Friday, October 28, 2011

Elements Classes

Just a friendly reminder and announcement that New Life is having 3-week classes starting this Tuesday, Nov. 1st on a variety of helpful topics, including: dating, marriage, the Gospel, missional living and finance. They should be really fruitful and we would love for you to join us! Childcare is available, but be sure to sign up online to make sure that there are enough workers.

New Life Fall 2011 Elements Classes

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just In Case You Ever Wonder

Just in Case You Ever Wonder, written by Max Lucado, is sweet bedtime book that I received to read to my children and review. It definitely has a tender message:
"I'll always love you.
I'll always hug you.
I'll always be on your side.
And I want you to know that...
just in case you ever wonder."

I am so thankful to be able to cuddle my children, pile them all in my lap and read a sweet book like this to them. I do want them to be confident in my love toward them, to know that I will always be there. The book starts with the truth that God made them everything, including them and He made them in a special way, like no one else. He goes on to confirm in their little minds that God put them in just the right family and we are so glad that He did. And that as our children grow and change, we will continue to love and hug them and always be there for them and then it goes through the different stages of doubt they may go through.

As it mentions heaven, I was disappointed to see that there was no mention of Jesus, just as so many of these books that I have found. A definite disappointment, but as the mom who reads these books to her children, I can adapt and add where I want to. That is a great advantage to critically reading our childrens' books and being willing to take the time to talk it through with them. Asking questions like, "What did you like about the book?
What didn't you like about the book?
What do you think the book said about (blank)?
What does the Bible say about that?
Why is this a wrong/right thing to do?
Was that honoring to God? Why/why not?"

Be willing to open up the Bible and sit with them in discussion. I have enjoyed doing this with Taylor Joy and it leads to many great, Gospel conversations between us. I am thankful for this book opening the doors to chat with my precious kids.

{ I received this book free from the publisher, Tommy Nelson, in exchange for an honest book review. }
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On Turning 30

{picture courtesy}

I am turning 30 tomorrow and I'm totally okay with it. As I look back on the past 10 years, it seems that I have managed to cover lots of ground: spiritually, emotionally, actually...I am hopeful that the thirties will be just as full and even more overflowing than my twenties have been.

I am even hopeful for more - more stretching, more growth, more opportunities to pour into the people I love, like my sweet husband, my beautiful children and the women God has placed in my life. Thinking about the past ten years and then fast forwarding to think about the next ten years makes me well up with hope and thanksgiving for this blessed life that I have. It makes me so grateful for the grace I have been shown.

Even in the trials that were scattered about the last ten years {mostly the last 3 years} I still have so many reasons to rejoice. God has always been faithful to me and I have no doubt that the next decade He will continue to be faithful, whether through great joys, surprises or trials, may He always give me grace to see His hand and praise His great name, even when things don't make sense. May He continue to captivate me with His love in the decade to come.
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Monday, October 10, 2011


Taylor Joy:

T- "Mommy, you are the specialist mommy ever."
B- "Yeah! You are a special mommy too." (trying to say that he thought so too. So cute and completely melted my heart. We are finally at a stage where things in our relationship are reciprocated. Thankful, oh so thankful for that!)
T- "Dad, the United States looks like an elephant, and the northeast looks like his trunk."
Allen: "That's a very good imagination, Sweetie."
T- "You mean 'observation,' Dad."
 Some of Taylor Joy's stories that she has written:
Wun culd day Paradis Ilind wint to pla she wunid too play the end (One cold day, Paradise Island--a little pony--- went to play. She wanted to play. The end.)
Dora wunid too play and hr daddy sed no. (Dora wanted to play and her daddy said no.)
Wun day Sindrrelu wunid too go awtsid and hr daddy sed yes but the men stepmuthr was rawt thar the ind. (One day Cinderella wanted to go outside and her daddy said yes, but the mean stepmother was right there. The end.)


