Tag Archives: mom

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? 


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!


5 Reasons to Quit Barking Commands at your Children

5 Reasons to Quit Barking at Your Children

“Image courtesy of James Barker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

I was just now trying to round up my three munchkins for nap time.  And as I stood in the kitchen, finishing up a task I was engrossed in, I yelled, “Gavin, go get your pull-ups on and get in bed.  Abba, pick out your pull-ups and go tee-tee, it’s time for nap.”  They ran by me laughing and giggling and went to hide from me.  I continued on with what I was finishing up.  I started putting the dishes away from lunchtime.  This time when they ran by I said a little more sternly, ” Come on, it’s time for naps.”

Seriously, Alissa? What was I thinking?  And it dawned on me.  What I am doing is ridiculous and meaningless.  The verse from Ecclesiastes 1:14 came to mind, “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after the wind.”  This hollering at the kids from afar, barking commands at them, and thinking that I’m doing anything good or worthwhile is pointless and like striving after the wind.  You cannot catch the wind.  You cannot train a toddler or preschooler by barking commands from afar.  I know this.  I’ve read books about training your children.  And most of you know this too.  But we still do it.  Is it out of habit?  Or because that’s how we were raised?  Is it because it’s easier in the short term?  Or possibly because I’m not being intentional with my words?  That was it for me.  I find myself lately just saying things.  Not really even thinking about the words that come out of my mouth.  I didn’t say any “bad” words, I didn’t even scream at them…this time.

But immediately God gave me…

5 reasons to quit barking commands at your children.  

1. They aren’t listening.  When I holler at them from afar, they are usually engrossed in some other activity, be it playing, reading, or just laughing and having a good time.  They are children.  They are toddlers and preschoolers.  They are the most impressionable they may ever be.  And they can only focus on one thing at a time.  Thankfully they aren’t into multi-tasking like I am and so many of us are.

2. They think it’s fun to run away and hide.   Notoriously, if I tell them something when I’m not in the room with them, they automatically think it’s a game.  Let’s run from mama!  They are all about laughing and enjoying life at this age.  Oh, I’m so thankful for that.  I want to learn to enjoy life and have fun from being with my children.  I want them to enjoy being with mommy and see me as being fun and enjoyable to be with.  But do I want them to learn that anytime I speak, it’s their job to run away and hide?

3. I’m teaching them NOT to listen to me.  This one was like a blaring red light to me.  I’m teaching them that my words aren’t important.  That what I have to say is not worth obeying, or listening to.  I’m teaching them that the first time I speak, they can disregard the command.  They are learning that it’s only when mommy gets angry or raises her voice that she means business.  What am I doing?  Is this how I want to train my child?  If I want my words to be important to them, then I must teach them that when I speak, they are to listen.

4. I am breeding my own frustration and anger.  Really.  Why do I become so irritated and frustrated when my kids aren’t listening to me?  Because most of the time, I’m not being clear with my instructions.  At ages 2 & 3 they still have to learn what it means to obey mommy and daddy.  They are learning all the time and processing what is important and what is not.  When I tell them something and they don’t listen, I obviously didn’t communicate effectively.  The next time I become frustrated, irritated or angry, I must stop and think, is this because of them, or most likely is it because of who I am or what I’m doing in this moment?  How could I be more effective with my communication?  It will take more time.  It will take more thought, but in the end, when I’m more at peace and gentle with my children and even my husband for that matter, it will all have been worth it.

