5 Things I Loved for MY baby. I hope it may come in handy for any new mamas out there wondering what the heck to purchase without wasting money! Let me know some things that you loved for your baby! Happy homemaking!

Marriage Hurts but Marriage Heals

Marriage is the most difficult and beautiful thing I have ever experienced. Both hard and easy at the same time. Sounds impossible right? But it’s true. I find marriage both as natural as breathing and as difficult as rock climbing rope free up a 750 foot mountain (that escalated quickly).

Marriage, how I understand it, is the unification of spirit and flesh; two spirits and flesh becoming one. That’s why in the flesh marriage hurts; and in the spirit, your marriage can heal.

My husband and I just recently went through one of those “fun” growing times together. Personal struggles and relational struggles came together to a pinpoint which led to a perfect storm of tension and conflict.

The hurts of marriage come when one flesh fights against itself, injuring the other part as if it were somehow separate. Harsh words, wrong thoughts, selfish actions, all of these come against the flesh of your marriage and attempt division and anger.

Satan is against your marriage from the start, I hope you know that. That’s not to cause fear or trepidation, but it is to cause you to be on alert and stop treating your marriage so trivially. He wants to divide and conquer; divide the marriage, conquer the family. And all we have to do is look at divorce rates to know that he is somewhat succeeding.

I believe it’s because so often we live in the hurt factor of marriage without ever touching the healing portion. We allow the fleshy part to rule over the spiritual and then wonder why our “godly” marriage pictures that of the world.

We got to the pinpoint and realized that it was time to fight back. We put the baby to bed, came together and battled in prayer. We asked for forgiveness from one another, we confessed our sins to one another, and we reminded one another of our vows and love.

And although there had been hurt, surrending the fleshy part of our marriage to God, allowed for His hand to come in and bring about the most beautiful healing my spirit has ever felt.

Tears, smiles, kisses, and redemption all met together there in complete surrender. It was a glorious moment in our marriage I know we will remember forever. All it took was surrender; surrender of pride, surrender of bitterness, surrender of expectations. All of it, tossed into the hands of the One Who carries us.

I say all of this to bring hope to the broken marriage or the single person afraid of taking that step into marriage.

Amidst a world that only highlights the brokenness of such a holy covenant, there is another side of complete restoration and redemption that is available as well.

I’m not here to say my marriage is perfect and we are doing everything right (obviously). What I am saying is after a week of trying to do it all on our own and in the flesh, we found it was so much more beautiful to hand it over to the Father.

So take that step of surrender. Confess your sins against your spouse, whether that’s bitterness, anger, unfaithfulness. Request forgiveness and make sure to forgive. Remember why you chose marriage and love and continue in it. And let God do His beautiful work in your lives.

Happy homemaking is about making your home happy and holy. And a strong marriage will do the trick! Love you guys!

Be Still, Don’t Feel

I love the movie Frozen, and I cannot wait to have a daughter who will enjoy singing along to it with me! One of the lines in the oh so famous song, “Let it Go” says, “be still, don’t feel” and now you’re singing it in your head. You’re welcome.

With Disney plus out, I have been binging on Disney movies and watched Frozen this week. And this line has stuck in my mind. Not because this is the most catchy song ever, but because God spoke the same thing to my heart. Be still. Don’t feel.

Now you may be thinking, wait, God told you not to feel? And you would be exactly right. But God gives us feelings and emotions? Why would He tell you not to feel?

Because our feelings are a part of our soul that needs redeeming and sanctification every day, the things I feel may not always be from God. Sometimes I have to weigh what I am feeling next to the Word of God in order to know what is of Him and what is of myself.

This past month has been tough for me spiritually, personally, and mentally. God has been pruning me of myself, taking away selfishness, impatience, anger, and so many other things (why are we so messed up???). It can get very overwhelming in these seasons because it feels like no matter where you turn, you are being shown another bad part of yourself, and it really starts to weigh on you. You question everything about yourself, trying to do everything in your own power to fix yourself.

But I believe that is the hardest lesson in the midst of all of this; learning to be still and let God fix me. Letting Him finally be God over my life instead of me attempting to maintain control ALL. THE. TIME.

