I Was Caught Clamming Up

I Was Caught Clamming Up

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

Latest posts by Meredith P (see all)

Have you ever tried to teach your child a lesson, only to realize God is trying to teach you the exact same lesson?

“You seem upset. Is there anything wrong?” I asked my eleven year old son. He shook his head and continued frantically looking around.

I Was CaughtClamming Up

Let me flash back with you for
a moment.
 About four hours before that short exchange took place, this son decided to take some of his favorite Lego mini-figures with him to church. Then this series of events took place:

  1. He left them on a table.
  2. Someone found them while cleaning up and brought them to me.
  3. I put them in my pocket to give to him.
  4. I forgot they were in my pocket.
  5. We came home.

Now, back to that short exchange above. Right after I asked him if something was wrong, it dawned on me. He was searching for his Legos. I reached into my pocket to give them to him, but I stopped. This son tends to clam up and not communicate, so I decided to wait and see if he would come to me or his father with his problem.

We had been trying to teach him the value of communication, and I thought this could be a good lesson. All he had to do was communicate his issue and it would be resolved. Boom! Done. But not so fast…lego-674615_1280

During the next hour, I watched him continue his frenzied search. I asked several times if I could help him or if he was upset about anything. Each time I received the same response, a polite, but curt, “No.”

My mama’s heart was breaking. If only he would say, “Mom, I can’t find my Lego guys. Can you help?” That would be my cue. Like a superhero, I’d dip into my pocket and retrieve the supposedly lost treasured items. He’d hug me and the music would swell; my proverbial hero’s cape would flutter and all would be well. Didn’t he know how much I loved him and that he could tell me anything? I told him every day in different ways.

With my heart raw and softened by witnessing the unnecessary plight of my child, I was struck, almost blown over with this powerful, yet gentle whispering in my soul,

“You do this to Me.”

“What? I do what?”

“You clam up with Me.”

“No, no I don’t. What my son is doing is ridiculous. All he has to do is…”

My heavenly Father was right.

I was caught clamming up.

With my heart even more tender toward my son, I squatted down as he searched desperately under the washer and dryer. Putting my hands gently on his shoulders, I said, “I can tell you are upset. Please share with me what is wrong.”

He looked up at me and said the words I was waiting to hear, “Mom, I can’t find my Lego guys. Can you help?”

Ah, there it was.

Not so much like the superhero I imagined earlier with the music swelling and cape fluttering, but more like an empathetic child myself, I reached into my pocket and gave him his mini-figures. Tenderly, I asked him why he didn’t come to me earlier for help. His answer hit my heart.

“I didn’t think you could do anything to help so I didn’t talk to you about it.”

Boom. Thoughts flooded my mind.

I sat down on the laundry room floor with him while he clutched his newly found Legos, trying to quickly capture those thoughts into a few sentences I can express to him.

He was right in some ways. While this time I was able to immediately fix what was bothering him, that would not always be the case. Sometimes, I wouldn’t be able to fix his problem or heartache, though I would if I could. Other times, even if I could resolve his problem, because I know it would be best for him to work out a particular issue on his own, I would not “fix it.” And then there would be times like this, that I could and should fix the problem for him. Those times will always be my favorite.

However, despite which circumstance it may be, I want to walk with him through his struggles. So I wrangled those thoughts into four sentences and said to him,

“I understand what you are saying. You are right. Sometimes, I won’t be able to fix your problem, but that doesn’t mean I can’t come alongside you and walk with you through your problem. I can carry some of the burden for you when you share with me what’s wrong.”

As mentioned before, he is eleven. I don’t know how much of those sentences he truly understood that day. I’m sure they will be repeated again in the future, but they resonated in my soul as I then heard,

“I also want to walk alongside you through your problems. Let me carry some of your burdens.”

“What? You want to do what?”

It wasn’t until later, when all was quiet, I remembered the verse from 1 Peter:

Cast your cares on him because he cares for you.

In that quiet moment, the simple beauty of this verse became very real to me. Through my own parenting, I caught a tiny glimpse into the beautiful and vast heart of our heavenly Father. He cares for you and me, and He so very much desires to walk alongside you and me through problems and carry them for us.

