This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”
(Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”
(Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)
Some of us anticipate it with joy and excitement. Some of us cringe and want to hide. Some of us don’t really care because it’s just a number. We get old and life goes on 🤷🏽♀️
As I was planning our European getaway for my 30th, I was so excited. I had begun planning it a year out and as the year went on, it still felt so far away. Then the week before came, the day before and at last it was the day of! (I can’t believe it’s already been a month, now)!
I was so nervous, and it all felt so surreal. Was it really happening?! After what felt like the longest travel experience ever (long story, but let’s just say Trump
is literally to blame 😂), we finally arrived in Rome.
I wish I could say it was all rainbows, birds chirping, and wind blowing in our hair. Instead, I was bawling my eyes out, because they lost our one checked bag that had all of my husband and my clothes and shoes in it. I didn’t even have extra underwear in a carryon because I was too busy worrying and making sure all of the girls’ things were packed in them.
I was so mad and angry and began thinking that everything was going to go wrong. That it was a mistake going there and I wanted to immediately go back home and crawl into bed!
We were at the airport making the claim for what felt like forever, and by the time we were finished, our pre planned driver had left. So we stood around waiting for a taxi that would take our family of 5, to our hotel.
My husband, through it all, remained cool and kept reassuring me that it was ok; It would all work out.
That night we showered, hopped into bed and I began to reflect for a few minutes before conking out from exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
The next morning I woke up, put on the same clothes and opened the windows…
Wow! I realized we were in freakin ROME, ITALY! We had a room with a quaint and beautiful little terrace and from it you could see St Peter’s Basilica and roofs lined with terra cotta tiles. So picturesque and dreamy.
I took a deep breath, and thought about the events that transpired in our travels. I realized that the devil was trying to steal my joy, my peace, and my excitement. In that moment I literally said, “oh no devil, not today!”
The night before I thought God was punishing me for something. I thought he didn’t want me to have a smooth, fun and sweet time visiting Rome and Paris and turning 30 with my family.I felt like I was out of his protection because our bag got lost. And as I really thought on that terrace
and as I’m typing now, I realize how completely ridiculous it sounds.
I know that the God I serve is a loving, compassionate, joyful God who wants nothing but the best for us. And what the devil tries to do is trick us into thinking that we’re being punished and deserve whatever mishap or unfortunate circumstance comes our way.
What a jerk, right?! 😡
If you’ve followed me long enough, you know that I’ve struggled with anxiety. Anxiety about the future and wanting to control things so that I know what will happen and how it will happen. I’m not God, though. Through this I’ve learned that I need to allow God to be in control of every single situation. Big or small.
Allowing God to be in complete control sets us up for being completely okay when things don’t go our way. When I realized that the devil was trying to egg my anxiety on, in order for me to lose sight of what was right in front of me, my perspective changed.
Come on, just being in Europe, safe and sound, with actual clothes on my back, dirty or not, was blessing enough! Every material thing is replaceable… and guess what y’all… two days later, our bag showed up and was delivered to our room!
I mean won’t he do it?!
So, as I embark on this 30th chapter of life, I just want to encourage you. Shift your perspective to see through the eyes of gratitude, contentment, joy, faith, TRUST that God has your back and release full control over to him.
Whether you have a good day or a bad day, as long as our hope and our trust is in the Lord, nothing can separate us from his love, his goodness, and his promises!
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:34-35, 37-39 NIV
If you follow along with me on social media, you know that I’m big on taking breaks, from my instagram. The last two weeks, I was absent from it and of course, it felt good.
Also, if you know me and follow along, you know I started another account to go hand in hand with this blog and to see where it goes… more of a fun page geared to all things motherhood, “lifestyle” and kids, to strike that “influencer gold,” that we all want, right?
As I removed myself from this particular instagram, I learned that it had started affecting me negatively. I was getting frustrated with not having the “right” content or enough of it. I began comparing my page, to other similar ones. I lost sight of the whole reason for it.