Now on to feeling. In the realness and vulnerability I promised to have on this blog, I had some rough feelings this week. With my selfish nature and impatience coming to the surface, you can only imagine tensions between my husband and I have been at an all time high. And because I have been so fleshy, I have not relied on the Spirit’s guidance but rather myself. So that has led to me overthinking, over reacting, and feeling/thinking up a false narrative about my husband, all because I did not choose to surrender my flesh to the leading of the Spirit.

So what starts as a small misunderstanding grows into feelings of division, separateness, bitterness, and anger. All because when a thought and feeling appeared that was contrary to truth, I decided to hang on to it rather than get rid of that garbage. And it continued. And continued. And days later I am literally a dumpster of feelings and emotions. An emotional wreck.

I was so anxious and in so much turmoil that I finally in my stubbornness decided to turn to God and hear what He had to say (should have done this sooner). And He tells me one line, “Be still. Don’t feel.”

1. Be Still. I needed to still myself in Him; rely myself completely in Him, and let Him speak truth to my mind. I needed to allow the Spirit to reveal my messiness so that it could be healed, rather than rely on a broken mind to filter my experiences through. Had I done this sooner, I would have realized that what I am going through is called purification and I need to lean on Him harder than ever before.

“Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

“The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] be still [keep silent and remain calm].” Exodus 14:14

It’s time we actually start practicing what we claim all the time. If we claim that God is Lord of our life yet continue to disallow Him to reign, are we hypocrites? I know I haven’t been surrendering like I should, and that needs to change if I want to live in the Spirit and not the flesh.

2. Don’t Feel. Feelings, although real, are not always true. Your feelings only have as much merit as they align with the Word of God. If they speak anything contrary, then it is a lie, and needs to be made obedient to Christ.

“We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Thoughts and feelings not aligned with the Word of God destroy our lives. My feelings this week, had I continued in them, could have destroyed my marriage. My feelings could have broken a family apart. Feelings and thoughts are serious matters, and that’s why we are told to take captive every single thought. Those feelings that I was having were allowed because of pride, selfishness, and bitterness.

So I leave you with some wisdom God gave me this week. Stop feeling and thinking toxic things you were never meant to carry. We have the minds of Christ, and are given specific guidelines on what we should be thinking about and letting in our minds. If it’s contrary, make it obedient!

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” Philippians 4:8

Just a simple switch of my feelings and thoughts from lies to truth led to one of the most redemptive, healing, and merciful moments I have ever had with my husband. A moment of God’s pure peace, grace, and restoration in our marriage. No it wasn’t a BIG problem; but taking our small issues and handing them to God protects our marriage from big cracks in the foundation. So there is no problem too little to take seriously in your marriage.

I urge you to watch your feelings and thoughts. Don’t let unredeemed, broken things tell you how to live, react, and carry out your life. Let God be the one Who reigns even over your hearts, minds, and emotions.

I love you all and hope that through some of my hard lessons you can learn to be still and don’t feel every feelings and thought thrown at you from the enemy.

Happy homemaking! Go make your home a place where God reigns!

#Momfail: They All Fall Down

Can I just be honest and vulnerable here? This week has felt like a non-stop strand of mom fails. Non-stop.

Have you ever just messed up so many times you just feel like stopping? Or running away? Or just crying? Or maybe all of the above? That’s been me this week.

So John has been accelerating in movement. I’m talking crawling, pulling up on furniture, moving from item to item, trying to LITERALLY JUMP OFF OF STUFF. I’m pretty persuaded he wants to injure himself.

It’s one thing if babies hurt themselves when you’re not watching, but to have them hurt themself everyday when you’re just two steps away is pretty frustrating.

Let me let you in on this week. He fell off the bed, he hit his eye on the dresser knob (don’t ask me how), he’s fallen from holding on to the table about 15 times, slipped in the bathtub and got water in his face, and the list goes on and on.

It has really made me question my ability as a mother this week. I am sucking it up real bad at the moming. I know all babies fall down, especially when learning to move their little bodies, but at the same time you can’t help but blame yourself when it happens and you can’t stop it!

In all honesty its just been a really hard week for me in general. As a mother and wife I’ve been going and growing through some things. I have felt like no matter how hard I try, I end up failing. I’ve been studying the fruits of the Spirit and ironically feel like I’ve done nothing but walked in the flesh this week. Impatience, anger, frustration. Just falling on my face, over and over.

