Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Just some thoughts from the overflow of my heart

Today is one of those days where it feels important that I write something to all of you. It's been quite a while since I've blogged and I have not been entirely focused on writing during this season of my life. I've completed an e-book, but I'm still in the process of figuring out how to publish it. I've taken on some additional work so that my husband and I can work on some of our financial goals. I'm leading a Bible study and learning how to be a women's ministry leader. My oldest son has sports and I feel like I am in the middle of a time of change and adjustment. 

Being online has felt like the very last on my list of priorities. Seeing the people in front of me and making the most of each day has been at the top. But at the same time – I miss expressing what God is doing in my life and connecting with all of you. I continue to battle with the tension of being a working mom – but through some amazing connections, conversations and continually laying every day down at the feet of the Lord, I'm understanding the role of
redemption within my own story and feeling more comfortable in my own skin and in the pace of my life.

My life is definitely messy, but there is a better rhythm within each day and I'm learning to recognize when I am getting ahead of the rhythm and when I'm focusing on the wrong things.  One of the things I realized is that I have spent too much time judging myself.






This might sound loopy but I'm finding myself having a lot of conversations with myself – realizing how much pain I have caused myself in judging myself and looking down on myself. And I'm recognizing how much it hurts the Lord as well as my walk with him.

It's funny how I try to pride myself on not judging others. And yet I feel like all day long I keep constant tabs on what I'm doing right versus what I'm doing wrong and then my emotions are settling on those things. It really makes me feel like a gigantic yo-yo. And it's pretty nutty and amazing and overwhelming to think that God's grace and his redemption just wraps all of those yo-yo emotions and days up and hold them close and turns them into something beautiful. It makes me seriously want to cry when I picture the glory of it all. 

When I think about miscommunications in my marriage, yelling at my boys when I'm tired, going several days without spending time with the Lord, making impulsive spending decisions, all of those things that I think somehow disqualify me. I'm grateful that the Lord is now showing me how to sift through those things, lay them at his feet, take a hold of his hand and let him help me change a little bit at a time. He never asked me to be perfect, but he asked me to trust him who is perfect.  I feel like a piece of broken silver, that is very valuable, but is not been shined up in a while. I think I spent a lot of time trying to shine myself up – and now I'm content with the process of the Lord shining me up and shining through me – because even the cracks are things that He can use.  

There are some days where I feel like I am on that spinning wheel in a mouse cage and I'm going nowhere, and in the past I used to sit, stop and wallow, but now I'm being braver and letting the Lord get me out of that cycle and move on to new ways. Jesus is amazing. The gospel is amazing. Life is all about redemption when you walk with the Lord. Redemption takes time, sometimes it takes a lot of grit and fight, other times it takes the willingness to just do nothing and be still and wait, but it is a life filled with surprises, joys and miracles and I wouldn't want anything else. I am just in awe of my Lord and Savior, the way that He reaches down and makes holy ground right here in the middle of my everyday.

Praying for all of you to find holy ground during this season – wherever you are at in your faith and however you interpret this time of the year, I encourage you to sit with the word of God, listen to Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, Joy to the World and be brave, move forward, stop judging yourself, see yourself through His eyes, be goofy, fight hard, and lean into Him. God bless.

Liz

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Rehabilitation of this Christian Working Mama

Have to admit something – something that really bothers me because it is so contrary to who Jesus is and what the gospel is all about.    And I didn't even know that I struggled with this until recently. I think it is probably one of the biggest lies that I have believed as a follower of Christ. And I'm so excited to call it out for what it is –

I used to feel that certain struggles in my life disqualified me from being useful to God...

I didn't know that I felt this way, but deep down inside – I did not feel like my life "looked" a certain way/the "right" way...

I wasn't confident that I was really "the type" of Christian woman to do ministry, be a Bible Study leader, speak in front of church, share the gospel...

I thought – that was for a different kind of woman...

You know sometimes when you feel a certain way in order to fight back against it you need to do something about it. Although I knew that the Bible said different – I could not shake the feeling for so long. And so I prayed about it and God led me to do something. He led me to take action and it has made all the difference in the world. My actions changed my feelings, and brought me new life.

I work with people who have disabilities- many of them want to work so badly, it is crazy to me when I think of the days where I actually complain about going to work. So – my job is to help "rehabilitate" them and because I work in "vocational" rehabilitation – "work" is  the form of rehabilitation that I focus on.