While I would love for it to be an avenue of alternate income one day, I will no longer sweat it so hard. If I don’t have anything to say, or content to post, I’m not going to frustrate myself over it or force my girls to take a picture they’re not in the mood for. (adding to the frustration or anxiety of a moment) At the end of the day, it’s just social media. It’s another distraction, that most days I simply don’t even have time for… and I’m not getting paid, HA!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun and exciting. I love posting pictures and when I do have the time to get creative, it’s so much fun, but I don’t want it to consume me and my thoughts to the negative place, when it’s not going where I expected it to go. Or if it’s not getting enough likes, or comments, and it makes me feel like it wasn’t good enough to post.
For so many of us, it’s become unhealthy and we’ve forgotten to do one important thing…
R E S T
I remembered that I must allow my soul to rest! Like the scripture above says,
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my HOPE comes from him.”
On days when my mind is already going 100 miles a minute, the last thing I need is the stress of whether or not my post was liked enough. Can you relate? or is it just me?
I just want to encourage you to put it aside and remember, that it’s just a thing that adds no value to your soul or the state of your mind. Whether you are getting paid for it, have 20k followers or not, your heart and mind is more important.
My girls, I’m sure just like your kids, watch our every move. Hear every word that we utter under our breath, every sigh and grunt of frustration, and mimic it. They reminded me, in the midst of chaos, that their hearts are so fragile and moldable to what’s going on around them.
If I’m not allowing myself to rest, neither will they.
If I’m anxious, I know they can feel it.
Even if no sleep occurs, it’s still important to sit and recharge in quiet with no distractions.
So to all my other momma’s out there, or if you’re not a mom, but you too are a blogger, remember to find that rest. Don’t worry about the likes, comments, number of followers, etc., if it’s stealing your peace and your time for rest. Take a day and recharge, it’ll still be there tomorrow and I promise you’ll feel so much better and your creativity for content will be even better!
Like always, I just wanted to share my heart with you in hopes of encouraging you! You’re not alone even though it may feel like you are.
When’s the last time you truly allowed yourself to rest, without distractions?
I absolutely H A T E clutter. Yet, as I type, my coffee table is cluttered with folded laundry. The chair next to it is cluttered with more clean, not yet folded laundry.
This type of clutter is ok, since it’ll soon be folded and put away neatly, Konmari style. If you haven’t seen Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, on Netflix, go now. Seriously, she is an organizational wizard.
Anyway, I’m in the middle of de-cluttering the mess in our home. Digging through piles and piles of the girls’ clothes, that seems like if I lined each piece, it would go on for miles and miles!
I’ve been separating the sentimental pieces, from the heavily worn, no longer suitable to wear even at the playground, pieces. When on earth did I get THAT crazy with kid clothes?!
Our coat closet is filled with toys, their playroom filled with more toys than a toy store. It all seems so excessive, and I feel guilty. It’s way more than my husband and I ever had growing up.
Then, I think about the clutter in my heart. I let the outer clutter, invade my heart and I become a grouch, grouchier than the main man, Oscar himself. Haha
It’s a lesson I teach myself over and over, it’s just a season. The girls will make a mess, over and over. They’ll spill, leave trails of crumbs and run around enjoying their childhood.
I remind myself that I do the same with God. I’ll snuggle up to his word, pray, worship and love on him and let him love on me. Yet not before long, I make a mess, leave trails of crumbs and run around like a mad woman, yelling at the girls to clean up their mess. Scolding them for not eating their food.
Let them snuggle up to me and just be. The way the Lord wants us to just sit with him and be. Letting him lavish his grace, his love and his blessings over us.
His word and his presence de clutters our hearts and minds and frees us from what the world tries to tie us down or burden us with. The world leaves us jaded and annoyed, while God gives us peace and joy.
Peace in the midst of chaos and clutter and joy in the midst of struggles and the not so good days.
