Dear God, Are You Sure You Know What You’re Doing?

Dear God, Are You Sure You Know What You’re Doing?

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

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Dear God,

Lately I’ve been going through some challenges.  You know, growing older, raising children, constantly questioning my decisions, etc.  I understand that trials will be part of this life and that through those trials You teach us valuable lessons.  But sometimes I have small doubts about Your timing.  Sometimes, in my humble human brain I can’t piece together the exact reasoning You have about some of the things that happen in my life.

You’ve definitely proven to me over and over again that I am not in control of this life.  

I always thought that I would have a career that fulfilled me, and You brought me together with a man with very different ideas.  I always thought I’d stay home with my kids until they went to school and then I’d find a job.  Then You brought me into homeschooling.  I had decided that three children were plenty, and now You’ve gifted me a fourth.  It is quite obvious that You are in control.Dear God,

As I’ve grown older and grown in the word, I’ve slowly but surely been able to release my grasp on control; not for Your good but for my own.  As I’ve let go, I’ve gained such a feeling of contentment.  As I’ve let go, I’ve gained a freedom that I’ve never known before.  As I’ve let go, I’ve made time for other things that actually are my responsibility.

However, Lord, You still find ways to remind me to trust You.  

You find ways to send me messages like, “Your day will go smoother if you’d start it with Me,” or “Take care of your children, your husband, AND yourself.”  The latter seems like a long hard road that we’re now traveling down.  Years of neglecting myself has finally caught up with me and I have been physically forced to slow down.

However, Your goodness and love never fails me.  

You placed people in my life to support me during this time:  friends to bring meals and clean my kitchen, grandparents to watch the kids, and an amazingly compassionate husband to understand.  And through the rest, You revealed to me just how much I’d been neglecting myself.

I can’t help but wonder though, if You’re really sure You know what You’re doing?

I mean, through the pain and discussion of back surgery You brought into my womb a beautiful new life.  How wonderful!  But why now?  Why, when I was on a dangerous medication?  Why, when my baby was just barely 10 months old?  Why, when our house is already nearly stretched to its limit?

Please don’t misunderstand.  

I am incredibly grateful for this beautiful blessing.  I’ve seen the pain of a barren womb and I thank You for this miracle inside of me.  But Lord, was this really the best time?  Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

Dear God,

Obviously, I haven’t given up as much control as I thought.  

If I had, I wouldn’t be questioning Your perfect timing.  I remember in those first days when I was in such pain that there was no sleep, no rest for my mind, body, or soul.  In those days I remember asking You fervently to reveal the lesson that You had for me in this trial.  As the pain lessened and I found my new normal, that plea slowly faded away.

I know that You aren’t done with me yet, and for that I’m grateful.

Perhaps You intend to teach me patience.  Perhaps it’s more about putting my faith in You and not in the hands of any surgeon.  Perhaps it’s about bringing glory to You in my time of weakness.  I have yet to discover Your perfect plan through all of this Lord, but I know that I can trust in You.  Through my struggles and my failures, You’ve always been by my side.  Please forgive me for questioning Your perfect plan and open my eyes to the many lessons I have yet to learn.  Thank you for Your goodness and Your love.

Your humbled doubter



Toots, Tantrums, and the Terrible Twos

Toots, Tantrums, and the Terrible Twos

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

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I’m a mom.  

That right there should explain the title of this post.  I’ve recently become more of a mom, or a mom to more, or something like that.  We just had baby #4.  That means that when we came home from the hospital with a tiny, wiggly, tooting machine, there wasn’t a honeymoon period.  Now don’t get me wrong, there have still been plenty of sweet and adorable baby moments. But it’s different when  a whole slew of children are running into and through those moments.  You see, babies don’t change.  This precious bundle does the same things that my others did.  He eats, he sleeps, he poops (all the time!), and he makes those incredibly adorable little noises and faces while he’s dreaming.  No, this baby is still a baby.

But what about me?

Well, I have certainly have changed.  Gone are the days of endless snuggles with my firstborn.  Now I have to battle myself over whether I’ve given each child enough individual attention.  Gone are the days of watching a sweet baby sleep.  Now I have to make the agonizing choice to lay my sweet snuggly bundle down to go break up an argument in the bedroom.  Yes, those bittersweet days are gone and now it’s all toots, tantrums, and the terrible twos.

Now make no mistake: I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Well, maybe I would.  I might take away teething, diarrhea, and sleep regression from my eighteen month old.  I might shave off a bit of my four year old’s emotional sensitivity and I would definitely add on a mind reader so I can figure out exactly what my six year old was thinking when he made some questionable choice.  But you know that’s just not how God designed things.  And who am I to be making suggestions to God?  I mean, it sounds good, but He just didn’t intend for eighteen month olds to be reasoned with.  No, if God has shown me anything through this surprise blessing #4, it’s that His plans are so much greater than mine.


Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21



God’s Plans are Greater than Mine

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve planned something only to later see God’s purpose to be more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.  My plans were to marry the boy I was engaged to in high school.  That plan had already brought me more heartache than any other plans I’d made.  God’s plan was to break my heart and mend it and mold it for another…a godly mate who has cared for me like no other.

My plans were to go to college and launch myself into an exciting and fulfilling career.  God’s plans were to show me the joy and love that only children can bring, and to lead me into a life of diapers, play dates, and home school.

My plans were to have three children and boldly state that my quiver was quite full.  God’s plan was to bring a beautiful baby boy to be our fourth miracle–a blessing beyond any that I could have ever dreamed up.


Parenthood is definitely not an easy road, but I thank God for revealing his beautiful, more perfect plan.  Some days I want to just break down and cry out that this gig is too hard.  Other days I’ve got tears of pride running down my face at the beauty of my children.  Some days are filled with poor choices and lots of discipline and molding of their hearts, while other days are filled with giggles and games and unspeakable joy.  How much greater His plans have been than anything I could have even fathomed!  I cannot wait until He comes in and wrecks my next set of plans.

Have you ever made a plan only to see God’s more perfect plan shine through?

How do you encourage others who are in the trenches of parenthood?

Copycat Trader Joe’s Green Tea Muffins

Copycat Trader Joe’s Green Tea Muffins

Lindsay W

Lindsay W

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two crazy pups and new baby girl, Avery. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
Lindsay W

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Once upon a time, Trader Joe’s carried a very special and unique boxed muffin mix. Like many of Trader Joe’s unique items, I nor anyone I knew, had ever seen or heard of this kind of muffin before. And once you whipped up a batch of them, you never wanted any other kind of muffin ever again. Because no muffin could compete with a homemade green tea muffin- well, no muffin could compete with a Trader Joe’s green tea muffin.

The Quest to Copycat Trader Joe’s Green Tea Muffins

One day, a little over 10 years ago, I showed up on a Sunday afternoon to my sunny Trader Joe’s in Buckhead, GA to complete my weekly grocery shopping and to my horror couldn’t find the green tea muffin mix. I asked an associate, in his happy Hawaiian shirt, if there were any in the back of the store. But to my dismay, he told me they didn’t have any, and he was pretty sure they’d been discontinued.

So, I purchased a boxed banana muffin mix instead, drove home to my little apartment, opened my laptop, and found the Contact Us link on Trader Joe’s website. Oh yes, I did. Hopeful, I asked if there were any stores anywhere in the United States that were selling the boxed mix since mine wasn’t anymore. A nice guy from Trader Joe’s quickly emailed me back with the sad news… No, there weren’t. The product had been pulled and wasn’t available for sale anywhere, and it wasn’t likely they’d be bringing it back.

And so my quest began- I had to recreate that recipe. After several miserably failed attempts, I gave up. I hung my white flag and resolved that green tea muffins would just be a college memory of sorts.

The Quest Rekindled

But then, a few weeks ago, while shopping at my local Kroger, I saw a cute little container of Matcha and was inspired to give it one more go.

Maybe my baking skills have just improved or maybe I finally found the right kind of Matcha to give my muffins that unique green tea flavor, but whatever it is, I figured it out. I’ve finally recreated Trader Joe’s Green Tea Muffin.

Extra Secret Ingredient!

It gets better. The recipe I’m about to share with you is not only packed with the health benefits that green tea has to offer, it also has ZUCCHINI in it!! (Insert praise hands!) I’m giving you all the good stuff here people. And if that wasn’t enough, these muffins are also toddler approved. My 2 year old loves them.

So here it is, the recipe for Copycat Trader Joe’s Green Tea Muffins:


1.5 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 egg

1 large zucchini (pureed)

2 tsp Matcha powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Puree zucchini.

Mix wet ingredients (including pureed zucchini) except egg.

Add dry ingredients (except Matcha). Mix together. Add egg.

Mix together. Add Matcha. Mix together.

Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with muffin liners. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 with batter.

Bake for 20-22 min. Enjoy!

And try not to eat them all as soon as they come out of the oven!!

Do you have a favorite food you’ve managed to create a copycat recipe for? I’d love to hear about your journey to mastering it in the comments below!


(Lindsay Tip: My 2 year old and I LOVE all of the homemade muffins we bake, so to avoid eating all of them in one day, as soon as the muffins have cooled, I put them all in gallon-size freezer bags and put them straight into the freezer. Whenever someone wants a muffin, I just microwave it for 20 sec, and wa la! Easy for snacks and easier on the waist line!)

Broken Home Redeemed

Broken Home Redeemed



Hello! I am a native So Cal resident. Human Resources by day, but more importantly Mom to a teenage boy who I often refer to as "Man-child".

