Hey Momma, what a wild last week, huh? From funny jokes about toilet paper to all out panic and urgency. Kind of crazy how quickly things can escalate.
I'll be totally honest with you, and let you know that I am not afraid. I think there is a divine work being done in the world, under the sovereign covering of God Almighty. I firmly believe that no matter what secrets, or lack of secrets, lies behind this pandemic, God is calling us, as wives, mothers, or simply Christian women, to stand in faith, trusting that He will never leave us or forsake us. Our stability, in unstable times, is a witness than words could not fully justify.
But that doesn't take away from the uneasiness of the uncertain times, or the legitimate struggles of navigating this period with peace and rational thought, all the while still making sure you have enough beans, rice, diapers, and toilet paper. It is this particular mindset that has been a driving force for me personally during the periods of time that I, daily, have been spending in prayer and the Word over the past two weeks. It's too easy to get sucked into the news, the catchy, and sometimes frightening, headlines, the conspiracy theories and their possible implications, and the panic that you see on many peoples faces. It's easy to read a couple things and lose that rational part of your mind that is supposed to help you sort through the cryptic details being delivered by those you may or may not trust.
It has caused me to search deep in scripture for God's words that will strengthen me when fear tries to take hold. I need His words when I don't know how to react from one moment to the next. I need His words to remind me that no matter how bad everything gets, no matter how this might effect me personally, He still wins in the end. I need His word to remind me that no outside circumstances could possibly separate me from Jesus' love.
These are not new needs that I have thanks to Coronavirus. These are the needs of every believer, of every era, of every location. Because the Bible has always been clear that life is not void of pain. Life in fact, has much pain and much turmoil, and to believe any different is foolishness. But when we walk closely with Jesus, there is no reason to be disturbed, or uprooted. There is no reason for our faith to be shaken, or God's goodness to be questioned.
It is easy, especially in crisis, to only see the world as it is now; trapped by time and space, filled with wickedness, hopelessness, and pandemics. Our world is not eternal, and our flesh most certainly is not. Scripture says that we are all like grass, here one day and withered and blown away the next (1 Peter 1:24). Yet, we feel like life is so long, and our troubles so intense. Yet, it is if we literally only exist for a moment on a much grander scale. So our suffering and worry is but for the smallest measurement of a second, and our life only a minute on the clock of humanity. Keeping our temporal humanity in mind is vital for us as Christians. Only then can we really look to eternity with deep expectancy. Expectancy, not fear of the unknown, but excitement of what really awaits us.
Because of all these things, I really want to take this week and dedicate it to all the believing women out there who need a word from God in this interesting season. I want to share scriptures with you to lift up and encourage your heart. I want to remind you that no matter what your week looks like, no matter what the media says, no matter what the doctors and nurses on social media say, God still holds all things together, and we have a hope much deeper than any anti-malaria drug or bailout or stimulus package could deliver.
Scriptures to Encourage a Woman's Heart
7 "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-- 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
Philippians 3:7-11 ESV
Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.]
John 12:25 AMPC
Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.
Isaiah 41:10 AMPC
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!
3 For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
4 [Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust andfind refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.
8 Only a spectator shall you be [yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] as you witness the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place,
10 There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent.
11 For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service].
12 They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot.
14 Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.
Psalm 91 AMPC (Emphasis mine)
12 Here [comes in a call for] the steadfastness of the saints [the patience, the endurance of the people of God], those who [habitually] keep God’s commandments and [their] faith in Jesus.
13 Then I heard further [perceiving the distinct words of] a voice from heaven, saying, Write this: Blessed (happy, to be envied) are the dead from now on who die in the Lord! Yes, blessed (happy, to be envied indeed), says the Spirit, [in] that they may rest from their labors, for their works (deeds) do follow (attend, accompany) them!
Revelation 14:12-13 AMPC
24 For all flesh (mankind) is like grass, and all its glory (honor) like [the] flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower drops off,
25 But the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever. And this Word is the good news which was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:24-25 AMPC
33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
John 16:33 AMPC
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding.
