Monday, March 5, 2018

Motherhood Made Me A Seed.

It's early on a Monday morning. I'm drinking coffee and reading my Bible and preparing to jump into another school week. I'm dragging a little. 

"...unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. She who loves her life loses it; and she who hates her life in this world will keep it to life eternal." -Jesus, John 12:24-25 (pronouns changed) 

I've read this verse 437 times BUT TODAY, IT WAS DIFFERENT. I read it through the window of Motherhood. And the I immediate journaled and pray/cried about it. 

If there is anything in this entire universe that will teach you about self sacrifice- it's Motherhood. 
Priorities? Motherhood. 
Dry shampoo? Motherhood. 
Mind-numbing exhaustion? Motherhood.
Eternity? Motherhood. 

Y'all, I've got to tell you- I have a selfish heart sometimes. I get tired and cranky and moody and hangry and just plain ol' mean. I don't like to be interrupted. I don't always like to be touched or hanged on or hugged. (Ouch. That's harsh. Don't judge.) 

Sometimes I just want to put my earbuds in, turn on The Greatest Showman's soundtrack and clock out for half an hour while I fold a trillion towels and socks and tshirts I know nobody wore but were too lazy to put away so we're just dumped into the dirty clothes hamper. Looooooovely. 

The kids fight and I don't want to break it up. I don't care who took the Nerf gun, I JUST WANT TO FINISH MY COFFEE. Someone tells me a white lie about who ate the last banana and I want to blow it off because I'm busy researching capsule wardrobes on Pinterest. The latest round of Blanket Fort turned into a MMA match and now two of the three kids are crying. I don't want to get involved, I just want to holler at all the little people, send everyone to their beds while I finish the chapter of my book I was too engrossed in to notice when things were getting out of hand. 

But if I don't get involved, if I don't let go of what I want to be doing and take care of what needs to be done instead- what kind of wild oats am I going to have harvest? Because you see that's the thing about Motherhood- the fruit you grow lasts for eternity. 

I'm not a seed, alone and by myself anymore. I've got a garden of souls to tend to. I've got to die to myself and bury my days in caring for them. Raising them. Molding their hearts and pointing their souls towards a reliance and relationship with Him, The Master Gardener. When I cast aside my selfish desires, when I die to the pleasures and distractions of this earthly life and focus on the eternal work that He's given me, He will give me an amazing harvest to glean. 

And I really needed that encouragement today. 

What verses encourage you in your walk? I'd love for you to share them with me! 
And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

My Prayer For A New Year.

God, thank You for this bright and cold and clear day. 
You have begun a new year with a crisp, clean slate and it is a treasure. 

I look back at last year's beginning and I see how different our lives are- and I recognize that in 364 short days it will be different yet again. Help me to be better for this year's experiences. 

May the new year find me closer to You, closer to Matt, closer to my family. 
 To be a better wife and friend and follower of You. To be a better teacher for the kids. 

I don't know what plans You have made for us this year- walk us through them. Use whatever waits for us to bring us closer to You. Closer to each other. Don't let it push us apart. Defend us from attacks. 

Bless us with growth and good health and safety. 

Let us become more wise in Your ways and more foolish in the world. 

Help me strengthen myself so I can strengthen my family. Give me Comfort and Security and Confidence from abiding in Your shadow this year. 

Bless my humble efforts with fruit that You will multiply. Hold me close to You.  
In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Fighting My Inner Scrooge

How are you? 

Has Christmas' approach found you stressed out and frazzled and maybe a teensy bit discouraged? Are you struggling to find joy and peace and the holly jolly, HoHoHo-ness of the season? ASK ME HOW I KNOW. 

Sometimes the end of the year drains me, too. I'm running around trying to find last minute gifts and shipping delays are giving me tension headaches and so help me- IF I FORGET TO MOVE THAT ELF ONE MORE TIME...

It's easy for me to slip into the Spiritual Doldrums when things get overwhelming. I've got an overflowing plate of responsibilities. I wake up with my mind automatically ticking around items on my To Do List. Taking 20 minutes to sit at His feet, to read His Word and to ask Him to order my day feels impossible. 

But I do it anyway. 

