The Good Thing about Hard Times

In the midst of all that’s going on in this world, it is easy for you to allow fear to grip your hearts.

Fear of the future, fear of sickness and death, fear of lack of resources, fear of the unknown. I know for my personal life, one fear has attempted to break my peace consistantly and that is the fear of suffering in some way.

Whether it’s suffering in finances, in lacking resources needed for my family, in the economy, whatever it is, there’s this uneasiness about my comfort being attacked in some way. My daily “normal” somehow changing. It can definitely be scary.

Obviously I am not the only one who feels this uneasiness, as toilet paper was the first thing we ran for during the scare. Toilet paper. Think about it. Something that is NOT a necessity being bought over food or water. Because of this one word that has imprisoned us for way too long: comfort.

I was reading in Romans today, seeking peace for my soul during this time and stumbled upon a passage I have read many times. But often His Word jumps out at us when we need it, so I figured I would share.

Romans 5:3-5 – “Moreover (let us also be full of joy now!) Let us exult and triumph in our troubles and sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character (of this sort) produces (the habit of) joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.”

Wow! What peace this can give us if we center our hearts on its promises. All too often as Christian’s these days, we pray for things like character, patience, integrity, more faith, more hope, and yet we never seem to pray for suffering or trials (I know, who would?)

But think about it. This scripture shows you the formula to having joy, peace, faith, and character; trials and sufferings which lead to endurance. All too often we pray for miracles in our lives and yet would pray against situations where God would be able to work miracles.

“Lord, please deliver us from bondage of the Pharoah BUT why have You led us to the Red Sea to be killed?!?” Sound familiar? The Israelites wanted the freedom without discomfort. But without discomfort the miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea would never have been needed. Without sickness, we wouldn’t see His healings. Without struggle, we wouldn’t see His mighty provision. Without discomfort, we cannot grow.

So I take this time in my personal life to do as His Word tells us and exult in trials and sufferings. During this time where comfort and “normal” seem out of reach, this is a time to buckle down and praise the Lord that we are gaining endurance and patience. That we are learning what it means to rely solely on Him and not ourselves, our social lives, or our government. That during this time of stretching we can be thankful and renew our minds to see everything as He does and not what our flesh wants.

Take this time of isolation and really learn to be dependent on God. This is a time where distraction has been wiped out of most of our lives. Distraction and comfort that all too often keep us from our true Love and our families. Stop complaining, worrying, and fearing, and start praising God and thanking Him for your blessings, your life, and the ability to grow in Him.

Hard times are hard but they always restore my faith a little because it always seems that hard times produce such beautiful fruit in humanity. We see communities come together, servants appear in this individualistic selfish world, and neighborly love everywhere we look. Once again the principles of the Word evident all around us.

I wanted to encourage you in this time to look at things in a different way. Stay in your Word, keep your minds renewed, and walk in thanksgiving. Love you all! Happy homemaking!

Finding the Sun in the Winter

Today I walked outside to get the mail and was pleasantly surprised at how great it felt outside. It has been pretty cold the last few days, so feeling the sun hit my face felt like a warm hug to my soul. I stood on the front porch and closed my eyes, soaking in the sun rays. Man, that felt good. Have you ever got a quick glimpse into the springtime in the middle of winter, that it gives you just a serge of energy? You think, just hold on a little longer and then it will be flowers and sunshine and warm rains again.

I soaked in the warmth for a little bit longer and just happened to look down. Next to my front porch I have tons of clover growing (which is one of my favorite things). When I looked down, it looked as though all of my clover were cupped, facing the sun. They were all turned the same way, soaking it all in just like I was a few moments before. And just like that, I heard the Lord say to me, “In the middle of the winter seasons, turn toward the light.”