And as I write this, maybe that’s the whole lesson for me this week? Maybe God is wanting me to realize, like babies, we all fall down. But scripture says the righteous man falls seven times but gets back up.

So, if you’re a mama who has failed this week? Get back up. If you’re a wife who has been naggy a little too much, get back up. If you’ve complained instead of being thankful, cursed instead of blessing, or have really done a bad job at portraying Christ, my answer is this: get back up.

Keep pursuing holiness and not perfection. Keep pursuing His strength and not your own. Keep leaning all of yourself on Him completely.

Paul says that he boasts in his weakness, because where we are weak, God is strong! (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God’s grace is sufficient for you AND your clumsy little baby.

I love you guys! Happy homemaking!

The Power of a Lie: Breaking Free from Perfection

Perfectionism is not a fruit of the Spirit, but joy is.

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I don’t know if I’m the only one, but if I accidently mess up a clean piece of paper, I have to tear it up and start again. I hate that I can’t just move on with a mistake and not think about the imperfection, but sometimes my brain won’t let me. It screams out the mistake over and over until I give in and start again.

I’m the same way in my day to day; if something about myself or others isn’t just right, it screams at me and I can’t find peace. Sometimes this pressure for everything to be perfect in myself spreads out to those I love, and I try to fit them in the same “perfect” box and get disappointed and frustrated when they don’t fit.

I find myself getting irritable, aggravated and sometimes naggy when I believe this lie of Perfectionism. I told God recently that I don’t want to live this way anymore. I’m so tired of walking daily in this lie of Perfection. It’s a heavy weight to carry.

Yesterday I was feeding the baby and he was getting his oatmeal everywhere! Every bite he would take, he would rub his mouth and then the rest of his face, and then the high chair. I was trying to chase after every spot of oatmeal with a wipe and getting frustrated at him. At yelled, “Gosh John can’t you just eat clean???”

And I stopped myself (or God stopped me) and thought, “He is eating like a baby eats; dirty, messy, imperfect.” And I started to cry because I realized if I don’t change myself then I can pass on this attitude to him. And I don’t want him living in the lie that everything has to be perfect all the time! So I gave him another spoonful of oatmeal and I let him spread it all around . And then I even made myself wait to clean it up for a while after he was done.

I let that basket of laundry sit in the corner of the room for a little bit while I played with John and watched his face light up at new discoveries.

I let the dishes sit in the sink after dinner so I could cuddle with my husband before bed on the couch instead of feeling pressure to get it done immediately.

You may be different, but the way I combat this lie on my mind is to fight against it. I don’t have to have it done ALL the time. And that’s okay.

I lived under this pressure that if everything wasn’t picked up, cleaned up, in its right spot, then I was failing as a wife and mother. But in reality by focusing on a false perfection I was ignoring life in the moment to finish tasks that could wait.

Laughing with my son, slow kisses with my husband, rest for my mind and body, were all passing me by as I rushed from task to task. So I have learned to stop and enjoy. Those things will be waiting, but my family is growing and living and moving so quickly.

If you live in the lie of perfectionism, you can be free of it. It takes renewing your mind and knowing your worth is in God and not in your works. It takes self control to say no to your brain when it is yelling out your daily tasks instead of enjoying the moment with your family. It takes you dropping pride and realizing you will never reach perfection. Ever.

And I’ve realized that messy life is beautiful; because it means life is being lived. When a home is too busy trying to be perfect, often it stops being what we want it to be, home.

So what if my living room has toys in it and no longer looks like a magazine cover; that’s where my family laughs, eats, grows, and lives.

So what if my bed isn’t always made or there’s bath toys strewn all over the bath tub. That means we got sleep and a little boy had a blast.

So what if there’s a sink full of dishes. That means my family was blessed with some food!

So what if my belly is a little soft from having a baby and I didn’t lose my pregnancy weight as soon as the baby came out. My husband loves me and my body and that’s all that matters.

I’m not living with pressures to be perfect anymore. Its not worth the stress, weight, or exhaustion.

Enjoy your families. Enjoy your homes. Enjoy yourself, flaws and all.

Let your family breathe, play, laugh, and make sure you are letting yourself be free too.

And when it comes down to it, perfection is not a fruit of the Spirit. It’s usually a fruit of our flesh ruling, pushing us towards a self outside of relying on the Lord. An attitude of, “I can do it all.” And we can’t do it all. You can’t do it all.

