His mercies are new every morning.

So today I spoke at a local MOPS group about anger.

You guys, I can’t even tell you what an amazing God we have.

There was a mom there who I felt was the reason I was there.  I could just tell by the look in her eyes and some of her comments that she is where I was years ago.

Prone to anger and wondering how she became an angry mom.  Asking herself and God why controlling herself when she feels angry is so hard.  Feeling like a failure as a mom.  Filled with guilt.  Probably shame.  Hoping against all hope that she hasn’t messed up her kids too badly.

But God.  God was there in that room with us.  By the grace of God alone have I been changed, and by the grace of God alone am I able to share my story.  And it’s not just my story, but it’s really His story.

A story of grace, mercy, forgiveness, love – beyond explanation.

I shared lots of practical tips.  But that’s not the important part. The important part I shared is that if as a mom you struggle with anger – you are not alone.  And there is hope for change.

That hope comes from God alone.  Nehemiah 9:17 says “…you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Any change in me has come from getting to know and understand and FEEL and accept God’s love for me.

He is forgiving,

gracious,

compassionate,

slow to anger,

abounding in love.

When we get closer to Him, we become like Him.  We can become forgiving, gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love for our kids.

I have struggled with anger – which led to guilt and then depression – for years.  I would make imperfect progress, but it was so, so slow.  At times I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t bringing the change in me that I hoped for.  The thing was that this struggle was more about my growing in my relationship with Him than it was about my relationship with my kids.

And all of the sudden this year, I feel like the “morning” has come and the dark cloud of night is gone.  God’s mercy is new.  For the first time in probably 12 years I feel like I have a measure of victory – all because of Him.  And I say that knowing full well that I still need to rely on Him every moment.  I can’t explain His process well – but I know my part in it was seeking Him over and over again, not giving up, and continuing to surrender myself to His will.

And today I’m just amazed at His mercy, grace, and faithfulness to me.  Over the years I have always stood on Romans 8:28-29, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”  I didn’t know how God would use this struggle for good, but I trusted.

All along as I’ve made slow progress in this area, I’ve known that He was pulling me closer and making me more like Jesus, as it says in verse 29.  But seeing Him today use my struggle to encourage and point someone else toward Him was more beautiful than I could ever ask for.

God is so good.

We are the world-changers, moms!

WE are the world- changers, moms, and don’t ever forget it!

Lately I’ve been hearing and thinking a lot about the culture that we live in today and all that’s wrong with it.  The recent presidential debate had me cringing.  The fact that many think it’s acceptable for our presidential candidates to taunt and put one another down in such immature fashion is so disheartening to me.

It seems like every week a crime occurs in my community that’s got people on facebook bemoaning what’s become of our society.

Don’t get me wrong, I do it, too.  Some adolescents swearing in Target the other day had me thinking along those same lines.

But this morning.

This morning God opened my eyes to something, as I was again having similar thoughts about the decline of our culture – no one has manners anymore, kids don’t know how to work hard (etc.).  How can anyone do anything to turn this around?

And I felt God point my finger right back at me and say that it’s us, moms, that can change the world.

We want adolescents and young adults to be more responsible, to work hard, and to take pride in their work?  Then it’s our job to teach them that.

We want people to honor others above themselves, to be kind and considerate to others?  It’s our job to teach our kids.

We want society not to be so vulgar?  Again, it’s our job to teach our kids.

No one person can change the world – but WE, moms, WE collectively can change the world by choosing each day to work toward that end.  By being prayerful and thoughtful about how we raise our children.  We have such tremendous power to change the world, the culture, for good. And it starts with us – how we act and react to the world around us.  How we teach and train our children.  How we pray and invest and love well.

Let’s get to it, friends.

This hope.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. "
~Hebrews 16:19  

Life gets real, doesn’t it?

It seems like in your 40s, it gets really real.  Marriages end.  You can no longer control your kids exposure to “the world” as much as you might want to.  People get sick.  Maybe you aren’t where you thought you’d be at this point in life.  Your own body starts to turn against you.  You lose your job.  You lose loved ones.  Someone close to you gets cancer.  Your kids make mistakes – maybe big ones.  There are new challenges to deal with.

All of these with increasing regularity.

Really Real, I tell you!  I feel it and I see it and I experience it in and around me.

But this.  God has been providing us with some amazingly beautiful sunrises lately.  Not only does the sun rise every morning, even on hard days – but the creator of all things gives us a bonus and makes it beautiful for us.

sunrise

It has just been a reminder for me that my hope is solely in God.  He is faithful, unchanging, and loves me more than I can fathom.

This hope.

This hope is an anchor for my soul.

Flawless

I have been so grateful for Christian radio stations in our area (and Christian music) – not only for me but also for the benefit of my kids.  This particular song – Flawless from MercyMe – has captured my heart this summer.  I wanted to share it with a friend and when I googled it I found the video, too!  Now I love it even more!  Enjoy…

An update.

So.

It’s been a while, eh?

Even as I sit here staring at the keyboard, I’m not sure I have words to type.  I have wondered over the last 15 months if I would blog again.  LOL- I’m still not sure.

Life kind of knocked the wind out of me in 2014, and it has taken me a lot of time to catch my breath.

