Top 4 ways to combat the Momma Back to School Blues

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Back to School Blues!

(For Moms who have lots of kids and lots of responsibility )

Every year around this time, mothers are swarming to their local super store pouring over school supplies, uniforms and new shoes. In the hustle and bustle of a new school year, the heart of a mother can tend to become overwhelmed and even a little blue at the loss of another summer.

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My heart hurts as we have to say hello to early mornings and goodbye to little bodies sleeping in-

Here comes the pending “grind” of a new year and new schedule. ( deep breath)

 
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At orientation, as calendars and commitments are being handed out, my stomach turns into a knot!  How in the world can I do all this?

This year I am determined to so  something different ! I am making my own list of the top four ways to combat the blues! 

This is my  little arsenal of  positive mental tips from a Momma that’s been doing this for over 15 years- Me! Also, this weekend as I am driving my oldest son to college, I realize that school years are short and even though they feel overwhelming, I want to enjoy these moments and focus on what matters.

 

1.) Set clear morning routine rituals as a family ! – It is vitally important that the morning routine not be whizzing around in my head and clearly communicated to my kids.  Just for the record,  I have already held a morning routine war and it’s only the third day of school. grrrrrr! My husband and I are sitting down tonight to make sure our kids have a clear expectation of the time we will leave and the consequences for not getting ready on time. This way, I don’t have to be the morning bear running around growling, GET IN THE CAR!!!!!!! Also, planning the night before helps the morning blues !

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2.) Priorities, Do I really need to do this now, or can it wait till later? 

There is so much to manage in those first weeks of school. It’s probably not the best time for me to take on too much. For example, the first week of school, do I really need to clean out every closet in my house or can that wait? I need to be realistic about exactly what I can accomplish when my kids are in school. Major projects can wait!

Do I need to have lunches packed ? YES Do I need to get my kids to bed on time? YES Do I need to be more available to help set routine in place? YES!

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3.) Remember the important things in life! 

The most important things I do for my children are not found on a to do list – As I looked at my to-do list this week it was returning forms to school, signing papers, dry cleaning, washing the car, cleaning the refrigerator..ect- Although these tasks are important they are not the most important things for me to do .

Here is my “real” back to school to do list:

Hug more

Make encouraging words a priority on the way to school

Pray in the car for each child

Listen when they come home

Stay off my cell phone and emotionally engage in conversation with kids

Have a snack ready for them as a surprise to say , I missed you today

Spend quality time at night talking through any insecurities or fears they might have

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4.) Prayer– Yep, when I feel stressed, I wake up running  and forget to take time for this valuable start to every day. God has given me these wonderful children to raise and will continue to equip me to meet their needs- When I feel overwhelmed the most, I am taking on too much internal responsibility for everything in life.

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Would you mind taking a moment to pray with me?

God, I am praying for this new year with my children in school. Thank you for giving me these children to raise and for promising to meet my needs and theirs. I ask that you help me combat my fears and anxiety over this new year with faith in your power and peace. 

Help me to give grace as a new time schedule begins 

Let me see clearly what I need to do now and what can wait until later 

Make me aware of what is most important in the hearts of my children 

Prompt me to pray more and give my first moments of my day to you – 

Forgive me in advance when I fail, and help me seek your forgiveness and the forgiveness of those around me – 

I trust you to work together good things for my family, in ways I could never do myself- 

Thank you for the blessings of my precious family – 

amen- 

Advice from a 70 year old woman

I held a prayer breakfast in honor of my friend Shannin, the mother of the groom,  who was going to watch her first born son get married the next day.

At the breakfast, her closest friend and family members  were sharing spiritual advice from their hearts. The grandmother of the bride spoke up and said something I have never heard.

She spoke softly,” I have learned there is no place for fear in the life of a Christian woman of prayer. As I have prayed all my life for my marriage and the future marriage of my children and grandchildren, I am able to look back on answered prayer in every situation and realize, all things are( in life )as they were meant to be.”