Lately, I have felt like I have been going through a spiritual winter season along with the physical winter. Things have seemed drab, cold, and tough. It seems like wherever I turn there is something else going wrong, a sickness around the corner, financial struggles, personal struggles, the list goes on and on. It is so tough to keep the faith during these kinds of seasons, when it feels like the fight never stops. But what else is there to do but fight?

We can go through these struggles sometimes, taking each hit from the enemy, and forget that we can do something about it. Like the clover, who have been going through the winter season, in the midst of the cold, drought of winter, they turned toward the light. We can do that too. We can stop in our struggle and simply turn; turn towards the Light of the World. Turn towards His Word and promises. So often we think we are victims of our circumstances around us. We think we have to keep every anxious or depressive thought, we think we have to continue to be abused by the toxic people in our lives, we think we are doomed to the lives people have spoken over us.

One thing I am very stubborn about is letting people know they are not stuck. Even in the middle of the winter, you can find some Son (I know, it’s cheesy but it’s true). So often we wait for Spring to come in order to get some fresh air and light in our lives, when in reality you can find what you need in the middle of your bleak season.

John 1:5 states, “The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge and fortress of my life, whom shall I dread?”

Ephesians 5:14 states, “For this reason He says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine [as dawn] upon you and give you light.”

I give you these scriptures (and there are many more) because although darkness does exist, so does the light exist even more so. So you may be in some dark season; you may feel like nothing is growing, no light is shining, and no hope of change is near. But I come to remind you to be like the clover and turn towards the Light. Turn towards the Son. Turn towards Him Who is able to do more abundantly than you can ask or think according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

I want to remind you that you are not a slave to your circumstances as long as you are a Child of God. You belong to the Creator of all things who can make something out of nothing. Don’t lose hope. Don’t hang your head down. Turn your eyes to the Lord and trust Him and watch Him work on your behalf. Align your thinking and speaking with His Word, even if what you see around you doesn’t just yet.

I don’t know, I just felt it heavy on my heart for anyone who may be going through what I am going through to let you know that hope still remains. Light still remains. Growth still remains. What’s been planted will bloom soon, what’s been freed will fly, and those things that have held you down will break. Just turn to Him and soak in His light and love. Be like the clover!

Happy homemaking.

Single and Searching: What to Look for in a Godly Husband

Dating was such a difficult thing for me to do after I had been hurt. There really was only one word to describe the whole process of dating and seeking my future husband: fear. Fear enveloped every part of my thought process when it came to my promise. What if I choose wrong? What if I get hurt again? What if fear stops me from ever going after my husband?

It was so bad that for about 5 years straight I couldn’t go past one date with anyone. As soon as I got home, my mind went over all of the reasons that person wouldn’t work and why they weren’t my husband. I remember when I went on a second date with my husband, my mom said, “He’s the one, because she actually wanted a second date.”

Now it wasn’t because I was “too picky” and couldn’t be pleased. Really it was for many reasons. But one of the main was because I had not met the one my soul was ready to fight for yet. When I met my husband Tyler, I was finally ready to fight the fear of vulnerability and intimacy. You may struggle with those same fears too. “If I let myself be vulnerable, I will just get hurt again.” “How do I know he isn’t just like the rest?” “How do I know this is the one God has ordained for me?”

During that time I was so wishing there was someone who could walk through the process with me; a woman who had been through it before. So I thought that maybe someone reading this is going through the same battles and it may help.

I remember many times in my frustration and loneliness, someone would tell me, “There are plenty of people to date out there, you just have to put yourself out there.” And having been saved and committing my life to God, I was looking for a Christian man who was ready to be married and committed. It felt as though, honestly, there were no men my age who were committed to God and was ready to be committed to a wife. They were all playing the “Christian” game, but the fruits in their lives didn’t really show it.

I remember yelling at my mom, “There are no good Christian men out there!” I really felt that way. And I was afraid to date some because every time I tried, it felt like they said they were godly men, but their actions spoke otherwise. I didn’t want a counterfeit; I wanted the one God had for me, who would pour into my life in a godly way, and not try and take from me.

