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!

I’m Tired: A Mommy Monologue

I’m laying in the bath, candle lit, writing this with tears in my eyes. Nothing “big” or “bad” happened today. It was a normal day of waking up early, diaper changes, bottle feedings, two baths, exploration of new foods, messy high chairs, laundry, toys scattered everywhere, new discoveries, chasing a hyper boy around, teething, falling down, laundry, cooking, cleaning… the list goes on and on.

That’s what a usual day looks like here at the Richards’ house but today I am just…. tired. I feel at my end and my limit. I feel like I have said nothing else today but “No no John,” “Don’t do that, John” “Come here baby” “Please don’t hit” “Don’t throw your food” “Don’tdrink the bath water”. So many NOs and not a lot of YAYs. As I got him ready for bed I just was so ready for him to be asleep so I can enjoy a minute of quiet.

And then overwhelming guilt hits me like a punch in the gut because I realized all day I haven’t got to enjoy John because I feel like I have had to discipline and parent. Instead of giggles and cuddles, today was a bunch of pitching fits and yelling. It doesn’t help that I was reminiscing all of his newborn pictures and videos last night either; making me miss those days of hectic quiet, coos, and soft cuddles.

Parenting is not easy. It is a never ending battle of wanting to slow time down and soak in every moment to please let this day hurry so I can enjoy some peace and quiet.

Time has moved so quickly lately. John is almost 10 months old and my heart is breaking. There really isn’t a point to my post except just to share what I’m feeling, which is raw feelings of sadness, exhaustion, immense love and joy, all at the same time.

But I think that’s what motherhood is; high elation and low valleys. Tears and laughs, smiles and frowns, yelling and praising. I know there will be more days like today; where I feel more like the principle from Matilda (bun included) than the teacher who comes in and saves the day with sunshine and giggles.

But that’s okay, because I wanted this and I love this. And its also okay to be exhausted and tired and frustrated in the midst of all that you wanted. Sometimes we feel so pressured to not seem “ungrateful” that we go along steaming up inside until we boil over.

You’re allowed to feel emotions, you’re allowed to miss the times when it was just you and you could do whatever you wanted, you’re allowed to crave solitude and maybe even a vacation where it’s just you, a beach, and a bible. When we strive to fit this perfect “mom” picture, the instagram mom, who always seems to have it together and enjoy every second of motherhood, then we find ourselves trying to fit a triangle into an oval; it’s impossible (yes, even my analogies now involve baby toys).

So, I just wanted to share with you mamas (and daddys) out there that, I am so tired. And I feel like poo for yelling today a lot. And I’m crying in the bath tub, simultaneously enjoying my quiet and fighting the urge to go wake the baby up for cuddles and kisses.

And I want to encourage you in this season, that you’re not alone. And God sees what you do for your family every day. And God sees your grateful heart thats just a little weary at the moment. And God wants to take away the shame that’s trying to tell you you’re not good enough for your family. And God wants to wrap you in His arms and tell you everything is alright and a new day starts tomorrow. And God wants to let you know He can carry you through the tough days as much as He’s present in the beautiful days. I want to encourage you to take a breath, start again, and truly try and savor these moments.

Parenting is hard. Motherhood is hard. Humaning is hard. But life is beautiful, messy, and amazing. So if you are like me, in the tub exhausted, tired, crying, and guilty. Stop it. Breath in. Pray for strength. And smile at this crazy, silly, beautiful life God has picked for us to live. Love you guys. Happy homemaking!

#Momfail: Sleep Training is Hard

So yeah. I just need to talk and vent about my frustrations lately. Baby John is about 8 and a half months old. He is what I call a “random sleeper”. He sleeps through the night for a little bit just to get my hopes up, and then he wakes up 3 times in one night, just to throw me off his scent.

Lately I have been doing the thing all of us mom’s are vulnerable to… comparison. I saw a friend post about her 3 month old baby “sleeping through the night” and I just got frustrated. I was tempted with the usual thoughts: “Am I doing something wrong?” “She’s a better mom than I am.” “What if something is wrong with John?” And you get it. All of the usual thoughts.

So I went to researching all of the sleep training methods. Ferber method, cry-it-out method, and the chair method. I rock John to sleep for his naps and bedtime and I enjoy it very much. But I don’t enjoy it in the middle of the night so much. So last night I decided to start sleep training. I chose the chair method which is essentially sitting next to the crib as baby learns to fall asleep on his own and then gradually moving the chair further and further away each night.

