Family Friday – Ten Things This Mom Would Do Again

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My mommy days are behind me now, and as I’m watching others in this special, yet demanding role, I have done some reminiscing over the years when my girls were young.  I have plenty of regrets, as all moms do, but I’m not going to dwell on those, because I can’t change them, and because doing so would not fall under the Philippians 4:8 things I should think about!  It’s in the past. But there are things that were so good about those days.  As I think back, I remember things that we did that I would definitely do again, if I had the chance.

Here they are:

  1. Be a stay-at-home mom.  I’m so thankful that I was there for all but 9 months of both of my girls’ lives.  The nine months I worked were the longest months of my life!  I hated being taken away from my family and my home.  I was under a teaching contract, and I kept my word to the prinicple, but when the school year was done, so was I!  My husband and I decided that it was best for me to pour into our own children, rather than someone else’s!
  2. Be relatively poor.  Does that sound strange?  I would have never anticipated saying that!  Our churches did the best they could to care for us, but when the girls were young, things were tight.  Very tight. As I stated above, I was a stay-at-home mom, so we lived on my husband’s salary alone.  We homeschooled, so we had book fees and satellite costs, which were a large chunk of money every year that we never had on hand.  We were in ministry all those years, and we needed time away – times to rest and refresh as a family and recharge our spiritual batteries and physical bodies.  We had growing girls and we entertained missionaries and guest speakers, so groceries were another cost that stretched us.  Where did we get the money for these things?  We prayed.  Our inefficiencies ran us to our all-sufficient God.  He provided for us in amazing, life-changing ways!  Had we had all the money we wanted or needed, it wouldn’t have taught us to depend on Him so greatly.  Being needy turned into a great blessing.
  3. Read aloud to my girls.  One way we entertained ourselves at bedtime, around the kitchen table, in the car, or on a blanket in the backyard was through books.  We read a varied kind of books, and they were carefully chosen, and opened a whole world to us, even while we stayed home.
  4. Use God’s Word in discipline.  We always sat down and talked with our girls in their bedrooms at discipline times.  We explained from the Scriptures what they had done wrong that God considered sin.  This kept us from acting quickly out of anger (we sent them to their room and we’d cool off before addressing the issue!).  They knew it wasn’t just that mommy and daddy didn’t like what they did, but they saw it in God’s Word, and it guided their thinking and changed their behavior.
  5. Laugh and have fun.  We had lots of laughs as a family.  I should have laughed at myself more, but we shared many fun times around games, out in the snow, in the car playing the alphabet game, baking in the kitchen, or building a fire in the backyard.
  6. Be faithful to Sunday school and church.  It’s not just because we’re a ministry family that we went to church.  We love being in God’s house and with God’s people!  Worshiping, singing, reading Scripture, giving our tithes, and fellowshipping with other believers helped all of us to grow!
  7. Show outward affection and say, “I love you.”  We’re a “touchy” family, in that we hug and love on one another.  Using words to express love between parents and children is so important.  Our children learn how to love by watching us.  The first place they should feel acceptance and unconditional love is at home.
  8. Leave the girls once in a while to go on a date with their dad.  We were making a stronger home for them, and they lived through the trauma of it all!  A parent can feel really guilty leaving a crying child, even though they’re in great hands with grandparents or other caring adults, but without those times away, your relationship will get stagnant, and you’ll only discuss things like empty milk jugs and unfinished homework!
  9. Spend time alone with God every day.  When the girls were small, this time was limited, but I would read what I could and pray over each of my family.  Sometimes it came a verse at a time, with interruptions in between.  Sometimes my prayers were while I was ironing their clothes.  It was then that I’d pray for the one whose clothes I was pressing.  I often left verses on cards around the house so I could meditate on that passage.  Those “little moments” fed my soul and kept my heart right with God so I could parent them and point my girls to Christ.
  10. Marry my girls dad.  I let them know often how much I loved their daddy and how God brought us together.  He had to be my first priority because that’s God’s order.  Why?  Because God knew that I’d be where I am today – an Empty nester, and He wanted my home to be just as fulfilling now as it was when our daughters were here.

And you know what?

It is.

What are you doing right now that you know you’ll be glad you’re doing as a mom?  Keep doing it!  What are you regretting?  Ask God how to change it and watch for how He steps in!  

Refresh your children by being the mom God will enable you to be by His grace.

With love,

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Are You Living for The Next Thing or Content With Now?