Amazing for those of us who dislike our jobs and complain about having to work at all – that for many people work please a huge role in their own rehabilitation.

Do you know what it means to "rehabilitate"?
Webster's says...
1. To restore to good health or useful life
2. To restore to good condition
3. To cause to be regarded again in a positive way
4. To restore the former rank, privileges, or rights of

Is this not what Christ has done for us?
And guess what?
It does not end at the work of the Cross!
Christ is constantly restoring our lives to be useful for Him, returning us to a good condition where His love can shine, shining through us so we are regarded in a positive way, restoring us to have the privileges of being a child of God!

This year- God has given me work to do for His kingdom.
He has given me purpose, He has given me tasks...
He has used me and it has made all the difference in the world. 

He has been rehabilitating my soul by allowing me to be a part of what He is doing despite my failures and my misunderstandings of the type of person God uses.

Do you have an issue that you feel is keeping you from serving God?
Do you somehow feel "disqualified" because of_____?

STOP.

Your worth is found in Christ.
You may have made mistakes- but if you are in Christ- you are a new creation.
You can change.
You can make better choices.
You can turn away from sin and choose obedience...
Your past is gone.
Every day is a new day in Christ.

And God will use you! He has a purpose for you right where you are- don't EVER think He can't use you for His kingdom.

Romans 8:28
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,h for those who are called according to his purpose."

Is there one thing that God has put on your heart that you can do, even though you might feel somehow "disqualified"? I challenge you to do that one thing and share how God uses it to rehabilitate your soul.

Love you!

Liz

Just a reminder – to be clear – salvation is a free gift from God – we don't have to earn salvation through our works. This message is not about that at all.  But when we know who Christ is and we are following him, we can choose to live out the truth in our lives, no matter how we feel, or where we've been, or what we struggle with.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Let's Talk About Why Christian Mothers Work Outside the Home

So- on my last post- I indicated that I was not likely to discuss the WHY behind working mothering on social media. I still think that this is a good general rule because I don't want to open up my readers to hurtful words and judgment.


 But I was having a conversation with a friend and she really got me thinking. She said- "We are called to love our neighbors. We cannot love, if we do not KNOW- knowing is about names and stories. Shame silences. It is not concerned with knowing" Lisa-Jo Baker
I don't want any more silence...it wears me down- that is why I started this blog in the first place because I needed to talk about being a Christian Working Mother.


So- I want to start a conversation- just a conversation- because what we don't talk about can often become a place of silent fear, shame or guilt. And we all want to be known- right? Let's try to facilitate just a little of that here in this space.

 So let's talk... first about why it is hard to discuss WHY Christian moms work-

  • For those of us who work outside the home- we want to know why people feel the need to know why? Right? We secretly wonder- if they want to know WHY- it is likely because they don't approve or think that our decision is not the best one for our children and family.  A response to this is...maybe we need to be better prepared to answer the question without being offended.  Maybe we need to learn how to discuss our mothering and working status with more ease and maybe we can learn how to do that by first just talking about it in a safe place... 
  •  
  • If we are the ones asking the questions (maybe if we are a stay-at-home Moms)- it is because we love being home with our kids and truly feel that Moms who work outside the home are- hurting or neglecting their children- maybe we have even seen this to be true with someone we know personally. Maybe we sincerely worry that the kids are not being put first and that upsets us. A response to this...maybe we need to remember that choices women make about mothering are always accompanied with big feelings. We also need to remember that sensitive questions are welcome in relationships that are well-established and solid. So we need to tread gently into these conversations with people we have invested our lives into.  

There are also many women who do not question why another mom works but just does life with them, gives them love and support and no judgment which of course is awesome.

 I thought I could start simply by sharing from my experience-

These are the reasons that the women I know work outside the home:

·         They are the one who holds the health insurance in the family. Their husband is self-employed and healthcare is expensive. These women have been blessed with good healthcare at their jobs.
·         They have an injured spouse who cannot work.

·         They are single Moms.

·         They feel called to use their God-given gifts to serve in the workplace or in full-time ministry which is also their vocation.

·         In order to afford to live in a safe neighborhood with a good school system, they need two incomes to afford their home.

·         They are helping to pay for their husbands to go through school to reach their career goals.

·         They thrive in the workplace- they have personality-types that are best suited for daily work and the structure of working.

·         They feel that they are better mothers when they have been given the opportunity to work during the day. For various reasons- maybe they have tried to stay home- and have found that they struggled immensely with being home all day.