So here’s a reminder, to clear the clutter in our hearts. To not allow what’s going on around us to determine our days and our attitudes. In motherhood, to not worry so much about the piled up laundry and overflow of toys, but know we’re blessed with a family, a home, food and clothes on our backs.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 NLT
How many times have we been asked, have we asked or have we wondered, how can/do/should we balance it all?
Marriage, motherhood, work, ministry, friendships, etc.
The older I get, I have begun to realize that it’s actually NOT about balance, it’s about priority.
You see, balance is holding two things, were the weight is equally distributed and you don’t lean one way or the other, BUT what two things are you holding at equal weight?
We can only balance two things at a time, right?
Unless we’re some kind of cirque du Soleil act, most of us can’t also use our toes to hold more things and keep our balance with our heels and/or our elbows. Lol
(And if you CAN do that, I wanna see, bc I love cirque du Soleil type things 😆)
If I’m balancing my marriage on one hand and my girls on the other, my relationship with my parents/brother/friends, will suffer. I won’t much have time for ministry, personal development, or other things either.
My marriage and my children are the things I hold closest to my heart, they are the most important persons in my life. However, only focusing on them, pushes Jesus to the side as well.
What good am I to my husband and my daughters, if my time with Jesus is scarce?
Because He’s the only one who can calm my crazy, fill me with peace and refresh my heart, mind and soul.
I don’t know about you, but when I’ve gone days without really spending time in God’s presence, it shows, and it shows big time!
My temper is short, I’m easily agitated, I feel exhausted, I’m stressed, I get a little selfish 🤦🏽♀️, my anxiety revs up to level 100, and the list goes on…
Anyway, having said all that, is what has brought me to the conclusion that it really is about priority.
The number one priority, above anyone and anything else in this life, should always be Jesus.
Number TWO priority, is my husband and our relationship.
Number THREE priority are my girls.
And then everything else, all other relationships, friendships, ministry, duties, etc., are what follows.
When I start my day, this is how my focus should be directed. I wish I could sit here and tell you that I do this consistently.
Truth is, I don’t and I then fall into the, well let me balance it all, trap.
I say trap because I have this mental note of EVERYTHING that needs to get done, only to find that I accomplished like 2 things. It leaves me feeling like a failure at the end of the day, and like, why do I even bother with anything?!
Am I the only one? I don’t know, I hope I’m not ha!
We cannot balance it all! It’s not possible, to balance all of our relationships, duties and responsibilities. There is always going to be one, two or three things that suffered today.
The trick is realizing that it’s OKAY.
Trust me, if I could make sure that everyone was happy and not have something to whine or complain about in this house,
have not one speck on the floor,
have spent time in personal development
have met up with my friend I haven’t seen in a couple weeks
have worn something other than the same workout pants I’ve been wearing for the last 3 days
Actually work out in said workout pants
At least put some concealer on,
Have ALL… ALL the laundry done, folded, hung and put away with no more left to wash,
have dinner made and ready to eat as soon as my husband comes home from work
AND, AND, AND!!!
I would share with you all, my secret!!
I’d probably make millions off the book I’d write about it.
But I don’t, sadly 😩
My point is, write a list of the priorities in your life.
Then, write out how much time you are going to set aside for each one on a daily basis.
Sometimes, they won’t always be the same priorities for that day or week. (Aside from Jesus and family, they are always or at least should always be a priority).
When you get down to things like social media, you realize how much time you’ve actually wasted there and can then set aside time specifically for it when you just want to veg out. Cuz there’s nothing wrong with that!
Right now, one of my biggest priorities, is getting our house in order. Switching out the girl’s clothes, and organizing it all. De-cluttering and making sure everything has its place.
It’s hard, stressful and so so time consuming, but once that’s out of the way, I can then prioritize other things.
Ah there’s nothing I want more right now, then to not have to hang or fold one mo thang!! But if doesn’t get done now, and become a priority now, it’ll be a thing lingering around for months!!
Anyway, this was as much an encouragement for me, as I hope it has been for you!