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Perusing through Social media recently made me wonder how many of us live for “The Next thing” that’s coming our way down life’s road.  It might be:

  • Marriage, then
  • Children, then
  • A home purchase, then
  • Vacation or Cruise, then
  • Another Child, then
  • A new car, then
  • When the children are in school, then,
  • A job promotion, then
  • The purchase of the newest gadget, then
  • When the children are on their own, then
  • Another great vacation…
  • When the grandchildren are born…

It goes on and on.  There’s nothing wrong, of course, with having goals, but some people seem unsatisfied until they attain that “Next thing.”  It’s such an easy trap to fall into, isn’t it?  Everything we see and hear in our world encourages that discontentment.  We’re always urged to want more and to do more and long for the next season of life.

But what if we could put on glasses with lenses that help us to really see what we have “Now”?  If we could really embrace the  joy of this stage, the gladness for these few possessions, the awe of this status of our lives?  Would we not be really living out the beauty the contented, Christian life that Paul’s wrote of when he said,

I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased and how to abound, every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  Philippians 4:11-13

If we feel a frequent restlessness with today and we’re  on the search for something else – big or little – to get us to through the next hoop of our life, it may be that what we’re really missing is not the newest toy from the electronic department, but biblical contentment.  

Where does that kind of contentment come from?  It’s not found at the Apple store, it’s found in the Secret Place of prayer.  When Paul spoke of “being instructed to be full and hungry,” he was talking of being initiated into the secret of contentment, and that can only come when we go to our God in prayer.

When we pray, we tell Him about our anxious heart, our longing for that something else.  We ask Him to give us joy in this day, this moment, this status, this car, this house, this marriage.  When you get up off your knees, you’ll find that instead of longing for something more, you will have found Someone who was enough!

Ask yourself (or better yet, ask God), “Am I living for The Next Thing, or am I content with right now?”  Respond as God reveals the Truth to your heart, and you’ll be staring the sweetest possession right in the face – REAL, TRUE CONTENTMENT.

Lovingly,

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Deliverance From Fear of the Enemy

Bibles 1.jpgIt was morning and I had had a fitful night’s rest prior to waking up.  The weeks prior to this day had been crammed full of caring for others, a couple of trips, lots of study, sickness and then the emotional drain all that brings.  Now I found myself staring at yet another hardship and the day had barely gotten started.

The blessing of this moment was that I was also in my normal spot first thing in my day – I was in my Quiet Place.  My Bible was open and I was thirsty for its Living Waters.  I opened to a Psalm I’d been meditating on for several days – Psalm 63.  It comforted my heart to do what the psalmist had done and stop and remember all that God been and accomplished for me in recent days. Ii was reminded of His goodness.

Then I went on to Psalm 64:1

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

It was as though I could literally hear the brakes squalling, bringing my fretfulness to a complete stop!  The psalmist was asking God NOT to deliver him from the enemy, but from the fear of the enemy.  The Lord showed me at that moment that here was my problem – I was fearful of what the enemy might do, of what the enemy could do, of what the enemy was thinking of doing.  The enemy is powerless before my God!  I was jumping the gun and just having fear OF THE ENEMY.  Our enemy doesn’t have to do anything if we can be filled with fear about what they might do!

What is your fear today?  Usually we fear something that hasn’t even happened yet.  We fear

  • a poor blood test before the blood is drawn
  • our children leaving home before they’re even grown
  • running out of money when we retire before we ever even retire
  • what someone might do to sabotage our plans before the time for those plans has come

The list is endless.  But the point is that we fear things that haven’t come yet, so it’s not that thing that’s causing the fear, it’s the fear of what might be!  It’s a fear of NOTHING because we’re imagining everything.  It’s a futile, empty circle that only leads us to the pit of despair.

I dropped to my knees and asked God to forgive me for fearing what had not even come.  I put the matter at His feet.  I then asked for direction for the day.  I now had a purpose for the day ahead because the fear was no longer blocking my view of God’s plan for my day.  I moved on in victory over the fear of the enemy.  

My day was productive.

My heart was joy-filled.

My burden was lifted.

Do you have a fear of the enemy today?  Recognize it and then repent.  No child of God should be living with fear striking terror and dread in your heart.  Christ is victorious over this fear, and you have victory, too!

Do you deal with fear of the enemy?  How will you deal with it today?

Lovingly,

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I’m Not Going!

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Reflecting back on the retreat I was privileged to be a part of this weekend makes me shake my head in amazement once again at my great God.  That He would allow me to share His Word with ladies and teach them from the overflow of what He’s taught me, is absolutely amazing!  It is a  joy beyond compare!

It’s also the hardest thing I ever do.  There is such an overwhelming understanding of the responsibility to handle God’s Word correctly and lead ladies to Truth, and to do it in a way that God alone gets the glory.

If you could hear me before I go to speak, you might wonder why in the world God would send me!  Seriously!  I go through the agony of:doubting that what I’ve spent many hours preparing is what I should be doing.  I gasp and wonder what in the world I was thinking when I was sure this is what God wanted me to share!  My husband and close friends will hear me say,

I’m not going!

It’s then that they know they need to pray much for my weakness.  It’s also at that point that I fall on my knees before Him once again and give Him everything – myself, my words, my outline, my heart, myself.  It’s  a cycle that happens every. single. time.  But it’s necessary, you see, because it empties me of myself and makes me realize that I indeed do NOT have what it will take to go speak and help anyone.  I CANNOT make anything happen in myself.  I am totally nothing without God’s empowering.
My words are empty. My strength is weak.  My plans will fail.

But God…

  • is strong when I am weak.
  • is almighty.
  • is able to do exceeding abundantly .
  • is my all in all.

I sincerely believe that the Lord allows me to speak so that I will continually be drawn to Him in utter dependence.  I’m so thankful for that!  I don’t want what I can do because I’ve seen what He can do!!

What is it in your life right now that is making you realize that you are so very unable to do what is before you?  God gives each of us at least one thing to cause our eyes to look upward, pleading for His possible power when the situation seems impossible to us!

Lift your hands toward heaven and remember that He is your All in All!  He can do the impossible in and through you when you let go and trust solely in Him.

Do you have an impossible situation?  Will you allow Christ to be your All in All this moment?  He is enough. Take it from someone who knows because she DID go, and God did all the work.  Praise His name!

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Ten Stress-Reducers for Marriage

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For my Family Friday post today, I’m going to share my husband’s great thoughts from his message series of Putting Hope in Your Marriage.  These are practical for every marriage – stress or no stress!

  1. Refresh daily with God’s Word.  Only His Word can help YOU be what you need to be.
  2. Always put your spouse first.  This requires humility…see point #1!
  3. Build together time into your schedule.  If you don’t put it in, it likely won’t happen.
  4. Learn to say “NO.” This means you’re saying, “Yes” to more important things!
  5. Cut out ministries that are burdensome and stale.  If you’re plugging away at a ministry at church with no heart, it’s better to give it up and get refreshed.  This will also allow you time to pour into your marriage, which is your FIRST ministry!
  6. Serve together!  Aquila and Priscilla served as a husband/wife team.  Where could you serve with your spouse rather than away from him?
  7. Communicate clearly and respectfully. Don’t use your words to punish!
  8. Plan ahead. The anticipation of a fun date or time together is half the fun to me!  If you plan it ahead of time, it will help you get through the stress-filled days of life!
  9. Be “touchy.” Hold hands, hug, love with touch.  It’s amazing what a loving hug will do after a hard time, isn’t it?!
  10. Trust God.  That means trust Him together.  Stop together and pray about that stress.  Read a passage of Scripture to your husband that encouraged your heart in the midst of your difficult day.

Thank the Lord for a marriage that can give one another hope in stressful times!  Add some encouragement to your spouse today!

I’m excitedly heading to Michigan today for a Ladies’ Retreat!  It’s cold and snowy up there, but I’m looking so forward to sharing time in God’s Word together!  His Word is like an oasis in the midst of a blizzard, but I’m packing lots of warm layers anyway!!!  I pray you have a refreshing weekend!

Refresh your marriage with hope!

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A Little Reminder

I posted this video right after Christmas, but I thought it would be helpful if every now and then I post it again as a reminder to all of us!  Every single day is a gift from God.  Are you viewing today as His gift to you?  Are you reveling in the joy of all the little things?

Enjoy and thank God for all the little gifts of today!

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It’s Christmas Again Today!

Christmas is over, and sometimes it can be a bit of a letdown afterwards, right?  But wait!  What if we considered that we have so much to be thankful for every single day?

Someone posted the best little video on Facebook this week that was a reminder of just how much we have, and how thankful we should be for all the little things every single day. It’s too good not to share with you all!  It’s less than two minutes long, but it’s powerful.

Here we go:

So now, look around you and consider that everything is a gift from our loving God, and be grateful and celebrate the joy of it all!

Merry today!

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