The other afternoon I was standing in line at Target and a cover of a magazine caught my eye. It boldly proclaimed "5 Steps to a Great Relationship." I am one of those people that follow a recipe line by line, so anything with steps I am eager to read. It got me thinking about the most important relationship in my life. Here are 5 steps for a great relationship with God.
1. Prayer. I have moved closer to God through prayer more than anything else. I try to talk to God every day, throughout the day. I like to feel Him with me all day. When I'm sad, I pray. When I'm scared, I pray. When I'm happy, I pray. I give thanks. When someone else is hurting, I pray. As a family we try to pray before every meal, even at restaurants. If we forget, the kids remind us. My daughter and I pray in the car on the way to school.
I used to be scared to pray, thinking I had to use certain words, praying at a certain time of day. But God does not care how you sound! Just speak from your heart. With so many worldly things vying for our attention, praying daily can be hard. I can tell when my focus has shifted from God to things of this world. I am grumpy and feel empty. Pray, pray, pray everyday, and you can't help but feel close to God.
2. Find a church and go every week. You knew that was coming right? Many people argue that just because you don't go to church does not mean you are not saved. That's true, just like going to church does not mean you are saved. But, if you are seeking a relationship with Christ, going to church, not just on the holidays, will bring you closer to Him. You will learn about Jesus, get the pastor's perspective, and will join other believers to worship Christ. Which will only strengthen your relationship. If you feel uncomfortable going to church because you don't know about the Bible or are worried about the people, pray to God (see step 1) that He would give you a feeling of comfort and lead you to the right church.
3. Read the Bible. Reading the Bible helps you to know about Christ, which is important in your relationship. Pick a time every day to read a little bit. I try to get up 15 minutes earlier to read the Bible. But if you don't have time in the morning, then that might not work for you. Find a time that works for you and start reading! Read this article to find the best order to read the Bible.
4. Daily Devotionals. Reading daily devotionals along with your Bible reading can give you a different perspective on how the Bible relates to your life. These devotionals can give you a better understanding of the Bible, which bring you closer to God. I am reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and I really enjoy it. She writes as if God is talking to you. Also go to youversion.com to get the free Bible app for your phone. You can read the Bible on your phone every day and there are daily devotionals as well.
5. Listen to worship music. Listening to Christian music as I'm driving around running errands is just another way to help me stay focused on God. I don't even listen to anything else anymore. I love to hear my kids singing in the backseat and don't have to worry about what they're singing. I have pandora on my phone so I can even listen when I'm at the gym. Type in Mandisa and be uplifted while on the treadmill! Listen in your car, or while you're cleaning the house, or while at the gym and have a little extra worship time with God!
These are some things I have done to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Your steps might be different. Is there anything else that you do to strengthen your relationship with Jesus?
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
I heard this in a song the other day and it made me so happy. As scary and sometimes awful this world is, I still love being here. It's comforting to know that when we die we will be with Jesus and Heaven will be really, really amazing, as my little boy so accurately put it.
The song I was listening to is Better is one day by Chris Tomlin. Go here to listen.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Once upon a time, not too many years ago actually, I was overcome by a nagging feeling of emptiness. For the life of me I could not figure out why I felt so empty, so blah. My life was great! Married to my best friend, two happy, healthy, awesome kids, working my dream job of keeper of the house. So what was the problem?
Well, after giving it much thought, I decided that I needed to organize my kitchen. After everything had a proper place, life would be so much easier. No more digging around for stuff. I could even start baking! That's what my problem must be. After several days of arranging, throwing away, donating, and rearranging I found myself with a properly organized kitchen including a baking zone. But the empty feeling persisted. No, an organized kitchen is not what I needed.
After giving it some more thought I figured out what was lacking. Highlights! Yes that's it! If I get my hair highlighted, cover up some of the gray, I will feel much better about myself and the empty feeling will be gone. Right? Wrong. $100 later I walked out of the salon with different hair and the same feelings.