The advice from a seventy year old woman?  All things are as they were meant to be…

These words whirled in my head as I pondered deeply at the meaning behind this phrase.

This woman with the frosted blonde hair and touches of gray had learned the art of confidence in prayer. She held the wisdom of years of experience seeing God bring about good plans in unexpected ways and so she could say even of the pain that there is purpose

All things are as they were meant to be…

Though this woman appeared comfortable as softened wrinkles cascaded around her smile, she had not avoided the hard times of three rounds of breast cancer  and the loss of numerous businesses but she still insisted –

All things are as they were meant to be….

I looked at the crystal tears sliding down her face and I knew her words were ringing true in my own loss and in my own pain of not having a mother to whisper words of wisdom into my life anymore. After five years of mourning the loss of my mother, I am beginning to learn :

All things as as they were meant to be -The loss I experienced is part of a design being woven into a plan with great purpose.

I don’t need to fear the look and feel of pain that seems to unravel the tapestry.

Each thread is unique to the picture God is creating to represent His grace in me.

images-3I captured her words for my heart and couldn’t wait to share them with you.

Will you consider sharing these words that were given to me and taking them for your own life?

If you have a few words of advice you would like to share, I would love to hear from you!

Maybe you can agree with the marriage advice given by a seventy year old woman?

 

Do Godly women feel overwhelmed?

Do you think Godly women feel overwhelmed?

     Yesterday, I read a Facebook post from a very mature Christian woman in my church.  At first, I saw the  scripture on thankfulness she wrote and had a quick cynical thought, ” Great, another scripture post telling me to be thankful from a happy person .” (sigh) Then, she admitted to being overwhelmed by an aging parent and the fear of uncertainty in her life. Because she told her struggle, the  scripture she shared came alive with possibilities for me when I feel overwhelmed-

Our hearts resonate with authenticity and honesty.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”― Brené Brown

 

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In a place of acceptance, we find grace and mercy to change and grow.

We need more Christian women to admit to feeling overwhelmed …

 

This is a small sample of  her post….

1 Thessalonians 5:18 — In everything give thanks for this is the will of God inChrist Jesus concerning you.

He said it says “In” everything not “For” everything! Right now for me I have been emotionally overwhelmed with my Moms recent health changes. It’s made me sad and to be real honest I have had moments of fear of what’s ahead. But this morning God used this precious man and this scripture to speak to my heart. God spoke to me ” Be thankful in these days with your Mom and in these circumstances and stages of her life that have changed! I’m not asking you to be thankful for it but be thankful in it! “Wow! In my heart I do believe the thankfulness for it comes after the storms because then we can look back and see the hand of God and we are better for it but I’m choosing today to be thankful in everything! 

Do Godly women feel overwhelmed?

yep!

How about you?

Are you feeling overwhelmed about a certain situation? Are you feeling overpowered or fearful about a some thing you can’t change?

 Would you like to share your own situation or some thoughts? Feel free to add comments and join the discussion of feeling overwhelmed

I would love to hear from you-

What is fencing you in and holding you back?

THE FENCE IN MY WAY

It was Mother’s Day and I could feel my moment coming on.

My heart still hurts on this day because of the loss of my mother/best friend over four years ago. As I  drove home from the Florida Keys and viewed the light aqua blue water, I pulled over on the side of the road to mourn the loss of my mother for just a moment. Aqua was her favorite color.

As I tried to look out over the beautiful water , A BIG GIANT FENCE was erected  on the side of the road preventing me from seeing the beauty. GRRRRRRRRR!!!!

I felt fenced in from expressing my loss in that moment, the same way I felt fenced in years ago following her death. I faked a lot of ” I’m fine” and hid my hurt that  took me years to uncover.  As much as I rejoice in her going to heaven, I still want a mommy on Mother’s Day and would give anything for just one moment with her.

You would think I would be “over it” but that is not the way grief works.

Express don’t Repress! 

