Mom: A Sacrificial Love

Mom: A Sacrificial Love

What do you think when you think of a mom?  The first thing that comes to my mind is love, and secondly, sacrifice, a sacrificial love.

Becoming a mother is the most instant kind of love you can have.  It’s love at first sight, literally!  At times you feel your heart will burst out of your chest because you have so much love.  But being a mother is a complicated love.  You have to discipline, make decisions that they may be upset by or not understand, save money for various things needed.  There are many different levels to a mother’s love, but most importantly it is unconditional and knows NO BOUNDS!

Sacrifice

I love this word because my own mother embodies it.  She gives of herself, her time, and her finances to all of her children and their families without a moment of thinking of herself.  I have been thankful and blessed beyond measure to have a mom who is the best example of this! She has shown and continues to show me not only what a mom should be, but most importantly how to be Christ-like in every way possible.  When you are a Christian mother, so much more is expected of you.  From the time your children are born, you must take your Christian responsibility much more seriously because you’re commanded to raise your children in the Lord.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Proverbs 22: 6

Proverbs 22:6

The Most Sacrificial Love

As Christians, we come face to face with Jesus who lived and died for us, the most sacrificial love.  Thank God!  He showed us that example so that we can always live for him and to be the best part of ourselves we can. When we live like Jesus, it demonstrates to our children that one day they can go out and continue to spread God’s love and His Word.

On this Mother’s Day, please let the moms in your life know how much you love them. Thank them for all the sacrifices they continue to make on a daily basis.  Being a parent or a grandparent can be trying at times, but none of us would change it for the world.  Remember to be an encouragement to others. Look to the Bible for numerous examples of Jesus on guidance, sacrifice, and unconditional love.

“The living, the living–they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness.”

Isaiah 38:19

Isaiah 38:19

Mothers are precious.

They are to be lifted up and daily shown love and encouragement for all they do.  Learn from what they have shown you and remember who was the perfect example to embody sacrificial love: Jesus.

Choose Kindness

Choose Kindness

So Many Choices Each Day

Every day we make choices: what to eat, where to go, and quite simply how to act.  It is amazing when you think about it just how many decisions you make during one 24-hour period, but they can make or break you with each one.

About a year ago my husband and our two small children went to McDonald’s for lunch before a movie.  While we were sitting there my sister called me with something important she needed to talk about. I was on the phone for a few minutes when I heard a lady start yelling at me:

“How about getting off the phone and take care of your kids!”

Mind you, my kids are not quiet but this was a time when they were actually being pleasant! I turned around and asked her politely, “What?” because I honestly thought I might have misunderstood her. She, along with three older women, kept yelling at me.  I could not believe what I was hearing but I had this incredible urge to leave the establishment and say nothing to them.

I believe that was God guiding me to make the right decision and choose kindness.

Now believe me, I was fuming mad once I got out to the car! I almost got out of my car to go inside and really let them know what I thought but we chose to leave.  After we got home, my heart was heavy.  Not only that I was yelled at, but that a complete stranger thought it was ok to treat someone like that.

Choosing Kindness isn’t Easy

From that point on, I remember thinking how much harder it is to choose kindness rather than choosing to say whatever is on your mind.  It is easy to let people know what you think; it takes strength and character to assess the situation and choose kindness.  Does this mean you let people run over you?  Absolutely not!  You can always show kindness even when you are confronting someone who is harming you.

Jesus has numerous examples of dealing with difficult people and tough situations.  One that sticks out is in John 8 when the Pharisees brought a woman who had committed adultery to Jesus and told him that the law said she should be stoned.  Instead of being furious for the acts they were committing, singling this woman out, he started writing in the sand, stood up, and asked:

“Let anyone who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Of course no one could because all have sinned. Jesus told her he didn’t condemn her either. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I love how Jesus does everything in love and kindness.  He had every right to be mad and let the Pharisees know exactly what he thought of their actions but he chose strength in being silent and making a statement in love.  I am thankful that I have the Word to lean on rather than the world to show me how to be and how to act. Praise God for that!

A few things that help me remember to always choose kindness:

In any situation, please choose kindness.

It takes more strength to do and say what is right rather than wrong.

