Christian living, Ministry

Slave to Busyness

In the first year of marriage, I ran circles around my husband. If he took the last drink out of his glass, I hopped up and put it away (whether he was hoping for more to drink or not). I mopped our hardwood floor EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. It was just the two of us. No shoes were worn in the house… but those floors NEEDED to be mopped. There were nights my husband would sit on the couch and say, “Honey! STOP! Come sit with me.” I had to stay busy all the time. Funny thing though, I got off work at 2p (went in at 6a) and cleaned the apartment and took a short nap because, well, I wanted to be completely available to my new husband once he got home from work. Yet, I spent most of the night running around doing… busy work.

We live in a society that glorifies being busy. We value one another based on our schedules and how much space we can fill in on that little hourly grid. We come home and sit just long enough to brag about our busy days on social media… or we do it from our phones on the go.

We see statuses like
– It may be 3am, but I’ve crossed off the 40th thing on my to-do list! #whoneedssleep
-Yep, that’s an empty 12-cup coffee carafe… and it’s only 7am #busyday
-Not sure how I’ll get this paper done, dinner made, house cleaned, dog walked, work completed! #notime
-Up at 6a, and still going strong at 1am #insertyourenergyboostingproducthere

It’s absurd! It isn’t how we were designed. The Bible says, “It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” -Psalms 127:2

All this running here, there, and everywhere (even if you stay in your own house) is useless. Sure, we have to prepare meals, we have to work (whether it be outside the home, or in the home caring for children), we have to maintain our living spaces. There’s nothing wrong with signing up for a sport or book club, or church choir. It’s not useless to volunteer, pursue further education, or train for a better job. Of course if we try to do them all at once, we have to eventually give up rest. And rest is a gift from God.

Busyness can soon become a disease in your life. It can destroy your happiness, your health, and your walk with God. Busyness may get you through life, but it will not BRING you life. John Ortberg says in his book The Life You’ve Always Wanted¬†,”For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.”

I often wonder if the reason we fill every minute of our day with activity after activity, and the reason we boast about all we can fill in to our 24 hours is because society has filled us with this idea that the more we do, the more value we have. And yet, the more we do, the more pressures and temptations we put in our life. We may think that the packed full schedule means success and security and comfort and happiness. But it only attempts to fill a void that only God can fill. Our success isn’t measured in how well we can function on a tiny amount of sleep. Our security isn’t secured in a life with little down time. Our comfort doesn’t seem very comforting when we fill our lives with activities over people, and our happiness will be shallow when we fail to step back, slow down, and find solitude in God.

Hey, I’m not saying I don’t fall into this trap. I do, too often and I’m sure that’s why this is laid on my heart so heavy lately (well, for the past few years really). I see it, I recognize it, and I want out of it. We live in a society where pulling out of the busyness of life isn’t encouraged. We live where fast-food isn’t fast enough, we have to go through the drive-thru and eat in the car. And if that isn’t bad enough, we have replaced our meals with pills and patches, and tiny little power bars. We’ve gotten too busy for simple MEALS… we are in trouble. We put our kids in so many activities that we not only cut into their healthy sleep time, but we have completely done away with family time. Our kids are in school 7 hours a day, given 3 hours of homework, and still encouraged to try for varsity in every season of sports (sometimes those sports even overlap). And this has become so important that church hasn’t found itself on our schedules in months.
We must do something! But what? It’s the world we live in, right?

Author Dallas Willard speaks of a study done where mice were given amphetamines. Some mice were in solitude, some were in a group. It took very high dosages to kill the mice in solitude. However, the mice in the group started hopping around and hyping each other so much that a dosage twenty times smaller was lethal to those mice. They even introduced mice that had not been given ANY drugs to the group and within 10 minutes, the crowd had gotten them so hopped up and hyper that the drug-free mice died. This is the great effect of this “World” that has been created around us. We look at all of our friends get all hyped up on busyness that we feel we need to as well. We begin to put a value on ourselves based on how much we can cram into one day. But, let’s just STOP.

Let’s stop over scheduling our kids. Let’s stop boasting about everything we’ve done that day. Let’s stop letting our to-do list define how great we are. Let’s stop neglecting the rest God has given us.

And let’s start…
1. Planning ahead. When we procrastinate, we find that we cram way too much into a 24 hour period, and we miss out on the abundant life God wants for us. So plan ahead, and be sure to plan some down time into your life.

2. Praying and seeking God first. Give time to solitude with God. If that means getting up before kids do, then go to bed earlier so you can get up after a healthy night’s rest. This also may mean you have to cut something out. *You can also choose to go have time late at night… but only on nights where you can still get healthy amounts of sleep to prepare for your next day.

3. Cutting things out. Yes, getting a degree would help you get a better job. Getting a better job would help your finances. Better finances will…. Well… can I stop here and say, “Not always”. I don’t make 6 figures. And I’m doing great. Money isn’t everything. Simpler living just may be happier living. If you are pushing to get a degree just to get a better job to make more money… stop and ask yourself if that also means more hours away from family and church. I’ve seen this way too many times. Dad goes back to school while working full-time. He tells his family it’s just 2 years, then I’ll have so much more time. But then the new job requires more time away… and the cycle never stops. Maybe this isn’t the time for the new degree. Maybe wait until kids are grown and there is more time to pursue it. (Moms, this goes for you, too). Sports are fun. But don’t allow your kids to fill their time so full that they aren’t learning about quiet times. Stop the cycle now.

4. Take time to do nothing. Don’t plan something in every single slot on your calendar. Leave room to life. Do not be afraid of boredom. Let the day get away from you. You will start to feel free. Probably not right away, since busyness has such a great hold on us. You will have to make this a discipline, or a training in your life. But I guarantee it will bring freedom soon.

5. Change the stigma. Let’s start changing the scene. Stop glorifying busyness. Encourage others to come and enjoy life.

It’s time to change things, to choose another way of living, and to eliminate busyness from our lives.

One last thing… God wants more of you. He values you. He longs to be with you, to be in your thoughts, to be king over all your activities. If rest was good enough for Him… it’s good enough for us.

Ok…so one more thing…
Please watch this funny clip…
And remember, not everything that “saves time” makes life better. ūüėÄ

parenting, Uncategorized

Whatever you want…

It doesn’t take much research to find that the Bible encourages us¬†that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name we will receive.