5. I’m speaking meaningless words.  God has been bringing to my mind the power of words lately.  Every word we speak as the power of life and death.  Words are powerful.  They can build up and encourage or they can tear down and destroy.  It says in Proverbs that a wise woman builds her house.  I believe that encompasses the words we choose.  When we choose to let words loosely slip from our mouths, we aren’t being intentional with “building our home.”  In Ecclesiastes 5:3 it says, “For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.”  Oh, I love this verse.  It penetrates to my soul.  Do you see what it says?  A FOOL uses many words.  Do you find yourself talking and talking and saying things over and over and it seems like no one is listening?  Could it be your family has learned that your words ramble on and are not meaningful?  Have they learned that mommy is always talking, always hollering, always barking at us and they have chosen to tune us out?  Now, it is imperative for our children to obey and respect us.  But are the words we are choosing worthy of being obeyed and respected?  Ecclesiastes 5:7 also says, “For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness.  Rather, fear God.”  Many words are empty.  I must choose my words carefully, especially at the young age of my children.  I want them to learn early on that mommy’s words are meaningful.

So, what must I do to be changed?  Did you catch it? In Ecc 5:7… Fear God.  I must seek God and His spirit will do the nudging, the changing deep within my soul.  The words of this blog post will not change you.  And even I, with engrained habits, will continue to shout things to my kids, but little by little as I seek to know God more, as I pursue a life transformed by the Holy Spirit, he will make these nudges more noticeable, like he did for me today.  Today, as I hollered at them to take a nap, I felt God tell me to “Stop.  Go to them.  Gently explain what is expected of them.  And lead them.  Again.  And again.  And again.”

God doesn’t just convict us and show us what we are doing wrong.  He gently leads us and shows us a better way.  Oh, that I would choose the better way.  That I would choose words that build up my family.  That I would choose right actions over many meaningless words.

I love it when God gives us direction and wisdom.  He doesn’t dump it on us.  He doesn’t scream it at us.  He gently opens our eyes to show us His way, the better way, the way of righteousness.  Today, I commit to God and to you reading this, that I will be intentional  in choosing the words I speak to my children.  I know that my dream of having my children be wholehearted followers of Jesus Christ, of being loving and kind, patient and peaceful, servants and leaders will only come with much effort and training.

Lord, help me to lead them as gently as you lead me.  When I am speaking to my children, help me to choose few words wisely, and to go to them and speak with gentleness and kindness.  When I’m becoming frustrated, may I remember that the source of my irritation is probably me and help me to recognize where I need to make changes in myself.  I love you Lord, and trust you with my children as you love them even more than I do.  Thank you for showing me how I can love them better and train them in how they should go.  Amen.

 So, how are you communicating to your children?

Are your words effective or meaningless?

How is God nudging you to choose the “better way”?


How I Want to Be Remembered…

Have you ever thought about how YOU want to be remembered?  Have you ever thought of your life with the END in mind, first?

I’m sitting in Starbucks, creating my life plan for 2014.  I started listing my priorities for this current year and was inspired to think about how I want to be remembered.  I’ve heard others talk about writing their obituaries.  To me, writing my obituary is not inspiring.  It’s depressing.  But thinking about “How I Want To Be Remembered”, now that is inspiring.

As I started writing, I started dreaming of and envisioning my future.  I started really thinking about what people will say about me someday…maybe when I’m gone, or maybe when I’m seasoned and gray sitting and reflecting on the one life God had given me.  Who was Alissa Perez? Writing about who I want to become, most assuredly helps me to create who I want to be today.

This is who I hope to become…

how I hope to be remembered…

and who I will intentionally strive for being today.

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Alissa Perez loved her family and friends, and her love for her God was contagious.  Her faith in God was evident in how she lived her life.  She taught others to seek first God’s kingdom and her time with God was sacred.  She was a devoted wife and her husband was blessed by her all the days of his life.  She loved, served and respected him in all he did.  Her children adored her and felt calm and peaceful in her presence.  She devoted her life to training her children well.  She taught them a love of reading, to fear, love and trust God, to respect themselves and others and a genuine love of learning.  She showed her children the importance of serving others.  She lived selflessly, caring for the needs of other above her own.  She had the best smile.  And people felt welcome in her presence.  Her strong character was apparent to all: integrity, gentleness, compassion, patience and kindness. She cared about others and their circumstances.  Her parents always received her heartfelt respect and honor.  She invested in her relationships with her friends and family.