29 He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound].
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;
31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
Isaiah 40:28-31 AMPC
20 Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep and guard you on the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.
Exodus 23:20 AMPC
31 Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?
32 For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.
33 But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.
34 So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:31-34 AMPC
Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
I am praying for you, ladies. You are in my heart, and I pray you would walk out this week in boldness in strength, knowing when you walk with God there is no enemy that can pluck you out of His hand. If you need encouragement, reach out. If you want more scriptures to encourage you in your place of need, be sure to comment. We are in this together. You are not alone. Let this be a time that draws you into a place of deeper holiness and sincerity in your walk with Christ Jesus.
Hey mommas! Welcome to Friday. That amazing last day of the work week, where somehow, even if you're a SAHM it still feels like the start of some sort of gift.
In light of Wednesday's blog topic (if you missed my message on mom-guilt and daily routines, check it out here) I thought I would give you a little glimpse into my SAH day to day life. Two little men (3 1/2 & 1 1/2 years old), a husband who works a crazy schedule and a tired, and being eight months pregnant has led to this very simple, yet functional routine that has worked quite well for our family. It isn't very strict. There is lots of time for play and random activities, as well as errand-running. There are moms who run on a lot tighter schedule, and for me personally, I am always willing to change things up based on what is going on in this current season.
But before we continue, I would be amiss if I forgot this very important disclaimer regarding any sort of routine you are attempting to establish....
Only the Lord can truly bring Peace into chaos, calm into your storm, and bring clarity into confusion. No routine, block schedule, or perfect day could ever really bring fullness to your life. Can those things help? Sure. But they were never meant to be your All-in-All. So as an encouragement, don't forget to always take time in the intimate place with Jesus. Every. Single. Day. Don't forget to encourage your kiddos to do the same, maybe even include them in your time. Let them pray with you, read them a portion of scripture, or get them their own devotional (this is our favorite, so far). Even make up cute songs for them to help them memorize simple scriptures, depending on their age. My 3 1/2 year old knows quite a few scriptures, and it's thanks to simple rhythms and repetition. THIS is what will truly give you the most productive days.
Now, let's talk about our daily schedule:
7:00-7:30: One or both children wake me up
7:45: Make bed, open the windows
8:00: Prepare children's breakfast, make coffee or tea, kids devos
8:05: Empty dishwasher, start a load of laundry
8:15: Sit and enjoy coffee or tea with children while they snack on breakfast
9:00: Change out laundry, Daddy gets home, kids go play outside*
*Outside play depends on weather. We live in a temperate climate so it's mild most days.
10:00-12:00: craft, read, clean, chill, take a walk, etc
12:00-2:00: Nap time for kids, rest, write and time with Jesus for Momma.
2:00 or 2:30: Kids up, snack, maybe a Beginners Bible Story episode on Youtube
3:00: See what needs to be prepped for dinner, play, chill, write, or whatever
4:00: Start preparing dinner and picking up around the house
6:00: Get in PJ's, brush teeth, pick some books or some other wind-down activity
6:45: Bible time and snuggles
7:00 Lights out, although I still leave some dim twinkle lights on so the boys can talk, look at books, and play with some non-stimulating toys.
I am not saying that you must follow this type of schedule to be productive and such. This is just what has worked for our family in this season of toddlerhood. So feel free to copy it, modify it, or not follow it at all. Do what is best for your family's well-being, least stressful to you, and most enjoyable for everyone. Schedules and routines are meant to bring harmony, so don't allow an unrealistic, or even a too lenient, routine throw your life into a vortex of suck. Take time with Jesus, trust Him for your peace, ask for His help, and keep moving forward.
God bless you Momma. Have a wonderful weekend!
Please tell me, mommas, that I am not the only one being absolutely, but tastefully, bombarded with the millions of craft and schedule ideas that are floating around on social media right now? In light of the Coronavirus school closures, every momma who ever had a blog or an idea is making lists and tutorials on ways to keep your children entertained during the coming weeks, and possibly months, of this social-distancing season. I thought it was the best thing ever... that is, for the first few posts. But as I continued to see more and more ideas popping up everywhere, every hour, every waking minute of the day, I began to recognize the ever-familiar scent of mom-guilt. Just one little thought that told me I wasn't a good enough or a successful mom if I didn't have three art projects a day. Or if I wasn't running on a particular schedule then I was doing a disservice to my children. And that's when I felt compelled to write about this topic, and remind you mommas, whether this is your first time staying home with your kids, or this has been your life for years, it's okay to not do what everyone else says.