In an New York Times article The Trauma of Every Day Life, Mark Epstien psychiatrist and author, explains that trauma of grief NEEDS to be talked about and NEVER completely goes away. In his adapted words, “Perhaps it softens over time but there is a rush to normal in many of us that closes us off. Mourning, (expressing your loss), has no timetable. ”

In my words, healthy ,strong Christian women need to Express our loss instead of Repress our pain!

It is so easy to feel fenced in to hiding our pain instead of letting others see that our emotional pain is actually part of our healing process in life. God has woven deep emotions into the heart of every person.  Sadness is just as acceptable as our joy . Because of the way God designed us, expressing our sadness in mourning is  the pathway to our ultimate rejoicing.

Jesus spoke this wisdom in the Bible before the article in the New York Times. He did not fence people in with the demand to fake joy when sad.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

What is the fence in your way ?

What is fencing you in to act normal when you are really not completely over a loss?

Is it the fence of fear that others might judge you as unholy or ungrateful of  the hope of heaven?

Is it the fence of sadness that you may never stop crying if you even let your heart begin this process?

Is it the fence of anger that you are stuck in a life you don’t really like without the person you loved?

No matter what the emotional fence, TRUE MOURNING will allow your heart the freedom to rise above the pain and find a new purpose…

We serve a God who can handle the hurt in our hearts and is honored in our process of letting Him and others know our pain.

As we mourn our feelings,  we become vulnerable to the truth that we need God to help us heal.

LET OTHERS SEE THE REAL DEAL! 

As my husband drove up next to me in another car, he saw me standing behind the fence.

I looked at him and said frustrated , “I can’t get my picture of the water from here.”

He yelled as the cars were swooshing by”Get on the top of the car and I will go with you on the other car! We can get a clear shot from a different view. ”

WILL I MOURN FOR THE WORLD TO SEE? 

In broad day light, on the side of the road, I climbed on top of my minivan with God , my children and a few hundred cars flying by me. I stood on top of the van and held my hands up in the air toward heaven, as the sun warmed my face looking up into the sky. I closed my eyes and almost felt heaven touch my soul with  warmth and complete love.

In that moment, I felt complete peace and joy with the freedom to let anyone know I still miss my mommy in heaven.

I pray you will not be afraid to have your moment.

Don’t let fear fence you in from the peace of sharing your pain

Don’t let sadness keep you from the joy that is waiting as you painfully process your loss

Don’t let anger block you from the power that God is able to give you to repurpose your heart and redirect your future.

 

IN LIFTING YOUR HEART TO HEAVEN YOU WILL GET OVER THE FENCE!

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The Mother’s Day letter your kid needs to read!

After my mother died, I searched endlessly for a letter from her….I needed to know what to do now that she was gone.

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Because of her complications after surgery, she was medically paralyzed and I never heard her voice before she died. I  never heard what she might have wanted to say…I hoped she had left me a written letter on a hidden piece of paper in her home with a final goodbye or maybe even some final words of wisdom on how to be the wonderful mother she was to me?

Devastated,  I looked everywhere and found nothing!

My ritual was to go to her house and look through all her things. Maybe there is a letter in the desk? Maybe she left me a note in her journals? All I would find would be little post it notes with reminders of appointments or bills to pay. I was certain I would find the words I needed to hear from her in some miraculous way. With every failed attempt, I would end up on the floor of her closet, smelling her clothes and crying.If you have ever lost someone you love so deeply, you know what it is like to be left with a closet full of clothes you can hardly bear to get rid of.  These are the hidden moments of raw grief without comfort.

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The last day I left my mother’s house, I gave up looking for the letter.

I arrived home and fell on my bed. Covering my head with a pillow like a little girl,I tried to hide the sound of  tears…. My husband asked me why I was crying and I sniffled out the words,

“I didn’t find it…I never got  the letter from my mom…I don’t have the words to know what to do….”

My husband is an engineer and words are not often his strong suit, but today God gave him the words that touched my heart into eternity.

“Tracey, don’t you realize, YOU are the letter!

Your mom invested in a relationship with you, so that YOU could say the words to our children they need to hear. She didn’t write the words with a pen or paper but she wrote them on your heart! YOU will say all the words she wanted to say.

I looked up from my pillow and stared into my husband’s eyes with an insight that was straight from God.

I was the letter?  I did have all the wonderful years of words from her stored up in my heart. I WAS THE LETTER! I could still speak the words of love  to my family that she spoke to me… I WAS THE LETTER my friends needed to hear. Mom’s voice was silent but I could become a letter to my generation reminding them that a mother’ words matter to heart of her child!

I finally released trying to find a physical letter and embraced the unseen words written into my memory of her actions – Beneath every memory, I could almost hear the words to the letter she would have written :

I saw my beautiful mother holding me as a child when I feel asleep and heard the words…

Dear Tracey, you have always been my beautiful little girl …

I saw her wrapping gifts from holidays and making special dinners

I have loved you with all my heart and always desired to make your life special… 

I saw her boarding a plane with me to go on a mission trip with cancer in her stomach

Don’t let anything keep you from serving God and others with your whole heart…

I saw her holding my babies and rocking them, while she sang their favorite lulabies

Love my precious grandchildren and be there for them in the way I was there for you …

I saw her tears at the diagnosis of cancer, the way she persisted during treatment

I will always be with you in your heart ..

I saw her holding her bible and reading her morning quiet time devotionals

Never stop praying and staying close to the Lord, as He will carry you through…

I saw her breathing her last breath while holding my hand

I love you forever, I’m waiting for you….Mom-

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I will never have an actual letter but  I CAN BE THE LETTER with intentional words of love !

This Mother’s Day , I believe YOU are the most powerful letter of God’s love to your children’s heart besides the actual word of God itself, the Bible. As mothers it is easy to forget  we are so gifted at becoming this letter of love and yes, even when we blow it, we can remember that love covers a multitude of sins, ( and so does an I’m sorry )

Here’s the surprise ending you might not expect!

YOU ARE THE MOTHER’S DAY LETTER YOUR KID NEEDS TO READ!!!

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Today of all days, say the words you want them to read in the letter of your life! It’s so simple to become the letter our kids need to read, as we try each day to speak ONE  intentional phrase into their life each day

Say I love you

Say I will always be here

Say I know I make mistakes

Say God will always help you, even when I can’t

Say I will never stop loving you

Say no matter how big you get, you will always be my baby

Say don’t ever stop having faith in God

Say thank you for making me feel special today

Don’t let anything stand in the way of the words you want your children to hear- no matter how big or small, whether they live with you or their Dad, if they are out of the nest or in the nest, NEVER ,EVER give up on writing the letter of love in their hearts.

Your letter will be read for generation after you are gone, so write on their hearts what you want shouted out for years to come.

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If I can become a reminder to you of how important your words will be to your children one day, then I am eternally grateful for the fact I never got my letter….

 

 

Please share this message with anyone you love and want to make sure they know they are a letter of love.

Happy Mother’s Day. Today and everyday  !

 

 

Endurance : Stick with it Baby!

Endurance_article-new-thumbnail_ehow_images_a05_5f_96_muscular-endurance-800x800Hebrews 10:36

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

This Sunday, I attended my daughter’s Childrens Church program.

Unsuspectedly, I walked hand and hand with my daughter into the big auditorium for kids where God would have me learn a very adult  concept.

As the program began, the children’s Pastor excited yelled, ” Hey Kids, What are we learning about ? ”

A million little voices all began to shout back with smiles, ” Enduuuuurance – sticking with what you started when it gets hard!”

In my heart, I realized I needed a big girl dose of Enduuuuuuuurance, too!

It’s been so easy to start this writing project. It’s one thing to launch an exciting project with the expectation that really wonderful things will happen. It’s another thing to sit by myself in front of a computer screen when I am frustrated and lack the right words to communicate my heart to others.

Have you ever felt excited in the beginning of something new and then frustrated at the long process? 

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It is never easy to walk through a long term process that seems to take longer than expected or work for a job that doesn’t seem to be rewarding.

It is at this critical moment that doubts begin to creep in one at a time….

Am I really supposed to be doing this?

Maybe I should put this on hold?

Maybe I should  just forget it!

Hebrews 10:36 reminds me that I need endurance to do God’s will for my life in the hard times and then, I will receive the blessing. Sometimes blessings come along the path to doing God’s will and sometimes, I need to press on till I receive what God has promised!

What has God promised, when you and I endure ?

James 1:12- You will receive eternal rewards 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Colossians 1:11- You will be strengthened with power and joy 

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

James 1:4 – You will be complete and lacking in nothing 

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

( Deep Breath) Yep! It’s worth it to endure when I feel like you want to quit! It is worth it to put on my big girl panties and wait for that break through moment when the creative juices start flowing and the words  come out with ease.

With my children, it is worth it to endure through chores they don’t want to do, to see responsibility taking root in their lives.

With my husband, it is worth it to endure through hard job changes and financial pressures, to see him in a new job where he can flourish!

God promises Endurance will be worth it in the long run ! 

Friend, are you little discouraged today with your work?

Do you wonder if the hours you are investing in your children or family are worth it?

Is is hard to get up to face more of the same old, same old? Okay, maybe you don’t need to attend children’s church but you need to hear me say : Enduuuuuuurance! Stick with it Baby!

Hang on till your break through comes! There are rewards we can never see coming our way if we will just endure and not give up!

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 Who would have thought that a Mom could learn so much from one trip to children’s church with her daughter?

April 2014

A Repurposed Mother’s Day

I could hardly breathe walking into my first Mother’s Day worship service after my mom died. My heart was broken with the reality that I’d never see my beautiful momma’s angelic smile or hear her infectious laughter again. Her name was Joyce, meaning joy, and with her death, I had lost my joy and my purpose in life.

 

As I sat in my seat and looked up to hear the sermon, I was surprised to hear Dr. Jerry Haag, president of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, speaking instead of our pastor. As he spoke, I saw the faces of little ones in need and heard the stories of abused and neglected children finding hope and healing at the FBCH. Even in my grief, I could almost hear a still, small voice whisper to me, “Will you help children that don’t have a mom to care for them?” Reaching into my purse to financially support the offering going to Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, my first little wave of joy returned to my heart as I thought, “Yes, Lord, I will help!”

God has a special purpose for us, even in our deepest pain.
Has there been a time when you knew God was using a deep pain in your heart to prompt you to help others?

 

About three years after the loss of my mother, I received a phone call to be the speaker for a Mother’s Day event! Mother’s Day? You have got to be kidding me!

 

I think I spoke out loud to God in that moment and said, “You have got the wrong girl! I am the one who lost her mom, not the one who can encourage others on Mother’s Day!”I slumped down on my couch in the same spot I met with God each morning. This time, after three years of talking to God about my hurt, He spoke back. In my spirit, I heard, “I have repurposed you! I am not going to resurrect your mother, but I have repurposed your heart to help others. ”

 

As I thought of the meaning of a “repurposed heart,” my eyes fell on all the things I have repurposed in my home. Now, my broken, beaten up heart, was the very thing God was going to use for His glory. At that Mother’s Day event, a gift for $4,000 dollars was given to complete our Freeride 836 fundraising event to help Orphan’s Heart build an orphanage in Tanzania.

God is in the business of using our stories to inspire others to help children, too!
At our Women of Compassion “God Sized Dreams” event this year, I found out many women have been repurposed, too. Whether these women are volunteering at their local FBCH cottage, going on international mission trips, or assisting at their churches, their passion to serve comes from God changing their pain to purpose.