·         They have accrued debt-possibly due to poor choices, possibly not- possibly due to burdensome healthcare costs or unplanned emergencies. Whatever the reason- they need to work to become debt-free, which they know is honoring to God.

The list above all represent real women that I know. I am not saying that these are the only reasons women work...
Most of these Moms that I know do have moments of struggle with their working status.

They also have moments where they enjoy their work.

They have moments where they wonder if they are making the right decision.

They are mostly just trying really hard to do the best they can.

All of these women made these choices thoughtfully with prayer and much heart-work.
Again-these are women I know. Every woman is different, their stories are different.

Why do YOU work? You don't have to answer but if you want an opportunity to have a voice on this topic, to join in the conversation- speak up.
And stay tuned because my next post will be some stories about how Christian Working Moms are making it WORK for THEM.
Lots of love!

Liz 
 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Encouragement, Perspective and Connection for the Christian Working Mother

So, I was talking with a dear friend over the weekend about the blog and she was asking to hear more about it. 


It was a good discussion because it helped me to reflect on the purposes behind the blog. As it grows, it is definitely important for me to be clear about this.






I explained to her my three words that are in the subtitle – Encouragement, Perspective and Connection. 

I explained to her how I want my blog to be used by Christian Working Mothers to find-

Encouragement through stories and honest, authentic discussion. 

Perspective- to be able to view our roles through the lens of the Word of God, through our daily walk with the Lord, and through our purpose in the body of Christ.

Connection with other mothers and with the Lord in order to fight the feelings of isolation that many working mothers experience and to overall build each other up.

For those of you who may not know – I have been working on an E-book and I have felt a tad overwhelmed as I thought about what I should include in this book. 

There were moments where I wondered which issues surrounding being a working Mom I should be focusing on- so many things have flooded my mind and heart...big issues, big emotions and big topics. I felt very small as I thought about them... 

So...I was advised by an author-friend to look through some of the posts that were the most popular and include those and as I did this- I saw that they all contained the themes I try to write about- Encouragement, Perspective and Connection- this was confirmation and comfort for me. 

I wanted to share something because it feels important to address.

Here are two things I started to think about which felt too big for me, why I will not address them on this blog and how I think they need to be handled.

1. I felt challenged to use this platform to somehow counsel those working mom's that don't want to be working moms. 

I somehow felt it was my duty – if I was going to "go there" and dedicate an entire blog to the topic of being a working mother and a Christian- that somehow I needed to make sure I could help women who did not want to work outside the home.  I felt like maybe I should be offering ideas to working mom's of ways to cut back their schedule, work from home jobs, etc... That I should be connecting these moms in some way with some real help.   Honestly – I would love to be able to do this and if it is God's will – maybe at some point I will have the resources available to provide this type of counsel.

2. I've also felt challenged to use this platform to somehow defend working moms and to explain why we work.

I felt like somehow I had this responsibility to explain or somehow to make sure that the image of how Christian working mothers live their lives is _____...so that others would stop judging.    

So this is my stance- unless God shows me otherwise- addressing these issues is not the role for this platform – nor is it helpful for it to come from ME.

Here's why...when a woman feels that working outside the home is not what she is called to do, these conversations deserved to be held between trusted friends, a safe network of people, a wise counselor, a spouse, a pastor, and should be handled with care and prayer- it is not a topic that needs to be blown up on social media

This woman needs love and support and wise counsel from the people God has put in her life.     

As far as defending the reason for why working mom's work- I will not put a spotlight on this topic on social media. I will not. Why?

Because it can bring too many opportunities for people to express things that are hurtful, toxic, and harmful.  It is not worth exposing my readers to these kinds of discussions. And it's not honoring and glorifying to God. 

The only way to find peace in any area of our life, for ALL MOMS – whether it be marriage, parenting, work, friendship – is to surrender it over to the Lord. So I don't need to specifically discuss the reasons behind why mothers work.  

I will say this – if we see a sister in Christ doing something that is harmful to herself or her family – we should pray for that sister, do life with that sister, and as led by the Holy Spirit – speak the truth in love. This could be an issue surrounding working outside the home, it could also be a million other issues.    

As far as creating some image for the working mom for the world to see?

The truth is that I can never put up an image other than who I am- and I am not this super confident working mom and I am not going to ever pretend that I am. I don't have all the answers-but I know the source of all truth- Jesus Christ- and to Him I will always look to, and surrender this blog to- it is His...   

