A New Season

IMG00138Hi friends! Long time no words from me to you. Life has been full and much has happened since we last connected.

School is back in session for us as of last week. This means less writing time as I homeschool our two boys ages 8 and 10.

I’ve also been spending lots of time in the kitchen trying new recipes since our family began a clean eating lifestyle in the past three months. It’s been interesting and fun, but also time consuming to cook from natural sources. I’m learning so much and am incorporating cooking into our school schedule so the boys can help while learning a life skill. Their future spouses will appreciate it :).

Old Faithful, our 2001 Odyssey made history last week as she pushed past 200,000+ miles. She squeaks and squeals but she’s still getting us from here to there. We hope to keep her for at least another 50,000 miles or until God gives us a different vehicle. He owns everything so we’re trusting he will give us what we need when we need it.

By mid September my dad and stepmom will be leaving us after almost a year. They’re not anticipating coming back to us in the immediate future but only God knows specific details. It will be strange not having them in our home but I suspect it will be a welcoming change to have free use of the entire house again :).

As for writing, my focus will be helping tweens, teens, and young women navigate life by turning to God for answers. I love the next generation and want to see them succeed in life by passing on what I’ve learned from the Lord. For the time being, Memoirs will be available for viewing but new writings will be penned on God’s Real Girls site.

Thank you for your support and encouragement throughout our time together. My new blog for young women, God’s Real Girls is nearly ready. Please feel free to check it out by the end of this week and share it with young girls and women you think may benefit from it.

“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

God says there is a time for everything. We don’t have to be ready to move on to God’s next for us. We just have to be willing and he’ll get us there. One way or another.

 

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Broken to Breakthrough

KODAK Digital Still CameraI captured this photo last week going over the Delaware bridge on our way to visit family in New Jersey. This picture came to mind in the wee hours today when I awoke several times to God telling me, “Breakthrough comes when you are broken before me.”

God often relay his instructions to me through dreams so I wondered what he was trying to tell me this time. As I spent time reading His Word this morning, God gave clarity to the words he had repeated to me in my slumber.

The book of Job 33 in the Bible says, God speaks in dreams and visions to open our ears and seal instructions on our hearts. He does this so we will turn from our sinful deeds. He wants to keep our souls from the pit and our life from perishing. God wants us to be enlightened with his light of life as we experience breakthrough from self-driven, self-directed ways.

God spoke this to me because He knows I’ve been working towards a breakthrough!

You see, breakthrough needs to continually happen in every area of our life or we stop growing into our best self. Then we won’t be productive and effective in our service to God and humanity.

Being broken before God means we humble ourselves to repent from our way of doing. We ask God to show us his way to break through habits and appetites which will lead to the pit of destruction. This is where I am. Broken before God because I want and need a breakthrough from God-given appetites which have been perverted by selfish desires and ambition.

Whatever breakthrough you are awaiting, it is not beyond reach. God sent His Son, Jesus to be the bridge connecting you to your breakthrough. All that’s required is a willingness to admit you can’t do it on your own, that you need His help. And Breakthrough is yours. Do it today and start your weekend, next week, next month, the rest of your life, on the right path!

Breakthrough comes when we are broken before God. It requires humility and repentance. To get to our breakthrough, we must be willing to give up our pride and let go of control in order to experience the freedom and enjoyment God has waiting for us.

What sin do you need to be broken over in order for God to bring you to your breakthrough? Why wait? Come to God. Come broken. Spill your heart. He already knows what’s in there. He will bring you to your breakthrough and set you free to enjoy the life he’s given you 🤗.

Posted in Authenticity, Breakthrough, Change, Christian Living, Daily Life, Fear, Freedom, Growth & Maturity | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning to Love My Dad

20180618_154548I wanted to write a nice piece for Father’s Day to honor my dad. After all, I am a Christ follower and it’s what I’m supposed to do. Except I couldn’t pull it off. I’ve always written from an honest place, so I have to stay true to how God has called me to write.

The truth is, my relationship with dad is not how I want it to be. We don’t talk much, even though he lives with our family. He hasn’t been what my four siblings and I needed in a father. But I’ve come a long way to the place of forgiving him. I’ve learned to love him in spite of his faults.

Over the years my dad’s harsh words and conditional love has not been discriminatory. He has treated all his kids the same. In his mind, we are big disappointments because we have not made him proud in our work and we have not taken care of him the way he thinks we should. Compared to other people’s kids, we have not been loyal and grateful for all he has done for us. To sum it up, we have failed him.