It is my deepest prayer that you will live “repurposed” this Mother’s Day as a reusable treasure for God’s glory!

 

For children,

 

Tracey Russell

Women of Compassion Council

 

Tracey Russell is an active member of the Women of Compassion Council.  She is an advocate for children and has a blogging ministry attraceylynnrussell.com.

Mother’s Day Offering
Mother’s Day is a joyful time to uplift and honor all that mothers do and celebrate the love of family.

Unfortunately, not all children experience the nurturing love and care they need. At Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, we are privileged to minister and care for hurting children who crave belonging, security, acceptance and love.

You can help us care for ONE MORE CHILD this year bygiving now to our annual Mother’s Day Offering!
For resources for your church and to change your own profile picture on Facebook in support of the Mother’s Day Offering, visit FBCHomes.org
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: 
The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17 NIV)
Impact Lives in Guatemala This Summer
Make a big difference in the life of a hurting child this summer! Join other Women of Compassion members at the Malnutrition Center in Guatemala, Saturday, June 14 through Friday, June 20.

 

For more information on how you can sign up for this mission trip today, contact Kristen Hitchcock at 863.687.8811 or  Kristen.Hitchcock@FBCHomes.org.

 

Tracey Russell with her mom, Joyce 

along with friends who served on a mission trip together at the Malnutrition Center in Guatemala

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She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
Proverbs 31:20
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Three Things to Remember During Times of Change!

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There are a whole lot of “new things” going on around here!

My oldest son, Chase, is graduating from high school and heading off to college! We just received word that my little boy has been given a full academic scholarship to Florida Southern to study Biology! His Dad and I were jumping around like little  kids when we found out the news last week!

After months, really a year of waiting, my husband Mark  is being offered a new job of management. He is awaiting a contract in the mail for this new position in the sales industry-

( please God let that contract come soon!)

I just received OFFICIAL notice that I have been signed as an author with MacGregor Literary Agency! I am a little embarrased  to say I kissed the computer screen when I saw my name on their website!  A lifetime dream  is coming true as God opens this new door of opportunity.

“New things” come with challenges!

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Before all these wonderful new things,  challenges and added tensions mounted!  Huge waves of emotion accompany a senior year of high school, along with the stress of SAT scores, interviews and the college decision process- There is insecurity not knowing exactly what these changes will mean for our family-

Is my baby boy really leaving the nest for good?

Mark has been faced with really difficult work related situations. I have watched as his confidence and self-esteem were battered with criticism and discouragement. The process of looking for another job was a major test of our faith.

Does a new job really give us security in the future?

Last summer, I followed a God-sized calling to write a story about the Freeride 836 fundraiser we completed and the losses that our family suffered. This process felt like falling off a cliff as I was stepping out of my comfort zone. At my first writer’s conference, I skipped out on a session where others could read my manuscript because I was terrified! I spent countless hours alone, in my home, writing to a computer screen.

Secretly I questioned, do I have what it takes to be a writer at 45 years old?

What about you ?

Are you experiencing the waves of emotion before the “new things” about to happen in your life?

Could it be that some of the hard times you face right now are preparing your heart for a new blessing in your future?

Emotions run high and low in times of change, but I am discovering these are the signs that God is, indeed, doing something new! Change can usher in waves of uncertainty, but God has three wonderful words of security for us .

Remember to  :

1.) SEE CHRIST :

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( See, I am doing a new thing! )

God is omniscient, knowing all things well in advance. He can see our lives from beginning to the end.  For most of us, we see a “new thing” when the job contract is signed or the scholarship is in hand-  This verse is alluding to the coming of Christ. His work on the cross would set people free from the slavery of sin. It was the work of Christ that would change the state of our hearts to bring us into right relationship with God for all eternity.  The ” new things” always begin with the work of Christ to change our hearts. His work overcomes stress with the peace of knowing He is in control of the future. He overcomes worry and doubt with the promises of His protection regardless of our occupation. He, Jesus, has the power to open unexpected doors of opportunity for ministry regardless of our fear and insecurity.