I imagined God saying my own parental thoughts back to me, “Don’t you know how much I love you and that you can tell me anything? Every day, I tell you that I love you through my Word and in my creation.”

I began to wonder if God’s heart breaks when we don’t come to Him with our problems. My heart certainly was breaking with my child. I strongly desire a relationship with my children where communication flows freely and often. I began to think how God the Father sent His Son to die so that He could have that free and open communication about all things, big and small, with us. Talk about wanting a relationship with someone!

Then I remembered what my son said earlier, “I didn’t think you could do anything to help so I didn’t talk to you about it.” Do I have this attitude toward God, my heavenly Father? Do I speak to Him about all things whether He “fixes” them for me or not?

He is the all-powerful, only true God and actually could fix all my problems if He wanted (I wonder if those times are His favorite). But I also know that He is all-knowing. He knows when He should not miraculously fix my problems because it is best for me to figure it out on my own. Then again, if I’m talking to Him about it, I am never really on my own. He will be right there, walking through the problem with me. Carrying some of it for me as I trust Him. He will be bending down with me as I look under the washer and dryer for the solution, so to speak. And I think His Father’s heart will swell with the communication and togetherness as mine would with my children.

So here’s to parenting and remembering these things:

1) Let’s remember to talk to Him about all things, big and small.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Ephesians 6:18

2)Let’s not forget He walks with us through all things.

When you walk through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Isaiah 43:2-3a

3) God miraculously fixed our huge problem already.

 He fixed our sin problem, but that is another story…

What lessons has God taught you though your children?

Do you come to Him in all situations?

8 Reasons Not to Stress Over Dirty Dishes

8 Reasons Not to Stress Over Dirty Dishes

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heavenEcclesiastes 3_127

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

I know very few people who enjoy chores. It’s not often I hear someone say, “Cleaning toilets relaxes me,” or “I spend my ‘me time’ mopping the floors”! Every now and then I meet people who actually enjoy chores, and I admit for a short season in my life I didn’t mind them, but that season is long over! I’ve tried making chore charts time and time again. I try to hold myself accountable but I stick with them for about a week and then fall behind!

I constantly felt guilty about this until one day I realized that what kept me from my chores was usually more important than a spic-and-span home! Scripture tells us that there is a time and season for every activity under heaven. For me, the time for a clean home does not come as often as the times for other things!

So this is for all the women, wives and mommas out there who are feeling guilty for their less-than-spotless home! It’s OK!!! I give you permission to forgive yourself and be at peace.

 

8 REASONS NOT TO STRESS OVER DIRTY DISHES
1. You are having quiet time with the Lord.

Be it thoughtful meditation, time in your prayer journal, reading inspirational articles, or a full on bible story–this is more important. 

 

2. You are playing with your children.

Oh, the time to play with our kids is short. Don’t feel guilty about one single chore undone when you are playing with your kids. This is more important. 

 

3. You are serving others. 

Have you ever had someone drop everything they were doing to come and help you? It a beautiful way to show Christ’s love. Who cares if the breakfast skillet has to wait until the next day? This is more important.

 

4. You are going to church or a church activity. 

Hmm…chores or worshiping God?? If you need help with this one I encourage you to look up the story of Mary and Martha. Church gatherings are a wonderful blessing. This is more important. 

 

5. You are earning money for your family. 

I grew up with a hard-working mom and I know how difficult it can be to juggle work among all the other aspects of life. You are providing for your family–don’t feel guilty if the laundry is piling up. This is more important. 

 

6. You are staying home to take care of or homeschool your kids. 

This sort of goes with #2. Some might think that because you stay home all day it would be easy to keep a clean home. They are very wrong. Cleaning your home with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. It just doesn’t happen very easily. Not to worry though, you are doing important work. This is more important. 

 

7. You are having time with family or friends. 

When I’m ninety years old, I want my mind to be full of memories spent with the people I love. I honestly don’t think I’ll care if my house was kept perfectly. So chores can wait–go and make happy memories! This is more important. 

