Five Minute Friday: Gift

March 30, 2012

Today I am linking up with The Gypsy Mama. Happy Friday!

Oh how this word is right up my ally, just take a look at the title of my blog.

Every good and perfect gift is from above.

We are given gifts from God every day. There are the tangible gifts the ones we can see like the spring flowers, the blue skies, sweet summer rain, and children. 

There are the gifts that we can pass along to others, a hug, a smile, or fresh baked cookies.

But in the grand scheme of things the ultimate gift is Jesus. God gave us His son so we could have eternal life with Him. Which makes me think what are other gifts God gives that we can pass along to others? So we can  be more like Him? There is grace, forgiveness and love just to name a few. This has been on my heart and mind lately. So much I am going to start a series right here. His Endless Gifts. Please check back soon so we can acknowledge and celebrate His endless gifts together.

Have a blessed day!

Why Can't I Listen?

March 22, 2012

Words from a MercyMe song that we sang in worship one Sunday morning. These words sang to my soul all day long. I love when that happens and it doesn't matter if I have heard or sang the song a hundred times already. 

How many times do we yearn to hear God's voice? How often do we pray for Him to help us to be still and to listen? We want to hear Him, to experience His miracles and blessings, but we let the busyness of life take precedence with our to-do lists and what we feel is most important. 

As this song sings to my soul, I am reminded about a morning not too long ago. I was trying to get my youngest son ready and out the door. See, my three year old has a very strong will. Not only does he want to do things his way and in his own time, he also has a hard time staying focused. On this particular morning it was no different. He didn't want to wear anything in his dresser and I had a hard time keeping his attention on getting dressed. He either stopped me to tell me something or he got distracted with a toy. So, I was frustrated beyond belief, ready to pull my hair out and tried to not lose my cool. I have to admit I failed miserably. I lost my cool.

I finally got him dressed, teeth brushed and out the door. While we were walking to the car he started telling me about a new game he wanted and asked if he could get it. I was barely listening because all I could think of was "Seriously, now is not the time to be asking mommy for anything!" So I rattled off "You don't listen to mommy, why would I buy you a new game?" Ouch. As soon as the words left my mouth I heard the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart, "Daughter, hear your own words. You don't listen." 

I don't listenI - don't - listen. Oh, but how I heard that message loud and clear! It stung my heart and ripped deep into my soul.

I have to admit, I do have a very hard time just being still and listening, spending quiet time alone with God. I love to read and I start each day reading my daily devotionals, but that is it. Before I know it the boys are up and the day gets ahead of me. No time for quiet reflection, no time to pray, no time to praise and worship. I tell myself this is the season I am in. A single mom season trying to fit it all in and most days feeling guilty for the things I don't. I should get up earlier, I should start morning devotionals at the breakfast table sending my kids off to school full physically and spiritually. (But, first I need to get them both to sit at the breakfast table)

Is it me just making excuses? Accepting my life as it is right now? Am I not being intentional about the important things? Am I being lazy? Is it time to reflect and make some changes? 

And I think I know where I need to start, but why can't I get there? I fail miserably time and time again to be disciplined, to sit still and listen and stop having a one way conversation with God. I hate it when my children don't listen to me. It is frustrating and it makes me angry and even more, it makes me sad that I am doing the same thing to God. 

The Most Perfect Gift Receives Liebster Blog Award

March 20, 2012

I am so honored and humbled to have received the Leibster Blog award from Erin at Chronic Christian Crafter.
"The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note."

Here are the rules:
  1. Choose FIVE up and coming blogs to award the Liebster to. Blogs must have less than 200 followers.
  2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you gave the award to with links to their sites

Thank you Erin for recognizing my blog! I am truly thankful! I also need to be very honest here. I started to feel a bit anxious knowing I need to share the love by passing this award on to others. Now don't get me wrong, it’s not that I don't want to. The fact is how do I choose?!!? I have met so many wonderful bloggers over the past couple of years. I am encouraged and inspired by them all! 

There is a group of women who I have united with over the past few months that share the same vision and mission. This mission is to share God’s love through our writing and to proclaim His good news! I am passing along the Liebster Blog award to the original 3 other women who took this vision and founded Bloggers in God. These women inspire and encourage me every day!

Salina – State of the Heart 
Starla – Keepin It Real

I know I have only listed three here, but there are more! I encourage you to take the time to visit the other fourteen BiG sisters blog’s that can be found here. You will be truly blessed!

Have a blessed day!

Raising Our Kids With Confidence

March 14, 2012

In general, I am a laid back, easy going person. I was a follower in high school, which even carried over into my young adult life. I went with the flow even if I didn't feel comfortable with it. I think it was because I lacked confidence. I rarely stood up for what I thought was right. I didn't even have an opinion of my own since I always looked to see what others thought and did first. I'm not sure how I became that way. Perhaps, part personality, part up-bringing? Whatever the reasons there are many times today when I think back and wish I knew enough that I could have stood up for what I believed in. To be confident in who I was and have the courage to do so. 