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God is well aware of the things he wants to bring into our lives and it is His work that will be accomplished in us.

Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.( NLT)

2.) PERCEIVE:   ( Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? )

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I have heard it said that perception is reality!

As believers, we must constantly perceive challenges and hard times as the the signs of a divine work in progress.

I was just talking to a friend of mine on the phone this am. She is a foster mother to a child she has been raising for almost two years. She has invested in countess hours of love, time, private schooling, and therapy for this little boy. This boy, however, is now entering the teen years(  adolescence and horrible-mones)  She faces so many new challenges with this emerging teen. She is determined to love him, but it aint easy!  We talk each morning about the battles they face and I hear the weary sound of her voice pouring her whole heart into this kid, only to get what seems like attitudes and kickback  at every turn. It’s easy to forget all the ways she has seen positive changes that have come as a result of her efforts. So, I love to remind her of the eternal gift she is investing into every hour of this boy’s life. Daily investments are not easy to see when they are not rewarded with smiles and thank yous! But in the big picture of life, I can’t help but see my precious friend raising a man who will one day called her “blessed” for all she has given him.

Especially in the struggles that produce change, I believe God is whispering to us each morning, “Do you not perceive that your struggles are part of my new thing I am doing? ”

Do you need to hear the loving reminders of your God today?

Do you desire to  hear his voice asking you to perceive blessings in the midst of the messy moments of life?

3.) RECEIVE:

( I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland)

The path we need to travel and the provisions for the journey all come from God. Just like the way God led his people through the wilderness, he will lead us through our changes and challenges. How do we receive His provisions?

Through prayer we can ask God to help us receive His provision.

Matthew 7:11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.( NLT)

Through faith, believe that Christ alone can bring you refreshment to your spirit  –

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38

Through Surrender to the authority of Christ’s rule over our hearts

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.Colossians 3:15

Bible-Verses-About-Peace

I heard Beth Moore describe the authority of Christ’s peace in our lives like an attempt to stay under a protective umbrella. Whatever is not covered by the unbrella is getting messed up! Tonight, as I am going to bed, I am examining a few areas of my life that still need to be brought under the protection of Christ’s peace.

I am so grateful for the God that loves me enough to protect my heart with His peace during three new things!

Is there any other way you feel God has helped you navigate a “new thing ” in your life?

What is a major area that you would like to see changing in your future?

I would love to hear your heart or any comments you would like to add to this post-

Thank you so much for reading!:)

 

Is your confidence wilted?

Wilted

 

I stared through tears at the flowers on my coffee table in the room where I go to meet God each morning…The weeks events were hard and not what I expected. The flowers seemed to represent my wilted confidence and my drooping hope for the future. As my head drooped too, I muttered a prayer,” God, I feel so sad- just like these drooping flowers”

Of all things, I am leading a women’s conference this week and I was feeling ill-equipted to lead anyone at the moment.”Wilted Flower Woman” can’t lead anyone at the moment, including herself!

Ministry is hard like that on people who are getting ready to share what is in their heart. It seems like the week before each talk or presentation I am faced with difficult situations that seem to rattle my self-confidence and stir up feelings of self-doubt and fear. “

As I was about to enter into another difficult conversation and confront a painful relationship,( gulp)My tendency is stuff my negative emotions inside because I am afraid of confrontation!  My door bell rang. Who in the world is coming over now? Unsuspectedly, I looked at my front door step and found a fresh bouquet of flowers. Shocked, It took my mind a minute to understand what was going on? Flowers? It is March, not Valentines Day, so it couldn’t be from my husband? I reached for the flowers as I saw the delivery person scampering quickly into their car. Suddenly, I realized the delivery person looked quite familiar….yes, I know this girl…..

She jumped out of her car and laughed, ” You answered the door so quickly and I couldn’t run fast enough.”