Matthew 18:19- Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 21:22-And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.‚ÄĚ

Mark 11:24-Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

John 14:13- Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 15:17- If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:16- You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 16:23-24-In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you,whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

1 John 3:22- and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

1 John 5:14-15- And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have

And that’s just a quick google search of the words “Ask anything you want in my name”. I’m sure there is a longer list and deeper research that can be done. But as easy as it is to search for it, it’s just as hard to have the faith it takes to do the asking. As you can see in these verses there is nothing that suggests you can ask God for unlimited monetary wealth and he will just “poof” place it in your hands. There is a limit to what we ask. As we see in 1 John 5:14-15, He shows us that we ask according to His will. And so, our faith comes in when we aren’t sure what that will is.¬†1john-5_15-15

We are all human, and we’ll have human “wants” that aren’t always part of God’s will. That doesn’t mean we don’t ask, it means we start out trying to discern what that will is. And although we still may not always get that part right, as we do the searching, we draw close enough to God to be content with the answers (even when it’s “no” or “wait”) God gives.

I’m slipping from my intended purpose here… but consider that an “intro” to what I’m about to say… PRAYER CHANGES THINGS! As we draw close to God, as we seek to do His will and not just our own, our prayers begin to take on a shape that changes the way we live, the way we see life, and the way we handle the life we’re given.

It’s so fitting that I’m writing this and that it will fall on my blog history right after¬†“Mothering, the struggle is real”. The struggle is always there, but in the last 6 or so weeks since writing that (man, I need to write more!), God has done some really great things in my life.

You see, I have 4 children. As wonderful as they all are, 2 of them are pretty strong-willed. My first strong-willed child has grown out of most of the issues we had when he was younger, and is proving to be a quite the young man. But it seemed the same things I used on him are not working on the other strong¬† Iron-willed child. And I’m struggling, 6 weeks ago, struggling wasn’t a strong enough word… I was drowning.

Then a friend asked some advice on Facebook about how to parent a child whose heart is not changing. And I immediately remembered what worked on my 1st child that I had neglected in my current parenting struggle. And here is where I’d like to really start this blog post…

When my first-born, who was such an obedient wild child, would show these massive fits of rage when we simply asked him to pick up his books nothing we did taught him to control his outbursts. We tried giving him ways to express his frustrations… but nothing seemed to work. At my wit’s end (and at this point I had only 2 children, and was not nearly as stressed out), I began sneaking into his room at night while he slept and laying hands on him and praying. I would spend 30 minutes or more some nights, 10 min other nights. But I begged God to change his heart. To speak to the heart of my little boy when I could not reach it. Within days, his behavior changed.

The problem is, as he got better, I got worse at spending that time in his bedroom at night. Don’t get me wrong, I always pray for my children, ¬†WITH them and in my own personal time… but I wasn’t spending that concentrated time in prayer on a consistent basis.

So fast forward to what brought me to write that last post. My poor little girl is struggling hard with BIG emotions, and small coping mechanisms. And her drained momma is running out of ideas. Until I was reminded by a friend’s search for answers, that I had the answer. Well, GOD has the answer… PRAYER! This Iron-willed child of mine can be relentless at times. And now, with 4 children, all doing school, and having activities, and needing different things at different stages… I’m tired! And I need answers. And God reminds me… “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you,whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.¬†Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”¬†Oh how I need that joy… that FULL JOY! So I began that journey. I sneak into her room at night, and I cuddle up next to her. I rub her back, I kiss her face, I stroke her hair, and I pray over her heart.

“God, I’m failing! But you love her even more than I can ever love. Change her heart. Take away her rage and replace it with peace. Take away her triggers and replace it with happiness. Take away her frustrations and replace them with dependence on YOU!” I go on to pray for me as a mother. “Lord, I’ll mess up! Help my patience. Expand my heart to see where she’s struggling, and give me compassion for her during the process.” I continue to pray many things over this child.

And here’s the thing… Let’s be real. Sometimes when our children are consistently a struggle, although obviously our love for them never ceases, our “like” level starts to drop. Cuddling your sweet blessing from God when they are calm and peaceful increases your compassion and the child’s likability. And in that moment, when that peaceful little angel is sweetly sleeping, you can fight the biggest battles for her that you’ve never be able to fight in the midst of the chaos of the day.

Although it¬†took some time of suffering before I remembered this gem of information, ¬†I eventually began the process of praying over my sweet baby girl. And now… today… I feel I have my real child back! We’ve had our bad moments, but there is such a tangible change.

You see, I’ve tried it all. I’ve tried more sleep (her and me). I’ve tried being strict. I’ve tried letting up. I’ve tried letting her choose, complimenting more, hugging more, begging, pleading, and crying. But I had asked not, so I received not. It sounds superstitious to say, but superstition has nothing on prayer! Not only has her behavior changed, but so has mine. I’m calmer, I’m more likely to see the issues, more in tuned to how God wants me to handle said issues, and I completely see her in a new light.

God is in the business of changing hearts. And only HE can do it. We can teach our children, we can lead our children, but we can not change their hearts. And once we begin to pray for our children’s hearts to follow after God, God listens and answers.

In the midst of busy days, I’d crawl into bed finally get cozy and then realize that I had not gone up and laid hands on my child like I had in the days before. “But I’m already tucked in. God doesn’t care if I lay hands on her as long as I just pray.” I thought. So I’d pray in my warm cozy bed. Then the next night I’d do the same… slowly getting out of the habit. And just as before, her behavior began to slip. We were going right back into the Iron-will. What was happening? I mean, is it mandatory for us to have a specific formula to how we pray over our kids? A certain posture? A specific time of the night? Are our prayers dependent upon our rituals? NO! They are not. But, God was teaching ME something through this exercise and I was not in direct obedience to that. I do not understand it all. I don’t claim any top secrets when it comes to prayer. But what I do know is that God asked me to have this particular discipline and when I do, I see results, when I don’t… I see those results, too.

I asked Pastor if he thought it was possible God was using this exercise to show me something specific to the method, or was there something Biblical behind this kind of prayer and the changes we are seeing because of it. The Bible does talk about laying hands on the sick. It talks about how when the apostles laid their hands on people the Holy Spirit would come upon them. The Word of God mentions Moses laying his hands on Joshua to commission him into service to the people of Israel. There is something wonderful about laying on of hands. But also, there is something about your child waking from a deep sleep and seeing their mama praying over them. She smiles at me, cuddles up tight, and plays with my hair. She is no longer lost in the shuffle of her siblings. She no longer is a middle child who struggles to find her place in the family. She is no longer a rambunctious character who can’t¬† won’t sit still long enough to read a simple book. She’s the apple of my eye. Just me and her… and God!

