Navigating Change

In less than 2 weeks, our family will drive away from this house and enter another season of change. You would think that I’m used to change by now. Truthfully, I feel like my life has been a roller coaster or ups and downs every since we moved to SC. But NO. I’m still not used to change. . .nor do I necessarily like it. . .nor is it easy!

I cried myself to sleep Sunday night. I woke up sobbing Monday morning. I cried driving through town on Monday afternoon. I’m just so emotional these days! A million crazy thoughts jumble up my mind and heart. “Are we crazy?” “Can we survive a cross-country move?” “Does God have good plans ahead?”

I struggle. I pour out my tears and heart to the Lord. . . just like I have so very often these past several years. I tell Him all of my fears, frustrations, and feelings. I’ve found He is the only one who truly understands and can bring peace to my chaotic thoughts and fearful heart.

Very gently and quietly, He reminds me of His goodness and grace. He begins to flood my memories with answered prayers, with enduring promises of Scripture, and kind whispers of grace. He holds me close and assures me that “Sometimes God allows change in our lives so we can have His presence like never before.” (Kristen Strong in her book Girl Meets Change) Continue reading Navigating Change

Waiting

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In the summer of 1998, Jason and I traveled together on a college ministry trip to the western part of the US. During that trip, a God-given desire was birthed within us to return one day to the West and church plant. We began praying then that God would clearly guide and provide us with this opportunity.

After college, we served 11 years in the Raleigh, NC, area in Jason’s home church. Those years of ministry were very sweet and taught us so very much. Looking back, we recognize that God softened our hearts for all people and allowed us to clearly see a pastor and his wife love God, each other, their family, their church, and the lost. Those years of ministry were relatively easy, life was predictable, and our families were close by.

Just shy of nine years ago, our family moved to Greenville, SC, in August 2010. We planned for Jason to complete his seminary degree in a few years, then we would head out West to plant a church. God’s timeline has been very different from ours. These nine years in SC have been anything but easy, smooth, and predictable! Through the past several years, God has humbled our hearts in so many ways, given us new understanding of His grace and goodness, and strengthened our desire to serve Him. We have been through the fire but He has walked with us each step of the way. . . often carrying us when we had no strength of our own. God has been abundantly faithful in every circumstance.

It’s been 20 years since that college trip. . . and it’s been 20 years of waiting! Waiting on the Lord to fulfill our desires. Waiting on Him to give clear direction. Waiting on God to answer our prayers. Waiting on God to provide opportunities. Continue reading Waiting

Freedom in Education. . .Risen Motherhood


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One of my blog goals is to share Gospel-centered and practical resources for my readers. Resources that encourage my own heart. Resources that point my heart to the Gospel. Resources that challenge my thinking. Resources that promote greater spiritual growth in my life. Resources that help me make wise decisions.

Several months ago, I was introduced to Risen Motherhood with Emily and Laura. I love listening to their podcast, using their resources, and reading their blog. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart! As a mom to 5 children,  I am in constant need of Gospel truths to guide, encourage, motivate, and convict my own heart. Each time I listen to a RM podcast, I find that my spirit is lifted and my love for motherhood is renewed! I find such hope in the Gospel!
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Recently, RM featured a series on “Freedom in Education.” These podcasts and blog posts are a MUST LISTEN/READ for parents! Making wise educational choices for our children require that we be well-informed, prayerful, aware of individual needs of our children, and mindful of our current season of life.

Educational choices for my children are in constant review in my home. Currently, I have all 5 children (K5-9th grade) enrolled in our local public school. However, we have experienced both Christian private school and homeschool in past seasons of life. In my years of parenting school-age children, I have found such freedom in the Gospel for our family choices of education. I have also experienced God’s faithfulness with each prayerful educational choice.

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Fellow moms, I encourage you to check out these awesome resources, explore the RM blog, and faithfully listen to the RM podcast. Your heart will be blessed and encouraged in so many ways. Most of all, your heart will always be directed to the truths and hope found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

 

Good Words On Grief

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Grief is a friend that I am well acquainted with and have much respect for. When Grief suddenly enters your life, you embark on this wild and crazy journey! Grief will change you in unimaginable ways and can shake your faith to the core.

This week, one of my favorite authors, Christine Hoover, interviews Kathy Litton on her podcast By Faith. Kathy’s first husband was killed in a tragic car accident 15 years ago. In this interview, Kathy honestly shares her grief journey. Her words are full of wisdom, truth, insight, and encouragement.

I found myself agreeing with her statement, “Suffering sanctifies us and sets us apart from this world.” It is so easy to become enthralled with “the now”. . .but suffering and loss have a way of drawing our focus to Heaven and our future with Christ. Heaven does become sweeter.

I encourage you, friends, to listen to this podcast and continue to walk by faith in your own grief journey. Share this podcast with a friend who is grieving. Find hope that Christ is with us in our suffering. Rejoice in the promise of Heaven!

 

The Struggle with Discouragement

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Discouraged. . .”to be deprived of courage or confidence, disheartened.”

I have found myself there repeatedly in the past week. The tears have flowed freely. My emotions have seemed faithless. My heart has questioned the Lord in so many ways. I have lost sleep. I have snapped at my husband and children. I have completely lost it in the grocery store. I have wrestled with the goodness of the Lord. I have felt like a complete failure in parenting. I have failed to see the beauty of the Lord in this season of my life. I have wanted to curl up in bed and hide my head under the pillow.

I’m sure I’m not alone. If we allow ourselves to be honest, we all would have to admit we struggle with discouragement. Life is hard. The days can seem so long, the mess we find ourselves in can seem overwhelming, and our hearts can feel so disconnected from those we love.