Even with all this said, I have learned to love my dad. I don’t like and agree with how he treats us, but I choose to love him anyway. I do it because my Heavenly Father commands me to love. As a child of God, I am to imitate him and live a life of love (Ephesians 5:1-2) in following the example of Christ. In loving my dad, I am doing what God would do. I love my dad in spite of his faults because God loves me in spite of my faults. And I can only love in this manner by the resurrection power of Christ living in me!

Now, is it easy to love a dad or anyone who treats you poorly and doesn’t realize they need to change for the better? You bet it is! Loving my dad is an impossible thing to do on my own. When I recall his hurtful words and how he insists on his own way, the last thing I want to do is show him love. The weak human part of me wants to return the hurts he’s dished out. Yet, the Spirit of God living in me fights against my flesh, reminding me to act differently. He reminds me to treat my dad how I want to be treated, as Jesus taught in Matthew 7:12.  When I wrong others I want forgiveness, grace, and do-overs. So, I should do the same for my dad when he wrongs me.

I can love my dad because God first loved me. When I don’t feel like loving him or feel I don’t have what it takes to love him, I can borrow God’s love with which to love my dad. If God can love me with all my faults and failures, how can I not love my dad?

My dad is an imperfect human like me. He has weaknesses and failures like me. God loves him as much as he loves me. The more I get to know God and love him, the more and better I love my dad. I can love him not because he has changed his ways, but because God has changed me. God has soften my heart and given me wisdom, understanding, and compassion to see my dad the way He sees him.

You see, my dad is a by-product of his family environment and culture. He parents how he was parented. He loves how he was loved. Since he doesn’t see the error and harm of his parents’ way of parenting, he never changed the practices he learned from them. And more importantly, he is a man who is living without the guidance of the Heavenly Father. He is the master of himself and the leader of his own life. He does not know how to love unconditionally because he does not know God, who is love (1 John 4:8).

I’m not excusing my dad’s actions, but knowing about his family upbringing has helped me to understand his methods and to have compassion for him. I no longer resent him for wounding me because I understand how he fathered from a place of brokenness himself, and he didn’t know it.

As for him changing his ways, I pray he will one day soon. But I won’t allow his stubbornness and oblivion to the need for change interfere with my love for him. Doing so would mean I have the same conditional love for my dad as he does for me and my siblings. And it would make me a hypocrite in regards to Jesus’ teachings of love. If I treat my dad the way he treats me, I’d be repeating the sins of the generations in his family. My kids would learn the same from me and their kids from them and the unhealthy patterns of parenting would spread to even more generations. This, I will not accept.

So, with the help of my Heavenly Father, I will love my dad unconditionally regardless of how he loves me. It’s what I’ve learned from my Father, God. And I shall love no other way. I want to break the generational sin of dysfunctional parenting in our family and begin the practice of parenting with God’s love for all future generations in our family and beyond.

 

Posted in Change, Christian Living, Daily Life, Family, Growth & Maturity, Love, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Path of Least Resistance

KODAK Digital Still Camera

 

“If you keep doing the same thing and it’s not working, why would you keep at it? It will cause frustration, discouragement, and eventually you’ll believe you’re a failure because you can’t seem to get anything right in your life. Perhaps, God has a different way but you are unwilling to accept it. You refuse his way because you’ve always done things your way and insist on continuing in the same direction even though nothing is working as you intended.”

This was my recent encouragement to a family member who is struggling and has struggled with severe health issues stemming from stress. Little did I know these are the exact words I needed to hear right now. God gave me these words to encourage, but he is using it to help me as well.

You see, I’ve been writing and teaching my sons in the way I think will work. Except it has caused frustrations, confusion, and restlessness in me. Even worse, it makes me want to quit everything because nothing is working out as I had envisioned!

Choking up with weeping, this family member admitted to being tired. Tired of fighting. Tired of having ongoing health issues, one after another. Tired of worrying. Tired of being self-dependent. Tired of trying to keep everything in order. My loved one has come to the end of their stubborn way. And it is a very good thing. Because now, they are wanting to know God’s way since doing things their way is wreaking havoc on their body, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

I can’t criticize because I’ve been doing the same under the disguise of following God. I’m tired too. Tired of striving to prove myself a worthy a writer and using conventional ways to pursue my passion. I’m tired of teaching my boys using traditional methods that isn’t productive and produces frustrations. Mostly, I’m tired of doing things my way when I know God’s way works!