Live in God’s Word and not of this world.

 

The Church Needs Therapy

The Church Needs Therapy

The Church needs therapy. Sounds kind of harsh, right?  That is not what this article is about.  It’s about encouragement, meeting needs, and getting proactive.

What do you think when you hear someone is going to therapy? Marriage issues? Trauma?  There are multiple things I can think of, but a lot of times therapy is perceived as negative and I believe there is a glaring reason.  Because that’s how our world sees it and they are not all wrong.  That is why I feel as a part of the Church that we need to have constant communication and “therapy” sessions to help guide and mold it for generations to come!

How do we do this? Here are a few ways that we can look at on how to help the Church to always be healthy and always working as a whole.

 1. Encouragement

Who doesn’t need encouragement?  But specifically, I want to focus on various ways to encourage and to also build church members to be constant encouragers.  When we offer words of encouragement to the Church or non-church members it should always be genuine and you should always mean what you say.

How many times a day do you ask how someone is doing? Tons, right? Do you mean it and are you ready for when someone says “no” or “I am ok”?  We always should be at the ready to meet those needs and be the light Jesus needs us to be.  When you are happy, loving, and encouraging you never know who you will touch and just how much they may need it at that time.  Substitute the negative for the positive!

2.  Meeting Needs

Meeting needs can be done in various ways.  Purchasing something for someone in front of you at the checkout line when they don’t have enough money.  Babysitting free of charge so a young family can strengthen their marriage with a date night. Offering a kind word, smile and a friendly “hi”!  Just being there is the most important thing we can do. Going through good and bad times it is always good to have someone there for you, no matter what.

3.  Get Proactive

Get together and think of different ways to strengthen, build,, and unite the Church. Taking time out of our busy schedules to write cards, attend ladies’ bible classes, or the men’s prayer breakfast.  Look inside yourself and see that God has given each of you talents that can help your community, friends, and the church family grow together.  Anything to help motivate and encourage church and non-church members to be together as one and working on the common goal of helping all of God’s children get to heaven.

Church Therapy.the church needs therapy

I love this idea because I take it to mean that Christians will help one another in anything they need and that they long to fellowship with one another and have a common goal to help anyone they can.  Think of it as a marriage: if you do not have constant communication, time, and showing love then you will end up in therapy.

Let’s look at it a different way though.  If we can have frequent “therapy” sessions as the Body, these sessions will be a positive way to navigate and help one another grow.  Of course, we do not call them therapy sessions but “fellowship” with one another.  Have meetings, luncheons, devotionals–whenever you can get together you should because we all have the same purpose for this life.  To get to heaven and help as many others as we can get there too.

How can we help the Church grow together?

The Next Step

The Next Step

 

the next step

It’s that time of year! If you have kids who are school age you are taking them to school, meeting the teacher, dropping off school supplies, and–if you are an emotional nutcase like me–you are keeping a strong front to hide that you are about to burst into tears.

My son started kindergarten, and up until the week before school started I was so excited for him to start this BIG step in life.  Then I started having emotional bursts of crying, thinking of him when he was just a baby and worrying if he would make it ALL day without me.  I am dedicated to being a stay-at-home mom, so one of my worst fears is that when he goes to school, I won’t be there when he needs me.

  • Be happy! Embrace this transition!  This is a huge milestone you have worked toward, so count it a blessing that you have made it here with your kids. Of course my son is beyond ecstatic about being a big kindergartner and is embracing it, as I believe any parent would want them to.  But I suddenly realized why it was so hard for me.  With this new transition, it wasn’t just my son growing…I was growing too.  We are taking that next step toward responsibility, learning, and becoming more independent.  Our relationship is changing, and this is hard!  But I want to offer some words of encouragement that are helping me at this time.
  • Be proud!  Let your kiddos know how proud you are that they are taking this big step and you are beyond ecstatic for them.  Encourage them!
  • Be there!  Your kiddos will STILL need you, they aren’t going off to college…yet! 🙂 Be involved as much as you can in school activities.  When they come home, greet them with a big hug and ask them how their day was.  Be there on those tough days that we all know will happen. They will REALLY need you then.