Whatever the reason behind doing it, God is doing it. Now, multiple weeks later just as she begins having her big emotions, (and although she even lets them out for a split second) she is showing that she DOES actually have self-control. Imagine that! A fruit of the Spirit. Not only have I increased my prayer time with her, but she’s following suit and has been praying on her own. She is SIX! And she’s extraordinary!

Each child is going to teach their parents something. I could go on and on explaining all the unique things the other three have taught me. But right now, I’m learning to pray. And I’m gleaning all the benefits of God’s mighty answers to my prayers.

Prayer changes things. Ask anything in Jesus’ name, according to His will, and He WILL do it! I challenge you to try it! And please let me know the results.

pastorswifeslife@gmail.com

 

parenting

Mothering… The Struggle is Real

I’m not in a good place today. It hasn’t been a positive mothering day, and I’m currently locked in my bedroom with the left over ice cream (I didn’t even put it in a bowl!) bawling my eyes out. Why? Oh for many reasons. One, however, is that I feel alone. Even though I have a very supportive husband. He isn’t here when the kids are at their worst. And so although I may send frantic text messages to him during the day threatening to run away, he doesn’t see what happens on these bad days. So I sit… all alone… unable to reach out.

Why is it so hard for mothers to reach out? Why is it so hard to admit that we are struggling? Why can’t we call up our friends, or maybe even our family members and vent about our disobedient child and our mothering struggles? Maybe you have your own reasons, but I don’t because I feel judged. I’m aware that this feeling could totally be me, that my friends and family are not judging me at all. But I don’t see enough support for mothers to have that hope that I can venture out and describe how completely lonely I am, or how I feel like I’m a complete failure as a mother. I don’t always see enough love for mothers who struggle, so when I do, I fear the same judgment they receive.

Something about how fast our fingers can type on an anonymous internet and how slow our minds are to censor creates ¬†a very threatening atmosphere. If you’ve ever read an article about a parent being raw with their struggles, you’ve probably read the comments that follow. Sure there are many that are encouraging and loving, but there are just as many who bash and beat down. They judge a person based on 5 paragraphs of her life. They say wicked things going as far as to say they don’t deserve to be parents. As if the parent themselves haven’t already beat themselves up over and over again because of the struggle. These people are ruthless. ***I have my comments on moderation only. No bashing allowed here.

What would happen if mothers felt comfortable and felt they could go to their online life and seek support for the struggles they are having? What if a mother did lose it and hit their child, then come looking for help immediately after**… and what if we actually helped? What if she found the courage to seek forgiveness, to get professional help, and became the mother she always wanted to be by receiving love from fellow struggling parents? Unfortunately many are met with criticisms, generalizations, hate, and judgment. They are told that they aren’t good mothers because they aren’t perfect.

Sadly it doesn’t always have to be from strangers on social media. Sometimes the reason we sit alone in our struggle is because we’ve heard our friends, and probably even joined in the bashing of another mom. We’ve heard our friends talk about the boy with the bad behavior and how the mom should have done this or that. We’ve heard the judgment in their voices as they give the reasons why the child is so ill-behaved. We may have even been the instigator of the conversation… until we realize we have a kid just like that. But then who can you go to? The friends who saw fault in the other boy’s mom? Nope, we sit in silence… all alone… and continue to struggle.

We hear a friend rant about the behaviors of all those imperfect children and we think in our minds, “What if they knew about MY child!?” And we instantly close ourselves off even further.

Whether it be online or face to face, it’s hard to find rest within a¬†mom’s struggle. It’s sad that our ice cream is a more warming environment and brings more comfort than a friend’s shoulder to cry on.

But can I offer some repose? You are NOT alone. Moms struggle on every block. Kids misbehave. Kids can be rotten for entire days at a time. And God loves your child more than you can even comprehend. I know it’s hard to believe. In the midst of the biggest fit you’ve ever seen, God still loves. (and I’m talking about Mom’s fit, too).

I found myself sitting with the ice cream carton in one hand, a spoon in another, and tears pouring down my face as I cried out to God asking, “Why isn’t my love for her enough!?” Feeling lost and alone, God was right there. As I prayed, He comforted. Don’t you know God says the same to us? We all mess up, we all throw fits, we all go in a direction God never intended for us to go. If only we understood His love for us. So, since God won’t give up on me, I won’t ever give up on my child. And I’m not giving up on trusting there’s support out there.

If you’re struggling, and “Strong willed” doesn’t even come close to describing your lovely child… come sit by me! If your non-judgmental friends suggest the “glitter calm down jar” and you immediately envision your child throwing said jar… come sit by me! If you are getting ready to down your 3rd pint of ice cream this week all alone in the corner of your bedroom… hiding from your children… come sit by me. You’ll find no judgment here!

Just remember, just as not every child is the same, no mother is either. Some children don’t sit still, or calm down with a mother’s hug. Some children don’t feel love as easily as their sibling, throwing mama for a massive loop… and some moms can’t handle as much as others. Some moms are laid back and able to handle their iron-willed child (seriously, what is stronger than strong willed??), and some moms crumble in stressful situations. We don’t need your condescension. We need someone to hold us up; to push us along when we grow weary; to carry our burdens when things have gotten too heavy. So, come sit by me. I promise to be careful when talking to my friends. I promise to add one more comment in the encouraging column. And I promise to keep praying!

If you need someone in your corner, email me. I’d rather you have some support than reach for the ice cream! (Save the ice cream for making it another day!) I’m saving you a seat by me! Email me @ thePastorswifeslife@gmail.com¬†

**Before comments come pouring in, please know that I personally do not hit my children. However, if you have, or you’ve come close… I’d rather you reach out than do something that would harm your children, or add to your struggle. Take a deep breath, and contact someone for help.

Uncategorized

Do you Enjoy your Children?