I may grumble to myself and rub my burning eyes as I pour my coffee, but as I grab a blanket and a pen and open my Bible- His peace restores me. I read through scripture and it's like a calm settles in my spirit. (I can't say it lasts forever- especially when the kids wake up and find that the elf hasn't moved. Again.) But even for a brief window of my day- things are right. And I can hold onto that as I refresh my email tracking packages or when I'm calculating exactly how many more Math lessons we need to get through before Christmas or when the tears are shed over sharing the last homemade sugar cookie. 

I read Romans 6 this morning. IT WAS THE MOST ENCOURAGING CHAPTER. If you're fighting the urge to dramatically throw your cup of eggnog against the wall in a fit of Seasonal Affective Angst- listen to Paul's words. I'm sure they'll be as uplifting to you as they were to me. 

Merry Christmas, y'all!

And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Hymn To A Worthy Woman: Proverbs 31

Last month, I blogged along with y'all as we studied one chapter of Proverbs each day for the month. It was such a good exercise for me to sit down and write each day about what God was using His Word to teach me. 

But there are only 30 days in November. That leaves us one chapter short of finishing Proverbs. Well, that ain't gonna happen. Proverbs 31 is SOLID GOLD so let's do this. 

"Give her the product of her hands, 
And let her works praise her in the gates."
Proverbs 31:31

Ok, so BUT FOR REAL- this last verse of the last chapter of Proverbs both excites and petrifies me because y'all- it is 100% fact. In my life, the things I focus on, the time and effort I put into things, the areas I give highest priority are going to be my fruit bearers. For better or worse, for elation or embarrassment, whatever I have chosen to devote my time and energy and entertainment to- PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SEE IT AND KNOW WHAT IS UP IN MY LIFE. 

If I've let my kids slack off in the Discipline Department, I'm going to have some wild oats to harvest in the grocery store or at church or when I'm trying to stand in line at the post office. Bleurg. My works will be "praising me in the gates" while I shop IN THE MALL, WITH MY KIDS, LESS THAN THREE WEEKS UNTIL CHRISTMAS if I haven't been striving to refine my heart and focus on humility or having more self control. My neck vein will start bulging, I'll get that classic TMJ jaw-clench going and before I know it, I'll have a tension headache and will have unknowingly inhaled an entire Great American Cookie Company shelf in an attempt to self medicate. Not good, bless my heart. 

But on the other hand, if I HAVE been working to point our hearts toward Him- you'll be able to see that, too. You'll see my kids reaching out, talking with some of our elderly church members and bringing them notes and cards they've drawn. You'll watch them play nicely with their friends and siblings while maybe only one tear is shed instead of seventeen. You'll see me roll with the punches when my To Do list is taller than I am and every check out line is stretching to the back of the store. I MAY EVEN HAVE A SMILE ON MY FACE. It will be shocking. 

Our hearts will put out what we put into them. This verse encourages me to fuel it with Him. 

Have a Christ-filled day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by for one last chapter~ Katie. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 30th

November 30, 2017
Proverbs 30: The Wonder and Power of God

"Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:
Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
That I not be full and deny You and say "Who is the Lord?"
Or that I not be in want and steal, 
And profane the name of my God."
Proverbs 30: 7-9

Go and grab an ink pen or a hi-lighter or one of your kid's broken crayons. Open your Bible- your real life, paper paged Bible and underline these verses. Put a gigantic bubbly circle around them. Star the numbers. Do something to mark their place so that when you open Proverbs 30, these bad boys jump off the page into your brain. 

That's how much I love these words. 

I think comparison and discontent are a few of Satan's favorite tools. They cripple us. They poison our hearts by sewing seeds of bitterness and envy. They keep us from using what we've been given today because we're too focused on what we want to have tomorrow. 

And that's powerful stuff.  

I remember having to check my own attitude a few years ago. A friend of mine was in a different life season than I was because her kids were nearly a dozen years older than mine. I'd call her at 9:07am and her house would be as quiet as a tomb. Mine sounded like feeding time at the zoo. She was able to open her home to friends for coffee and Bible studies. I would open mine to send the kids into the backyard so I could try and remove three days of dried jelly from my kitchen table. I'd talk to her, see her calm and quiet life and I'd have to seriously check my heart for discontent.

But that's not being fed with my portion. That's trying to be fed with hers. 

And it's not just about kids. How do you feel when your friends move into a new house? Or when they get a bigger vehicle? Or talk about their husband's Christmas bonuses? How does your heart react when you see someone else doing things you wished your life allowed at the moment? There's danger in that kind of comparative thinking. There's safety in finding your own place between poverty and riches. 

