Why You Should Find Time to do Absolutely Nothing This Christmas

A few days ago, I came home and collapsed on our brown leather couch. I just sat there– didn’t even stare at my phone for the latest news, cute photos of friends’ kids, or even check our bank account. I just rested my mind and body. Prior to that day, I organized a cookie exchange and fellowship for the women in our church, attended a “muffins with mom” at my daughter’s preschool, met several writing deadlines, labeled and addressed Christmas cards, and helped my husband with several work projects. Not to mention being up at night with our kids wetting their beds from the hot chocolate they drank at our town’s parade. Needless to say, I was spent.

That sacred time on the couch being absolutely useless gave me time to think and reflect on life and what was going on around me. I began to actually hear from the Lord and to understand what my soul was craving. It didn’t need the peppermint chocolate Hershey’s kisses in the mason jar next to me or the better-get-it-now Amazon deal, but my heart needed sweet time with Jesus in prayer and His word. My soul was craving what we all have inside us- a hole that can only be filled by God alone. No matter how much we try to satisfy it with what the world or our flesh has to offer, we’ll still be left wanting more. He is the only path to true, lasting, infinite peace and joy.

Honestly, I want to do…

… Continue Reading the rest of this post over on Kirk Cameron’s website TheCourage

“Resting” in the Writing World

Today before John’s nap we read the book I Knew You Could by Craig Dorfman. It’s a children’s book I highly recommend full of inspiration and encouragement similar to the classic, The Little Engine That Could. But I beg to say it’s even better.

The words at the end rang true for me today:

When your belief in yourself doesn’t feel quite so pure, and your “I think I can” doesn’t sound quite so sure.

That’s when to push and to strive and to strain, to show the world you’re not a giving-up train. And you’re wise if you know that doing your best means that sometimes you should just slow down and rest.

Speeding through your whole trip will bring only sorrow, so slow down today to be happy tomorrow.

I’m such a dreamer and often want things now. Starting this new site and recently accepting offers for new writing responsibilities has been so exciting. I could write all day if there was time. But my priorities are the Lord, my husband, children, and managing my home.

All of which means that writing comes after all of that. And I know that in order to do my best in the writing world requires me to slow down and rest. Dreams take time and the most important things in life can’t be sacrificed.

I’ve seen the opposite happen (dreams happening fast at the expense of spouse/children) in lives of highly talented and successful people. Some are still making it but some have crumbled and it’s so sad.

As I enter a new season of writing, my prayer is to strive and strain towards my goals but to slow down and rest simultaneously so that I’ll be able to stay at writing for the long haul. If that makes any sense at all.

What about you… How do you balance your dreams with reality? Do you find it easy or hard to rest?

Taking a Writing Break (Vacation time!)

Lake Michigan, Photo credit: Destination360.com

I’ve been anticipating our vacation for what seems like all summer now and it’s finally here!

Tomorrow we’re flying out to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan. I experienced Lake Michigan for the first time shortly after Jeremiah and I were married as he’s from there. I fell in love with the fresh water, sand dunes, and the overall natural beauty.

We’re excited to have some R & R as a family and we’re praying it will be a time of spiritual refreshment and renewal as well. I’ll be taking a break from writing until mid-August.

I’ll look forward to jumping back into it when we get back. Until then… I won’t be doing much that requires thinking 🙂 Thankful for each of you.

Taking Time to Rest

I don’t feel like the word “rest” has been in my vocabulary for a long time since our precious little girl entered the world four months ago. Rest has been really hard to come by having a newborn and a toddler, but this week I have finally found some.

On Saturday, we flew from Dallas to Virginia Beach to vist my sister Stefanie so she could meet Rebekah for the first time. We’re also here during Jeremiah’s Spring Break from seminary. Flying with children is never easy, but once we got here and settled in on a routine, I have been so refreshed. There’s just something about getting away from what’s familar and from your own home and being in a completely different environment.

A lot of my rest also has to do with the help I’ve had. Even my five year old nephew is able to do small things and my sister and husband have cooked, cleaned, and been an extra hand. We’ve been able to get out at night and shop while the babies are down and have some “me” time. I’ve been able to spice up my wardrobe a little which I’m most excited about.

We have 3 days left of our vacation and I’m just trying to soak every minute up- especially with my sister and her family. My plan is to continue to not think too hard or do too much, but to rest, relax, and listen closely to what God might want to show me away from home.

Well, that’s all for now. Nothing too deep. Since the whole house is napping, I think it’s my turn to hit the couch.

Have you been able to take some kind of break away from the familiar so you can find rest?

What You Really Have is Him

As I dragged myself out of bed onto the floor to respond to the cries of my newborn, I knew this particular day would be hard. The morning hours passed by and she continued to fuss and fuss and fuss and my toddler was at my ankles, whining constantly. I felt like being mean because I was so sleep deprived. And my husband was the first to hear all my complaints and how I wish I could hire out a Mommy for the day or go into work for him.

How am I supposed to get through another day? I asked God. How am I supposed to be the godly person I want to be when I’m absolutely spent?

And that’s when His gentle, quiet voice whispered: I am with you. And I started remembering that…

When we are weary and can’t move on, that is when God says He will give us strength and lift up our heads.

When we want to throw in the towel, that is when God wraps us in his steadfast love and renews us.

When we do not feel his presence, that is when God reminds us of the truth that He is here.

