Running on Empty

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.  Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.  But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint. –Isaiah 40:29-31

As a mom of two littles, my life feels like I am constantly running a race on exhausted all the time.  I have a 2-year-old son, Jude, and a 9-month-old daughter, Charlotte.  When Jude was born, he really was the perfect baby.  He slept through the night from the time he was born.  He was so easy to get on a schedule and he ate so well.  Life really was so easy with him.  I remember thinking this mommy thing really wasn’t that hard.  And then came my sweet princess Charlotte.  From the beginning of my pregnancy she was very clearly different than Jude.  The whole first trimester I was so miserably sick and nothing gave me relief.  I actually lost 10 pounds in the beginning because I couldn’t keep anything down.  It was horrible!!! After that, it was pretty smooth sailing from the second trimester all the way through labor and delivery.  Then she was born and I have been living at a level of exhaustion I didn’t even know existed. To this day she is still not on a schedule and, at 9 months, has decided she only wants to nurse, will not eat real food and sleeping longer than a 4 hour stretch is out of the question.  No matter what I do or what parenting method I try, this child refuses to conform.  Please hear me when I say I love that little girl to pieces.  I really do!!!  And through the crying and sleepless night, God has really been teaching me something.  He has been teaching me to rely on Him when it comes to my children. All I need to do is trust in him and listen when he speaks.

Being a mom is hard.  There are so many people, books and methods telling us to do this and do that.  And if our child doesn’t fit into a specific mold there must be something wrong with them or we are a bad mom.  Sometimes both.  I have relied so much on different methods or advice from others that I have forgotten to go back to the source.  I’m not saying that books or advice are bad.  They really can be helpful, but in the end, each child is unique and responds to different things.  What worked great for Jude does not work for Charlotte and there is no better place to go for advice on raising her than the One who formed her.

God designed her and Jude and He knows best what they need.  That’s why it is so important for me, as their mom, to be in continuous communication with Him.  I need to go to Him when I am weak and He will give me what I need to continue.  He loves my children more than I ever could.  The truth is they are His and He has allowed me the great privilege of partnering with Him in raising them.  That fact alone has brought new light to the way I raise my children.  I know that God has big plans for Jude and Charlotte.  I already see little glimpses right now and it blesses my socks off!  So now I am committing to not rely on my own strength, but on the strength of the Lord.  I am placing my children back in His hands and seeking Him daily (sometimes minute-by-minute) to show me how to best love each of my sweet babies how they need it.  Only He truly knows and only He can give me the strength, wisdom and rest that I truly need!

I don’t know if I am alone in this boat or if you are right there with me.  If you are then be encouraged!  There is no “perfect” way to raise the little ones you have been entrusted with except for His Way.  Remember that He is the one who knit them together in your womb (Psalms 139:13).  Go to Him daily. Ask for His guidance and He will answer.  He loves His children more than we could ever love them and He wants only the best for them.  He has created them to do great things.  He knows the plans He has for them.  He has blessed you with those sweet little ones and you have to make the choice to place them back into his hands and allow him to show you how to love them the way He loves them!

God, Thank you for allowing me the great privilege of raising my children.  Help me to remember what a blessing they are.  As I seek you, give me the strength to continue the race each day.  Show me how to love your little ones the way you do.  Continue to guide me in how to be a better mommy.  Thank you for loving me and loving them!

It’s All About the Love

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not an earthly kingdom.  If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leader.  But my kingdom is not of this world.”

Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king.  Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth.  All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” – John 18:36 (NLT)

Jesus left his heavenly kingdom to bring truth and light to our world.  This world is not his true kingdom and it is not our true home.  Just like Jesus, we are to bring truth to a world lost in deception.  But what does that actually mean? I believe that this is simply being love to a lost world.  We are to share what Jesus demonstrated on the cross.  His unconditional love.  We all know and probably can recite John 3:16.  God loves us so much that he gave the ultimate sacrifice in the death of his son.  His love for us is what has saved us from an eternal life of pain and suffering.  A life separated from him for all eternity.  LOVE!!!! This, I believe is a foundational aspect of our Christian walk.  Without love, we can do nothing.  We have not truly stepped into our true life with God until we love.

If we love our christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life.  But a person who has no love is still dead.  – 1 John 3:14 (NLT)

Until we can begin to love just like Jesus loved, we cannot be used by God.  We are here on earth to do two things: 1) Love God 2) Love people (Matthew 22:37-40).  All else will follow if we are living a life of love.