Now before you go freaking out and thinking that I just let my kids run wild all day, or that I don't have some sort of schedule, or that I don't invest in motherhood, let me clarify.
I am not crafty. I don't like mud. I don't like cold weather. I don't like hot weather. I am not a huge lover of trains and cars. I don't have Pinterest boards full of fun toddler activities. And I typically avoid momma blogs because I don't like to play the comparison game.
...And you're over there reading this going, "O-kayyyyy? And?"
It's vitally important for me, as a fellow momma to remind you, that it's okay if you aren't the most creative. It's okay if you don't have a lot of art supplies and buckets of expensive Montessori toys! It's okay if your kids play room looks like a hurricane came, ate some cookies, drank some tea, and left the dishes in the sink. It's okay if you decide that you want to just let them play, on their own, alone with their imagination, and not have every fifteen minutes scheduled out for a new activity! It's okay if you feel overwhelmed and just want to chill on the couch with them while you enjoy a movie and popcorn... at 10am. It's okay to not have this season down to a science!
Do I think you should be lazy butts all the time?
Do I think we mommas need to make an effort and step out of our comfort zones for our children's benefit?
Do I think that we should give our kids a solid routine to benefit boundaries and self-control?
Yes! All day, yes!
But I don't think you're doing it wrong if you don't follow all the plans and procedures of moms on social media. I don't think you are screwing up your children if you have self-proclaimed, "Jammie Days" where you lay around and watch movies.
What I do believe is wrong, is when one mom sits in judgement of other moms who are just trying to figure out what works for them.
Personally, I love reading to my kiddos, so we do that often. My boys love playing outside, so when the weather is nice, which it has been, we spend substantial time in the back yard. My kids love Bible Stories, so when I feel too tired or emotionally worn-out we spend 30 min to an hour watching The Beginners Bible episodes on Youtube. My oldest absolutely loves drawing on a dry erase board, so instead of setting up tons of craft items for him, his expo marker and board get lots of use. I keep toys to a minimum, so they only have a select few toys to choose from at any given time. With most children, the fewer toys they have, the more they play.
I am, by no means, poopooing any of you mommas who want to spend your days crafting away! Or maybe you're trying out a new schedule type to improve your day to day life. Maybe you're just getting new ideas that you've never thought about! All of that is 100% fine! In fact, I encourage that! But please be aware, that if you start to feel like you aren't good enough because you aren't the craftiest, or aren't the smartest, or aren't the most organized...that doesn't mean you aren't doing a good job at motherhood.
None of us moms are perfect! We don't have our mess together 24/7. We still screw stuff up! We still waste time. We still act selfish. And it is in those failures that God has designed it for you discover your great need for His grace. And as you discover that, then you can share, first hand, with your littles, what it means to walk with Jesus. Why we need forgiveness. Why we need His help to do anything truly right and successful. Seek God for the keys to your children's heart. Search out His will, and search out your babe's thoughts to discover what would be most beneficial to your baby, toddler, child, or teenager. Don't let discouragement and mom-guilt overwhelm you. Embrace God's most enduring grace, and get ready to learn. Motherhood is one of God's greatest teaching tools.
Have a good week, Momma. With the Lord's help, you've got this!
Hello, friends. It’s sort of a somber day, huh? But what better time to begin something that's been growing in my heart for some time. This is for you, moms. Remember, you are not alone. God has plans beyond human understanding, and that is how we face today, tomorrow, and the next day after that with total confidence and hope.
With the looming possibility of a nationwide quarantine, the panic that comes from shortages of bottled water, toilet paper, diapers, etc., this might be your first time being a SAHM, or attempting to homeschool, and you aren’t sure what to expect, even the fear of what “could” happen if you or someone in your family gets the Coronavirus. It's quite a few unknowns, right? And this is how it will remain for a while longer. But let me start off by saying, it’s okay.