Because it is in the times where we feel like we are struggling to survive in a sun-scorched desert, that we start lifting our hands to heaven for help. We have no other choice but to rely on Christ because without him, we would die. However, we cannot be afraid to ask Him (regarding the big and little struggles of life) and tell him our concerns. He is always willing and ready to answer our prayers.

While I have felt sleep deprived again this week and have a sore throat and a cold (along with the rest of my family), I’ve been able to better lean on the truth that He really is with me. He is for me and understands what it’s like to be physically exhausted and what it’s like to struggle.

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you. – Psalm 55:22

My legs hit the floor again at 4:00 AM this morning so I could care for my son who has a bad cough. While I reached over to give him water and tylenol, I trusted in the fact that a day is coming where I will have rest and that God is using my struggles and the gift of raising my children to teach me a greater dependence upon Him.

treat yourself

We spent Thanksgiving this year at Jeff and Karen Riddle’s home. They are dear friends of ours who mentored Jeremiah and I and five other couples early in our marriage when we first moved to Dallas.

Karen had her first son Ryan and daughter Amanda at the same age I had John and Rebekah and they are also 2 years apart (now teenagers).

Sitting in comfy chairs around their outdoor fireplace, Karen and I talked about life and raising children. She said a lot of great things I will always take to heart and one truth really stuck out to me. She said that in all the busyness of life in this stage, to make sure I’m treating myself to one thing each day.

My eyes lit up when I heard her words. One thing… I can handle that, I thought.

It was great to hear that it was perfectly fine to do that. And it wasn’t selfish, but would help keep me sane!

Whether it’s getting coffee at Starbucks, shopping for an hour, writing, painting my nails, or even the smallest thing that I enjoy… taking the time to treat myself will really help in navigating the crazy waters of balancing two kids and meeting their daily needs.

I stared at the crackling fire, thinking hard on the wisdom there. Fresh into having two kids, I already feel the weight pressing in at times and the stress. Some days you just want to scream because you need time for yourself.

I haven’t figured out what all I can treat myself to each day but so far in the last week I took 30 minutes to buy a pair of jeans at our new Old Navy, got my hair cut and styled, shaved my legs, and took the babies along with me to get a peppermint mocha.

Obviously, finances don’t always allow for me to do those things every week, so I’ll have to get creative, but taking the time to do them refreshed my spirit and helped get me through the day. And I think they helped me be a better wife and mom.

I’m really thankful for women like Karen who encourage younger moms who haven’t quite been there and done that yet. It definitely helps to know you’re not alone.

How do you make sure you’re treating yourself and what does it do for you?

Being on Mission with Your Children- Part 1

This is part one of a two-part series called “Being on Mission with Your Children.” Part one will consist of being a Mommy on Mission and part two will deal with being a Daddy on Mission. I encourage you to read both parts.

Kelly Sauer‘s Twitter bio caught my attention the other day. It read: I dream big and change diapers.

I just love that and it made me think of a little mission statement that’s been ringing in my head since I’ve been re-reading a book I had to read for my Child Developmental Psychology class in college called The Power of Mother Love.

My new-found mission is: I want to change the world, one diaper at a time.

To tell you the truth, however, I didn’t know this would be my desire until God gave me my son John.

I’m learning that he is my mission. He is 15 months old so of course he doesn’t know it yet, but how I give my love away to him now will profoundly influence and shape his life and character and ultimately, who he will become one day.

Many of you know that I’m fresh into being a mommy so I’m not a pro, but I’ve found a little secret that’s helping me to be “on mission” with him each day and to value, above anything else, the importance of who I am to my child.

This might seem way too obvious, but it starts with Slowing Down.

It requires a lot of intentionality on my part to see the world how John is seeing it, to get off my computer or i-Phone, to stop doing the dishes or the laundry, or worrying about this or that, but to really be all there with him. He invites me in to his world every time and his world is already at a much slower pace than mine. The choice is if I will choose to be still, within my own spirit, and embrace his world with him.

I’ve found that when I’m still and engage with him, I’m able to meet his deepest emotional needs by letting him know I hear his words and see each little step he makes. We’re able to capture moments together like when he first says “t-e-n-k you” or learns how to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on his own. Or when he’s offering to kiss me on the cheek or give me “that look” when he needs something. I can sense his needs easier and I’m there to nurture him whenever he needs it. And he always has a way of knowing whether I’m fully there or not.

My love is more available when I slow down.

Being on Mission as Mommy’s starts with slowing down, to where we are meeting our children’s deepest emotional needs, but that is not the end, it’s the means to the end where we’re slowing down so that we can best live out our faith and instill biblical truth into their lives.

In a hectic, over-worked, disorganized schedule it’s difficult to be all there and live out our faith in front of our children. Nine times out of ten, over commitment results in frustration, anger, restlessness, impatience, depleting quiet times and prayer and we end up not being who we want to be. I’ve been there and it has affected my home. I’m convinced that the tiniest moments of slowing down will help define the huge moments of how our children will grow and come to salvation in the Lord later on.

Of course, their salvation is an act only by God, but we have a huge part to play in how they view and love God for the rest of their lives. What a challenge and responsibility, but what a joy and privilege to help lead them to the cross and have them join us in God’s mission.

If you’re a mommy, and like me, have been wondering where your ministry is and how you can best serve God, remember that you are on mission right where you are, the best place you could ever be…

In your home.

The place where you were meant to help change the world, one diaper at a time.

Will you join me in this mission?

Question: What are some other ways you’re giving your love away and being “on mission” in your home?

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