So I fed him, got him drowsy, and laid him in his crib, thinking he would go to sleep and everything would be awesome. However, he instead goes from almost asleep to full out crack addict kicking his legs, squeeling, crawling to his mobile, standing up and “talking”. So, as the directions stated, I laid him back down and said, “It’s time for bed. Shhhh.” And sat back down. He then continues to act like I gave him an entire can of coke prior to bed. I tried and tried again and completely failed. Didn’t even get close.

I sat back in the rocker frustrated and he went to sleep. This post is not about sleep training (maybe I will learn something and be successful and I will share it later). What it is about is the comparison trap I fell into. Part of me wasn’t even ready yet to stop rocking John to sleep because I love that moment at night when his eyes are drifting and he curls my hair around his finger or touches my face gently with his hand. But because of comparison I tried to force him and myself into something we weren’t ready for.

So we will try again when we are ready. And I will enjoy the season I am in now to the best of my ability. Because one day he will be too big to rock to sleep. His legs will hang down to my knees and he will want to stretch out in his bed alone. One day he will want to sleepover at his cousins and I will be at home missing him. One day his bedroom will be empty as he is away at college or married and moved out.

Sleep will come again. A clean floor will be in the future. But all I have is now with my baby. So I’m going to enjoy rocking him to sleep and cuddling him in the night. I’m going to cherish my messy floor and sticky table. And I’m going to hug a little harder and be still a little longer.

So if you are being tempted to compare yourself with other mamas or daddys, just stop. Breathe. And remember what you have and be thankful. Happy homemaking!

What it Means to have a Miscarriage

This post may be hard for many to read, but I realized that not many people talk about this subject. Not nearly enough women share their stories with others, their struggles, grief, tears. For such a heavy weight, we seem to feel like we always have to carry it alone. Is it shame? Guilt? Fear?

I’m not sure why we don’t discuss miscarriage. But I feel it heavily on my heart to talk about. I promised to talk about the real, the bad, and the ugly. Here is the real.

I remember when I found out I was pregnant. I was in the Walmart bathroom because I couldn’t wait to find out. That line showed up and my heart leapt for joy! I headed straight to Babies’r’us with the little bit of break I had left to buy a onesie and gift for my husband to surprise him with! Father’s day was approaching in a month and I decided what better thing to do then buy a “#1 dad” shirt.

When I told him, we shared a hug in joy and immediately had to go and tell our families. We couldn’t wait to share the news! We hadn’t been planning a baby, but we sure were so joyous to know such a blessing was coming. The next month passed uneventfully. My morning sickness dissipated pretty quickly; I thought I was just lucky.

That Father’s day weekend is when it happened. I remember we were discussing buying a home because we wanted to have extra room for the baby. We went to Home Depot and my back was hurting so bad. Having past sciatica pain, I didn’t think much of it. The next morning I went to get groceries by myself so I could spend the rest of the day with my husband. When I got home, I spotted for the first time. It was only light pink. I immediately texted my sister and mom to make sure it was okay. “Well, as long as it isn’t red and clotting, you should be fine.”

My heart was in my stomach, I knew something wasn’t right but I had hope. I prayed and texted my husband who immediately came home to be with me. We went on with our day, both carrying a heavy worry with us. That day the spotting continued. We went to see fireworks that night and I remember so badly wanting to enjoy the moment, but my heart was hovering over that little baby in my womb, trying to protect it while I could.

The next morning on Father’s day, I woke up to more spotting. And cramping. Each time I went to the bathroom I dreaded having to wipe. Fear gripped my heart but I had to have hope. I had to.

We went to dinner with my father and I had to run to the bathroom. My sister (a nurse) came with me, and saw the clotting when I wiped. I still remember her look, because although the words I heard were reassuring, the reality had set in for both of us. We left early and my body went into labor as I sat on my couch. I began to shake because I had never felt such pain in my entire life.

We hurried to the hospital and I felt like I was walking on air as I made my way into the waiting room. I had to tell the woman at the front desk why I was there, “I think I’m having a miscarriage”. I felt like someone else was speaking, but the words came out. As I stood up from the desk chair in the middle of the lobby I felt the gush of blood come out. It was running down my legs and getting all over the lobby. I began to shake.

They immediately got me back and every where I walked, blood followed. They wanted me to pee in a cup. It was only blood. I told the nurse I couldn’t do it. I wanted to throw up. There was so much blood in that bathroom, I even felt guilty and was apologizing to the nurse for the mess. Tears consumed me. I dare not look in the toilet but I did and I saw my baby. That still haunts me to this day.

When I went in my room my husband’s eyes met mine and he could only utter, “Oh God.” There was so much blood he didn’t know what to say or do.

What was really ironic was I was begging for pain to come back. Because after the gush, the pain stopped. And I knew what that meant but I didn’t want my mind to go there.