Of course we love our children. It’d be hard to find a parent who will come out and say they don’t love their children. Even those who lack in basic parenting skills, still love their children, even if deep down under the piles of turmoil that has been heaped on them. So I’m not asking “Do you LOVE your children?” I’m asking, “Do you ENJOY them?” I find that during the challenging parts of parenthood, there are moments I wouldn’t want to share my answer to that question. However, if I’m honest with myself, I’d have to sometimes answer no. I do not enjoy them. It is in this moment that I realize it isn’t THEIR fault, it is mine. The issue may appear to be a behavior issue. It may manifest itself in a period of time when the terrible twos are roaring their VERY loud head. It could be a feeling you have when the toddler and the baby (or the multiples) decided to stay up all night AND cry all day. And outside of those situations where your teenage or grown kids are choosing to be the troublemakers and not the peacemakers (despite what you’ve taught them), the root of the issue isn’t them, it’s us. It’s me. It’s you. So what can we do? How can we enjoy our kids when the bad behavior seems to outweigh the good? How can we truly enjoy our kids when they choose turmoil over peace? Is it even possible to enjoy your kids while you discipline and slowly count to ten… a million times… just to maintain the skimpiest glimpse of sanity. I believe it’s possible. I believe it takes discipline on a parents part, but is very doable.

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3
Children are a gift from God so why wouldn’t we enjoy them? And maybe this is the point where I should clarify that I am not suggesting we grin and smile and¬†ENJOY the fits of the toddler, the misbehavior of the tween, the rudeness of a teenager, or the reckless behavior of the grown child. I’m suggesting that over all, we need to seek to enjoy the gifts God has given us. This also may be the point that I should admit that I struggle with this at times. I mean, let’s be completely honest here, kids can be annoying. Their incessant questions, their absent-mindedness (or is that selective hearing?), their bad habits, their WHINING…. I better not go on! But every 2-year-old will ask you why, then why again, then again, and again… it’s part of their development. Every 6-year-old will venture out to see if they’re old enough to get away with a little more. It’s part of the independence they’ve acquired through school. Every teenager will push and argue, they’re forming their own opinions as they learn to live apart from their parents. And every child will whine… I have NO CLUE what the developmental reason for this is… but EVERY.CHILD.DOES.IT!!! (perhaps it’s to build up a parents tolerance!). ¬†If we allow these natural occurrences to keep us from enjoying our children, we have a bigger issue than the annoyances themselves. And I find myself asking God to help me enjoy my kids. I know they are a gift from Him, they are a reward from Him. It reminds me of when I’ve given gifts to my children only to see them toss the gift to the side never to be played with. It hurts. And it hurts God’s heart as well. So, now that I’ve made you feel bad… not really my intention, but if you’ve ever found yourself saying (even if just to yourself) “I don’t even enjoy them!” you’ve immediately felt guilt for even having the thought. I do. It’s a cycle I’m quick to try to remedy. I’m frustrated over their behavior, so I feel I dislike being around them (I’m not sure I like the opposite of the word, enjoy… so semantic people, bear with me!) then I feel guilty for having the thought, knowing that I need to enjoy them… It is a real indication that a change needs to happen. How can I honor God, and the gift/reward He has given me. May I share some of my ideas with you? Not because I think I’ve mastered this, yet. But because I feel it works for me as I battle these challenging parts of motherhood.

  • First, I immediately ask for forgiveness. I pray that God will help me work through these emotions, and forgive me for looking at His gift in this manner. For me, it is a sin. I am not exhibiting godliness, but selfishness. So I ask him to forgive me. Then I ask Him how to get out of this funk I’m in. Most of the time, I’m not able to do anything until I do this number one step. My heart will not change without God’s help.

 

  • I begin to search the scripture for words of encouragement. I remind myself to take captive every thought and bring them into submission to God. So I search for scripture that will remind me of God’s will in my parenting. Scriptures like…

Psalms 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (read it and remember that God created your children in this same way!)

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (If He gave YOU the gift of children, he prepared you beforehand to be able to raise them! I promise!)

(there are many more… but for space sake… I’ll move on)

  • I begin to search for podcasts that will speak to the challenges (and solutions) to parenthood. I get my Bible out, and study alongside the speaker. Hearing that I’m not alone, is a comfort. But learning how to deal with it, is empowering. I use Oneplace.com¬†(it’s an app for Android, too) And there are many preachers that post their past broadcasts. Focus on the Family, or Jim Daily’s “Focusing on Parenting” are very good, but sometimes I just put “Parenting” in the search and find something. You don’t have to agree on everything in order to gain a small nugget of encouragement to fuel your parenting journey. And if I can’t find what I am looking for, I will google things and try to find Christian blogs I can read.¬†*****I am not looking for something that will validate my feelings! I am looking for something that will reprimand me, and encourage me to get back to where God wants me! I suggest you do the same, flattery won’t solve the issue.

 

  • I begin to godly discipline. If it’s bad behavior that is causing my kids to be unenjoyable (I may have made that word up… but I really don’t like the true opposite of enjoy… so…), then I need to teach them the right behavior. It is our job as parents to raise obedient children.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for there is hope;

Proverbs 1:8-9 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

And my point….¬†Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;¬†he will give delight to your heart.
When we discipline properly, we are teaching our children to be delightful. Not just to us, but to those around them. I warn my children. I start off my telling them that I’m sorry that I did not discipline enough (to which they quickly forgive me, don’tcha know!) And I explain that I’ll be cracking down on behaviors to which they know they should be having and are not. I remind them of my expectations for them, and outline where we’re falling short (not getting the morning routine down, making us late… or putting shoes away so we can find them when we leave, or how to be kind to a sibling… whatever the issue may be). Then I follow through. The first week is hard. They are in more time-outs, I am taking WAY more deep breaths. They are losing out on privileges, I am chanting “Yell less, love more” to myself while rocking back and forth in my closet… but it needs to be done, and it’s beneficial to us all.

  • I let them be annoying once in a while. Like I said, kids can be annoying. As children learn the social norms to behavior, they will often do annoying things. It’s part of their learning process. They repeat themselves, they chew with their mouths open, they get overly excited about things that seem unimportant to us. But, I refrain from being annoyed. I may correct them (“Please eat with your lips closed.” “Please stop repeating that phrase.” “Let’s not stand so close to my ears while chewing gum.”) But I do it in love, not in irritation. I don’t allow myself to reprimand them, belittle them, or show them my annoyance. I correct; I teach them the right behavior… and leave the room if I’m struggling more than I want. (I’m human! I DO get annoyed… but in order to choose to enjoy them, I take my thoughts captive, and I allow them to be children.)