I am always blown away with the faithfulness of God to lead my heart to His truth when I so desperately need it. Even as I am running away from Him, He is always running toward me. Pursuing my heart. Leading my heart to His.

This morning was no different. A few months ago I had printed out a blog article from one of my favorite blogs-Grace Covers Me by Christine Hoover. Christine had written an article entitled “How to Diagnose Your Discouragement.” I found this printed article and began reading her words. . .

Continue reading The Struggle with Discouragement

My Favorite Devotional Books for Children & Teens

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From time to time, I will have people ask me for devotional book and Bible recommendations for children. There are MANY good devotional books for children and teens! These recommendations are some books and Bibles we have personally used in our family:

Ages: Birth to 5

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1. A Child’s First Bible– Kenneth Taylor

2. The Beginner’s Bible– Zonderkidz

3. The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes– Kenneth Taylor Continue reading My Favorite Devotional Books for Children & Teens

This I Know

It’s been 5 years today. FIVE crazy years! In some ways, I can’t believe it’s been that long. In other ways, it seems like an eternity. I still think of her daily because my heart loved her so much.

Five years ago today, February 21, 2013, my mom made the tragic choice to end her own life.

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Life changed immediately for me. I was suddenly thrust into a horrible situation that began to unravel me in ways I could never have imagined. All of a sudden, I found myself on the most insane roller coaster that has seemed never-ending.

Grief has to be one of the wildest journeys known to man. The ups-and-downs of the grief journey have taken me to the lowest valleys in my life yet also to the highest peaks in knowing God’s love and grace. I have been forced to “hang on for dear life” to the truths of Scripture or else be thrown off the coaster into the depths of despair and sorrow.

I still have a hard time believing it all happened. It seems crazy and bizarre that my mom would make this choice. It feels so uncomfortable and shameful. Never in a million years would I have dreamed this would be my story today.

But it IS my story. It is the story that God knew would be mine one day. It is the story that God sovereignly planned to draw my heart to His in unexplainable and unimaginable ways. My story that would shape my heart to become more like His. My story that is helping me make different choices today with my own children, my own mental health, and my personal need for true Biblical community. Continue reading This I Know

Joy in the Heaviness

This time of year gets hard for me.  For the past five years, when my birthday rolls around in mid-November, I can begin to feel the shift. I described it a few weeks ago to my husband as this- “There’s just this deep ache within my soul that feels heavy. I’m not depressed. I’m not anxious. Yet, I feel as if there is something sitting on my chest and it’s not going away.”

I’ve learned that this deep ache is GRIEF. With the holiday season there comes a longing. . .a longing for the way things used to be. A longing for what I had hoped always would be. Continue reading Joy in the Heaviness

Trusting God with Our Children

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post expressing my heart’s desire for my children to treasure Jesus. I’ve definitely been pondering on my own thoughts in recent days.

Just this week, I was challenged and encouraged with these words from Marshall Segall. . .

We are not called to execute a complicated series of steps that secures a certain outcome in our child’s heart. As burdensome and impossible as that parenting technique seems, our flesh foolishly prefers it to trusting Someone else with our kids. No, success in parenting is not found in meticulously performing a process. Real success in parenting is taking today’s step in steadfast obedience to God’s word, by prayerful dependence on God’s strength, with open-handed faith in God’s plan — always relinquishing the short-term and long-term (even eternal) results to God’s will.”

I ask you to read the entire article “You Cannot Guarantee Your Child’s Godliness.” It’s too good not to share with you!

Marshall says, “We all love the idea of open-handed faith in God’s plan — until it means our children might not believe in him. The irony in that tension is subtle, but thick. Do I trust God enough to let him decide what my child believes about God? As a father, if I’m honest, that feels even more intimidating than being tortured or martyred for my faith somewhere in the Middle East.

But if we are willing to trust God with our children’s futures, we can focus on parenting faithfully today, while pleading with him to move in their hearts and lead them to himself.”

May we trust God with our children today.

 

 

To Treasure Jesus

Last week, I had the sweet privilege to visit a new friend of mine. She has two young boys and shared with me her current struggles/prayer concerns about educational choices for her oldest. We discussed different options of education, challenges in parenting a strong-willed child, and embracing motherhood in its various seasons.

Later that same day, I was talking with another recently married friend who desires to have a family in the future. I found myself sharing with her from my own motherhood journey and encouraging her heart to embrace the struggles and joys that will come from being a mom.

I have been a mom now for almost 15 years, and am graciously blessed to parent 5 amazing children! Currently, I am parenting a busy freshman in high school, a middle school girl with changing hormones, a spunky 8 year old, and 2 munchkins learning to read and write in kindergarten.

At times it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the daily responsibilities of motherhood. At times it’s frustrating. At times I feel pulled in so many different directions. At times I fail miserably and lose my cool. At times I cry and laugh multiple times in just an hour. At times I wonder what in the world God is doing in all of our lives! At ALL times, I’m desperate for Jesus to fill us with His grace and love.

As a new mom, I can remember all the goals and desires I had for my children. I think of the goals and expectations I had set for myself as a mom . . . and prided myself on. In those early days of parenting, I could never have known how God would strip me of selfish desires, expose my “perfectionism” and performance mentality, reveal pride, and lead me to a humble dependence in Him alone. In His grace, He continues to change my heart as a parent and bring new focus on His heart for my children.

I’ve asked myself the question recently . . . “What do I most desire for my children?” Continue reading To Treasure Jesus