During this time I remember praying, “How will I know?” And God said so plainly to me, “You will know by their fruit.” So I will go over some things I learned to look for in a godly husband, and how I learned to be free of fear and trust God in the process.

One of the first things that let me know Tyler was my husband, was that he was immediately respectful and pure. Even when he messaged me on Facebook for the first time, it was a picture of a bear waving hello. There was no “Aye girl how you doing?” or “You’re cute, what’s your number?” He was respectful in conversation and really just wanted to get to know me. Ladies, if you are looking for a godly man, he isn’t going to speak to you disrespectfully because he will know who you belong to. Watch out for men who flatter with their tongues a little too much; compliments are one thing but when it crosses the line make sure you don’t cross the line.

As we started dating, I noticed some things about him that caught my eye. Not only was he respectful of me, he was respectful of everyone around him. He has one of the greatest servant’s hearts I have ever seen. He treated his mama well, he served his Gran Gran (who is in a wheelchair) without even being asked, and he was respectful to people like waiters and store clerks. A red flag to look out for is someone who is rude to others; if they don’t have a servant’s heart, they won’t be able to serve well in marriage.

Now you may think I am crazy, but one thing I firmly believe in is to state clearly your goals and purposes behind dating. If you want to get married…. tell them you want to be married. Don’t date someone who doesn’t have the same goals as you and then get frustrated because they don’t want to change! On our first date, I remember saying, “Listen, I want to date for marriage, so if you don’t then this isn’t going to work.” I know… I cannot believe I said it either, it just came out! I remember he took a second and then laughed, and with his beautiful smiling eyes I love so much, said, “I do want marriage too.” You see the one for you will not be turned off by your blunt personality (if you have one). You won’t have to change your silly sense of humor or looks for them. Another red flag is that if you feel you’re having to mold to fit better for them… they probably aren’t the one for you.

I struggle pretty heavily with self-esteem. There are many things about myself I do not like. I remember one night at Sonic, Tyler was wanting to hold and look at my hands. My hands are one of my biggest flaws in my mind; I think they are far too big, long, and ugly. I kept pulling my hand away from his and he got frustrated. “Why are you doing that?” I said, “Because I hate my hands.” He looked so confused. “Why? Let me see them.” After many tugs away, I finally let him hold it. He then looked at my hands and then glanced at me. “I love your hands.” And he went on to tell me why he loved them. Then he made me say something else I didn’t like about myself. “My eyes… I wish I had blue eyes.” The he told me why he loved my big brown eyes. We went on until I had named everything off; and tears went down my cheeks. He had touched my soul in a way no one else had. And none of it had to do with sexual attraction; he wanted me to know that he loved everything about me. Ladies, find a man who lifts you up. Who scares away all of your fears. Because one day you will give birth to a baby and your belly will be softer with stretch marks, and you will wish you had a man who still looks at you like you are the sexiest woman alive. Because he loves you and not your looks.

I was very open about my fears with dating. He walked alongside me through anxiety attacks, tears, and fear. He made me write down my fears on a piece of paper. From being hurt to being alone. He then went through each one and told me why I didn’t have to be afraid, pointing me back to God. Find a man who will continually point you back to God in your struggles, who will remind you that you serve a God Who can take care of all of your fears. Because one day you may be in the bathroom floor, just having a miscarriage and in your deepest pit of despair; and that husband will be the one to point you back to a Faithful Father you are mad at. Who will guide your soul back to peace and love in the midst of so much pain.

It’s important who you sign up to live the rest of your life with and become one with and I could go on and on about the many reasons why I knew my husband was my own. He has so many beautiful characteristics that continually make me want to be better and more like him. But I will leave you with a quick list of reminders.

1. God has someone for you. He said it was not good for man to be alone. There may be a small few called to celibacy and singlehood, but it is not many. Marriage is holy and is the best teacher of our souls. So hold on to hope and do not rush into something out of loneliness. You will know when your soul finds it’s pair.