My oldest son doesn't really talk a lot. So when he starts telling me about his day my ears perk up and I make an effort no matter what I am doing to stop and listen. The other night he was telling me about the bus ride to school. He was talking about several things and then he mentioned his friend always tells this other boy to go back to his seat. Of course, me being the mom that I am need to clarify, "What do you mean go back to his seat? You are allowed to walk around when the bus is moving?" My son replies, "No mom. When the bus is stopped and we are waiting to get off at school. We are allowed to get out of our seats." Oh! Phew, I'm thinking to myself, but then I am interested about this other boy. 

So I ask, "Why does your friend tell this boy to go back to his seat?" "Because he always tries to scare us, but he doesn't really scare us, he just tries to." Me, more interested, "So, is your friend mean about it? Do you tell him to go back to his seat?" He replies, "Sometimes." In my head I'm thinking, "Sometimes! What do you mean? Your friend is sometimes mean or are you sometimes mean?" So instead of verbally rattling off my thoughts and questions because I don't want to deter my son from telling me things. (We know how kids can get when mom starts asking a million questions. They get silent.)

Instead, I tell him "maybe you should try and put yourself in this boys shoes. Maybe he thinks you guys are cool or maybe he doesn't have a brother at home.  That is why he tries to scare you and wants to be your friend. But, you shouldn't be mean to him and just because someone else acts one way doesn't make it right for you to do the same. Always do what you know in your heart is right." Okay, so maybe rattling off my own opinion wasn't the right approach either. In any case, my son listened to what I said.

Oh, how I want my boys to grow up being confident in knowing who they are in Christ. Knowing that no matter the circumstance or situation that they will make the right choice, the right decision. To be the leader and not the follower. To be a light in this dark world giving glory to God through their own actions. 

For our children to be confident and leaders they need to know Jesus Christ. They need to know who they are in Him, where do they 'fit in' in this big world?  

As parents that is our duty. We need to teach them and lead them to a relationship with Him. Teaching our children about our Creator and leading their hearts to Him will give them confidence throughout their lives. 

I believe it starts with the understanding that we are sinners and we all need a savior, Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23 

Second, to understand and know how much God loves us. That He sent His one and only Son as the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be re-united with God and have eternal life with Him. John 3:16 In turn, we need to love others as God loves us. We are all God's children and we are no better than anyone else. Mark 12:31

Third, to instill a servants heart by leading by example. They will eventually seek and know what purpose God has for them.  Proverbs 19:21

Fourth, for them to understand God our Creator is in control. We need to submit our lives to Him and live each day by His will, not ours and that His plans are for prosperity, for hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 1:11

Lastly, for our children to understand that He is a living, loving God who will never leave us nor forsake us. Deuteronomy 31:8

I started to really seek God soon after my children were born. Not only because I knew I needed Him, but I knew my kids did too. I want them to know their lives have a purpose, for them to not make the same mistakes their parents did. But most importantly, for them to grow up having a relationship with their Heavenly Father and knowing who they are because of  who He is and to have that confidence to stand out from the rest of the world no matter what the circumstances are. Simply to be who God created them to be!

"For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth." Psalm 71:5  

What Does Your Dirt and Grime Look Like?

March 05, 2012

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

I keep thinking about this scripture. Why do we hide our weaknesses? We cover up the trials we are facing and we conceal the sin that seeps into our lives. What good is there in that? As Christians we will have trials. No where in the bible does it say we are exempt. 

We don't glorify God by appearing to live perfect lives. We glorify God by walking with Him through the difficult times. <--tweet this

It is not by our might, but the Lord's. If we can all just admit that and stand in the truth that it is God who gives us the strength and wisdom we need. 

One Sunday my pastor said, "Being a Christian doesn't mean you are perfect." Whoa! What a relief! I believe we actually do know this deep within, but we ignore that fact. It is our human tendencies to want to do things our way and in our own strength. It is always nice to have that reality check because how often we forget. 

Is is hard to be "real". It is hard to let others see past the shiny and clean exterior and let them see the dirt and grime. Maybe its time we get off our non-existent soap boxes and look at ourselves the way God sees us. We are all His children. We are to be humble and not think we are any better than another. Our purpose is to serve, to walk in His will and to love others as He loves us. 

I want to be more real. I want people to see my dirt and grime so they can see how God walks with me every day. I want to reveal my weaknesses, to be a vessel for God so His name may be glorified. I want to be the light that God intended me to be. 

By being real we encourage others and we have a better chance of leading them to Christ. We need to be honest and let them see what we have endured and it is with the trust and strength of God we were able to persevere with our hope and faith in Him. 

We should not mislead others into thinking that being a Christian their life will be without pain and difficult times. What a disservice. Let's tell the truth. If we don't then when those times do come they will get discouraged.  They won't know how to turn to God. We need to lead by example. Show them how to press into God in good times and in bad. 

So, are you with me? Will you accept God's grace, gladly boast about your weaknesses and let His power rest on you? Let us live our lives with that purpose. All honor and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Have a blessed day!

Today's post is linked to:
        State of the Heart
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