What I would like to do is at the end of the day – contribute to a cohesive, life – giving stance from the body of Christ for mothers who work outside the home-  

The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news to all Moms and it is the only thing that I can stand on.    
 
This blog needs to be a place that is life-giving.

And my hope is that as Christian working moms read this blog, connect with others and gain perspective- that they will always be committing their work, their time and their hearts to the Lord so that He is at the center of their everyday lives.

If something on this blog leads a woman to quit her job, reduce her hours, change her job to something that works better for her – that's awesome!

If this blog provides a way for a woman to find peace with her current situation – that's awesome!

If this blog helps a stay at home mom have greater empathy for a working mom – friend, that's awesome!  

If this blog helps a church/ministry see that there is a need to support and provide opportunities for working moms to connect at their church – that's awesome!

I even and especially hope that at some point- this blog will contribute to ending the Mommy Wars and that working moms will step up, stand with, support and lift up stay-at home Moms!   

If you stop by this little space on social media ...

I pray that you will always find Encouragement, Perspective and Connection for the Christian Working Mother. 

So when I finished my conversation with my friend... 

She said very simply –"so you are not about the "why", you are about the "how". I liked that.

This space should be a place where we find how to do life as Christian working mothers – it is a simple and as complicated as that.   

Love you all!

P.S.- I am hoping to have the e-book ready by December/January! It is all in God's hands – it is a process and I appreciate grace, patience and prayers!

 








Thursday, October 8, 2015

Seven Gifts of Being a Working Mom

So, really- working Moms- lately God has been reminding me to chill out on the negative self-talk...

To take a good hard look at my life and see what HE is up to and be grateful and amazed!!

Being a Working Mom gives us gifts that sometimes are hard to see but when we do, they are a joy to unwrap and embrace....a few of my favorites:
  1. Being a working Mom allows me the opportunity to be a part of the world and be an ambassador for Christ in the workplace.
  2. Being a working Mom teaches me how to prioritize my time, how to say "no" to certain things (like committees, elaborate meal preparation) and an "absolute yes!" to others (like glow-sticks in the front yard at 8:00 at night just to see my kiddo's light up and living room picnics because fun needs to happen no matter what time of the day it is).
  3. Being a working Mom forces me to admit that I cannot do everything myself. I have to allow someone else the privilege of loving on my babies while I am gone. And I do not take one second of that time for granted. Every boo-boo kissed, every lesson taught and every comfort provided means the world to me. And I have been able to develop extremely rich relationships with the amazing women God has placed in my life to watch my kiddos.
  4. Being a working Mom gives me an abundance of teaching opportunities for my kids as I incorporate lessons I am learning at work, how I see God working in my job and what work provides for our family. Talking about work to my kids has become a very important way for them to see the connection with why Mommy works and what God is doing in the world.
  5. Being a working Mom brings me to a place of great need. Dependence on God is the ONLY way I can thrive as a working Mom. I need to constantly ask God to help me make the most of every moment because they all COUNT and I treasure them.
  6. Being a working Mom teaches my kids resilience, independence and the importance of the family unit. When I work, my time with them is limited. They understand that as a family we need to be a team. We need to help each other in order to be strong. My kids learn it is not all about them all the time. They see that all of us have a role to play and that when we are all doing our part- our family is honoring God and each other.
  7. Being a working Mom allows me to be a strong helpmate for my husband and strengthens our bond as a team. We have goals to reach as a couple. We work to live, we do not live to work. We make sacrifices with extra hours when things need to get done and we take long vacations when time needs to halt for our family to bond. We have to do a lot of communicating and strategizing and paying close attention to everyone's needs in order to keep our family healthy and strong. All of these things HELP our marriage.
Just felt the need to state out loud some of the benefits of being a working Mom.

As always- I will re-iterate that ALL Moms are working Moms. These lessons I learn, stay at home Moms learn as well as they utilize their amazing gifts and abilities at home to do all of the above.

Be encouraged sweet friends!

Lots of love!

Liz

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Prayer for the Christian Working Mama

Dearheart,

Do you have any idea how much you are loved, cherished and adored by the Lord? He sees you, knows you and longs to be with you. You wonder sometimes if you will ever be enough- for your family, your work, your church- but remember that having His love is something you NEVER have to work for- never worry about being "enough" for. It is finished. If you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior and have decided to live for Him, you are saved, you are accepted just as you are.

