Category Archives: Faith & Inspiration

10 Questions To Renew Your Mind As A Mom

10 Questions To Renew Your Mind As A Mother

Motherhood is a full time job.  We all know this.  It’s 24/7.  365 days a year.  We don’t even get a “sick day”.  We are the mama.  We wear many hats, and wash, clean and organize every one of them.  We have numerous responsibilities and countless sacrifices. My job description is similar to most of yours.  The exact situations will vary, but raising children is cross generational.  I love how MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) puts it:

We are raising the world together.  

Every mother has an enormous impact on the future generation.  Our children will be tomorrow’s life-changers.  At least, that is certainly how I want to see my children–world changers.  I want my children to live so differently that the world pauses and takes notice. Envisioning our children’s future is awesome and scary at the same time.  And so very important.  

We live today what we plan for tomorrow.

But, honestly, today I was just plain selfish, and irritated and tired.  Period.  I didn’t see my sweet cherubs as life changers, I saw them as little turkeys who were just plain driving me to need a long bath (that I would take if we weren’t in stage 5 drought restrictions).  And yes, as a mom of 3 preschoolers, I have many days like this.  I have many great days as well, but too often I find myself sitting in a place of complaint and frustration and self pity.  That place that says, “This is really hard.  And I’m failing at this.  And I need to change their behaviors.  And I can’t ever get ahead of their mess.”  Yes, those days.  Please tell me you have them, too.

It’s on these days, in these moments, however, that God-if I choose to listen-can speak most dearly to my heart.  It’s days like today when His love surrounds me and redirects my focus back to Him.  In the midst of my selfishness, my discontent and my crummy attitude, he extends His grace to me.  He reminds me that being a mother is my job, my first priority.  For me, it’s a beautiful life I longed for and chose with excitement and ambition.  But somewhere along the way, I can lose my focus.  I get caught up in me instead of God.  Instead of my children, my husband, my family. I have been praying Romans 12:2,

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

This is my life verse for Living Differently.   But specifically this morning, I focused on the –renewing of your mind-part.  I will share with you how God renewed my mind on a late afternoon walk with my children.

10 Questions To Renew Your Mind As A Mother

1. Do I see my children’s ages as a season to get through or as a time to be treasured?

2. Am I dealing with my preschoolers behaviors or am I loving them?

3. Do I yell and roll my eyes in frustration or do I smile with joy?

4. Are my children an interference or a blessing?

5. Am I angry and resentful or am I grateful and content?

6. Are they in my way or my way of life?

7. Are they distracting my focus or are they my focus?

8. Are they irritating or inspiring?

9. Do I discourage their “why’s” or do I encourage their questions of life?

10. Do I look forward to them sleeping or enjoy them while they’re awake?

Yes, it’s truth to admit that our lives as mothers will continually be an ongoing struggle between these varying attitudes.  But as I spoke all of these into my phone on my walk, I felt the sharp pang of conviction.  This, my friends, is the work of the Holy Spirit.  My attitude needs renewing.  My heart needs transforming – far more than my children’s normal childish behaviors.  I am thankful for a God who reaches deep into my heart and painfully reveals who I am, but loves me enough not to leave me there.

If I want to live differently as a mom, I need to start thinking differently in my mind.

As a mom, how have YOU struggled between these differing attitudes? 

Pursuing My Passion

What is YOUR passion?

What is it that ignites your soul?  Brings you to your happy place?  Calms your senses?

We all have something that is calling to us….inviting us to accomplish, pursue, grab ahold of.  If you haven’t figured out what it is yet, that’s ok!  But God has given each of us a talent, a gift, a “bent” towards something.  That helps define and create the person He intended us to become.  Something that will bring glory and honor to Him.

My passion…is reading and writing.

Honestly, both are things I’ve always enjoyed.  I will usually have about 4-5 books going at the same time alongside my regular Bible reading.  I absolutely adore sitting with a book, some coffee, or a very occasional glass of red wine.  I would say I mostly read Christian nonfiction, but currently I’m reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

With 3 children keeping me pretty busy during the day, my time to read is at bedtime after everyone is settled in and the house is quiet.  To my fault, I can stay up way past my bedtime just absorbing information and knowledge.  Ah…

So, where did the writing come in?  Well, it’s been there all along, but it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve listened to God’s nudge to begin letting others read what is on my heart.  Since a very small girl, I’ve kept a journal.

Yes, you can imagine some of those early entries in elementary school …the dreams and aspirations of a child.  There are precious memories that go along with all those many journals stuffed away in a box in the store room.

Memories are one of our most treasured gifts.  Through my journal writing and taking photos, this has been my way of recording these cherished moments in my life.  So naturally, I have discovered blogging to be an amazing way to record my life, my memories, the moments that truly matter and to communicate to others how God is transforming my life!

When I first found Christ, 13 years ago, the Lord ignited a small spark in my heart to write a book.  Of course…someday.  Maybe when I was older, had experienced more, had more to write, and had much more wisdom.  I had no idea that small spark would continue to grow and burn deep within my soul.

And here I am.  Thirteen years later, and that spark is now a flame.  Burning.  Waiting to get out.  I believe God has created me with a voice to share His heart through my writing.    And yet, it is fear that has kept me quiet.  Kept me from pursuing this dream, this passion, this nudge from God.

Instead I have chosen to believe the lies.

“Who am I?”

“I really don’t know how to write.”

“Who would read it?”

“What makes what I say important?”

“There are way better writers out there.”

I spent almost a year pursuing this dream.  Going to conferences, reading, starting a blog, networking with other writers/bloggers.

In July 2014 I went to the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference in North Carolina.  What an amazing conference and a wealth of information and encouragement!  And yet, after coming home from there and meeting a plethora of other like-minded women and speakers and writers, rather than jumping head first into this dream, I became paralyzed with fear.  That question of “who am I?” has caused me to runaway from my dream, just like Job did from Ninevah.

Fear paralyzes. 

Fear turns you away from the direction God is calling you.

Fear isolates.

Fear kills a dream.

But God is the God of resurrection.  Of bringing back to life that which has died.  I felt like everything I was pursuing was maybe not worth it.  That maybe I had heard God wrong.  Maybe I wasn’t meant to write.

But God, in his great love, has reminded me that I am His.  He has called me to use my voice.  For His glory.  When I am weak, He is strong.  What He has began, He will bring to completion.

Well, although I still struggle with fear, especially that “of not being enough”, through Christ, I’m gaining the courage to try.  Courage to embark on a journey God began in my heart many years ago.  Courage to fulfill a dream that has been pushed aside.  Courage to believe in myself.  Courage to trust God and His plans for me and for my life.

I still play the “what if” game.  But I’m learning to play it out God’s way.

What if no one reads what I have to say?

But, what if they do?

What if I never write a book?

But, what if I do?

What if pursuing my writing/blogging has nothing to do with anyone but God and my relationship with Him and my obedience and my trusting in who He is?

What if the courage it takes for me to begin writing, to pursue my passion is imperative to teach my children to pursue their own?

What if having courage and faith in the face of fear, is exactly what God is calling me out from?  A life of freedom from fear.  Free from things, from expectations, from the world!

Freedom to live an abundant life!

Pursuing writing is not as much about the writing as it is about pursuing the deep well of passion the Lord has placed in the depths of my heart.  It’s about being obedient to the call of God on my life.  It’s about saying YES to God…going to Ninevah, even though I’m afraid.

All of this….all of life is truly about God.

Pursuing a God who loves us abundantly and whose love will cast out ALL fear.

And who loves us enough to never give up on us, never let go of us and draw us to a deeper, richer, more meaningful life.

So, this is my heart.  I have been afraid for too long.  Fearful of the ‘what if’s’.

Today, I will write.  To God.  From my heart.  Giving all glory and honor to the Creator himself for the memories he has created and will continue to create in my life.  For the passion he’s given me in my heart.

To help push through my fears, I have challenged myself to this:

START WRITING–without worry of a picture, a photo, without judgment of myself, comparison to other bloggers or worrying about who will read my blog.

Pursuing the call of Christ has never been about me.  It’s all about Him.

Here goes everything…!!!

What is YOUR passion?  What is keeping you from pursuing the call God has given to you?  What challenge do you need to give yourself to be obedient to this?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Rest for Your Weary Mommy Souls

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Oh, it’s good to be back!

Where have I been, you may ask?

Well, I’m not really sure, honestly.  Busy.  Unfortunately.  Too busy.

But, I’ve missed you.  I’ve missed this.  I’ve missed writing.  Just sharing my thoughts.  I’ve missed pursuing God’s calling on my life.  I’ve missed sharing what God is teaching me, what He is changing within my heart.  I’ve been too busy.  Too busy to write, but even worse, too busy to listen.

I’ve been busy being a mommy.  A wife.  Playing, cooking, teaching, leading, organizing, preparing, cleaning.  You know…mommy stuff.  Important stuff.

But, busyness is just an excuse for not seeking the One thing that should be most important.

I’ve come to this place just recently where God has been whispering to my heart:

Rest

Surrender

Have Faith

Stop Striving

Turn your focus to Me

My perspectives are changing.

I have been striving, self-focused, trying so hard to be “better”, more organized…dare I say to be the “prefect” mom.

Does she exist?  No.  Never.

But in my mind she haunts me.  The harder I try and then “fail”, she reminds me that I’m not enough, I’m not “her”, I’m not ever going to keep my house organized, I don’t laugh enough or play enough with my children, I don’t serve enough.  I fall short in her eyes.  Always.  She brings out my ugly, my comparing tendencies, my heartache and insecurities.  She reminds me of who I am not.

So, I keep striving.  Keep trying harder.  Until now, recently, I have heard it within my soul, that longing that there is more than this, that I am missing something.

God is whispering to my heart.

Do I hear Him?  Am I pausing long enough to recognize his voice.  He’s beckoning me to be still and know Him.  Love Him.  Trust Him.  Believe Him.  Rest in Him.

Just Stop Striving

Stop

My life is consumed with so many moments that don’t matter.  Yes, managing life is necessary, but should never be consuming.  No…life is about God, loving God, loving my family, loving His people-those all important relationships in my life.

The more I have struggled to find organization, peace, to “get it together”, the more my life has spun out of control.

I have been looking for peace.  When all the while, I have Peace living within me.  Whispering my name.  Waiting for me to respond, to believe.

Too consumed with myself and my lists, I’ve missed it.  And in truth I know life isn’t about me.  But, unfortunately, my life speaks differently.  It’s about God.  It’s about filling my exhausted, weary soul with His spirit, his breath of life.

I’m sitting outside right now listening to those ever present night-time noises, gazing at a magnificent, glowing, serene full moon.

Quiet

Peace

Rest

These are the words a weary soul longs to hear, to experience, to believe in.

I am so small.  God is so BIG!  So…well, everything.

I am not.

Lord, help me to see my place in your story, your kingdom, your plans.  Forgive me for making my plans and then trying to include you, rather than trusting in You to create the plan for my life.  Let me seek you.  Always.  I will find ways to go around you.  Sadly.  To busy myself…again.  Please remind me of who You are Lord…again and again.  

Busyness sucks the life out of me.

Slow Down

Say No to the Unnecessary

Say Yes to God

And to those things that fill my soul with joy and bring a smile to my face…

  • Being with my children
  • Connecting with my husband
  • Investing in my family
  • Building friendships
  • Encouraging women
  • Reading God’s word
  • Reading books that I love
  • Writing words that inspire
  • Listening to relaxing music

Pause

Rest

Seek what your soul has been desiring my dear friend.

He is there.  Waiting to embrace you and fill your weary hearts with an overflowing love. But you will have to pause long enough to hear his gentle whisper.

He is there.  Close your eyes.  Breath deeply.  Rest.  Your mind,  your body, your soul.

Don’t miss this moment.  Don’t replace it with an insignificant one.

Do you feel it?  The deep inner whisper inviting you to Rest…to slow down?

What is your soul longing for?

Don’t miss it.  Especially this season.  Especially now.  Especially today.

Have courage to REST, to breathe, to say NO, to just “be”, to simplify, to say yes to those things that are important.

Today, I am seeking REST.  Please say you will too! Let us leave a legacy that brings peace to others’ weary souls.

Lord, let us mamas make every effort to enter the REST you have called us to.  Give us wisdom and guidance, perspective and truth.  Help us this Christmas Season to be UN-busy.  To stop and smile.  To look at our children with wonderment and adoration.  Help us to model kindness and generosity to our children.  Isn’t that more important than the presents, the shopping, the cultural Christmas norms?  To build their character, OUR character?  Help us to be intentional with our lives-every minute of every day.  Let us not waste what we have been given.  May we seek YOU and to glorify you in all we say and do.  And let us NEVER forget the Son you sent for us to save us from ourselves.  To give us grace and mercy where we need it most and to give us everlasting life with YOU.  Thank you just doesn’t seem enough.  But, may our humble hearts serve you this season with a heart of joy and gratitude.  Amen.

Hebrews 4:11  “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”

 Please share how you are seeking REST in your lives today!

Do You Smile When No One Is Looking?

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My sweet Annabella was putting up a bit of resistance tonight for bed.  After the 10th time coming out of her room, it was obvious I wasn’t going to get the kitchen cleaned up at that moment.  So, when she asked me to come rub her back, I dried my hands and escorted her back to her room.  I tucked her in and rubbed her forehead and her back.  She was asleep within minutes.  I knew she was tired.

I sat there in that moment, looking at my beautiful daughter and I just smiled.

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He Was Chosen: Gavin’s Adoption Story

IMG_1315Gavin’s birthday was July 6th.  He turned 4 years old!

God has great plans for his life!  And has been intimately involved in his life since he was conceived.

But I’m sad to say, we missed his 1st birthday.

We weren’t there for his birth.

But rest assured, this child has been prayed for immensely!  He is loved,  he is wanted.  HE was chosen.

We may not have experienced every day of Gavin’s first 14 months of life, but we are here now.  We are here today and will be here for his tomorrows!

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Choosing to Stay on the Path

This morning I took Gavin to a camp at our local Nature center.  After we dropped him off, Abba, Cruz and I strolled through the Children’s Garden there.  We were walking along and Abba started veering off.  I told her, “You have to stay on the path, honey.”  She questioned, as most 3 year olds do, “Why?” “Because there are dangers off the path”, I replied. “Why?” “Because they marked out the path before us so that we would be safe and enjoy our journey through the garden.” Continue reading

Worth the Wait: Annabella’s Adoption Story

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Three years ago God blessed us with an amazing gift.  Our sweet, beautiful, precious daughter.

On June 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm, Annabella Jane Perez was born into this world.

But she was born in our hearts, oh so much earlier than that!  You see, we had prayed for Annabella years prior to her arrival.  We longed for a baby and after several years of agonizing procedures, devastating news, failed adoptions and much waiting, God answered our prayers.  The wait was hard.  We were ready to be parents.  I was so very ready to be a mommy.  Ready to hold MY sweet baby, ready to love the child God would give us.  The waiting was so hard.  It seemed the Lord was not listening, that maybe he hadn’t heard our prayers.  Everyone told us it would be worth the wait.

And it was.  So very much worth the wait!!

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The Grass Isn’t Always Greener in Iowa

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I grew up in Iowa.  The heart of the Midwest.  It was comfortable and familiar.  Predictable.

It rains in the spring.  It’s hot in the summer.  The fall brings beautiful colors and cool breezes.  The winter lasts forever with lots of snow and hope for an early spring!

Every year it’s pretty much the same.  But it was HOME.

Everyone complains about the weather, regardless of where you live.  But, Iowa means so much more to me than just the weather.

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Wisdom From Proverbs

Wisdom From Proverbs

Sometimes you just don’t know where to start reading in the bible.  I know I’ve found myself holding it in my hands, looking down and thinking, “Filled with so much wisdom, where do I start?”

Well, how about starting in the book saturated with wisdom?

Yes, God’s book of Proverbs.

Solomon asked God for an understanding heart to judge the people to discern between good and evil.

God responded, of course, and gave Solomon a wise and discerning heart.

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Mommy Needs A Rest Time Too

Mommy Needs A Rest Time Too

Quiet time.  I am taking a little break in the midst of my day.  My children are resting.  I must rest too.  Even a few minutes can reset my calm button.  You know what I’m talking about!

So, I sit down with my bible to pour some life-giving truth deep into my heart.  God’s word is filled with SO MUCH!   Where do I start?  Which book do I read in?  It can be overwhelming sometimes to hold this 2000+ page book in your hands.  But, every morsel of God’s word is fit to satisfy our hungry souls.

Truly and honestly, turn to ANY page and it will fill up the God sized hole in your life.  His truth speaks from every word.  Every page. Every story.

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