I do not believe that loving unconditionally means ignoring sin.  I do believe there is a difference in blatantly ignoring sin and seeing past the sin to the destiny that has been covered by it.  Ignoring sin is silently agreeing with the lie that there sin is justified.  Seeing past it is being able to love the person. To see them the way Jesus sees them.  It’s not about pointing out the sin, it’s about speaking truth and life into the deception that has clouded their heart.  It’s about speaking love through both our words and our actions.  This is what Jesus did.  He demonstrated love to those everyone he was around at all times.  Instead of speaking into the sin, he spoke into their true destiny.  He cared and loved people so much that he gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life.  He died so that we can experience true life at it’s fullest.  And it starts with LOVE!

If you were to take an honest inventory of your life right now, how would your love rate? Are you truly loving God and loving people or are you quick to jump to judgement?  I know this is an area of my life that could use a lot of work.  If you are like me, you can start to change with a simple prayer. Ask God to help you to love like Jesus.  To see his loved ones with new eyes.  Here is an example:

Dear Lord, Teach me to love like you.  Soften my heart to those around me.  Show me how to love through both my word and my actions.  Thank you for the love you have shown me.  Help me to share that same love to others.  Amen!

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.  So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.  – 1 John 3:16

Are you listening?

Growing up most of my life in church I have always felt very familiar with the topic of prayer.  I have heard many teachings, read books and spent time praying.  I have so many journals filled with prayers.  Over the last week God has really been speaking to me about an aspect of prayer that I feel most Christians are lacking in our prayer life.  At least I know I was.

Prayer is how we communicate with God and just like any conversation, it’s a two-way process.  We go to God and pray and share with him but what is often forgotten is the part where we stop and listen.  So many of us, me included, forget that second part.  We are so eager to go to God with our issues, problems and concerns and we forget to be still and listen.  I know so many times I go to God in prayer and feel like there is no answer.  I begin to wonder if God is even listening.  Does he even care? It’s in those moments that I have to pause and honestly ask myself, “Am I even listening?”

I believe there have been numerous times that I never hear an answer because I am to busy chatting.  God loves when we converse with him.  We are His children and it’s great to share our hearts with him.  It builds a stronger relationship with him, but unless we are also hearing from him, our relationship can only go so far.  You can’t be in true community with someone unless they are able to speak as well.

Listening to God is the secret to experiencing his presence in your life

If we truly want an authentic relationship with God we must be in constant communication with Him.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Never stop praying” (NLT).  Being in constant communication will in turn develop you as a person that ultimately God will be able to use for his glory.  It’s in the secret place that God is able to build us to be used to change the world.

“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private.  Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6 (NLT)

God has a plan and purpose for you (Jeremiah 29:11) but we cannot walk in our calling until we are willing to listening to the one who designed it.  Spend time with the One who created you.  He is longing to be with you and He is waiting with open arms to be in a deep relationship with you.  He wants to speak to you, you just have to be available to listen.

“You speak.  I’m listening.  In the secret place I find you waiting. In the secret place I find you waiting.  In silence.  In stillness. I hear you calling me to you.  I’m listening.” – “Listening” by Worship at the Rock

***You can purchase “Listening” here.***

Daydreaming Aloud

For 2 years now, God has been tugging at my heart to start something.  At first I wasn’t sure what it was but I spent the time in prayer and seeking Him.  I started to write everything down.  I had journal upon journal of thoughts, prayers and random ideas.  As the journals piled up God began tugging again.  What he was asking was a very scary request.  He was asking me to take a step of faith.  To take a leap to a level of vulnerability that , even as I write this post, make my stomach turn and I feel like I could throw up.  For the last 6 months I have fought this blog.  I had excuse after excuse of why it was a horrible idea.  The “What Ifs….” began to cloud my mind and I became content to ignore the request.  Life went on as usual and I felt like all was well.  Thankfully God would not allow me to forget.  I would have dreams, words spoken over me. Even random people comment about a blog.  To some it may have seemed like a coincidence  but I knew better.  God was still speaking to me through all avenues.  Reminding me of the dream he spoke to my heart.  Through countless tears and prayer and conversations, I decided to take the step.  I decided that God’s call is greater than the “What If’s…”.  I am taking a step away from fear and walking towards living a life of dreaming with God no matter what the cost.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt