Saturday, May 24, 2014

Your Weirdness is Wonderful

I have been reading an AMAZING book- Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful by Laurie Wallin (google it if interested or you can borrow mine when I'm done!)

It is just so incredible. The focus of her book is helping you see that your quirkiness, your weaknesses, your thing that makes you crazy about yourself, that God created you with those things for a reason. He does not make mistakes and even your over-thinking, over-planning, tendency to be bossy, etc.. ALL of those things when powered by His love, can be GOOD and for a PURPOSE.

This is a very FREEING concept and making this shift in our thinking about ourselves can really empower us.

About me- I love to be BUSY. I can't sit still.  I am constantly organizing the space around me. I feel such a thrill when I am moving around and accomplishing things. I love to look at a situation and jump right in to make things work more smoothly for others and I love to keep things moving. This is ME...And at times it is something that drives me crazy, drives my family crazy and can be a weakness especially when I miss out on the good moments where I NEED to be still.

So-I remember talking to my best friend about how I was being asked to be a teacher at church and I tried it for awhile, it stretched me and I am glad I could serve when there was a need, but honestly- it drained me completely. I was feeling so guilty about not liking this new position and wanting to stop. The role overwhelmed me but I was telling my friend how much I LOVED being the helper in the class- I TOTALLY ROCKED it and it energized me. I had teachers telling me that I made things so much easier for them and how much they loved having me help.. 

And she said to me something VERY affirming- "Liz, you are a Worker Bee. Some people are Queen Bees- they are gifted at running the show. Worker Bees make things HAPPEN and that is what you LOVE to do. So don't pressure yourself to be a teacher. Keep doing what you are good at."

Now- I am not by any means saying that we should not get out of our comfort zones and try new things. But the point of this was that my friend affirmed in me that it really was AWESOME enough or me to serve God in a way that used what I naturally was drawn to do and I did not have to try to be someone I am not. My busyness, my annoying need to constantly organize and structure my life and surroundings can be used in ministry. So...think about this- and embrace your weirdness and let God show you how it can be used for His glory, for the benefit of others and for your joy and growth.



Monday, May 19, 2014

Finding Grace when Face to Face with Our Sin

Sometimes it feel so good to be face to face with our sin because it is THEN, that we get back to clinging to Christ...

As you all know by now-

I am a Mama who likes order and control. I just want everything to fall into place exactly the way I want. Funny how God is really not concerned about my order, routines, and schedules- he wants to-

shape and mold my heart

strengthen and nurture my relationships, and

show me that He has the best plans, ideas and has EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL taken care of...

Had a moment this weekend where I was confronted with my sin- and you know what? It was actually freeing- it brought me back to the sweet trust that comes from crying before Jesus, recognizing my sin and letting Him pick me up, brush me off, and send me on my way once again with His JOY and GRACE pulling me along...

And then I found these awesome quotes and it all came together- and it reinforced some great truths...

“I do not know when I am more perfectly happy than when I am weeping for sin at the foot of the cross.”

-Charles Spurgeon

"In Him, you are not your sin. In Him, you are not your dirt. In Him, you are hidden and your iniquity is made clean by your identity and your identity is in His purity — and when we are our worst, His white hides our dirt best."

-Ann Voskamp

Tasting the sweetness of conviction, repentance and grace today...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Maybe someone needs to hear this? #preachingtomyself

No matter what you do, don't do, say, don't say, feel, don't feel...
No matter how many mistakes you make, how many times you fuss at your kids or snap at your hubby...
No matter how often you struggle with that same 'ole ISSUE that just drives you NUTSO-
You ARE loved, you ARE precious, and you are TREASURED.
There is SOMEONE who longs to be near you, to hold you, to fulfill your deepest heart's desire.
All of the things that are NOT what you want them to be, even if there WERE what you want them to be, it would not be enough- only God satisfies-only His love will set you free, and only His presence will grant you the peace, joy and abundant life that you CRAVE.
My Child,
You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.

Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.

Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.

John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.

1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.

1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.

Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.

Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.

Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.

Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.

Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.

Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.

Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.

1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.

Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.

1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…
Will you be my child?

John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God
Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications
© 1999-2013

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Living at the Pace of Grace on Mother's Day Weekend

So, this is really not to give any specific advice, more to share something...

I found myself wanting to approach this weekend a little different than I usually do or I think maybe the Holy Spirit just slapped me and woke me up!

We Mama's don't want to admit it but we oftentimes get caught up in thinking about how we would like to be treated this weekend, what we would like to do/or not have to do!, maybe even what we would like to get! This is not wrong per say because we do ALOT and we do need appreciation, a break and we need to feel special.  