I pray this is a source of encouragement for all parents who are sending their “babies” off to school. No matter what grade they go into, they are ALWAYS our babies!  I know I need reassurance that our kids need to take this perfectly normal next step, so let’s embrace it! It’s tough but with God’s guidance, love, and grace we will get through it.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.” — Jeremiah 17:7 (ESV)

What words of encouragement can you give in these hard next steps in life?

A Journey Through the Heart

A Journey Through the Heart

When you first found out you were pregnant, what emotions did you experience?

“I’m gonna be a mommy!”

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“I’m so happy!!!”

I felt all of these emotions and many more!  I had an ideal pregnancy the first time around, so when I found out I was expecting my son Gunner, the last thing on my mind was my baby’s health.

In the womb Gunner was, well, GUNNER! He was runnin’ and gunnin’ the entire time! When I went into labor I was in lots of pain but anxious to see my bouncing baby boy. Little did I know that it would be the beginning of something that seemed to never let up.

He was delivered via emergency C-section.  I remember thinking, “Yes, it’s finally over!” but it was just the beginning.  He was born perfectly healthy on December 6th, and we happily passed him around! The next day, when I thought we would be going home, a nurse observed Gunner on my chest taking bigger than normal breaths and wanted to get him checked out.  They determined he had pneumonia and had to be in the NICU for 10 days.  I was devastated but knew I needed to be strong for him.  I didn’t realize how much of a blessing pneumonia would be.

On the 7th day in the NICU, a weekend nurse came to give us our son and told us she heard a heart murmur. My heart stopped.  She reassured us that it could be something that would close up on its own, but I had a sinking feeling that might not be the case. The next day, following an echocardiogram, we got the news.  Our son would have to have open heart surgery.

I am not going to sugarcoat it, I was devastated and very angry at God!  “I prayed every day for a healthy child and THIS is what you gave me?”  I was in a deep depression coupled with postpartum depression, not leaning on my husband and family and definitely not relying on God.

About 2 months later, my husband gave it to me straight. “God has never left us and he never will! Instead of focusing on what problems Gunner has, concentrate on what God has blessed him and us with.”  I don’t like admitting that my husband is right (Ha! Just kidding!) but he was spot on! Too many times when something doesn’t go our way we immediately place blame on God instead of giving him his due.

God placed the right healthcare workers, family, friends, and even strangers in our life to guide us where we needed to be.  I had to realize that no one could do this except God.  To God be the glory for giving me way more grace and love than I deserved!

Fast forward to the heart of the matter, the surgery.  He was only 7 months old the day he had open heart surgery.  When I think about that day it truly seems like I dreamed it up, but it was all too real.  I had to exercise my FULL faith in God because it was completely out of my hands.  The hardest part was handing him over to the nurse to go into surgery.  When I got back to the family room where my family and friends were waiting I fell into my sister’s lap, sobbing, “Why did I hand him over to her?” She simply said, “You handed him over to God. He’s got this now.”  At that moment, a complete sense of calm came over my entire body.  I had never felt that kind of peace before, but it was God’s complete peace to comfort me in my greatest time of need.  Gunner was in surgery for 6 hours.  Every hour, we got updates on how he was doing.  The final call was, “It was a success! Come see your son!”  Let me tell you, I basically RAN to see him. I hadn’t spent more than 1 hour away from him his entire life!

When I saw him I was extremely happy! The 5 days we were in the hospital I maintained a positive, happy attitude.  Not only did I know Gunner would need that boost, but I realized that God was good and that everyday Gunner had after his surgery was a complete blessing.  My husband told me later that my mom approached him in the hospital and asked, “Are you sure she is ok? She seems too calm for what she is going through.” This gave me a good chuckle because I am normally not a calm person.  It goes to show that when you put your FULL faith in God, you begin to see what he can do for you!

So, here are a few things that I learned through this Journey of the Heart:

Be joyful!  Keep a positive attitude.  It is easy to be negative but choose to be happy in all things and it will be contagious.

Let God take control.  He will take care of you!  He knows you best so he will give you what you need and also what others cannot.

Have FULL faith in God. No matter the circumstance, always have faith that God will see you through it…because HE WILL.

What trials have you had to let God take control?IMG_5049

 

 

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