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Single Parent Broken Home Redeemed

This is personal, from the heart and the message is hope. If only one single parent reads this and is encouraged it’s mission accomplished.

As a single mom I often feel like the odds are stacked against my son and I. We go through seasons where it seems like we are gaining ground, almost catching up to what seems like everyone else’s normal. Then in my fear, anxiety and exhaustion I lose sight of God’s promise that he will never leave or forsake us and the next thing I know I feel like we are back in a season of failure.

I’m coming to know it as the broken home mindset. Whether it is our living situation, finances, or grades I always feel like there is a “them” and “us” dynamic. Always.

Them = the family that has a husband and wife working as a team, with kids blossoming as a result.

Us =Me unprepared hoping for the best and my kid trusting me to know what the heck I’m doing. (I don’t.)

I constantly have to remind myself that our culture’s measure of success is not God’s design. Is raising my son in a broken home God’s design? No. But, since coming to faith I have learned that our home is only as broken as I allow it to be.

Faith Gives Me Power

Faith gives me power over the heavy reality that I cannot change the past. I cannot undo divorce. I cannot erase the hurt it has caused my son. But I can trust God not to waste the pain, that is the power of the grave. I can trust God to use our story of redemption to encourage others who carry the same burden. I can trust God, period.

I am constantly evaluating the ways my household does not measure up. And I’m often frustrated that our wins seem short lived, I’ll be honest that’s how I’m feeling as I type this. Add to that the guilt I feel for having these thoughts because we are blessed in so many ways! We have so much to be thankful for, but the grass is always greener, right? It’s completely unrealistic for me to compare my home to households that have more resources to accomplish the things that I only wish I could. It’s easy to see my son and I at a disadvantage. But I’ve never encountered a resource more life changing than God himself. Where is the disadvantage in that?

Even still, the “if only” scenarios come in waves. The waters calm for longer periods of time, I’m so thankful for that. But the reality of this life is that those waves are unpredictable in their nature and their ebb and flow is cause for many sighs. I cannot just decide one day that I will never again feel sorry for myself. That’s just not possible. There are too many seemingly picture perfect families around me for that to happen, and my core sin is envy. (I know I know, no family is perfect… envy people. It has no filter). However, I can promise to look up and surrender those moments of weakness to the God who promises this…

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Calling Out These Thoughts

For transparency sake, and in case someone is reading this feeling isolated by the thoughts that lead us astray, let’s just call out a few of the thought patterns that create the divide and give life to “us” and “them”.

Guilt – “If only I had done [insert long list of regrets] differently, my son would have a better life.” (Right. Because it doesn’t take two to tango.)

Outcast – “My family doesn’t do divorce. Hardly any of my friends are divorced. How did I end up like this? Where do I fit in?” (According to the CDC website, the provisional number of divorces and annulments in the US were 879,000 the year I became a single mother. Looks like I’m not alone after all.)

Unworthy – “I know I’m not worthless as in worth nothing, but I seem to be worth less.”

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted1 Peter 2:9-10 (MSG)

From a worldly standpoint it may appear that single parent homes are broken homes. But friends, if God has used this trial to bring you to the foot of the cross and you are raising your kids to know and love Jesus and you are living your life in pursuit of God, then wouldn’t you call that a broken home redeemed? You’d be crazy not to.

Here is what you need to do when that broken home mindset kicks in:

  1. Take those thoughts captive that say you are “less than”.
  2. Say the name of Jesus out loud and claim power over the lies that set you back in your moments of weakness. (Those moments will come, but you aren’t powerless against them.) Ask God to replace those lies with truth.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor 10:5 (NIV)

You’ve got this, and Gods got you.


The Real Love Game

The Real Love Game

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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What is love?

In our house, we decided to turn learning about love into what I call “The Real Love Game.”

So many movies, books, magazines, songs, and TV shows have attempted to answer this question. Although some of the answers (like Saturday Night Live’s skit versions) are obviously not the right answer, there are many others that have added confusion to an already confused world.

The Real Definition of Love

That is why 1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite passages.  In black and white, it explains what love – real love – looks like.

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hope,
always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Every year when February rolls around and LOVE starts to fill the air and the store shelves, we try to instill God’s meaning of love in our hearts as well as our children’s hearts. We do this so that as they grow and are introduced to the things of this world, they will know the difference between real love and fake love.  

The Real LOVE Game & Different Ways of Teaching our Kids about Real Love

Now, stop for a second.  Did you notice anything really interesting?  If you’re a numbers person, you might…within verses 4-7 there are fourteen different descriptions of love.  One for every day from February 1-Valentines Day! A few years ago, when I noticed this, we made a point to make sure every morning when our children woke up a heart with one of these descriptions was hanging somewhere in the house.