What to do? Soon after, I read the blog of a "tastemaker" that declared that colorful walls are out and white walls are in! When I read that, I knew without a doubt that my red dining room was the root of all my problems. After months of my tireless husband removing wallpaper, the walls were painted white and I waited for my transformation. Nothing. Still empty.
Another month of feeling apathetic passed by and I knew what I had to do. I needed to buy a new purse. Something high quality in a bright, fun color. Yep, that would make me very happy. At first the purse did make me happy. It was bright and shiny and new. I could carry a lot of stuff in it, plus it had a little pocket for my keys that I was always losing. But as the months wore on, it became a metaphor for myself. Dull and imperfect on the outside and full of junk on the inside. The purse wasn't the answer.
During this time, for one reason or another, our family ended up at church, where we had not been for a long time. It was then that I found it! I found what I was looking for! It wasn't a place that I needed. It wasn't an it. It was a WHO! It was Jesus! A relationship with Jesus is what filled that empty spot in my soul.
I could have kept searching for things to fill that void and I would have never, ever found it. No amount of shopping, cleaning, painting or makeovers can fill you up. If you are feeling empty stop searching for IT, and search for WHO. Jesus has great plans for you and feeling empty is not part of those plans. Find Jesus and he will show you the path for your life!
Not sure how to start a relationship with Jesus? Go here.
Monday, May 6, 2013
For a long time I have been a put upon mom. You can always spot a put upon mom. Shoulders slumped over, an audible deep sigh, rolling eyes, and phrases spewing out that sound like this, "oookkk ! I will get you a drink. Again." Yes shamefully that was me for a time and God convicted me of it. Part of it is my phlegmatic nature colliding with the sheer mass of overwhelming stuff there is to do! Being a mom is exhausting, thankless, never ending and some days it sucks the life right out of you. It's only natural to feel put upon from time to time. But I can't let from time to time turn into all the time. Because being a mom is also a blessing. It's a lesson from God on how to be more like God. Mothering has taught me a lot about the Heavenly virtues of patience, grace, selflessness, and sacrifice. No other experience in life has changed me so much.
Being a mom is a profound responsibility. It is one of those revolutionary, world changing responsibilities, although in the midst of the day to day it doesn't seem like it. Wiping noses and passing out snacks does not change the world. But we moms are doing more than that. As moms we are helping to shape little people that will grow into big people, good or bad.
I feel so inadequate to be so much to these two little ones. Right now in their young lives, I am everything to them. Their tiny worlds mostly revolve around me because I am their mom. Their protector, their caretaker, their friend, their teacher, their maid. Just kidding. Sort of. My words and actions can have a lasting impact, for better or worse. Which makes it all the more important to create a loving sanctuary from the outside world and provide a patient lap to sit on and listening ears. Because it won't always be like that. If I do my job right, these two little ones will grow up and leave the nest. My influence over them is short lived.
My new mission as a wife and mom is to not just serve my family, but to do it with a loving spirit. I am going to watch the body language, the tone of my voice. I am going to choose my words carefully.
Like I said, I feel inadequate for this great task. And without the Lord I am inadequate. My prayer is simply Lord help me be the mom you created me to be for these two precious gifts on loan to me from You. Help me be the best mom I can. This does not mean perfect. Mistakes will be made. A sigh will most likely escape. I will be impatient. But prayerfully over the course of time, there will be more laughter than tears. There will be more I love you's than I'm sorry's. There will be more loving care than inconvenienced care. Because I never want my family to feel as if they are an inconvenience to me. Just like I know that I am not an inconvenience to the Lord. The Lord welcomes me with loving arms every time I come to Him. I don't feel anger and impatience from Him. I feel loved and wanted and peace. So one day at a time, I will listen to them, love on them, and care for them with a new spirit. A loving spirit.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Before becoming a child of God three years ago, these were some of the emotions I experienced on any given day:
After giving my life to Christ, these are some of the emotions I experience on any given day.