Being a control nut, I can be stubborn. I often choose my own way until it doesn’t work. Then I want to give up. I lose hope, thinking I can’t accomplish the work God has given me to do. I go back to the lies of my youth, believing I am a failure and I can’t get anything right. Yet, I will keep doing things the same way. It’s a deadly cycle.

I suspect I’m not alone, that this way of thinking and doing is a part of the human condition.

We want to take the way of least resistance to our own way of doing things and most resistant to God’s way. Our way makes sense to us. We think it will work because we’ve planned it and can understand it. Unfortunately, we don’t know everything and we can’t see into the future. We can’t see how our decisions today will affect the rest of our lives. But God does, because he knows everything and can see what is ahead.

God loves us and wants the best for us. He wants us to take his way so we don’t have to stress in trying to figure things out on our own. He made our intricate bodies and knows stress makes us sick, so we aren’t able to function at our best for ourselves or anyone. This is why he wants to direct us onto his path. For His way is always right and his plans are for our good, not harm. God wants us well and whole for our benefit.

If we keep going the same way, doing the same thing and do not have peace but keep hitting roadblocks, it’s time to give in to God’s way. Ask him what to do. He’ll show you!

Giving in to God is no easy feat. The first step is the hardest. We will resist because it is in our rebellious humanness to do so. Only by God’s power are we able to yield to his way. But even difficult things can be accomplished with prayer and practice.

So I pray for my family member to accept God’s plan over theirs. And this is my prayer for myself and you who are feeling the frustration, discouragement, and confusion of taking your path of least resistance instead of taking God’s way.

Do not be afraid or dismayed as you seek to follow God’s way. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. You will not need to fight this battle. Position yourself. Stand still. God promises to be with you when you seek him. Do not fear or be dismayed. The Lord is with you. He has the power to help overthrow our stubborn resistance to his good and prosperous way.

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Mommy Guilt

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I’ve been feeling the weight of it recently. Mommy guilt. Those feelings of not ever doing enough and being all you think you ought to be for your kids. And consequently, you feel guilty taking time or doing anything for yourself.

When my boys were babies and toddlers, I had a bad case of mommy guilt. It subsided for a few years. But in the past few months, pangs of guilt has resurfaced. So, I’ve been asking God to show me why mommy guilt is making a comeback. And he has revealed some things.

As a homeschool mom, I’m with my sons from sunrise to sunset and beyond. Yet, I still feel as though I’m not spending enough time with them. Maybe it’s because I spend more time being teacher than mom. School ends and mommy guilt begins. I am torn between having some “me” time versus actual play time with the boys. It’s a constant tug of war between doing for them and doing for me. I thought I was balancing both well. Lately, I’ve questioned whether I’m focusing more time on me and not enough time with my boys.

Why do I feel guilty taking time for myself when I’ve been teaching and mothering most of my waking hours? Should I feel guilty? What is causing these feelings of guilt?

One word sums up the reason for my mommy guilt. Insecurity. When I forget who and whose I am, I become insecure and begin to compare myself to other moms. And comparison is a losing battle. Every time I compare myself, my work, my family, my stuff, or my life with another, I lose out to guilt. Guilt pressure causes me to believe I should be doing or being more of this and less of that. Yet, it is hard not to compare when everyone’s life is on display 24/7 on every social media outlet :(.

The more I scroll through Instagram and Facebook, the more I find myself comparing, competing, and coveting. Most of the time, I take part in the comparison game without even realizing it, until guilt consumes me. It is a subtle and dangerous trap.

But, I don’t have to give in to guilt when I remember who and whose I am. I am a daughter of God. I have his imprint in me because he designed me uniquely. Therefore, I don’t have to compare myself with another mom. I am wired specifically for my children and God teaches me how to be their mom. I fail daily, but God extends his grace and forgiveness. He gives me a fresh start every day to do a little better than I did yesterday. With him by my side, failures are turned into teachable moments. My boys get to see an imperfect mom who needs God and relies on him for every, little, single thing.

Yes, mommy guilt is real and it may always be present. But, I don’t have to believe its lies and act on what it tells me. I can ask God to help me be the best mom for my kids. Limiting exposure to social media or anything that may trigger guilt is crucial. And I must remember to listen for God’s instructions in the Bible, instead of following the masses. For he made me and my kids. He knows how we fit together. In His strength and by his power, I can squash the pangs of mommy guilt when it arises and stop the comparison game before it begins.