 

  • I go to bed earlier. Let’s face it, we’re a better version of ourselves when we have our beauty sleep. It is much harder to have patience when we’re sleep deprived. I can do this now that I have children who sleep through the night. It’s much harder when you are up all night with babies, and up all day with kids who don’t nap! Grab rest when you can. Ask your spouse for help. You’ll be a better parent for it.

 

  • And Lastly… for now… is CHOOSE to enjoy! Look at your gorgeous, smart, energetic, and amazing child and see him/her as the gift she/he is! Watch them when they play, laugh at their silliness. Join them as they jump in rain puddles, and laugh when they giggle at their own made up joke. Watch them as they interact with their siblings and realize this child of yours is AWESOME! If you have to, go back to sweet baby pictures or remind yourself of funny things they’ve done in the past week, month, year. Hug them tight, tell them how wonderful you think they are, and remind yourself that this reward from God is one of the biggest blessings you’ve ever been given. Pray over them, praise them, marvel in them, and be awestruck! Be intentional about finding things to enjoy. Whether it be the moment they are quiet listening to a book, or coloring nicely at the table, or studying for a test at school, make it intentional. Then remind them how much you love them. Tell your child that they are the best gift you’ve ever been given. Then when you collapse in bed at night from the exhausted day that comes along with being a parent, do not allow yourself to dwell on the rules they broke, or the attitudes they had. Instead count your blessings. Just as you began your day in prayer, end it just the same. Praise God for the thoughtfulness of His gift. Thank Him for the blessing.

I write just as I come out of this. Like I said, I have not mastered this. And I don’t always enjoy every moment. But I love my children, and want to honor God with the gift He has given me. I believe I am not where I need to be when I choose not to enjoy them. So, today, I’m choosing to enjoy them! I’ll gaze at them and thank God for my quadruple blessing. And I’ll start the day tomorrow doing the same. Feel free to add some of the ways you choose to be intentional when it comes to enjoying your children, I’m open to more suggestions!

Until then… Enjoy those kiddos of yours!

13697191_10154446021899430_6702073917030917327_n

Uncategorized

Just Do IT!

My girls recently asked for “Little House on the Prairie” dresses. We searched and searched for dresses, knowing that I was not a good seamstress. After realizing I could not make the “Laura Ingalls” collars, or the perfect Pinafore (which I looked up the technical term for those, so I wouldn’t call it an apron), I started looking for something simpler. I googled “easy to make girls dresses” and I read read and read some more. I spent a full week in research. I read every blog, pattern, and comments section. Finally, I took the girls to pick out their fabric. I found a pattern in one of the books, however, it was $14!!! So we passed on that and decided to research more.

The fabric was bought, it sat in the Hobby Lobby bag. And it sat. And it sat some more. I stared at it as I read more and more blogs on how to sew. It sat while I watched youtube videos learning how to do a basting stitch. It sat while I googled what pinking sheers were. It sat while I compared what was best, pinking shears, serger, or a zigzag stitch. (I don’t have ANY clue about serging!!!) The bag of beautiful prints and colors just sat while I stared at my sewing machine and contemplated my plan of action. FOR DAYS!

There comes a point in life when we can’t just research, plan, and ponder without DOING IT! We do Bible studies on how to find God’s will for our lives. We ask other’s opinions, we weigh our hopes, dreams, and gifts all while they sit in a bag unused. We have a huge desire. Our heart aches, but yet we hold back because we don’t think we know what we are doing. We don’t feel we have the resources, the history, the know-how to carry out this calling God’s given.

The great thing is… if He calls you, He also equips you! And that is just awesome! If He calls you to be a preacher, he’ll equip you with the sermons to preach. If He calls you to be a teacher, He will give you skills to teach. If He calls you to adopt, He’ll provide the stamina it takes to go through the endeavor. But you have to JUST DO IT! You’re sermons will not come out of your mouth if you do not open it. Your classroom will not appear when you do not do the work to obtain a job with a classroom. ¬†Adoption paper will not be signed if you do not actually sign them! God allows some things to done on our part. He can line things up just right for the path to go smoothly, but if we just sit and stare at the path, we will go no where… We must JUST DO IT! Then watch how God uses us! Watch and see the wonderful benefits from taking that leap of faith. Move as He leads and dwell in the fact that you are taking every step toward a beautiful masterpiece.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (emphasis mine).

So, I sewed. I followed this bloggers instructions to a tee. ¬†I dove right in. I took my time. I read and reread my instructions, and I trusted even when I didn’t understand what it said. ¬†(read into that… The Bible is our instruction manual. Dive right in. Take your time. Read, reread and trust when you don’t understand.)

I made mistakes. But the fabric (and design) was forgiving. (read as, we all make mistakes, but God is gracious and forgives. His love covers over a magnitude of sin)

And at the end the mistakes were only evident to the creator, the dress blessed my daughter. Her ooohs and ahhhs were beautiful. There are times we make mistakes. God works on us all individually. But when we set out to serve, to do God’s will, we can bless others beautifully. As we learn and grow our mistakes become less and less. But the blessings grow in their beauty.

Just as I should, I needed to learn to do this project. I needed that research. I needed to define terms I didn’t know. I needed to know how to use what I learned… that is a given. But there comes a point where we need to start doing what we’ve learned. Listen carefully for the green light!

So… It’s time to DO. What’s in your heart? What has God been nudging you to try? Is now the time to dive in? JUST DO IT!!

There is a long list of things I did wrong... but I did just enough right to create the awesome dress for my awesome 3 year old!
There is a long list of things I did wrong… but I did just enough right to create the awesome dress for my awesome 3 year old!
  • I didn’t plan for it to be a halter dress. It was supposed to have cute little buttons on the front, but I sewed the straps right in forgetting my original plan. It is super cute without the white shirt under… but well, it’s winter already here! So long sleeves and leggings for now!
  • I also measured for the bodice, not remembering that my cutie patutie has a much curvier bum than I think the original model had. So we had to tear some stitching and redo to get it on her… once over that curvy bum, it was adorable.
  • I also did not buy quite enough fabric, so it’s a tad smaller around than the original plan. However, I am not sure I would really notice a few inches.
  • Once it was on her, we noticed that there were two straight pins in the bodice that were sewn in. I had to cut tiny holes to free them. Silly me.. just proves how much more I need to learn!
  • I already had the thread, and the ribbon. So my total for this dress came to $8.09 (look for Hobby Lobby sales, and use your coupons!)
  • Thank you to Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom for a set of instructions and pictures I felt I could really follow. I learned so much doing this project and I couldn’t be happier! Please visit her awesome blog and try a few crafts of your own.