“She” was a precious friend who drove over  to give me flowers with a card that told me how much God loves me, not even knowing about my drooping roses in my prayer room.

I gave her the biggest hug and ran back in the house feeling refreshed. My sadness turned into joy as I realized the truth of my wilted flower prayer:

If the God of the universe has the power to hear me tell Him I feel like a wilted flower and send a friend to bring me fresh ones, then He is able to help me work through my painful relationships.

This display of His power wrapped my heart in the renewal of my confidence that it is God’s work alive and active in me and not my own! It is His faithfulness in me that will speak to women at the conference.

He can refresh my communication skills to give me words of love and not condemnation

He can take away the fear that makes me want to run from difficult conversations

He can send me people to love me even when I feel unloved

He can make a message come alive with His spirit even when I feel like a mess!

Maybe you need some fresh flowers today to remind you that your God can and will be with you to perk up your joy?

I am sending you a picture of the ones my friend gave me, so I can be the friend to you that says,

Philippians 1:6(GNT)

And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus.

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How to Repurpose Car time with kids by Guest Author Angel Sims!

“Are we there yet???” This question oozed from the back seat on every road trip we ever took.  Eventually, my husband had the brilliant idea that each child could only ask that question so many times per trip, depending upon how long the ride would be.  The creativity of our children tickled our funny bone as our tiny tots tapped into their inner lawyer voices.  “How much further, how many more miles, what is our estimated time of arrival?”  The questions became more articulate as the years progressed until we decided to answer every question with a chuckle and say, “Five more minutes,” no matter how far we still had to go.

In a recent Subaru commercial a doting mom claims, “This is where she grew up” speaking of the backseat of her car.  It’s a fact of our face-paced lives, whether it’s a long family road trip or a day filled with soccer fields, ballet studios, or dentist appointments… we spend time in our cars with our children.

When I was a kid, the only entertainment was starring out the window while pointing my finger like a laser beam deciding which tree or car to spare from being vaporized by my imaginary power.  Now, our kids have games, movies, music, at the tips of their tiny fingers and even head phones to keep the goofy sounds in check.  It’s easy and lets be honest sometimes a huge blessing to have our little one content and a few moments of peace as we drive.  Here comes the BUT…… let’s rethink and repurpose the opportunity.

Both of my children received Christ as their Savior after a car-ride conversation.  Each time they initiated with a question like, “How do I get Jesus?”  When I began to sense the importance of the moment I pulled off the road to give my full attention and answer their beautiful question.  I will totally admit this was during the pre-cellphone days (whew that’s hard to even imagine,) so I was never even tempted to chat as we drove… my kids had my attention.

Stats show the average American spends 600 hours per year driving, if even half of that is spent with our children in toe, that’s a lot of time.  Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:

 

1)    When emergency sirens scream in the distance, pray out loud with your kids that God would send His Angels ahead to minister to those in need.

2)    Bring along some gummy worms and tell your kids about being “fishers of men” (Mt. 4:19.)

3)    Talk about the oddness of a duck billed platypus… ask your kids if they could create any animal what would it look like, what would it eat, what noises would it make, where would it live?  Talk about the amazing creativity of God.  You could even throw in some animal crackers!

4)    Download and listen to Adventures in Odyssey by Focus on the Family (this was a huge hit for our whole family.)

5)    Ask your kids what character traits they look for in a friend.

6)    Take along some Goldfish and tell you kids about “the fish and the gold coin” (Mt. 17:27,) or the “boy’s fish and the feeding 5000” (Lk. 9:10-17.)

7)    Sing a long with worship music!!!

8)    Look for license plate tags from other states, describe how different the terrain and climate might be from your home.  Think about how a child might have different needs in times of crisis.

 

Let’s reclaim and repurpose a little of our drive time and watch the seeds of faith grow!

Angel is a mother of two children and an adjunct professor at SouthEastern University in Lakeland, Fl. She is currently writing a book on how to bring parents back to the primary role of spiritual leadership with their  children.

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