 

8. You are having personal time. 

Everyone needs time to decompress. If mopping the floor and doing the dishes relaxes you then go for it! But for the rest of us: don’t feel guilty for taking a moment to read, check Facebook, exercise, or hop in a long bubble bath. You will feel happier doing your chores if you are also making time for yourself. Now, I know it’s easier to relax in a clean house. So try to keep one area clear of clutter where you go to escape and the other chores can wait. This is more important! 

I constantly felt guilty until one day I realized that what kept me from my chores was usually more important than a spick and span home!

I know this isn’t for everyone, however, if you feel yourself stressed over chores I hope you will go over this list and find room for grace. I’ve found that it helps me to prioritize the chores that are most important to me. Focus on those and save the other stuff until it’s noticeably needed or company is coming. I spend my days caring for my toddler, finding time with Jesus, having fun with my husband, and serving my church family. I don’t mind if there are crumbs on my floor or if the dishes have piled up because I am living a happy and full life. There is a time for everything, my friends!

What are your favorite ways to spend your time? 

8 Reasons to Not Stress Over Dirty Dishes

 

 

If I Were at the Alamo…

If I Were at the Alamo…

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

Latest posts by Meredith P (see all)

If I were at the Battle of the Alamo, I wonder what I would have done.

Have you ever pondered this? No? Let me explain why this is on my mind today.

In case you’re not from Texas or a history buff, allow me to give you the Cliff’s Notes version of the battle:

  • Texas declared independence from Mexico.
  • Mexico didn’t like this.
  • A pivotal battle occurred at the Alamo.
  • The Texans fought bravely but were greatly outnumbered by the Mexicans.
  • The Texans lost the battle, but the bravery galvanized the other Texans.
  • Texas won its independence.

Here is the part that is getting me thinking today:  

Legend has it that Texan General William Travis knew on the eve of the battle that the outlook was bleak.  He drew a line in the sand.  He asked those who were willing to stay and fight despite the certain doom to step across the line.  Anyone else was welcome to slip away.

Almost every single person stepped across that line and stayed to face battle.

If I were at the Battle of the Alamo, I wonder what I would have done.

Well, the Lord put me on the earth about 116 years too late to tell for sure, but He did give me four children.  And most moms know child-rearing is a battleground of sorts.

Today, that battleground found me whimpering face-first into a pile of laundry on the floor while my kiddos watched in shock and awe.  Yes, friends, it was a sight to behold.

So, as my eyes moistened with tears of exasperation, wetting my newly dried t-shirts, I thought about the choice I was making.  Not too long after, I “remember the Alamo” (pun intended). I thought about that line in the sand and the choice those men and some women had to make.  Who were they going to choose to serve?

“Choices…choices…”Add subtitle text (1)

That word resonated.  As “choices” echoed in my heart, while my children continued to stand over me in a stunned stupor, my mind shifted to Joshua’s entreaty to the Israelites,

“Then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15

The Bible says nothing of Joshua drawing a line in the sand, but I see this as a verbal line in the sand.

If I were an Israelite listening to Joshua, I wonder what I would have done.

I am a mom in Indiana with four little ones watching me in shock and awe. (Remember what am I going to do?)

I ran to the bathroom.  That’s what I do.  Ah, that line in the sand.  Rather than cross that line, I chose to slip away.

Not two minutes later, our middle son darted into the bathroom and placed a card with a Bible verse on the bathroom counter and darted back out.  I picked up the card and read the verse.  It occurs to me: Here is another line in the sand.

I have a son who believes that the power of God’s Word will pull Mommy out of this “adult temper tantrum.” What am I going to do?

This moment now, like the Alamo, is a pivotal battle.

Humbled, I make the choice.

I cross the line.

I wish I could tell you that upon being reminded that my strength comes from the Lord and His Word, Bible verses to back up this truth rushed from my memory, but they didn’t.  All I could pull up was Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul.”I was making a deliberate choice to (2)

It still worked.  I began to calm.  I was making a deliberate choice to dwell on His Word and not on my exasperation.  A choice to serve Him and be led by His Spirit; to follow His commands to love. Love is patient and kind, not exasperated.