"My poop made me full!" (Mommy translation: referring to the fact that he was full, therefore needing to go to the potty, therefore being done with dinner. A roundabout way of saying that! And of course he yelled it from the bathroom when company was over!)

T- "Look! My teeth are shiny like gold!"
B- "Yeah! Kinda wike a dime!"

M- "Did Easton push you?"
B- "No. He just, wike, attacked me."

"Watermewon is so good for you. It won't make you die I don't think. "

"Sissy, wet me wisten to your heart beep." (while playing doctor together)


"Watch Baby no one!" (Mommy translation: Watch Baby Noah, a Baby Einstein movie)

E - "Mommy, pease have gogurt!" 
M- "Oh, you want yogurt?"
E- "OKAY!" (like it was my suggestion, he does this with all things)

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Supermom or Abiding Mom?

This week I was able to give another devotional at my MOPS group, one that the Lord has placed on my heart for awhile. There are a few others I have typed up: here, here and here. Honestly, as much as it impacted anyone, the Lord used my thinking through it, meditating on it and evaluating my own motives to impact me. I told the ladies in the room that I was preaching to myself, and they were just there to listen in! I was encouraged to hear that it struck a cord with other ladies there, as well. (Phew!)

The social networks (facebook, twitter, blogs…) are all the rage these days. I got on facebook the year after I graduated college and had NO idea it would take off like it has. All of social media is a mixed bag to me. It can be used for good, but many times is not...the evil is lurking, especially in the area of self-promotion.

Social networking makes it super easy to gain glory for ourselves. There’s even a phenomena known as the “SUPERMOM”. Have you heard of her? Well, anyone can be one.

  • keep the home like Martha Stewart, perfect and beautiful
  • but don’t spend any time doing it because that time should be spent doing learning activities with your children constantly (so that they are baby geniuses, of course)
  • be a dating diva who plans thoughtful dates for your hot hubby
  • be the ultimate do-it-yourselfer. As a matter of fact, don’t pay for anything. Make it all (but just make sure it doesn’t look like you made it)
  • oh, and you should be looking fabulous while you do all this (?!)

Do you know this woman or are you this woman? The first thing one of them said to me was, "that's you!" I don't doubt that I have tried to be this woman, but I have fallen short or I have given up the most important things if I have succeeded. I tend to DO a lot of things, just like Supermom, but I certainly don't want to be Supermom. I want to be an Abiding Mom. The Abiding Mom IS.

Click for a chart put together by Confessions of a Homeschooler, called Abiding Mom. I laminated this chart and put it on my fridge to remember the truth of abiding in Christ rather than the things that I do.

Our true character is who we are, it’s NOT the things we do, NOT who we appear to be and NOT the way we are perceived by others. Dave Kraft puts it this way, "Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
Here are some truths that we can cling to daily:
  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the universe
  • I am known by Him (He searches me, He knows me, He discerns my thoughts, and there is nowhere I can go from His presence).
  • I am created with purpose, fulfilling the calling He has given to me
  • I am loved and treasured by God
  • I am of great worth in God’s eyes
Why is it so hard to rest in this truth though? Why do we feel the need to gain worth through others' acclaim and praise for something we've done? It's tangible, that's for sure. You can post something funny or awesome and a few hours and 28 comments or tweets later, you feel pretty sure of yourself. What are your motives in getting that praise? And what about the day-to-day HARD work of mothering that often doesn’t result in much praise? I know I don't feel very thanked during diaper changes when I am kicked, screamed at and flung poo at. Nonetheless, I can rest in the fact that I am being faithful to God's call for me as a mother.

Some may struggle with the other side of the spectrum, not feeling valued and of worth no matter what you have done. Either way, we are failing to rest in the truth of the Word, reminding ourselves of the truth often. Instead, we let the lies of the enemy or the lure of the world drown out His truth. If we have a right view of God, hold fast to scripture and train our minds in truth we will be ready when those temptations come. I am asking God to help us as women to be confident in who we are in Christ, recognizing the amazing grace we have been shown (especially when we fail) and practicing that grace not only with ourselves, but with others (the goal here being to determine your motives, not someone else's, recognizing our own need for a Savior).