Somedays you probably feel so completely alone. Maybe on that drive to work, or those early mornings making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ironing clothes, packing bags and thinking about work expectations...you feel like the world is on your shoulders. But remember- He has got the whole world in His very capable, dependable and totally ABLE hands.

You might wonder if it is possible to thrive as a Christian Working Mama- to ever get beyond surviving and barely making it through the day. The secret to thriving is always found in Him- in knowing Him, in choosing His ways, in loving Him, in surrendering to Him, in praying to Him, in reading His word, in talking to Him and in finding Him in all of those moments throughout your day where you wonder if it all is worth it. Small steps of obedience go a very long way.

Some encouragement:

Colossians 3: 23-24
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

John Piper says: "How you fulfill the demands of your vocation is an essential part of Christian discipleship. Or to put it another way: How you do your job is a big part of your obedience to Jesus. Stated as a prayer, the main point today is: Father, grant to us all the grace to be conscious of your presence at our work and to obey your commands in all our vocational relationships. I believe this is the word of God for us today."
 ttp://www.desiringgod.org/messages/your-job-as-ministry

Christian Working Mama- your children adore you. You are loved beyond measure. Every moment you have with them is special- even the hard moments. Stay the course, remain rooted in Him (John 15:5), look for moments to be still and be present and when you can't give yourselves grace. Turn up the music, dance and laugh and remember that God is in control.

You rock!
Lots of love,

Liz

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Comfort of Knowing That I Am Small

I love to be involved in many things at one time. I'm not really sure why, but my brain is constantly thinking and brainstorming and getting excited about things. Sometimes this is really great and other times it can really get me in trouble. I like to be involved in things, but often times I stretch myself too thin- I know I am not the only one- we all do it from time to time.

Sometimes I have serious difficulties being still and waiting on God...like I try to rush what God is doing because I'm so excited about the outcome and the end goal.

When I was younger I used to read the end of a book when I was about halfway through because I could not wait to get to the end.


But you know how it is – it is such a spoiler and it is not as appreciated when the entire book had not been read first. Life can be like that- you can't rush what only time, effort, and waiting can create...  

It's kind of a joke but I feel like I even try to rush technology! When I use a copy machine I tend to jam it up or mix my papers up because I'm moving too fast. Even with my phone, my husband jokes with me because I tend to wear out the batteries so quickly because I am constantly texting or sending messages to people about various things.

So I started noticing over the past few months that I was wearing down inside.
I was excited about a lot of things- leading a women's Bible study, working on an e-book, being involved in neighborhood ministry, and supporting my husband as he coaches and is a Commissioner for our local Little League.  So I was excited about these things, but I was feeling almost like I was suffocating inside.  Every.Little.Thing. was getting on my nerves! No fun.

So I thought about how I needed to say no to some things and put up some boundaries. I did that and it helped.

But I felt like God was trying to show me something even deeper that I needed to learn.

God reminded me that I was forgetting about the most important thing – my relationship with Him!
God reminded me that being with Him and knowing Him is always going to be more important, more valuable, and more rewarding than anything that I can DO FOR His kingdom or be a part of for his kingdom.  It's not that serving God is not exciting and it's not that God does not want to fulfill those spaces in our hearts where we have big dreams – but they should never replace the passion and love that we have for our Heavenly Father.

I have been reading a book lately called Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman. It is one of those books that I feel like I can only take in a little at a time and yet each time I feel so refreshed by what I am reading. She talks about being small and about grasping the fact that the kingdom of God is HERE in the small moments of everyday life. She talks about how easy it is to get caught up in busyness and accomplishments. But how she has learned to cope with this by learning how to be small.  It sounded like a great concept but I really could not grasp how to apply it to myself. And as God always does, He helped me with this.

This past Saturday I went to the airshow where my husband was working. Typically when I go to the airshow, I have both kids with me and I am very distracted and exhausted with keeping them content with the hot sun, the loud planes and the crowds. But this Saturday, my oldest son was away and I had my three-year-old with me who was completely content with helping his father bag-up giveaway items.

So I found myself standing and staring at the sky. The funniest thing happened to me...as I watched these incredible aircrafts zooming up and down and around in the sky, I felt it – the feeling of being very small and the feeling of being in awe of something very big. I could not stop watching- it was the biggest thrill, yet the biggest sense of relief.

No joke – I actually started crying.

I was standing in the middle of a gigantic runway, looking at the sky and crying...

Not because the show was so spectacular, even though it was, but because God had given me a special moment of what it meant to feel small. The reason why feeling small brought me to tears is because I spend most of my time trying to control so many details in my life- you know what I mean working mama's – and it is exhausting and I don't want to be responsible for SO MUCH HEAVY STUFF.

I did not realize that I WANT TO BE SMALL...I want to be less, I want to be weight-less.

I want to be held instead of always trying to HOLD onto everything. 

I want to be still and know that He is God instead of so busy trying to be the one in charge of all of my to-do lists, desires, goals and dreams.

I want to sit small on the lap of my Big God and just rest for awhile.

Feeling small brought me the deepest sense of relief that I have ever felt in my life. The only relief that I can even compare it to was what I felt after giving birth to my two children. But this kind of relief was even bigger than that. I couldn't shake the feeling. As I drove home, I continued to cry and thank God for reminding me that I am small and He is big. It was truly a comforting moment. And I just wanted to share about it.

It is such a good feeling to know that God does not NEED us to accomplish everything, to remember that He's GOT THIS and of course it doesn't mean that life is always quiet and restful and low-key- goodness knows – we need to be productive in accomplishing the things God puts before us – but we can do so with smallness in mind! 

We don't have to hang tightly onto our accomplishments, obsess over the details, or rush to get to the end.

We can find the joy in being small, enjoying our relationship with Christ and the comfort of knowing that we are small and He is big and that is ENOUGH- totally and completely ENOUGH... 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Treasures, Priorities and Clearing out the Chaos


 
Can I really be a successful working mom? Can I experience success at work and also at home?
This is a question that I ask myself all of the time.

Last week, at a training that I went to, a light bulb went off that I hope will help me get close to a loud, clear, “YES!”

I work for the federal government and it is no secret that budgets are getting tighter.
As a result, one of the topics that was discussed at my training was regarding which services could be lessened or even cut.  For those people who provide those services and can see the clear value, it is can be a hard topic.

To help everyone to be more objective,the conversation was turned around to, instead, creating a list of priorities.

As I listened to the conversation, it dawned on me that it is often hard for me to succeed because I value too many things and have not created my own priorities. 

For example, is it really important to make a Pinterest-worthy cake, or is it enough to have a birthday celebration with the people that love my kids in a simple manner? 

Does my child care about the fancy cake?

If so, should I turn that focus elsewhere or is it okay since it is a special time?

Is taking the time to make that cake taking away from time that I could be spending with my children or am I able to work it in late at night? 

These are the types of things that I think I should be considering.
As I thought about it, I realized that I have a tough time cutting things out.

However, I feel more comfortable if I just put focus on the things that seem to rise to top of the list.

That way, I do not have to officially label anything as unimportant.

Does anyone else struggle with emotional hoarding?

I could probably write 10 blog posts about that.

Anyway back to the topic at hand. How do we create these priorities?

Well, as I do with all things that I find challenging, I asked God.

This time, I turned to the bible where I found that Luke 12:34  says-
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."Wow!

Over the next few weeks, I plan to really evaluate where to put my treasure to get my heart where it should be. 
What seems obvious to me at this point is that I need to simplify. 

If I compare my treasures to money, I think too often I try to find $100 bills. 

If I simplify and just make my goals $1 or $10, I think I will find they add up to $100 much faster than I would have ever been able to find that $100 bill! 

I also know that if I limit my focus to my top priorities that my heart will get to be where it needs to be. 
I do not think there is anything wrong with doing some extra things like fancy cakes.  I think problems arise when we put those things that should be extras above the things that should be our priorities.
Please say a prayer that I am able to set my priorities where they should be to help clear some of the chaos from my heart, mind and home. I will say a prayer for you that you are able to find your successes, as well.

How do you go about setting your priorities? Please share!

Bio:

Aimee does financial and asset oversight for a military housing project.  She is a wife to a medically retired police officer and mother of 2.  She treasures her roles as a mom, a wife, and a sister, a daughter, a friend, an aunt, a Godmother and a coworker.  Aimee writes a blog about parenting, family, food and whatever else crosses her scattered brain.  www.crazyblessedmomma.blogspot.com
 
If you are looking for a fabulous resource to help you create priorities and live them out- check out Thrive by Teri Johnson.
She is offering an amazing deal right now- you pick your price for the product and she will honor that.
Click on the below link to find out more:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Morning Messy

I'm not really sure why I am blogging today.

All I know is that it is Monday and I'm feeling messy...

My weekend was filled with fun – play dates, babysitting for a friend, baseball games, and good connections with my people...

But I feel like I got caught up in a riptide of activity and this morning my soul feels malnourished...

My family is doing well, but as a mother we can always tell when there are needs to be met and it hurts to see anyone in our family struggling...

We are encouraged as Christians to come to the feet of Jesus and lay down all of our burdens and to trust in him to take care of the things that we just cannot take care of right now...

Sometimes as a working mother, I don't feel ready to start my workday on Monday. I feel like there are a lot of loose ends that I would like to see tied. Some things I need to attend to and other things I need to let go of.

My brain is filled with thoughts such as this – "Why is my three-year-old acting up so much? Is it because I'm not giving him enough attention?, My husband seems really tired and a bit distant, what can I do to draw closer to him?, I have reports to write today but I am having such a hard time concentrating... I need to be more productive, we need to get groceries, I think my dog might have fleas again, I need a haircut, I'm nervous about teaching Bible study tomorrow night,…"

My take charge personality wants to make a list of each and every one of those things and create a plan of attack. God has wired me this way, and most of the time, it is a good thing.

But on a Monday morning, as a working mother, I cannot physically, emotionally, and spiritually attack and handle all of these things.

It's not my job, I need to ask God to show me what to do in this moment. Sometimes that is really frustrating for me. I want to fix things, I want things run smoothly, I want everyone to be happy...

Sometimes I feel like I'm walking around the mountain and circling the same issues over and over again and this seems to happen to me a lot on  Monday mornings.

So there really is no major point to this blog post other than that, it's Monday morning, I know I'm not the only mom out there circling this mountain.  

Would love to connect with some other moms today.
Leave a comment below and a word of encouragement.
I know I can use one and I'm sure there are other mothers out there who could as well!
Lots of love.

Liz

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Two Things Your can do to Function Better TODAY


 
By: Cort Hoek

1. Rest in God:
Matthew 11:28:  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

There are many days I am weary and burdened with all that is going on in my world-
It is hard to watch the world crumbling around the people you love especially when you have no control over the situation. 

...I have a close friend whose marriage is falling apart, another close friend whose parent is dying, and then I have a few friends making poor choices in their relationships. 

...In my personal life-I am trying to manage a new work position while being a mom of a child who seems to always get sick and the list can go on and on. 
Being a young working mom-

...there are times I feel like a supermom where I get the cards of encouragement written off, the meals made and the house cleaned...
...then, more often than not, there are times I feel like a super failure...

...I made a mistake at work or didn’t get that meal made to the mom of the sick child in my Sunday School class and trust me this list can go on and on too...

It is in these moments I need to remember Matthew 11:28 and go curl up on the couch with my Bible to get the rest I truly need.

I am so thankful I have a God who wants to take these burdens from me and lighten my load so I can function better. 

The more you depend on God the better you function.  It amazes me how taking some time to depend on God and give him my burdens really refreshes me.  If you feel like the world is crumbling around you please don’t run yourself weary, lean on Him for the rest you need.

2. Reach Out...
For a few years now my husband and I have tried to get involved in our community to get to know our neighbors. We haven’t really succeeded in building strong relationships with those in the community but we have gotten to know quite a few people. 

We believe it is very important to be involved in your community and shine for Christ because if you don’t know your neighbors or your co-workers- then you won’t know how to help them... when they lose their job... or are going through a hard time, etc...  

We are so engrossed in our own lives and schedules that we sometimes overlook the needs that are right in front of us.

I want to encourage you- if you need to function better-to feel better- to LIVE better-step outside your driveway or cubicle at work and get to know those around you.

You don’t need to invite them to the revival at church or a Bible Study but what you do need to do is build a relationship with them and show them Christ’s love through your life.

Maybe it is having a coffee social or starting a walking group or a scrapbooking club. 
The list of things you can do to connect with those in your neighborhood or at work can be long.

I want to share three examples some people I know have done to reach outside their four walls:
  • A good friend of mine has a neighbor with four kids.  When she has too many leftovers she goes over to the house next door and offers them to the family. She says she can’t believe how many times the kids have said, “Mom how did she know we need food?”
The mother has responded that, “She talks to God that’s how she knows.”
  • My mother recently had a Get Acquainted Breakfast with her neighbors.  Many of the women are new on the block and did not know each other.
They loved the breakfast so much they started making plans for a Christmas Party and Block Party.
  • Last, Mary Whelchel- from The Christian Working Woman has talked about a friend of hers that invited co-workers to go out to lunch with her. She would ask a different one each week.
Through this she was able to get to know them-really know them and connect with them. Turns out, they were different than she thought. Funny how our natural judgments about people are often so faulty. 

What a great opportunity we have before us to shine bright to those who are hurting in our workplace and neighborhood. 
Rest in God and Reach Out to Others- two ways to function better!

I’d love to hear any ideas on how you rest when feeling overwhelmed AND on anything you have done at work or at home to get to know those outside your four walls!

Courtney Hoek lives just outside of Chicago in the western suburbs with her wonderful husband and amazing daughters.  She works for The Christian Working Woman and loves her job!  Her work experience ranges from TV and Radio to working for a University.  Working for a non-profit has been a wonderful experience and she loves that her job helps encourage so many people.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

8 Things I Have Learned this Year About Marriage

I have had a few requests for a post about marriage.

 I haven't touched this topic for many reasons but none of them are good ones.

I don't have the perfect marriage-not that one exists anyways! 

My husband and I are both Christians, but we definitely struggle.
We have different ways of expressing our faith, we have different ways of communicating, we have different ways of planning and scheduling, we have different ideas of what is fun and what is not, we have different ways of putting the toilet paper on the roll! (ha)

Throw in the mix a three-year-old and a seven-year-old, a very high energy dog, full-time work for both of us and lots of sports practices and we have many ugly moments in our home.

As I prayed about this post I recognized that I actually have come a long way in the past year or so and how I handle marriage problems.
God is so good to point this out to me!
So God gave me the confidence to share with all of you. 
  
Marriage is hard.
There are so many reasons why.
As a woman who works outside the home, working can impact marriage big time.
But working outside the home is not the root of our marriage problems.
The root of our marriage problems always is sin.

Many women who work outside the home feel that they don't have enough time to nurture their marriages.
Many women who stay at home feel that they don't have enough time to nurture their marriages.

Many women who work outside the home feel that their children's needs drain them so much that they don't have anything left for their spouses.
And yes you guessed it, stay at home mothers feel the same way.

At the end of a working day, we are left with only so much time to connect with our spouses and nurture our marriage.

Again- whenever there is conflict in marriage, the root of the problem is always sin. My sin, his sin, my children's sin. All of it. Yes, sometimes there are things that need to change and adjustments need to be made. But ultimately, sin is our enemy.

If you're experiencing conflict in your marriage, I can assure you – you are not alone. There is nothing new under the sun, and your issues and struggles with your spouse are not a surprise to God...

So here are the main things I have learned over the past year:

1. I need to approach my husband in humility, respect and love. If I cannot do this, then I need to remain silent and wait for the right time. If I have to remove myself from the situation in order to stick with this principle, then I need to remove myself from the situation.

2. I need to appreciate and verbally praise what I see my spouse doing for my family on a daily basis. I especially needs to do this in front of my children. Speaking words of life into my home is one of the most powerful things I can do for my marriage.

3. I need to check my perspective before banking my emotions on it. Just because I have a certain perspective on a conflict, does not mean that is the correct perspective. Many times, the way I see things are very different than the way my husband sees things. Before I attach great emotion to what may be happening within a conflict, I need to ask God to give me a healthy perspective.

4.  It is not my job to change my spouse. Everyone is more content when I remember that it is not my job to change my spouse, convince him, or to control him. I can be true to myself and to my wants and desires and then leave the results to the Holy Spirit.

5. Conflict in marriage is often a powerful tool that God will use to draw me closer to Him-keeping me on my knees and increasing my dependence upon Him...

6. There are many needs that I have that my husband cannot meet. I need to identify those needs and be proactive in seeking out ways to get them met. For example – I need to feel understood as a woman and as a mother. If I expect this from my husband, I will always be disappointed. I have to arrange monthly coffee dates with friends.

7.  I need to believe and have hope in God's best for my marriage, while at the same time, leaning on the promise that when I feel something lacking, that God will give me what I need in each day. He will always be enough.

8. I need to remember that there is always a bigger picture. When I look back upon difficult moments in my marriage, I can see how God worked. I can see how I have grown and I can see how my husband has grown. This gives me hope and perspective.

I hope that some of these things have encouraged and helped you!

Let me know what you think! Are you struggling in your marriage? Can you apply one of these eight lessons I have learned? What happens when you do?

I recently found an amazing resource online that I will share with you:
From: www.unveiledwife.com