 

 

 

Friends, we are all in a pivotal battle every day.

 Each morning, as soon as our eyes open, we must choose that day whom we are going to serve.  Are we going to serve ourselves and give in to the unstable tossing to and fro of our own wills and emotions? Or are we going to cross that line and serve the Lord, being controlled by His Spirit?

Paul says it in Galatians 5 like this:

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

Then just below this he writes:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25

Again, this is another verbal line in the sand.

Face first in the laundry, I was gratifying the desire of my flesh.  Our middle son reminded me with the Bible verse card that my strength to cross that line and serve the Lord comes from Him and His Word by His Spirit.

Tonight, convicted that I couldn’t from memory pull out God’s words to back up this truth, I found 1 Peter 4:11 to memorize:

“If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

So tomorrow before I open my eyes, I’m going to do a few things I read here. I will:

  • First, admit to God that I can’t serve Him without Him.
  • Ask Him to help me.
  • Then, trust that He will.
  • Make the conscious effort to choose to cross the line; to serve Him and not myself; and to dwell on His promises: His words I’ve memorized.
  • At the end of the day, I’m going to thank Him for His faithfulness.

Tell me, how do you choose to serve God each day?  

What steps do you take to cross that line into His service?

How will you choose to Create a Great Day? (Again, pun intended.)

A Different Approach in Pregnancy #2

A Different Approach in Pregnancy #2

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

I love reading all the blogs and memes about the differences between the first and second pregnancies. As I am currently halfway through my second pregnancy, I’m finding so much of people’s thoughts on the matter to be true! Sometimes I even forget another child will be joining us in a few short months! As I sit and reflect on what I’ve learned through my first few years of parenting my heart is finding a different way to prepare for little sister.

With my first pregnancy, I was obsessed with reading about the physical care of babies. I read huge books cover to cover about pregnancy and child development. At night, I stayed up late reading blog after blog about sleeping habits and feeding schedules. I browsed countless product reviews and thought meticulously over every item I put on our baby registry. I was completely consumed with the changes about to take place. As I look back on that time, I wish I’d directed my focus a little differently. Sure, the research I did was helpful, but I wish I’d tended to my spiritual life a little more.

When a baby arrives, time stands still.

Nothing else seems to matter like it did before. I was running on adrenaline from the thrill of witnessing new life in my arms. With feedings throughout the night, bottles to wash, and stains to scrub out of little clothes, it can be hard to make time for Jesus. When your husband goes back to work and the family visits are over, it can feel lonely to be at home on your own. You watch the world go by and you are on your couch watching Netflix as you nurse your baby, wondering how life changed so quickly. I loved motherhood and I embraced all the little wonders of the moment, but I still had these realities distracting me, keeping me from Jesus.

This pregnancy started down a similar path. I found myself beginning to obsess over the little things and actually felt restless because I didn’t have as much to discover this time around. I didn’t want to spend my whole pregnancy that way.

he-leads-me-beside-quiet-watershe-refreshes-my-soul

Taking a Different Approach

So I’m focusing on Jesus. It isn’t easy with a toddler to love on and care for, but I want to spend as much time in my Bible and in prayer that I can before our baby girl gets here. I want my spiritual cup to be full and ready for the changes that are coming my way. I want to be so delighted in my Savior that I naturally embrace this pregnancy, the long summer days at home with my older daughter, and evenings with my husband, because they are gifts from Him.

Quiet time with the Lord is crucial in all phases of life. 

As mothers, we need a strength and mindset that can only come from the Lord, so it is very important that we not neglect our spiritual life. There are so many ways we can turn our focus as we prepare for a new baby, but our best focus is on Christ.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Psalm 23

quiet-time-is-crucial-in-all-phases-of-life-2

 

a-different-approach-pinterest
Facing Insecurity and Discontentment as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Facing Insecurity and Discontentment as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Feeling Insecurity and Discontentment

For someone who longs to be a stay-at-home mom but is unable to do so, it might be hard to understand the discontentment one can be faced with as a stay-at-home mom. No matter how you spend your days and manage your time as a mother, you very well might feel insecurity and discontentment. While I can only speak from my own situation, feeling discontentment and restlessness while being in a situation that many women would do anything to be in often leaves me feeling selfish. What is wrong with me? Ladies, if you’ve ever found yourself mourning the “what could have been” after making the choice to stay home with your kids, you are not alone.