I have one more to make for Lil. I’m hoping it will be easier and with even fewer mistakes. I can’t wait… neither can she!

new button 150x127

Uncategorized

A Visitor in the Classroom

I do not come from a homeschooling family. In fact when I decided to do it I got a few “Are you really going to do that?” and “Well, you won’t do it forever will you?” I believe the more family know, the more they see that it is a reasonable decision. (well, at least that’s what I tell myself). So I know that the unknown was uneasy to some. And the idea seemed ludicrous at times. But I stood confident in knowing that these were MY kids and ultimately OUR decision. And each day I see them achieve, learn, and rise above I am confirmed in that decision. As each year passes I learn to dismiss those comments that disagree based on their lack of knowledge, and continue to press on.

However, there are days when my mother comes to visit and she is sitting in my living room the entire time my kids act up, run around crazy, refuse to listen, and I begin pulling my hair out in the middle of a math lesson. I try with all my might to teach simple predicates (on no sleep, mind you) while trying to calm a screaming toddler, while jostling a sleepy baby, all while being very self conscious about my mother watching it all. What is she thinking? Is she questioning my decision? Is she wondering if my kids ever learn anything? Is she concerned for my health? Does she sit wondering if this is how every day goes (which it doesn’t… but so far this year, every Friday is the same scenario). These days are the days where I stress myself out with the worry of what THEY think.

My mother does not judge my parenting. She sees my kids as they are… kids. She knows they are smart. She knows how it is to parent 4 children. My stress and self-conscious behavior is not HER fault. She has never accused me of being a poor parent, A lousy teacher, or a horrible disciplinarian. She may wonder how any work gets done in a home full of such chaos, but she’s not judging my methods. (at least I am almost 100% sure she’s not!) But still I sit there and pray that the kids would be perfect, that they will have all the right answers. That the younger babies will behave so I can show off my master teaching skills. I secretly want my mother to sit back and think, “WOW! She is the BEST mother EVER! She is so patient, and creative, and her kids are the best students I’ve ever seen!” But instead she sees me throw a stuffed dog across the room in frustration. She sees my kids goof off, scream, and misunderstand every word I say. She sees us skip art and social studies because well, I was just too tired to do it. And I finish thinking, “I’m pretty sure if my mother did not approve of homeschooling before now… ”

So, today as I finish up my weekly progress reports, I see that my kids are right on track. They are learning all that we have covered. They play catch up better than anyone I know! I make notes on the previous week, what works and doesn’t work. How we may need to tweak the schedule, and how I feel I did as a teacher. And as I finish up, I pray over my newly set goals and I realize that those goals are not to please my family. They do not need to be set to please my husband, sisters, or mother. My goals are to follow a calling God has called me to.

Just as I sat and stressed over a visitor seeing the realities of homeschooling, I need to sit and focus on the one we invite in each morning. “Jesus, please be present in all we do. Teach us what we need to learn today, guide us to make right choices, lead me as I teach, comfort us when we make mistakes.”¬†

Seeing my mom in the room helped me to not scream and give up. Fridays are our hardest days. And they have been my worst day as mother and teacher. Yet having someone in my room observing, keeps me on track. But isn’t Jesus present at all times? Shouldn’t my behavior, motives, and mind be set on pleasing HIM. To run my day in such a way that if I saw it through HIS eyes, I’d feel I did well? So easy to forget, but we have a permanent resident in our hearts that guides us. He is watching. Are we who we want HIM to see? And when we don’t know the answer… just as my mom looked up “compound subject” for us when we drew a blank (talk about EMBARRASSING!) We can always stop, drop to our knees, and ask. ¬†Is there really any other way to parent?

Thank you, Mom for not judging us. Thank you for not reprimanding me when I lost my patience. Thank you for being gracious with my unruly children. For loving us no matter how big of a headache we must have given. I appreciate your love despite my downfalls as a parent. And Jesus… DITTO!!! You judge our hearts, but guide us when we make mistakes. Thank you for the little patience I did have, and for your grace when I lacked. Thank you for loving my unruly¬†children, and leading them even when they give ME a headache!

You’re presence is highly desired in all we do! You are ALWAYS invited! (Mom, you, too!)

mom

Homeschool

Lessons learned in Christian Life Academy

Well, first things… we named our homeschool. I’ve been praying about it all summer. To have a missions statement, and to sum it up in the name of our school. Naming your school isn’t always SUPER important when the kids are all 3rd grade and below. But I’ve read it can be important for highschool transcripts and college admission… Anywho, we named it. Christian Life Academy. It sums up everything we want for our school. Although academics are important, it is not the MOST important to us. Raising children who follow heart and soul after God is THE most important. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you. To teach how to praise God while pushing through difficult math problems is more important than figuring out how to divide. The division will come with practice… and so will the self control.

So… what did we learn our first week of classes?

1. That schedules will not always work. Sometimes things take longer, sometimes things are caught quickly. Sometimes I just need to let school go until dinner time, take breaks when appropriate and move on when allowed. When pressed for time, stress triggers yelling. Yelling does not portray love. Love is the point! Glorifying God is my goal!

2. Not every topic is as easy to comprehend as I think it should be! Sometimes I need to reword, use an illustration, act it out, or give up. It is more important to come back to a problem, to allow the student to figure it out on their own, or to try again later than it is to push to the point of yelling. Yelling does not portray love. Love is the point! Glorifying God is my goal!

3. Silliness occurs. Sometimes it occurs in the middle of trying to explain the concept that is not easily comprehended! Although these moments need to be addressed, they need to be addressed in a proper way. Yelling is not that proper way. Yelling does not portray Love. Love is the point! Glorifying God is my goal!

4. Messes are made. The academy part of our name is to show our love for education. It does not come ahead of seeking God, but it is the 2nd most important part of why we homeschool. ¬†So it’s important for the teaching to be done, and when momentum and motivation FINALLY comes to my students, I need to take their lead. If that means the babies dump foam pieces all over, then so be it. I need to let that go. Although messes make my temper rise, it is MY ¬†issue, not my students. Teaching my children to clean up their messes is also my responsibility… yelling does not teach. Yelling does not portray love. Love is the point. Glorifying God is my goal.