An interesting point about me and my husband is that we were both twins in the womb and both of our mothers lost our twins.

I remember sitting on that hospital bed, about to have my first ultrasound, hoping, begging, praying that there would be a baby. That maybe I lost a twin too. God please let there be a baby. In walks my ultrasound tech who just happened to be 8 months pregnant (that one hurt). She wheeled me into the room and it took me a while to get the guts to look at the screen. Empty.

Empty was a good word for how I felt in that moment. My first doctors appointment was supposed to be in two days. Instead it was going to be him having to make sure I was that word again: empty.

I can’t begin to tell you the grief that comes with a miscarriage. You only understand if you have been through it. There were no words, no scriptures, no prayers that helped. Every dream we had dreamed up, the names we had called out, the prayers we had prayed for that baby, all gone. I sat in my bathroom floor and weeped for weeks. Because what people don’t talk about is that you continue to bleed for weeks. You have to go to your doctor and “make sure” that you have completely passed your pregnancy.

How horrible it was to go to my first visit and see an empty womb. What was supposed to be a joyous day was a day of pure torture. I remember looking at my husband and asking, “why” as we stared at the screen. My doctor told me the usual. It is very common for first pregnancies to end in miscarriage. There’s nothing I could have done to stop it. It wasn’t my fault.

I wish that those words would have helped but I went home and felt, well, still empty. I had bought the baby some classic Winnie the pooh dolls because that was what the nursery was going to be. For the longest time I couldn’t pass the nursery without wanting to throw up. Those dolls just laid there in the bassinet my sister had let me borrow. Mocking me.

We got pregnant right away (unplanned). And John was born a month after our first baby was to be born. And I felt guilty for feeling happy, because without losing my baby, I wouldn’t have the baby I’m holding. It is such a weird moment of joy and grief mixed together. It is so hard to describe.

To have a miscarriage is not just to lose a baby. It’s to lose a whole life that you dream about when you see that line show up for the first time. It’s to grieve all of the kicks and somersaults in your belly. The cuddles, kisses, and hugs. A part of you and your spouse, gone.

It wasn’t just a pregnancy, it was my baby. I still grieve over my baby. That week I prayed begrudgingly to God, to at least let me know whether my baby was a girl or boy. That night I had a dream that I was holding a small baby in my hand that was sickly and grey. She was beautiful and looked like my husband. And in the dream tears ran down my face, as I said, “Her name is Grace.”

I woke up bawling my eyes out because although I was mad at God, He was good enough to let me see my baby girl, Grace. When I had John in the hospital, I thought of Grace. When he smiled at me for the first time, I thought of Grace. When I see baby girls, I think of my Grace.

When you have a miscarriage, there are many things to do and to not do. But I will leave you with the things I learned.

1. Let yourself grieve. Do not try and cut off what you feel too early. You lost a child, it’s okay to not be okay.

2. Let yourself feel ALL of the emotions. The anger, fear, sadness. I was so mad at God. I didn’t understand. “You let a drug addict have perfectly healthy babies and you take mine?!?” I yelled at Him. I was so angry and hurt. But in the midst of that pain I also knew He was the only place I could turn to. And I truly feel like He held me, like a Father holding a child who doesn’t understand pain quite yet.

3. Let yourself remember. When time passes and the grief gets a little less heavy, let yourself remember that baby. I think about Grace, and I let myself cry (as I am right now). I let myself think of her, in heaven, growing and maybe watching her parents attempt to raise her brother and thanking God she got a free pass (I say this with a smile).

If someone you know has gone through a miscarriage, please do not throw scripture at them. Please do not throw the trivial, “Everything happens for a reason”, “You will have more kids, don’t worry,” or the “It’s all in God’s timing.” Do not go there. You will only tear a deeper gash in an already deep wound. Just learn to be there in the midst of grief with another. Bring dinner, a hug, a comfy blanket. Don’t bring “wisdom” you know nothing about.

The most healing moment for me was when my mother in law came over. She sat next to me and with tears she simply said, “I know.” And she hugged me and I weeped.

The grief doesn’t ever go away but you get stronger to carry it. My mother still cries over her miscarriages 26 years later. Because they aren’t just “lost pregnancies”, they are lost children and it’s okay to say that. There feels like a stigma that because it was “too early” or you “never saw a heart beat” or “never held them” that it somehow discounts that you were once carrying life and now it’s gone.

So you grieve that baby, you remember that life, and you celebrate it. Because although that baby was here for just a little time, it’s life deserves to be celebrated and cherished.

If you are going through a miscarriage or have recently gone through one, just know that I love you and I know. Time passes, wounds heal, and you get stronger.

“Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

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!

#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