The same emotions are still there. Life is still what it is. But they are smaller now. The supernatural feelings of PEACE, JOY, HOPE, SECURITY overshadow the others and make them not as acute.
Giving your life to Christ does not make everything perfect. But it does give you PEACE, JOY, HOPE,AND SECURITY that cannot be attained through any job, any thing, any place, or anybody, except through Christ.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and are ready for a change, go here.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
I am a little late to this party, but I am joining Kelly's Korner to talk about the joy of playing with your kids.
I believe that God designed women to nurture our families. The definition of nurture is to encourage growth and development. Part of nurturing is playing with our children. I have a girl and a boy, ages 7 and 4 and I will admit, I don't like sitting on the floor playing barbies or cars. I don't like it. My mind wanders, I'm distracted, and at almost 40 years old playing cars is not joyful to me! But I do love spending time with my kids. That is joyful to me. And while we might not sit on the floor playing polly pockets all day every day, we do spend lots of time together. And I'm sure if you think about it, you do too! We like to snuggle up and read together. We go on outings to the library, the museum, the park, or out to lunch. When the weather is nice, we go on walks. My daughter is in school now, so I have to find different ways to spend time with her. I try to go to all of her class parties and field trips. I try to go to every girl scout meeting. I try to eat a snack with her after school and ask for lots of details about her day. It doesn't happen all the time. No, we are not sitting on the floor playing, but we are spending time together. I think if we are doing something that is fun for the kids and me, then they will get more out of our time together and so will I.
On the other side, I think it is equally important to foster independent play time. It is not realistic to think that I can play all day. Part of nurturing is making sure my kids have healthy meals and clean clothes and a safe home. With that comes those daily chores. There is a quote I love from Ivy Baker Priest and I refer to it often when I'm having mommy guilt.
"...four things a child needs: plenty of love, nourishing food, regular sleep, and lots of soap and water. After that, what he needs most is some intelligent neglect."
Now this is not neglect in the way we normally think of it, but time for our kids to play on their own, by themselves, without relying on mom to fill the entertainment void in their lives. Kids playing independently is a good thing!
1. Household management is key. Don't let your household manage you, you manage your household. If you are not in control of your house and constantly reacting then you are in survival mode and you can't fully engage with the kids. I know from experience! It's good to have some systems in place to help you run an efficient household. Meal planning, laundry and cleaning schedules, plus a weekly and flexible daily schedule can help you gain control of a chaotic home and enable you to nurture your family better. Since this is my first post since leaving my old blog, I will be delving into these topics in depth in the near future.
2. Strive for a good balance of together time mixed with independent time. That way they know they will have time with you throughout the day and will not be stuck playing by themselves all day.
3. Get rid of distractions. Put your phone, I pad, computer, or whatever distracts you away. Designate a time for yourself to relax and look at blogs or pinterest or facebook or whatever. When you know you have that time for yourself, you won't be drawn to it all day.
4. When I need some idependent time and I say "go play," my kids don't know what to do. So I try to set up their toys to be enticing and spark their imagination. And I do it as simply as possible. Set up a tea party with dolls and animals. Put out some plastic animals and a bucket of water. Put a bin of sand and shovels and "fossils" on the back porch. They will want to play with their toys if they see them in a new and different way. More on this topic to come!
5. Consider your child's temperment. Some kids, like my daughter, want somebody, anybody, to play with at all times. It is imperative that I teach her and encourage her to be a little more independent. Other kids, like my son, rarely need anyone to play with. They enjoy playing independently. But all kids, regardless of their temperment need time spent together.
6. Give yourself grace. We moms are hard on ourselves because anything short of perfect is not good enough for our babies. We want it all! We want to play with the kids all day, keep a sparkeling home, and serve a pinterest worthy dinner at 5:30. I think the bottom line is we are all moms that love our kids dearly and want the best for them. If we had a bad day, we need to forgive ourselves and start over. Tomorrow is a new day!