2. Watch for their fruits. If you are dating someone who is not bearing godly fruits in their lives, then it is wise to step away. If they are angry a lot, mean, disrespectful, or pressure you to into sexual things, but proclaim to serve God, then you need to take another look. A godly man will point you towards God, protect your purity, and treat you well.

3. Listen to the Holy Spirit. We do not serve a quiet God Who doesn’t talk to His people. If you sincerely pray that God would let you know what His perfect will is, He will let you know. It is your job to listen and obey, and not go off of your own flesh and will. If you ever find it hard to pray for God’s will to be done in your relationship, it may mean that your flesh is fighting your spirit. God’s plan for our life is so perfect. I remember thinking that I had found my husband once, and God asked me to end that relationship. I found out later on after being married some scary things about this person, that would have destroyed a marriage. What may hurt for a little while, is not worth the hurt that comes with disobeying God and marrying the wrong person.

4. If you want to be married, date for marriage. Dating for “fun” is not really a biblical principle. It is not “fun” to continuously give parts of yourself away to many different people, all to find yourself feeling empty and still alone. I lived that lifestyle, of constantly needing someone to be interested in me. It led to hurt and loneliness, and a heart that had a wall around it. Had I just let God love me and make me whole, it wouldn’t have been so hard for Tyler to break down those walls. If you want to be married, your heart is not your own. Think of your decisions as impacting your future spouse, because whether you think they will or not, every decision you make impacts your future relationship. So, if marriage is your goal, make it clear to those interested in dating you (maybe not as bluntly as I did), but you get the point.

5. Lastly, marriage is not your ultimate goal. Marriage is holy, amazing, and definitely one of the best decisions of my life. But getting married and being a wife and mother, those things are not and should not be what you live for. Yes, I am so happy God blessed me to be Tyler’s wife and John’s mother, but my first purpose is as His daughter. My first goal is to serve God with my whole heart, mind, and soul, to do what He created me to do. If you are in a season of singleness and marriage is all you can think about, try letting yourself fall in love with God. Try serving God for the sake of serving your King, instead of hoping your obedience will lead to a husband. Marriage is a blessed thing, but it is not everything. Remember your season is a beautiful season to enjoy! Singleness has many perks that marriage takes away. So enjoy your season, hope in God, and serve Him however He asks.

I remember someone told me that the best way to find your spouse is to run towards God so fast, that one day you happen to look over and see your spouse running next to you. You may find them when you stop looking.

So, all of this to encourage you on your journey. Do not just give yourself away to the next cute person that shows interest in you. Be wise in your choices, prayerful in your decisions, and let the Holy Spirit lead you to His perfect will. I love you all! Happy (future) 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!

The Power of a Lie: Breaking Free from Perfection

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

Unknown

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.

Christmas Pot Holder Handprint Crafts

This is the best craft to do with your kids! All you need is paint, your baby’s hands and feet, patience, and cheap oven mitts or pot holders!

Although little man did not want to cooperate today with the paint, I still got some cute prints out of it! So this craft works even with the ones who don’t feel like crafting and making fun memories!

Doesn’t it feel like sometimes you are the only one who cares about making memories? I don’t know, sometimes I feel like I HAVE to capture moments with pictures, I have to make all of the cozy memories, or it won’t get done!

This probably isn’t true, but it pushes me to do the things that sometimes aren’t easy (like painting a 7 month old’s hand and trying to press it on a pot holder). But they turned out so adorable so I am happy I didn’t give up! And all little man needed was a nap.

So these were so easy and I used pan holders that I bought from the dollar store! That’s right, they were a dollar for a 2-pack of red and brown pot holders. So I got 4 for 2 dollars! So awesome! For the paint I just used acrylic paint and found different colors needed more layers (white for instance).