I remember a conversation I had with a family friend quite well. I was a college student, planning to marry within the next year.

“Where do you see yourself down the line? What is your ideal job situation?” the friend asked.

“Well, I’d really like to be a stay-at-home mom.”

“Okay, but we know that’s not very practical these days. What do you really want to do? Realistically.”

For the first time, I felt insecure about my desire to stay home to raise children and take care of my family. I suppose I hadn’t given it much thought. My whole life I’d wanted it, and I didn’t think I could ever have any conflicting thoughts toward it.

My Path Changed after College

In college, I’d chosen my major carefully, feeling a calling to ministry. I loved my ministry classes. As I interned and helped out at local churches, I was in my element. I thought I might take on a job for a few years before starting a family and then take a break while I raised young children. As graduation grew closer, my new husband and I had to find jobs. Finding a job for both of us in the same location became stressful.

Remembering my desire to be a stay-at-home mom, I backed out of my job search for practical purposes. I decided I’d find something different to do since my husband’s job would be the one supporting us for years to come. If a ministry job came up where we were, that would be great; if not, that would be okay too. As I watched my peers launch into their careers I began to feel insecure and envious. As my husband worked hard to pay off my student loans I felt ashamed that I was doing jobs that didn’t require my degree. I felt like perhaps I was wasting everything.

Feeling Conflicted about the “Wasted Years”

A few short years later, the day I’d thought and prayed about for years arrived. I gave birth to our precious baby girl and became a mother! From the start, I was in love and so blessed to be home with her every day. Truly, I was glad. Yet even though I knew I was right where I wanted to be, I mourned my “wasted years.”

As the months passed by I sometimes felt anxious, like there was more to life that I was missing out on. I struggled through short nap times and teething pains, feeling so out of my element. I longed for the days of college when ministry work completely consumed me. How could my heart feel so conflicted?

I’m so thankful for the grace of our Lord. In all my insecurity, I found comfort in Psalm 18:16-19:

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

he-reached-down-from-on-high

The Lord Has Stood by Me

The enemy tries everything in his power to bring us down. He flooded my mind with lies and insecurities and they pierced me. Through it all, the Lord has stood by me. He embraces me much as I embrace my own daughter. And he’s shown me my worth. During the times I’ve felt inept and alone, he showers me with his presence. He gently offers me sweet reminders of why my pursuit as a stay-at-home mom is honorable and important. He whispers value to my heart. When David wrote this psalm he faced literal danger for his life. But when I repeat this psalm I’m reminded of the times when I’ve been in danger of losing my joy, my focus, and my desire to live for HIM.

Over these last couple of years a lot has happened; in fact, I even took on a part-time ministry job for a little while before God very directly led us out of state and brought me once again home with my daughter. I’m satisfied to stay at home to take care of my family. It is my calling and it is my privilege to honor God in this way.

God has continued to offer me new ways to do ministry work.

While it’s not the way I first pictured it, it is still every bit as important. (Not just as a wife and mother, but as a church volunteer and a blogger!) There are days when I have to call upon God to remind me why I wanted to stay home and I think that’s okay. No matter what we ultimately decide to do with our life, I believe we will face struggles. I’m grateful for the moments in motherhood when God allows me to feel “in my element.” I’m excited about the ways God is growing me and challenging me.

This is my story.

It’s still changing and will continue to develop as years pass by. Staying at home can be challenging. We long to use our skills and feel needed for something beyond nose wiping and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We long for not just adult conversations but often the time to build friendships. If you struggle from time to time like I have, I hope you know that your doubts are completely normal. Turn to God and allow him to remind you why you are a stay-at-home mom.