I am not saying that you will get out of this unique pandemic without it touching you. I’m not saying that every aspect of your life won’t be affected in some way by what is happening. I would be surprised if anyone made it out of this entirely untouched. But let me encourage you to stop right now, take a deep breath, let that rational part of your brain regain composure.
I am no doctor, or even remotely related to a healthcare professional. I can’t speak on the medical side of this virus, but I can speak on the more practical side of it. I can speak to you about being a blood bought believer in Jesus Christ, I can talk to y’all about being a mom and a wife, I can speak to you about staying home and investing in your home and family. I can talk to you about living in simplicity while going through, what could potentially be, the biggest crisis your family has had to face, thus far.
So to start, if this is your first time staying home, Momma, welcome to my world! I have been a SAHM for three and a half years, and it has been incredible. Not that there haven’t been times where I really struggled feeling lonely, a bit unfulfilled, selfish and discouraged. Yep, been there, done that, got the tee shirt, and maybe even a tattoo! But let me tell you, if it starts off hard, that’s okay. If it starts off where all you want to do is send the kiddos back to school, it’s okay. If you start off not necessarily loving this new call that you have been given during this season, it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up if you do not absolutely adore those little kiddos every second of the day. It’s okay to feel frustration, anger, and a bit of discouragement. So, from one mom to the other, it’s alright to struggle. I have been doing this for a while, and I still have days where I really, really, seriously struggle.
But there is a next step after this new change…do not, by any means, let yourself stay that way. Don’t wallow in your disappointment, don’t let discouragement and even selfishness invade what could possibly be the greatest bonding time for you and your kiddo(s). It’s okay to not be perfect, but it’s not okay to just let your emotions, fears, and discouragement steal the joy that could be. Motherhood is about refinement. Motherhood is about laying aside your own personal wants and desires for the benefit of others. Motherhood is about raising a generation of men and women who will be kind, generous, selfless, brave, and most importantly, they will love and look like Jesus. Motherhood is one of life’s greatest callings, and it should never be thought of as less. Momma, don’t let your lack of a career in this season keep you from feeling unproductive, or like you aren’t contributing to society through your talents and abilities. Honestly, in this season, you’ve probably never contributed more.
The education system was not originally established to raise your children for eight hours every day. It was simply to increase knowledge in able young men and women for the good of society as a whole. But, although it is rarely spoken about in such terms, the education system has now willingly received your children to rear and guide through twelve of more formative years, and has taken much of your parental power away. They teach them and mold them for hours upon hours and then you get them for just a few at the end of the day. During some of that, you are asked to assist the system in reinforcing the ideologies that have been dictated to them throughout the day, even if you don’t agree with them.
If there was ever a time to assess behaviors and ideologies planted deep within our children, it is now. Now you can see if things they have been learning from both peers and educators, lines up with your standards as parents and guardians. Now is the time to weed out those particular thought-processes that go against biblical standards of morality, that go against the truths that your family holds to be superior to any sort of educationally-mandated thought processes.
This is the time to invest in the core of who your kids are as both children of God and as individuals. This is the time to build up those amazing characteristics that vary from child to child. This is the time to encourage strengths and repair weaknesses. This is the time to be the biggest influence in your children’s lives. Not as a helicopter mom, a control freak, or passive. This is the time to love on those vulnerable humans, who call you mom, like never before. This is a time to show that they are one of your dearest loves, and greatest accomplishments. This is the time to show them that when you live for the benefit of others, you reap a great reward.
So don’t let yourself be downtrodden or discouraged. Don’t let yourself feel, “less-than.” This could truly be the most amazing time in your life, and the lives of your children. Take full advantage, show them love, show them grace and compassion, let them know that you care about their lives. Set boundaries, invest in long-term learning and life lessons. Be gracious with yourself. And most importantly, seek the wisdom, grace, and love of God in this new and somewhat confusing season. This could possibly be the greatest time in this generation! Take advantage of it.