In summary, don’t try to find the balance, just prioritize, it’s so much simpler that way. It doesn’t feel overwhelming, it’s just “a matter of fact,” in the present. I truly think, we are much happier when we realize that we cannot balance everything. We are human, and were not made to do everything alone or all at once because that would be kind of chaotic, right?
Lean on the Lord when you do find yourself overwhelmed and feel like giving up. Trust that you are not alone!
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9-12 NLT
It’s easy to be thankful when everything is going right; When everyone is doing well and everyone is happy.
The last few weeks, God has been showing me that I need to be thankful even when life isn’t going how I want it to. To be thankful, when we’re sick, stressed and overwhelmed with to do’s that didn’t get done.
I’ve always been quick to feel blessed when all is right, everyone is happy, we’re in the groove and life is “good,” but complain and whine about life when things don’t seem to be right.
The last few weeks, our household has had some rough times. It has seemed as though the situations we were going through weren’t coming to an end. It was thing after thing after thing… do you know what I’m talking about?
You ever feel like you can’t catch a break?
Then, it hit me. In the midst of it all, I stopped and gave thanks. I praised God, even in the midst of turmoil. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the enemy defeat me and make me feel like life sucked, in the moment.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says:
”Give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
He wants us to be thankful in any and every situation life hands us. Why?
Because He is sovereign.
He is good.
He is righteous.
He is faithful.
His promises are true.
Because He is Lord over all of our circumstances and sees us through, when we feel like the world around us has fallen apart.
No matter what we’re going through, let’s not forget to see the good and to give thanks.
As soon as I began thanking God for everything, even through sickness and unfortunate circumstances, things really started looking up. My attitude changed and I began to see that He really does “make all things work for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)
Don’t let the enemy steal your joy and steal your thanks! He wants you walking around thinking that your situation has defeated you. Don’t let him have the pleasure!
This morning as I was reading a devotional, I came across this quote I hadn’t heard before. Maybe you have, but it was the first time I’d read it and it really stuck with me.
“Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bil Keane
I’ve been feeling convicted this week, as a mother. My responses to the girls, have been short. I’ve been quick to get angry and quick to speak.
My frustration has been evident. Because I am frustrated, the girls become frustrated. They act out even more and begin to see how far they can go until I really “lose it.” I yell, they scream out back. They don’t seem to listen, but the funny thing is, I never listened to them when they weren’t misbehaving.
I only gave them my full attention when they were doing the wrong thing.
What if God only gave us His full attention when we only did the wrong thing? We wouldn’t want to listen to HIs instruction with joyful expressions and open ears, to listen. We’d grunt, huff and puff and try to interrupt Him ONE HUNDRED TIMES before He could get just ONE sentence out!
That’s what it’s been like for me this week. Instead of taking a step back and giving them my undivided attention; to see them and hear them; to watch what their hearts need in certain moments. In the one moment they do something they aren’t supposed to, that’s when I “listen;” and perhaps, that’s why they did it in the first place.
As I sit here, hearing them laugh and play pretend with their dolls, I am both happy and sad. Sad because, how many of these precious moments have I missed? How much time have I wasted in correcting them over silly things, only because I am frustrated at all the to-do’s that “must” get done before lunch? Frustrated because they didn’t want their pancake cut in half, they wanted it whole. Frustrated because they’re just being a FOUR year old and a TWO year old.
How many times have I acted in the same way toward God? Did he bicker and sneer at me? Fuss and send me to time out? No. He’s always been gentle with his correction, gentle with his words… gracious and merciful.
I could and will pray more consistently for God to make me more like a James 1:19 woman. Even in my marriage, many times I am quick to get angry and not quick to listen or quick to forgive… or apologize for that matter. It just makes everyone frustrated. It’s not about being wrong or right. It’s about working things out peacefully and enjoying the fact that I… YOU are here.