Here’s a habit I am practicing to tackle mommy guilt. I hope it helps you as well. The next time guilt sneaks in, pay careful attention to the work of nurturing your children. Refuse to compare yourself and your kids to anyone. Instead, use the comparison energy towards your children and pour your best effort, time, and love into them. Then, you won’t feel the need to compare yourself to others and think you should do or be more. You’ll have the satisfaction of a job well done to the best of your ability, with God’s help.

Keep at it mommas! Don’t let guilt rob the joy and peace from your mothering days. God is your help! With him by your side, you will have all you need to do the best for your kids and to grow into your best self for them. And he’ll help you make time to do a few things for yourself, without mommy guilt pestering you :).

Posted in Daily Life, Family, Growth & Maturity, Motherhood, Parenting, Self-care, Wellness | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Rising Above Murky Waters

In murky waters is where we discover God is real and whether we have been relying on him or self.20180504_120245

Don’t let circumstances determine your outlook and dictate how you feel about yourself.

Do use your circumstances as opportunities to look for God and ask him what’s going on. Then you will see how he is growing a more beautiful and genuine you, for the benefit of his world.

Put your hope and trust in Jesus. He will give you a true perspective of your situation and a correct view of yourself.

Things will not be as they are forever. You, God’s special treasure, are of great value to him.

Don’t trust how you feel. Acknowledge your feelings because they are real. But don’t dwell on them or you will head into deep waters of despair and your faith will drown in self-pity.

Murky waters will come. We can sink under it or choose to rise above it. But know this. God is real. He hears our cries. He does care. He is doing something right now to pull us out.

Give yourself permission to rest in his care. Accept the process God is growing you through. Stop relying on self and expecting your outcome. Start trusting confidently in the God who made you and knows how to help you through the waters of life.

God is always working for our good. We can’t understand his way of doing things. But, His outcome for us will definitely be more spectacular than we can imagine possible!

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Waiting With God

Untitled design (1)Isaiah 30:18 – The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show compassion. The Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

 

Waiting is a lonely place. It can feel as though God has abandoned you.

I pray and wait. And wait. And wait. I know God hears. I just question why he doesn’t answer (at least in the way I expect). It’s hard when you know God is able and willing to give you what you ask, yet he allows you to wait.

One thing which helps during my wait is to remember all God has done for me in the past. It reminds me how he does care for me regardless of how discouragement messes with mind.

I reflect on how God continues to take care of our family on one income and has done so for over ten years. Just last year he protected trees from falling on the house during our first tornado encounter. Over the years, jumping deer, flying ladders, and loose tires didn’t plunge us into deadly accidents because God’s angels shielded us. I can’t forget how God gave us two healthy boys after a horrendous miscarriage and a season of barrenness. Perhaps, the longest wait was for God to make a way for my husband and our whole family to be part of a generous family who genuinely cares about people. After working many years of taxing hours at the expense of his marriage and family, hubby’s job at Chick-fil-A is truly a gift from our good Heavenly Father. And, I can’t leave out how God has rescued our marriage. More than once.

I could go on, but you get the idea. God didn’t abandon me in any of my past troubles, small or big. And I trust He will never forsake me even if it feels like it at times. I trust God’s character and record, not my feelings.

Waiting is a lonely place, but it forces us to face our human limitations. Our frustrations during the wait comes from the reality that we can’t see what’s coming and we aren’t in control of anything at all. We realize how powerless we are without God’s help.

It is in the waiting that God reveals himself to us. He grows our dependence on him, helps us to better understand other people’s struggles, and puts in us the desire to help those who are hurting.

While waiting with God through the years, I’ve learned he is a Father who protects me from hopelessness, a friend who never leaves me to deal with my questions alone, and a counselor who gives me wisdom to get through the wait. Our relationship is tight now because I’ve had to wait for answers to my problems. As I wait with God, He continues to grow me up.

If you’re like me, you are continually waiting for something. I suspect we will never stop waiting in this life. So, it would be wise to learn how to wait without being anxious and losing hope. The only way I’ve been able to wait with hope and not be overwhelmed by discouragement is to rely on God.

Being intimately connected to God gives us the power to wait with hope because we experience his presence waiting with us. He gives us an inner peace we can’t explain or deny. We’re able to remain calm and we keep going to him with our requests no matter how long we have to wait.

Jesus knew we’d get impatient in the wait. So he encourages us in Luke, chapter 18, to always pray and never give up. He hears as we cry out to him day and night. He is a just God. He won’t keep putting us off. Be strong and have courage! Wait for the Lord!

Yes, wait for the Lord! He will act for you!

 

Posted in Christian Living, faith, Growth & Maturity, Prayer Life, Suffering | 2 Comments