In Jesus’ life, he healed many and there is something to be said for the state of those that he healed: they knew their desperate need and they put all their hope in Jesus. The world teaches us all too well how to masquerade as if we have everything under control and aren’t broken, aren’t in need of healing…we pretend to be strong, pretend we don’t need to be redeemed.

Jesus wasn’t just a good teacher who had wise sayings that we can read about every now and then, He wasn’t even just a healer of physical afflictions. He was and is God who came to the earth to redeem us once and for all. God wanted to restore the relationship with us that had been broken by sin because He loves us and wants to commune with us. We separated ourselves by our sin and made that impossible. So, he made a way. It was painful, sacrificial, excruciating... It was the ONLY way. He sent His Son, Jesus to die on the cross on our behalf. Jesus didn’t stay there for long though. After three days, He showed His power over death by rising from the dead and defeating the power of sin in our lives. Those who believe in Him, He says He clothes in robes of righteousness all His own, having nothing to do with us.

Romans 10:9-10 says that all who confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and all who believe in their heart that God raised them from the dead will be saved.

To paraphrase Mike Wilkerson:  Imagine your worst moment of guilt and shame. The memory that would haunt you to the grave if you let it. In light of that sin you can’t imagine that God would forgive you. Let me let you in on something. It was at that moment that Christ died for you. At your worst, God gave you His best. If you’ve not done what the scripture says up to this point, don’t delay. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved.

2 Cor. 5:17 puts it this way, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old (sinful self) has passed away, behold! The new (pure, spotless, blameless) has come!

If we know Christ in this way, there is no reason not to see ourselves in this light. The new has come! Amen!  We don’t have to earn anything to add to who we are. We don’t have to “measure up”. Christ measured up perfectly on our behalf. We don’t have to impress others because we serve Christ (not man, not woman, not supermom). And if we serve Christ, we make it our goal to please Him in our calling (as a wife, as a mom, as whatever else He has called you to), being aware of His amazing grace towards us when we fail (which happens all too often!).

Your self-worth and confidence is based on the righteousness of Christ on your behalf. When God looks upon His children, He doesn’t see supermoms or superchristians, baby Christians or baby mamas, He sees Christ. We forget that and instead try to measure up, hiding our imperfections and finding our worth in the things we do or how we are seen.

Mike Wilkerson has a great analogy in his awesome book, Redemption, he says this:
“Imagine you were to fix a theater spotlight on a stage actor and then point a toy flashlight at a blemish on the actor’s face. What happens? Nothing. Why? Because the spotlight is so bright that the flashlight has no effect. It’s not that the flashlight isn’t shining, it’s just that it doesn’t make any difference. The glory of God in the face of Jesus – his grace, mercy, forgiveness, cleansing and healing – simply outshines any of the blemishes that haven’t faded yet; but they are fading and in the end, they’ll all be gone.”
Who are you in your Father’s eyes? Are you confident in His spotlight (the radiant child who points back to Him) OR are you desperately seeking a flicker or glimmer of your own goodness and deeds to be noticed in order to feel worth?

In one of my favorite books, Loving the Little Years, she mentions fruit-bearing trees and says this regarding them, “God told them to make something, and they do it enthusiastically. They don’t care what happens to the fruit. They do not measure their efforts or fuss when no one appreciates it.”

Oh that we could be like those trees! Confident in our purpose and confident of the results or lack of results, knowing that we are simply doing what God has called us to do. In many ways we have let our cultural admiration for efficiency find its way into our parenting…but there are times when digging in the dirt with our kids and making mud pies (completely throwing our selves into an otherwise useless activity) is the best kind of fruit we can bear in growing our relationship with our children.

There is something freeing about laughing at yourself, knowing that amidst a fallen world, God is calling YOU to live victoriously in all things, including mud pies.

So, how is God calling you to forsake the calling of a supermom and simply be the abiding mom?

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