Enjoying the fact God blessed me with motherhood. That He’s blessed me with an amazing husband. That He’s blessed me with our beautiful home…
Waking up every morning with a grateful heart, regardless of our circumstance.
Enjoying motherhood despite the fact that dishes need to get done, laundry needs folding, toys are covering the living room…
Simply listening to the sounds of laughter coming from those two little humans that God so delicately, lovingly and joyfully created inside of my body. Seriously, what a gift that I take for granted far more than I’d like to admit!
I’m reminded that TODAY IS A GIFT FROM HIM and I must be diligent in my role here on Earth.
To give more grace.
To be more gentle with my words.
To not allow negative circumstances to dictate my day.
To CHOOSE JOY and PUT ON LOVE the way GOD LOVES US, even when we do have our tantrums with Him.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF…dishes don’t have eternal weight, but how I go about raising my children does and how I go about being a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted me with, does too.
I started reading this book, Adamant by Lisa Bevere and let me tell you, if you haven’t already read it… go get it now. It is so so good!
Today, I want to share with you a part that has stuck out to me.
“We were created in the image of God, and God is spirit. Though it is invisible, the spirit is as real and as near as the very breath we draw. And yet it is something deeper than the passage of air through our lungs. It is the quickening of God dwelling within us. The God of fire and love consumes all that hinders the expression and reception of his love.” Pg.36
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
First, I want to start off by saying, that worship is more… way more than the “pre game” to the sermon at a church service; It is just one avenue of entering into God’s presence and it’s one of my favorites, 😊 but isn’t the only way in which we are called to worship.
We experience true worship in our daily lives, not just once a week. In our devotions, in our marriage/ relationships, in ministry, in our parenting and the way in which we reach out to others… in our prayer.
If we truly have Jesus dwelling, moving, living and breathing in us, then our worship should reflect just that. Our worship should be unhindered, immovable and undivided, regardless of where we are or who we are around.
We are called to be like Jesus, right?
Through out the New Testament, he tells us that we are to be a light, that we were made in his image, that we are to love one another, that we should share his word and teachings to others, etc. And one thing that amazes me about Jesus, is that he DID NOT CARE where or who he found himself around. He was always going to worship, preach, heal, pray for, raise back to life… regardless of Him being in the midst of his disciples, pharisees, Jews or gentiles, unbelievers… HE WAS ALWAYS GOING TO WORSHIP!
He was unchanging and because of his devotion, his worship was pure, true and full of the spirit of God.
We aren’t called to be perfect. Our days are not always going to be great. We will go through hardships. We will have “haters” and doubters. We will be in uncomfortable situations, but how we respond to each situation is where we truly see if God is really dwelling within us the way we think.
Many times, we like to keep him and his spirit in a box. We don’t want to be labeled the “weird christian.” We don’t want to lift our hands during a worship service. We wake up not really feeling like being nice to people. We don’t feel like spending time in the word or prayer. We don’t feel like volunteering at the church event…
but if we constantly live our lives this way, what will our worship look like?
Empty? Vain? Calloused? Angry? Mediocre?
How can God speak to us? Move through us? How can his presence dwell in us? If we aren’t worshipping him daily in every aspect of our lives, regardless of what we are going through or who’s watching?
Let us not allow our worship to be defined by and dictated by our circumstances. Rather, lets allow our worship to speak volumes despite what our day looks like, who we are around and regardless of those throwing stones.
“Don’t settle for religion void of God’s presence or for turning the pages of the Bible without the wind of his Spirit. His voice speaks life.” pg 37
Let us allow God to “consume all that hinders the expression and reception of his love.” So that our worship (daily life) can reflect his love, joy and peace that surpasses all understanding!
Choose to live a life of worship in a world that wants you to be distracted by the mundane.
Hope this has encouraged you today.
This morning, part of the devotional I was reading, included a verse from Matthew 9. It really made me want to read the entire chapter, so that I could fully understand the context of it all, and well, it is a pretty awesome chapter that makes you really think and want to (re) evaluate yourself. (I guess almost the whole Bible does that, right)?