There are so many different ways to play with these hearts:

  • For several years, we hung them on a Valentine wreath in the living room.
  • We’ve even given them to our children like Valentines from God, one a day from February 1st-14th.
  • Last year we hung them on our kitchen window, where we do our school work during the day.
  • This year, I decided we are going to play a game with it.  Every morning when our children wake up, they will go searching for love!  Because isn’t that what most of us have done in life? As we are growing up, aren’t we always on the look out for true love? Once they find the heart, we will sit and talk about what it means and memorize it.  Then we can add it to our memory verse wall so we can add to it daily and by day 14 we will have these three verses memorized.
  • I actually plan on having two sets of these hearts.  One set to hide and hang up and the other set to use as a memory verse scramble.  Every time we add another heart the kids will mix up the hearts and then put them in the correct order.
  • What immediately pops into your mind?


Let Us Know How Your Family Plays the Real Love Game!

If you would like to play this game with us or your own version, here are the fourteen hearts. We would love to see how you use them.  Share your ideas with us by posting to social media and using #CaGDRealLove

Real Love Heart Game

Real Love Game Printable

Not only do we want our kids to know what love is, but we want them to know where it is found: in Christ Jesus.  If we are letting Jesus fill our hearts with His love, then we will not be easily swayed by the world.  And we want them to know how to share his love too.

Craving God’s Love

There is a song by For King and Country called “The Proof of Your Love” that recites parts of 1 Corinthians 13.  So many people who have only heard this song and have never read the Bible have come up to them and said how amazing and beautiful those words are and how that idea of love just captivates them. You see, the world is craving God’s love and they don’t even know it yet!

As we play this game with our kids, maybe we could also sprinkle some of these hearts around our neighborhoods too.  Share God’s amazing love with our neighbors, with store clerks and with whomever we run into during the day.  Just for fun one day maybe you could go love on some cars by putting these hearts under windshield wipers in a parking lot.  You never know how that little heart just might open someone’s heart to God’s word now or later.

Lord, we thank you for loving us like you do.  We absolutely do not deserve it and yet you give it freely and without reserve.  Your mercy and grace are showered upon us daily.  Our hearts sing songs of thanksgiving and praise for all the love you have bestowed upon us.  Give us courage to freely share this amazing love with others. In the One who did not hesitate to show what true love is all about – Amen!


Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Unified Church Living Out Love on Valentines Day Family Prayer Wall Building Up Your Leaders


The Secret to a Successful Quiet Bag

The Secret to a Successful Quiet Bag

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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You’re in the middle of worship. The entire church has their heads bowed in fervent, quiet prayer when suddenly your kid erupts like a verbal volcano and discovers that your previously vetted out and carefully chosen toy can be:

  • whacked noisily against the pew in front of you,
  • launched like a Cuban missile onto the other side of the auditorium,or
  • just in general be likened to an explosion of sound and excitement.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt that mixture of panic, frustration, and embarrassment. These things never seem to happen in the middle of a great, noisy, swelling song, only during Communion or a prayer! So what’s the secret to making your quiet bag a success? I’m here with the answers. Maybe…


Pack in grace for yourself. Grace for your kid. Grace knowing that no matter how hard you try or how well you prepare, you can’t always be perfect or utterly quiet or completely still. And that’s OK.

I’m not saying to let your kid run loose on Sunday morning while throwing him goldfish in the middle of the sermon. But I am saying that it’s OK if neither you or your kid are perfect. Give yourself the grace that you would extend to other moms. And find peace in the fact that God sees your efforts and will reward them.


I know. This is like a dirty word with Christians. The problem with praying for patience is that you get it, right?

But you’ll need it. You need lots and lots and lots of patience to quiet your kids, to miss yet another chunk of the worship service, to smile instead of strangle.

Patience is knowing that you’re doing this for the end game. Nobody in their right mind says, “Boy, that mother of two toddlers and a baby is coming to church and just filling her spiritual cup to overflowing.”


What she’s doing is showing her kids that even when it’s hard for her, even when it’s not ideal for her, even when she may only get five minutes out of the worship service–it is still the most important thing to do. There is nothing more important than going to worship the Creator of the Universe. To give Him the praise and adoration He deserves. And to teach our kids to do the very same.

A Sense of Humor

This is, perhaps, the key to surviving not just a worship service, but motherhood in general! Laughing at the crazy, the ludicrous, and the full moon coming out in your kid (and perhaps you!) is the best way to relieve your stress.

It’s OK to find it funny when your son has a poopsplosion in the middle of opening prayer. And It’s OK to giggle when he happily shares his now-slimy cheerios with the little widow you chose to sit next to this morning. Finding joy in these moments is perfectly OK!

Without joy, you’ll turn into a little ball of stress–and that’s no fun for anyone.

So this Sunday, good luck! And good mothering!


Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Be a Bible Class Teacher Praying the Psalms God is in Control Submissive Wife

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