I can still give with what I have. I can look at the place God has me now and focus on the areas I have been blessed with today. I can look at what He has given me as MY portion and find ways I can use that for Him. It won't look like anyone else's and I've got to be content with that. And as long as I'm not fixating on what others have that I don't- I'll be able to use my energy on the right things. 

These verses remind me to turn my focus inward and recognize how amazing my life is, no matter what season I'm in. I hope it encourages you to do the same. 

Have a Christ-filled day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 29th

November 29, 2017
Proverbs 29: Parent Diligently 

"Correct your son, and he will give you comfort;
He will also delight your soul."
Proverbs 29:17

I love my kids. But I don't always like them. ::gasp:: 

Sometimes, y'all- they get on my LAST NERVE. They whine or they fight or they shoot Nerf bullets into my brand new, undecorated Christmas tree. They never flush toilets. They can grind one animal cracker into the floor of three separate rooms. They break stuff. I don't know why I buy them markers because they never put the caps back on them. They eat a single bite of every apple in our produce drawer. 

Spoiler alert: THEY ARE KIDS. Being immature and acting immature is what they do. They aren't 19 years old yet, and its not fair for me to want them to behave like a young adult because they aren't.

 BUT WITH THAT SAID- you better believe I have expectations of behavior for them. They're capable of sitting quietly in a church pew. Of singing with the congregation. Coming when they're called. Putting their clothes/toys/crusty markers away. Eating a green vegetable. Keeping 85% of their tub water INSIDE THE TUB. Playing nicely. Taking turns. Sharing. Using loving words. Not using ugly words. Finishing their school work. Emptying trash cans. Wiping tables. Wearing pants. (Bless it.)

I can always tell when I've started to slack off in the Parenting/Discipline Department. It's usually when I find myself irritated and constantly clenching my jaw. A good, ol' TMJ flare up is a sure sign that I'm stressed. And when the kids are stressing me out, there's usually (almost always) a lack of consistent discipline from me that's playing a part in their negative behavior. 

This verse reminds me that when I Barney Fife them and "nip it in the bud", everyone's lives run more smoothly. They thrive better knowing I'm enforcing consistent boundaries and I don't get a tension headache while they body surf through the empty church foyer after Ladies Bible Class dismisses. It's a win/win for us all and Solomon knew it. 

I'm glad for his encouraging reminder this morning. And I hope it encourages you in your parenting endeavors, too.

Have a Christ-filled day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 28th

November 28, 2017
Proverbs 28: Don't Desert God's Law

"The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion." 
Proverbs 28:1

REAL TALK: I have not felt confident lately. I'm fully blaming the sugar/carb combo from the Thanksgiving weekend for putting me in my funk. Or maybe it's hormones. Or my bad hair day. Or the moon. Low tide? High tide? It's gotta be something. 

But regardless of what put me here- I've had to do some serious searching to mentally get myself out of it today. Honestly, it's been about 93% effective. (The kids aren't asleep yet and I'm fighting the urge to bust up in their rooms and lay the Heavy Hammer of Doom on some rear ends. So yeah, I'm still a work in progress tonight.) I've prayer journaled it. I've had a text-therapy session. I've word vomited it all on my husband, bless his heart. I've drowned myself in coffee and Skinny Chocolate. I've vegged out with the kids while they watched Polar Express. 

I'm still not myself, but I'm light years better than I was this morning. I believe that's because I've taken the time today, despite how I'm feeling, to make the choice to follow the righteous path.

I've put myself in The Word. 
I've laid it bare in prayer. 
I've sought Godly encouragement from a friend that points me to His comfort. 
I've opened up all my ugliness and feelings and words to my husband- the person who, despite my insanity, still chooses to love me. 
I've embraced self care. 
I've found joy in small pleasures. 
I've reserved my energy. Instead of running errands that could have been run, I recognized how thin I was stretching myself and made a conscious decision to stay home and stress less. We might not have bananas for breakfast tomorrow morning, but the kids also didn't have to listen to me holler at them in the car on the way to WalMart. WORTH IT.  

This verse reminds me to seek out my confidence from Him, even on days like today when all I really feel like is a busted can of biscuits. So if you ever find yourself fighting to choose what's right and righteous over how you're currently feeling- remember this verse. I hope it encourages you as much as it does me. 

And thanks for stopping by~ Katie.