A friend of mine has always said, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

The Years Are Short

Then what? How will we feel when our kids grow up and move out of the house? I’m sure no parent has ever looked back and said, “You know, I think I spent too much time with my family.”

Embrace your time with them. The years really are short. Call out to God for strength and be on the lookout for his gentle whispers of grace.

Father God, You are our good Father! Thank you for the gift of parenthood, for the gift of being a mother. May we treasure this responsibility no matter our profession. Lord, for those of us who are staying home to raise our families, help us find purpose and value in times that are hard. May we cling to you in our moments of doubt and stress. Ever so softly, remind us that we are enough. Please put seasoned mothers in our lives to encourage us and show us the way. May we never forget the ministry you’ve given us with our families. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

embrace-your-time-with-them

The Hope in the Easter Story

The Hope in the Easter Story

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

The Easter Story is one of the grandest stories ever told.

Jesus hung on a cross to die an agonizing death which he did not deserve. Three days after his burial the ground shook and his grave was left empty. Jesus Christ had risen from the dead! He came to his disciples over the course of forty days to speak about the kingdom of God, and he lavished them with grace and promises to give them hope for the future. I love the glimpse Paul gives us in John 21:25:

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

It’s like a really good series that you never want to end. Maybe if the internet had been around in those days Paul would have found some people to start writing about those “many other things” Jesus did during that time. Surely with the internet, we’d have room!!

Eventually the disciples ran out of time with Jesus on earth, and they watched their friend, teacher, and Lord rise into the clouds.

They clung to hope that Christ would return (as he promised he would) and they devoted the rest of their lives to building His church.

john-21-25

It is a story of hope.

Hope is a wonderful thing, but it’s also a very hard thing. The people who were closest to Jesus had just experienced a whirlwind of emotions. They mourned his death, rejoiced in his rising, and then had to bid him farewell again. It could not have been easy to leave company yet again with this man they loved so much. But they had hope. Hope in his return. This hope filled them with joy. Joy that glorified God and gave birth to generations upon generations of believers.

Each year I pick a word to focus on. This year, I had a difficult time choosing a word because I kept hearing God whisper “hope” but I didn’t want that word! I didn’t want to find myself in a situation needing hope. (Which is silly because we all need hope!) Reluctantly, I gave in and declared “hope” to be my word for 2016. Lo and behold, a couple of days later I found myself in a situation requiring hope. God is ever so merciful! He has showed me so much about hope in just a short few weeks.

So what does that mean and how does that relate to the resurrection story?

When troubling times come our way we can place our hope in many things. Mostly, I think it’s natural to put our hopes in our desired outcomes. We pray for these things in the hopes that God will give them to us. There is nothing wrong with those prayers either! Philippians 4:6 declares,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

But is your hope in your desired outcome or in God?

Two lines from two favorite worship songs come to mind:

My hope is in you Lord, all the day long.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

What does it really mean to have our hope solely in Jesus?

When the disciples faced hardships while spreading the gospel, I’m sure they desired relief but their hope remained in Christ and his second coming. They knew there was a bigger picture than what they were going through.

As I face my current struggle, I’ve been able to stay pretty peaceful (not that I’m always glad about my circumstance, because I’m not) but I know that there is a bigger picture than what me and my family are going through.

This picture is the life of Christ! The Easter story!!

God won when sin wanted to overcome and God invited ME to claim his victory. My hope in that promise is what gets me through my trials. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small problem or something completely life changing, I know that I take part in God’s victory and that ultimately I will see Christ one day.

No matter what struggles I come upon in this life, I’ve already overcome the bigger and more important picture!! Are you with me? Do you understand this truth tucked inside the writings of the gospel?

He said to them, “Go unto all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:15

Let me tell you, I believe!!! I believe that Jesus is who he says he is. With that confession I was baptized, and I claim my salvation that he offered to me. I claim God’s victory over sin and death.

The Easter story is about hope.

Hope in his promise that we can overcome through Him. Hope that when we claim God’s victory over sin as our own, no trial on this earth can defeat us.

Wherever you are in your life this Easter, may you take hope in this glorious promise.

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