2014 in a nutshell: besides all the usual goings on of a family of five, the biggies were that I got a part-time job, my son was (mostly) diagnosed with celiac disease, same child transitioned from private elementary to public middle school, and I started eating a whole new way.

Ha.  Not so bad, I guess, looking at it in hindsight.  But these were huge changes for us and, well, overall I’m not sure I like change.

As an overview – the part-time job is good.  Home-based and flexible, which is just what I needed.  It calls upon a bit of my knowledge from my past career life – and it’s nice to have a bit of extra spending money.  But it was a change after having been primarily a stay-at-home mom for 10 years.  There is a balance that needs to be found – especially when the kids are off school.

The celiac disease will probably need to be a whole post on it’s own.  Long un-diagnosis story, unsatisfying ending, but my kiddo is feeling a lot better now on a gluten-free diet, and that’s what really matters.

The middle school transition for my son who likes change even less than me?  Well, let’s just say God took care of it in a big way – and I’ll leave it at that.

And last – a whole new way of eating – Trim Healthy Mama.  I started hearing about it early in 2014 from a friend and began making changes to my diet in April 2014.  One of the biggest motivators for me was that we had just started a gluten-free diet for my son and since that was completely changing what I was buying, cooking, and baking – I figured I might as well change what I was eating, too.  I have been eating the Trim Healthy Mama way now for over a year and I love it.  I feel better, my diabetes is better controlled, I’ve lost 30 pounds, and I am totally satisfied.  That’s a huge success.  I have tons to say about this but I’ll leave it for another post!

So I finally am feeling like the huge transitions have subsided and we are at an equilibrium again.  As I sat in church this weekend, we sang the song “Anchor” from Hillsong Live:

I have this hope
As an anchor for my soul
Through every storm
I will hold to You

With endless love
All my fear is swept away
In everything
I will trust in You

There is hope in the promise of the cross
You gave everything to save the world You love
And this hope is an anchor for my soul
Our God will stand
Unshakeable

Unchanging One
You who was and is to come
Your promise sure
You will not let go

Your Name is higher
Your Name is greater
All my hope is in You

Your word unfailing
Your promise unshaken
All my hope is in You

I just stood there as we sang, and I felt so incredibly thankful for God and His unchanging nature.  He has been an anchor for my soul in this year of huge changes.
Life throws so much at us!  If you’re in the middle of changes – hold on to God.  He is worthy of our hope and trust.

 

crying is good sometimes

I saw this video floating around facebook but I have this weird thing – I rarely click on video links because I have media trust issues. Seriously, I feel like you never know what you’re gonna get.

Anyhow, a real-life friend suggested that I watch it. So I did. And I cried.

There is this crazy mom-pressure to get this parenting thing right. I feel it every.single.day. This video is just beautiful and reminds me that although parenting is a precious, sacred, and important responsibility, sometimes I just need to breathe deep and know that God’s grace is sufficient.

So if you haven’t watched it yet, please do. Watch, cry, and breathe deep…

Learning to Trust

ah, this life of faith, this walking with Jesus…

for me it always comes down to learning each day how to trust Him a little more.

Have you ever been in a situation where you clearly hear God telling you to do something, you obey, and you don’t get the result you wanted or expected?  Maybe you get a “no” when you were thinking you’d get a “yes”.  Maybe a door closed instead of opened.

I had recent experience with this.  I was in a situation where I was very prayerful about each step I was taking.  I heard God and I obeyed.  And I got “no”s.  Twice.

And just about this time I started putting my hands on my hips (ok, just figuratively) and asking God what He was doing.  Why would he have me do that if he knew it wasn’t going to work?  Did I not hear Him correctly?  Surely it would have been easier and better to do it a different way, God!

As I was telling God just what I thought of His plan (yes, I have some control issues), He gently reminded me of another situation that had happened at the beginning of this year – and the lesson He taught me at that time.  Again I was in a situation where I felt I had obeyed but a door closed when I thought it would be opened.  At the same time, my son and I were doing some Bible reading together.  Part of Moses’ story –  in Exodus chapters 7 -11 if you want to check it out.  God sent Moses to Pharaoh to demand the release of the Israelites, not one, but eleven times.  Eleven times Moses obeyed, and eleven times Pharaoh refused!  When I read it with my son I had wondered if Moses ever questioned why God had him go to Pharaoh and ask each time, even when God told Him Pharaoh would refuse.  In other words, why do it – why go through all that- if it wasn’t going to work?

Sound familiar?

I love how God is so personal – reminding us of the very thing we need to hear right when we need to hear it!!

This story has given me the gift of perspective in both situations, and I’m sure many more to come.  There is no reason to be disappointed when things don’t go the way I think they should – because God always has a better plan and in the midst of His plan rolling out, His glory can be displayed!

Exodus 11:9, …so that my wonders will be multiplied…”

I trust God.  I trust that His plans are better.  I trust that He can use what looks like a bump in the road or the end of a road to display His glory in some way.

In this latest situation, I had to get two “no”s before I got a “yes”.  And the “yes” was a good one.  A perfect one!

Why did He make me go through the “no”s?  Maybe it was for me to learn more how to trust.  Maybe it was for the others involved in some way.  I don’t know for sure and I may never know.

But He does, and that’s enough.