The one verse that really stuck out to me the most, was in the beginning of the chapter. It seriously made me take a step back, and reflect on how I think on a daily basis.
“Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, ‘Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” Matthew 9:4
Umm… can I just say wow?! In context, the verses before are about when Jesus healed the paralyzed man. He told him to pick up his mat and go home. The pharisees, seeing this, thought that Jesus was absurd for saying “such a thing.” They were religious, but faithless men, who didn’t believe Jesus had that kind of authority…that he was “fake.”
But then I began to wonder if I, myself, am like a pharisee sometimes. Throughout the chapter (I encourage you to read it), we learn about the many people Jesus healed, spoke with and raised from the dead.
It’s crazy to me how much I in fact, can be like a pharisee. How it’s easier to think about all the things that can go wrong; of how things will never work; how there’s no way to get out of a difficult situation. (as if God can’t or won’t do it).
It’s easier for us to believe the lies of the enemy because we’re surrounded and trapped in a world where so many people around us, have forgotten just who JESUS was AND still is!
All of the people Jesus came across in this chapter had FAITH. Something I personally lack most days.
Jesus performed miracles back then and He still does them now. However, it’s easier for us to doubt that a miracle, big or small, can actually happen in our lives. We doubt that God can do it. And if we don’t believe He can, then he probably won’t… or maybe He will and will show us the power of His love for us, even when we don’t deserve it (this is me currently thinking out loud).
Miracles look different, because our world is different, but He still works in and through us… when we allow our faith in HIM to increase and allow Him to move in our lives.
“…’If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you’…” Matthew 9:22
If we only, If I could only have the tiniest bit of faith when things get rocky, tough, complicated, scary, rough… it will/has already been done.
We forget the BIGGEST promise He’s already made to us. We lose sight of His sacrifice. We become consumed and blinded by the temporary; our focus shifts and we’re too focused on the Earthly things.
Which, yes, what we do here on Earth matters, but not the silly things.
The ETERNAL things like:
Our relationship with Jesus, our spouse, children and others.
How we’re showing His love in spite of our good or bad situation.
Here are some questions I asked myself and will seek to resolve if I’m not doing it right. I encourage you to ask yourself the same questions how they apply to you.
We live in a social media driven world. It’s so easy to get distracted by Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, the News app etc. We fall victim to their rabbit holes and before we know it, we’ve been scrolling through our phones for an hour!
I’m talking to myself here too. This verse says, “Seek FIRST…” not second, not when you have time, not when it’s convenient for you, but FIRST.
Lately, I find myself first thing, as soon as I open my eyes, reaching for my phone and opening Instagram or whatever app to see what I missed while I was asleep.
It became second nature, an addiction of sorts.
Man oh man did conviction hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt God asking me where He stood in line in my life. Talk about a wake up call!
The funny thing about it all, is that most of what we miss while we’re asleep, is nothing but vain, negative Nancy, look at my flashy this or that news. It’s nothing that really fills your life with positivity, joy or encouragement.
Most of today’s news is depressing, aggravating, and honestly makes me mad that we live in such a world as this.
When we have access to Jesus news right at our fingertips; that talks about hope, joy, love, freedom, and all we have to do is go to HIM FIRST. How much better would our day go if we spend time with Jesus as soon as we open our eyes?
The answer is A LOT! “…and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Not that our days will be perfect by any means, but when we rely on Jesus as our main source of energy and fuel, we’ll be able to deal with our day a lot better than we do when we’re handling it on our own; when we first fuel our spirits with what social media has to say.
When God is first in every area of my life, I can be a better wife, mom, sister, friend… a better me. I can wage a better war against the enemy and his lies. I can better see the traps he tries to get me to fall to.
Even better… my relationship with Jesus is better, stronger and alive! Our faith is stronger, our anxiety is gone and peace can take over!
Let’s put God First every day and wake up with Jesus!