5. Homeschooling is a privilege. It may not always present itself as fun as public school to my kids. The decision to homeschool was solely the decision of my husband and me. It is not fair to my students to learn under my frustrations, my lack of self control, my temper. Love is the point! Glorifying God is my goal. NOTHING ELSE!

I glorify God when math is too hard. I glorify God when I allow Him to work outside of my schedule. I glorify God when I am able to creatively teach my children things they do not understand. I glorify God when I deal with disciplines in a godly manner. I glorify God when I think more about the purpose of the day than get side tracked with my own over extended expectations. I glorify God by obeying him in homeschooling my children. This means I love. I portray LOVE. I practice love. I demonstrate love. i personify Love.

So although alphabets were learned. Alphabetical order was learned, math was reviewed, and history was taught… I learned the biggest lesson of them all.

So honored to have this right. I enjoy it immensely. It is the hardest thing in my life right now. But also the most rewarding! God gave them to me. I want them to see the love I have for them, the love of teaching them, and the love I have for God. Lord, help me to portray that in all I do!

IMG_8914

Uncategorized

The time has come…

Well, it’s happening. I didn’t think it would, but it has. I feel I’m doing pretty good, but then there are times when I shed a tear or two. I covered my decision in prayer, I felt 100% sure. I STILL cover it in prayer and I STILL feel 100% sure, but it saddens me. I’m sure it’s masked by another issue I’m noticing, but it is coming out in this particular form…

I am getting the baby itch! I don’t want to HAVE another baby… but I want to have another baby! I don’t want to be pregnant, or deal with a newborn again, but I’m itching to hold a tiny adorable little baby in my arms again. To cuddle in the rocking chair, to smell newborn hair. To kiss tiny toes, to hear tiny little snores.

But in reality, the issue isn’t that I want another baby… because honestly I don’t. The issue is that I don’t want my existing babies to grow up! It’s odd, really. I love that Z-man is growing to a young man. That he is so close to running to the store for me (and when I say close I mean maybe in the next 2 years). I love that my Lil’ Jewel is turning into a young lady with her own ideas and creative mind. I love that my Rainbow is growing away from the terrible threes and into the Fabulous fours! But then there’s the “issue” of the baby. He’s daily outgrowing the name “baby”… and I’m struggling big time.

When Z was 1, I was expecting Lil. When Lil was 2, we were planning on #3. When my Rainbow baby finally came along, we only waited a year again before the baby came… so we are approaching a new path in our lives. Once baby turns 2 (which I am giving up the idea that I can keep him from doing that), there are no plans for another. There will be no plans for another, and there will not be another. This is our family… now we grow up, not grow out.

Baby clothes will be sold. Baby toys are sorted out into garage sale piles. Diaper-free home has a count-down (this is VERY exciting!). And although I DO look forward to our lives together as we grow older. I still want my baby back. My current baby talks in full sentences. He undresses himself. He has opinions, attitudes, and a¬†great¬†sense of humor. The child he is morphing into (right before my very eyes) is amazing. But he’s big. And he’s independent (although he is still pretty attached to mama… and I love it!), and he isn’t stopping. He’s still growing, maturing, and getting further from the stage.

Heidi St. John over at thebusymom.com¬†said it perfectly, and it really has been burned into my mind this week… “It‚Äôs impossible to grasp the brevity of the life we live. ¬†I wonder, if we knew how fast the time goes, if we would¬†stop longer, linger more.”

And as busy as life can get with a boy growing into a¬†young man (I’m not ready yet to admit he’ll someday be a man), a girl growing into a bright young lady, a toddler emerging into a budding preschooler, and a “I-uncha-mama” kinda baby it is easy to rush through thinking, “I’ll take time to enjoy them this weekend, or over the summer, or when they have christmas break”. But instead, I want to stop and linger. Lay with a child and listen to their dreams. Ask a few more questions. tickle a few more ribs. Munch a few more cheeks. I can’t miss this. I can’t spend my time wishing they were still babies while I miss them growing into the person God created them to be. There are so many important “in-between” moments.

And, I’m with you Heidi St. John… She closes her “Move On” blog post (you can find it here) by saying, “I want to soak up the seasons of my life in such a way that it pains me to see them pass.” I’m moving on. No more babies. I’m okay with that… but I’m having a little growing pains in the process, and I’m okay with that as well.

Now, for my fab four… it’s okay to slow down a bit… help a mamma out!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal, Uncategorized

Jump right in!

My kids are unique. Not just from other kids, but¬†from one another. I am unique. I parent in ways that are not the “norm”. I can be labeled as a hover mom, helicopter¬†mom, an over protective mom, or down right ridiculous. But what I most certainly am, is a praying mom. And I do the best I can.

Nothing makes a mother feel worse than seeing their child struggling and wondering if all the things people said about her is true, and have aided in the current struggle their children are facing. NOTHING!

I have made many sacrifices to stay at home with my family. One of those is, of course, money. I don’t make any. So when it came time to sign our kids up for swim lessons the money wasn’t there. It was important to me, but something I could not do. I thought I could teach them, but for whatever reason, the fear of drowning outweighed the trust the had that I would not drown them! And so My Lil’ Jewel would cling to the side and scream if we pushed her to get in the water. She would scream and cry and dig her nails into my skin until I relinquished and put her back on her shallow step. My First Born is a tad more daring, but only after he has tried it a LONG time.

So when we moved here we found that swimming lessons were about 1/4 the cost of the ones before we moved. So we signed them up! Last year they fell sick the week of lessons, so it brings us to this year. At age 8 and 6, they are taking their first swimming lesson. They are the oldest in their class, they have not noticed, praise God. I sat to watch only to see the oldest two in class were the only ones too scared to swim. Lil’ Jewel watched as all the other kids dunked their faces in the water and she began to shrink back and let her fear build. I watched from 50 feet away helpless. There was nothing I could do. Nothing I should do. Nothing I thought I should do. But I wondered, “Did I cause this?” “Did I foster some fear in her?” “Did my over cautious parenting plant a seed of fear in my children?” I couldn’t help but sit and cry at the thought that I may not be doing what was best for my kids. First Born wasn’t as¬†scared, but still wouldn’t jump in, attempt to tread water, or allow the instructor to let go. I was not at all disappointed, but saddened that their fear was keeping them from the life they were intended to live… a life of abundance, a life of fun, a life free from worry.