If you run into the problem that maybe you didn’t capture the full hand or foot print, I just go back over with a small paint brush to make it more solid! The goal should be to try and get at LEAST an outline of your baby’s print so that you can fill it in!

I painted for different types but there are so many things you can do with it! I chose to do a santa foot, a Christmas tree foot, an elf hand, and a snowman hand! You could probably try a reindeer hand, snowman foot, or really anything you can imagine!

1. Santa foot craft

So I loved doing this one! I just painted little man’s foot with white paint and pressed it on the mitt! Then I mixed up a peach color for Santa’s face, used the round end of the brush with some pink for his rosy cheeks, used the end and dipped it in black for his eyes, and red for his nose! Then I painted a Santa’s hat on top! What I love about crafts like this is it really can be tweaked and crafted to your liking! Look at his little toes! I love them 🙂

2. elf hand POT HOLDER CRAFT

Look at his little pinky! I love this one too. I can’t choose my favorite! What I did was actually make a hand print with white paint first. With it being a dark colored fabric I wanted to make sure the color showed up well! Then I painted with peach for his face, green on the three fingers for the elf’s hat, and used the end of the brush to make the pink cheeks, eyes, and nose. It says ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ in dot prints! With some little Christmas lights on the sides for decoration! Just have fun with it! If your baby is big enough, they can decorate them themselves for their Mimi’s and Pawpaw’s!

3. Christmas Tree Foot Mitt Craft

“Oh Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, How lovely are your tosies”. I love his little toes so much! I may be obsessed. This one is really adorable and can be extra crafty by adding glitter and other stuff! We went simple with a star on top and some little ornaments! But what I love about this craft is because it’s so easy on your money, you can buy extra and do different variations!

4. Snowman hand print craft

This one turned out so well! I just used some white paint to print it, drew on a hat, scarf, and carrot nose and a snowman it turned to be! “Snow Cute” was so cheesy but necessary! I had to use about three layers of white for it to be clear but it wasn’t too bad.

I truly love these so much! They were so cheap, so easy to do, and I have them forever! The thought of pulling these out every Christmas, even when his hand is too big to fit, just melts my heart and brings a tear to my eye. It really isn’t about perfection with homemade crafts, it’s about memories, and creating something that can stay in your homes forever.

I can’t wait to see what you do with your little ones! Please share with me so I can smile alongside with you! Happy homemaking!

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

Oven Baked BBQ Bacon Cheddar Chicken

Made this for dinner last night and my husband and I didn’t speak for 30 minutes. Not because we were angry. Because it was so delicious we literally could not stop eating it.

This oven baked bbq bacon cheddar chicken is everything you want in a family dinner dish. It’s easy to cook, easy to put together, and definitely easy to eat!

Even though it’s gluten free, you will feel a little guilty while eating it. You literally won’t be able to eat bbq chicken any other way!

BBQ BACON CHEDDAR CHICKEN

What you will need:

  • 1 lbs chicken breast or chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used a Mexican shredded cheese)
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce (sweet baby rays is my favorite)
  • 1/4 cup diced bacon (freshly cooked or real bacon bits will work)
  • 3 stalks of green onion (topping)
  • Ranch dressing (drizzled for a topping; trust me)
  • Dry seasonings:

    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp cumin

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 425°F.

    Slice about 4 chicken breasts in half and place in cast iron skillet [You can use a casserole dish too but I love using the skillet for this].

    Sprinkle dry seasonings over chicken so that each one is well coated. Then rub bbq sauce over chicken with rubber spatula or brush, making sure each one is well coated.

    Sprinkle cheese over the top and bacon bits. Place in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes [depending on how your oven cooks; ours was done around 25-26 minutes].

    Once finished, serve with chopped green onions and a drizzle of ranch!

    I served my bbq chicken with my delicious oven roasted potatoes and some southern green beans (which I will be sharing soon)! I hope y’all love it as much as my family does! Let me know what you think.

    Happy homemaking!!