I hope this helps you break free from the lie of perfectionism and just relax! Go have fun and as always, happy homemaking.

He Owes You Nothing

I had to repent this week for something I never thought I would have to. “Forgive me God, for thinking and acting like you owe me something.”

You see up to this point, I had been walking around with an attitude towards God. Because He hadn’t healed me yet , I was angry. Because I had been hurt by His “church”, I wasn’t going to serve again. Because He “let” me have a miscarriage, I could be mad and bitter. Because I have been through suffering, You owe me something.

I had been walking unknowingly with these attitudes that led me to walking around with no joy, no peace, constant frustration and tension. I was rocking John to sleep one night and was hit with an overwhelming feeling of homesickness for the Lord.

And all of these angers and attitudes towards Him came forward and I started bawling. All I could muster in the midst of tears was, “I’m sorry.”

I realized I was holding things against God; things I thought He owed me. He owes me healing because I believe in healing. He owes me blessing because I believe in His promises. He owes me this because I was hurt by that. The list goes on and on.

And I realized in that moment one important thing. GOD DOES NOT OWE YOU OR ME ANYTHING. He didn’t even owe me salvation!

Yet He did it, because He loves me. He didn’t have to give me life, but He did. He didn’t HAVE to deliver me from anxiety, but He did. He didn’t have to bless me with my husband and baby John, but He did. Because He’s a good Father Who likes to give good gifts to His children. (Matthew 7:11)

Walking around with an attitude like He owes me something led me to hurt and bitterness. It halted His hand from working in my life; it stopped me from growing deeper in Him. Did He stop loving me? No. He was there always pointing me forward with love and longsuffering.

I say all of this to remind all of us, that if the only thing God ever does for you is save you from your sin, IT’S ENOUGH. He does not owe you anything else. It’s time we change our attitudes, humble ourselves, and live and walk in an attitude of thankfulness. God does way more good for you than you deserve.

So chin up, knees down, and repent for wrong attitudes and motives. Thank God for His blessings. Thank God for loving you and being merciful and gracious even when we have bad attitudes. And bask in His love and mercy and grace.

I leave you with this.

“Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]”
Philippians 4:11-13

Happy Homemaking!

To My Husband: What Marriage with You has Taught Me

Yesterday was my two year wedding anniversary with my husband. Two years to many is not a lot, but every year I get with him is a marker of God’s faithfulness to me.

You see, it was hard for me to be married, because taking that step of trust in someone was something of a mountain for me. I was single for a very long time because of fear; fear of being hurt, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of being vulnerable, the list goes on.

I was so afraid that fear would take away my hope for marriage (I know, ironic right?). But God’s plans for our lives always prevail; and He is faithful to answer our prayers and deliver us from fear and anxiety. When Tyler came into my life, I listened to fear first. “Don’t go out with him; you’ll get hurt”; “What if he is not ‘the one'”; “It hasn’t worked out with anyone else, what’s the point in trying?”. This was before I even met the poor guy. So I stopped talking to him for a couple of weeks. As usual.

Then one day, I came across his picture and my heart fluttered with disappointment. I had blown it again. But I heard the voice of God so clearly say, “What if that is your husband, and you are going to let fear stop you?”

You see up to that point, fear had taken so many things from me. My peace, my joy, my hope. Was I going to let it take this away from me too? Finally, my stubbornness rose up in me and I said, “No. Not this time.” I texted him and it was set in stone. We went on our first date in May and were married in November of the same year. Too fast, you say? Not to me. Because he was the answer to every single prayer I ever said.

So what has being married to you, Tyler, meant to me?

You have taught me that love can be unconditional. I thought only God could love me that way. Yet, here you are, loving me through the hardest of times. When I’m stubborn, unlovable, mean, sad; when I accept the lies that I am unworthy, unsexy, untouchable. You are there, still loving me.

When the world and my mind tell me that I’m not worth fighting for; you’re there, fighting for me. When everyone else would have thrown me away, you’re picking me back up. When I get my eyes off of God and on my self, you lift my chin back up to Him.

When I don’t know a tender word or a soft touch, there you are, loving me so tenderly.

You, my husband, are the light of Jesus in my life. You preach the gospel to me with the grace and mercy you extend to me every day.