I have a wonderful family and I typically enjoy Mother's Day even if all or none of my expectations are met but THIS Mother's Day weekend so far as been different-because of a shift in perspective...

On Friday after work I started focusing on each and every moment that I LOVED about being a Mom, right then and there and I thanked God in my heart and my JOY SKYROCKETED!

A few...
I loved coming home and having my boys run up to me and hug me
I loved going to the park with the boys and racing with Lincoln on the blacktop
I loved swinging with Benji on my lap
I loved how Lincoln and Ben laughed as they chased each other
I loved how they needed my help with many things, and how they now don't need my help with other things (Lincoln on Monkey Bars and Ben going down the slide by himself! I can't believe it!)
I loved bedtime story time (even though I was tired)
I loved watching them play and wrestle
I loved playing catch today with Lincoln and watching Ben "race" around the bases (he went in a straight line! so funny!)
I loved how Lincoln came up and spontaneously asked me to pick him up and hug him tight
I loved how they played out back-digging in my dirt backyard
I loved popping popcorn for Lincoln while he watched a movie
I loved folding their cute little and not so little anymore clothes...

And as far as tomorrow- I will love once again- waking up and pouring their cereal, praying with them, helping them get dressed, going to church and whatever else we do...

Thank you Lord for helping me to slow down and just be thankful for each rich and holy moment as a Mother. I know there are many days I miss it, I don't SEE it, I don't FEEL it, but THIS Mother's Day, I DID and I AM THANKFUL...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Please feel free to comment- looking for some insight: How do we manage the after work-bedtime CRAZIES??

Okay Working Mamas,

I will get back to more posts about the Pace of Grace, but wanted to put out a question to ya from a dear friend of mine-

How do you handle the time period between after work and bedtime?
How do you manage this time of the day- getting home from work, making dinner, reconnecting with kids and hubby?
Does anyone have any tips or thoughts on this?

Here's mine:
  • First of all- I have learned not to take too much personal for at least the first 30 minutes. I don't expect my kids to always be super excited to see me, listening and obeying right away and ready to follow my schedule/routine. If I let this go-it helps me not to get too irritated or hurt if they are out of whack for a bit.
  • Sometimes (if time permits)- the best thing for me and my kiddos is for me to literally sit still for 15-20 minutes. We get a snack- we sit at the table and we chat. I sit on the couch, I read them a book, we look through backpacks and talk. But the key for me is that I stay still. If I rush right into an activity that does not involve them, they are more likely to be nutty.
  • Sometimes (if weather permits)- we go outside and engage in physical activity. I have boys and they love to be outside and play. Engaging in play with them energizes them and connects me to them in a very positive way. Sometimes the last thing they want to do is talk, play is their language of choice (and we can also do this inside, but outside works best for us!)
  • Have a routine (but be flexible)- for us it is usually snack, play, homework, and dinner.
  • Involve them as much as possible with the chore-related activities. Benjamin loves to stand at the sink while I make dinner and wash dishes. We talk, listen to music and he runs up my water bill...BUT- I don't care, he is happy and thus my stress level is reduced.
  • Let them have some screen-time while you do chores if they are grumpy- it is NO BIG DEAL, sometimes they just need to veg out for a little bit and then they snap out of it-hey, sometimes that's what I need as well! 

PLEASE feel free to comment and add your tips!


Saturday, May 3, 2014

HOW to live at the Pace of Grace- Tip #2- Be the Clay

Be open to allowing God to shape and mold you to be who He has called you to each moment as a busy working Mama...

So often I "think" I want my life to be smooth, easy, organized and the way I think it should be. In this perfect world-everything is comfortable, everything is easy and orderly...

Funny how, when I am "MAKING" this happen, by insisting on my way, pushing my schedule and plans onto others, and being rigid with things...there is an anxiety and fear that pulsates beneath the surface and eventually it explodes...I implode...

But, when I stop, take a deep breathe and just move throughout my day with God beside me, I am still in my spirit, and when the rough waters come, I let them shape me by looking to God, depending on God and allowing God to mold me through the situation.

And...I have PEACE.  As a working Mama my life is pretty scheduled, and that can be all fine and good and we all need order, BUT- I can't let my desire to have control, for things to turn out the way I want/think they should be, to supersede what God wants to do and I need to allow God to mold me.

SO another way to live at the Pace of Grace, is to do enough planning to live an orderly life, but to let God mold and shape you through the surprises, changes in routine, the forced pauses in the middle of trying to accomplish something on the to-do list, and the unexpected frustrations and challenges.

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)