We left swimming (we did make it through the entire lesson) I hugged them, encouraged them, and made sure they knew they were safe. We were able to talk about the fear, rationalize through it. Knowing that no one else in class drown, gave them some relief.¬†They came home and ¬†set goals for the next day. Lil’ Jewel was going to try to swim with the boogie board without clawing the instructor to death. First Born was going to try to dive in from a kneeled position instead of being pulled in. And I came home and cried… and cried… and cried. I prayed that God would guide me as I parent my kids through their fears. I stayed up late and prayed for their lessons the next day, that they would learn a valuable lesson in confidence.

The next day there were NO tears (from my kids at least!). My Lil’ Jewel jumped right in. She bobbed 10 times. She floated on her back with the instructor only holding her head. She was relaxed, she kicked perfectly, she got all her hair wet… and she swam with the boogie board!¬† First Born upped his game as well. He not only dove in, but kicked butt at all his skills. They were new kids. I was beaming with pride as they showed fear who was boss! I couldn’t help but to sit and bawl my eyes out at how God had cared for my babies.

When my Lil’ Jewel jumped in the water (without tears mind you) and back floated the length of the pool my First Born stood to his feet and began shouting, “You’re doing it, “Lil Jewel” (he called her by name, of course!)! Keep going. You’re doing SO great! You are the BOMB!” He clapped and cheered, and was genuinely proud of her! I was standing to my feet as I wiped my tears seeing her conquer a long-standing¬†fear of hers. She did it… and He cheered her on. Parents all over the stands giggled, laughed, ooohhed, and awwwwed at how adorable he was, and how brave she was. When she was all done, they all clapped for her.

By the end of the week, she was jumping in the deep end, he was swimming with no assistance (front and back). He dove from the diving board, she was swimming on her belly with minimal support!

Who would have known that 5 days of swimming lessons could teach so many lessons in confidence.

Without going into a full-fledged post on my style of parenting, whether I over protect, or not… Ciske family_0117I have some awesome kids (and cute ones, too… do you see them!). They fight their fears, they have each other’s back, and they learn in record time. Their confidence to jump in the pool translated into no more “I’m scared of ______” trips down the stairs. It has transformed my First Born’s confidence to ride his bike full speed over the make shift bike ramp the neighborhood kids made. Their confidence to conquer their fears showed me that as I pray, God leads me to raise my kids the way HE wants me to raise them. That He is the only one I need to fear. I am not above making mistakes, but I have a gracious God. And what these kids taught me this week was to pray instead of fret, To be confident instead of fearful, and to give my kids more credit. They are made by Him, they love Him, and will be guided by Him. And, man o man do these kids ROCK!

Best week of homeschooling EVER!!! (but maybe I learned more than anyone else!)

Check in with other homeschoolers here, where I link up each week.homeschool journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal, Uncategorized

What am I chasing?

In a life where¬†I play many roles, wife, pastor’s wife, mother, homeschool mother, and¬†child of God, it’s easy to get pushed around, twirled, and tossed. I see it as a pin the tail game.¬†I sometimes feel blindfolded, turned around and set off to do a task of life but all¬†I really do is feel¬†my way and hope to get “close enough.”

I don’t want to get close enough. If I’m putting in the effort, I want to hit the mark. I want to support and love my husband; I want to serve my congregation; I want to love my children more and more each day; I want to teach my children values, reading, writing, and arithmetic, but most of all, I want to serve my Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and God of the universe! Unfortunately, I put too much emphasis on helping my husband get the church to grow (spiritually and in numbers) I pray so hard, I research, I worry, I brainstorm, I get consumed. But I fail to chase after God. Regrettably I strive to make it through my stay at home mom days filling it with activities to diminish the chaos trying to keep from yelling, and to love more. I pintrest¬†fun activities for the kids. I read a stack of books to them, even let them crawl all over… but I fail to chase after God. Grievously, I pour my time into researching homeschool curriculum, sometimes well into the wee hours. I fear failing them academically. I worry they will hate being at home. I worry that I’ll spend too much money and then it not work. But I fail to chase after God.

The funny thing is that on paper (or a computer screen) those things don’t seem bad. I’m supporting my husband, we have a good marriage. I’m doing the best I can at my role at church, I’m a loving mother just wanting to do what’s best. I put a lot into our homeschool day… but sadly if I do not have God as my center, all this energy, all this research, all this “LOVE” is for nothing.

Jennie Allen, in her Bible study Chase¬†says “Whether we acknowledge it or not, our lives are motivated by our hearts. So what we love determines how we live.” I truly believe that my success in those roles lies in my love for God. Apart from him, my marriage fails, our church has no meaning, my kids stay lost, and my homeschooling efforts fail. My fears are reflective of my lack of trust in my Provider. My frustrations stem from me relying on ME. My failures are a direct result of me chasing the title of best wife, and not my Jesus. My inadequacies as a mother and homeschooler are connected to my inadequacies to run hard after the heart of God.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

My chase should not to be to become¬†a spectacular homeschooler¬†(I will probably never attain it!). My chase should¬†not be to single-handedly grow my church 10 fold. My chase should not be¬†to have “Devoted Wife and Mother” on my tombstone. My chase¬†NEEDS TO BE¬†after HIM, His kingdom and Righteousness… then all these things… all the hopes and dreams I have for my marriage, my church, my kids, my “Ciske Academy” (haven’t settled on that name, yet!) will be given to me as well. And not just given to me by anyone, but by God himself.

Again, from the Bible Study Chase by Jennie Allen, “We’re all chasing after something, something that we think will make us happy– comfort, success, a bigger house, or someone’s approval. But if we are all honest, it feels like we are chasing the wind. God is invisible, and yet His is the ONLY thing we can chase that won’t leave us feeling more empty.” (emphasis mine).

My prayer for myself, my prayer for every wife, mother, pastor wife, and homeschooler… well, for every Christian and for those still seeking is for us to run wholeheartedly after God. To chase Him with all our might. To call upon Him in weakness, strength, worry and fear. Strap on our running shoes and lets run!

Hebrews.12:1                                                                                                                                                                                                                     And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Get Ready, Set… CHASE!

Join other homeschoolers and their stories here

homeschool journal

IMG_7609