I don’t understand with my mind why you would have chosen to marry someone like me. And that is why I know you were sent to me from a God Who loves to give gifts that we don’t deserve.

So, my love, what has being married to you taught me? That hope in this life can be restored. Broken minds and hearts can be mended. And that love, marriage, romance, does not have to die. When a marriage is handed over to God every second of every day, it is possible to have fulfillment, and joy, and love.

So thank you, Tyler, for allowing God to use you to restore this broken soul. That had lost a lot of hope in what this life had to offer.

I love you. And I love living this life with you. Thank you.

Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re starving.

Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Matthew 4:4

What I am sharing is a personal revelation God gave me today but I believe it may help someone. I’ll start from the beginning.

Lately I have been feeling extremely frustrated. Everything has gotten on my nerves; my husband’s breathing, my baby constantly crying when I’m trying to put eye ointment on him.. even my own self has been frustrating (I broke a favorite ornament last night because my hands were shaky).

I just have felt at my limit. With everything. Like a car hanging on the edge of a cliff, and with one leaf it will crash to the bottom with a loud BANG.

This morning was no different. We woke up, had coffee, I was irritated. Trying to feed John who enjoyed 15 spoonfulls of oatmeal and then the 16th one he acted like it was disgusting, spitting it out so it went everywhere. My breakfast getting cold as usual; my hot coffee being enjoyed lukewarm, as usual. I stood up, yelled at him, yelled at my husband, stormed out of the room.

My husband followed me, and it irritated me of course. I yelled, “Why are you following me???” He calmly takes the baby, and says, “Go pray.” Everything in my flesh wanted to smack him. I don’t want to pray. I don’t want to change. I want to be irritated! “Go pray.” He said again.

I reluctantly stomped upstairs to my office and knelt down. As soon as I hit the floor I began to weep. Weariness, frustration, weakness… all came down and hit like a big wave. But the last thing that hit was STARVATION.

My husband and I have been watching a new TV series we found called “Alone”. Professional survivalists compete to see who can survive the longest in hard terrain. We were watching one of the men and you could clearly see that he had let himself starve almost to death. What was astounding was he was sitting on a mound of food! He had been saving fish for the season when he knew the fish would be lacking, but while saving for a season of lack, he was letting himself starve! He got so hungry he decided to try and shoot an animal with his bow. But he had starved himself so long, he couldn’t even pull back the bow and have a weapon. So he crawled back in his shelter, and STILL didn’t eat.

God spoke so clearly to me as I called out to Him, asking, “Why am I so frustrated? Why do I feel so weak?” He said, “You’re starving.”

I realized I hadn’t read my Word or spent some sweet time with Him all week (excuses of busy schedule entailed). And He brought to my memory the man on the show. I was the man. Starving, weak, without a weapon.

I have the Word at my fingertips every single day. Food for my spirit. But sometimes we treat that food as the man treated the fish. We save it for a rainy day; when we are struggling, sad, fearful. But instead of eating when we are simply hungry, we wait until we are starving! And we risk damage to our spirits!

The man had to leave the show because his body was at risk for organ failure. And he cried to the cameraman, “But I have food…” tears running down his face, “I have so much food”. And I cried back, “But you’re starving! You can have food all day, but if you don’t eat it, it doesn’t help!”

I cried as I knelt on the floor in my office. I have food, but I haven’t eaten, and now I am starving.

I am tired of letting my spirit go so long without food, that I end up in starvation mode. Angry, weak, frustrated; yelling at my loved ones, yelling at myself, thinking my life isn’t good, or blessed. When we let ourselves starve spiritually, our flesh grows stronger. It’s opposite of starvation in reality. As our spirits weaken, our flesh strengthens, and we become a puppet to a nature we are free from.

This man had so much fish; and was skipping meals in order to save it for later. If he would have eaten when he was hungry, he would have never been starving.

Let us eat, everyday, as we do with food. Knowing it’s time to eat, we eat. We don’t wait until our bones cry out in starvation, we eat because we know we need it! Why don’t we do the same with our spirits? We know we need His Word to strengthen us, cleanse us, guide us, uplift us, yet we wait until we are starving to go to it!

So as I sit convicted today, by a gracious God Who softly pointed out my weak spots, I am realizing that I have been starving myself, and sitting on a stock pile of food. It’s time we go to our Words, feed ourselves, so we can feed others.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

matthew 5:6