She never seemed rushed or in a hurry.  Commitment was important in her relationships.  She was devoted to prayer and passionately loved to share the message of Jesus with others. The Bible was her book of wisdom, instruction, guidance and truth.  She exuded joy-even in difficult circumstances.  Thankfulness was in her heart and on her lips.  She tried to live simply in a world of abundance.  She stuck to her budget and did not desire excess.  She was fun to be around and brought humor and grace into her home.  She loved to travel and teach her children about the world  She listened to jazz and classical music and loved exposing her children to the fine arts.  She was quick to listen and slow to speak.  When she spoke, she chose words that brought life.  She responded with gentleness and grace, not anger and condemnation.  She sought God’s wisdom above her own or the opinions of others.  She sought order, not chaos but lived a life of freedom and spontaneity.  She chose what was better and turned away from that which deterred her from a full life in Christ.

She was confident in who God created her to be and was thankful for the gifts she had been given.  She used her talents to the best of her ability in serving the body of Christ.  She was not envious but found joy in the blessings of others.  She focused on pleasing God, not pleasing man.  She loved unconditionally.  She lived purposefully.  She chose freedom in Christ over fear from the Enemy.  She passed on an inheritance of strong faith and character to her children.  They will forever be reminded of her love by the intentional memories she created.  She was authentic and real.  She chose to live for today and hope in tomorrow, rather than regret her yesterdays.

She lived a life full of faith, hope and love.

And above all else she chose LOVE.

 

How do YOU want to be remembered?


Don’t Just Be….Become

image courtesy of wiangya/freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of wiangya/freedigitalphotos.net

“Don’t just Be…Become, ” were the words I said to my husband about a month ago.  We were discussing some dreams and desires we had for ourselves and that sentence just flew out of my mouth.  I paused and then I said it again, this time I listened to what I was saying.  I don’t just want to “BE”….I want to “BECOME”.  To “BE’ means to exist, to be alive.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with existing or being alive.  I’m quite thankful for both.  But, it sounds so stagnant.  I questioned myself…is that ALL we were meant for? I think not.  Rather, to “BECOME” means to undergo a change or development!  That was it.  That was a turning point.  Since then, I started taking a look at where I am and where I want to be.  I realized several things; first that I am amazingly blessed!  We have a beautiful healthy family and being a stay at home mom is what I’ve always dreamed of.  I have a devoted, involved and loving husband who inspires me and encourages me in everything, I have a wonderful family and a fabulous group of friends.  The second is that I’m a habitual “non-follow-througher”, an “I can’t-er”.  I find myself wishing and hoping and wanting and too often, not accomplishing, doing or following through.  I’ve set New Year’s Resolutions and failed at following through with them.  I think of so many home ideas, activities or memories I want to create for my family but instead find myself saying…”I wish I could…” or “I would love to be able to…” “why can’t I…” or “I wish I would have”.    Too often I find myself feeling disappointed and discouraged.

I’m ready to BECOME the woman God wants me to be!  Am I the wife, mom, daughter, sister, or friend that I am supposed to be, that I should be?  Am I living my life with intention and purpose?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out on this beautiful life God has given me TODAY.  I want to be intentional, to live life on purpose, to be disciplined.  I’m exhausted from waking each day without a plan and purpose.  This is my journey.  My journey to follow through, to finish what I start, to be intentional with my days, and to pursue life change through God’s word! I want to be a real life do-er!  And my journey begins right now, right here, this moment!  The best part is that I don’t pursue this intentional life alone.  God is with me every step of this journey.  He is my biggest encourager, guide and inspiration.  And I am so thankful He also uses people to encourage us on our journey as well.  Your life is entirely different from my own, but ladies, we are on the same team!  We were created to encourage each other, to live life in relationship and to build each other up!  I’m ready to make some purposeful changes in my life.  Let’s do this together!   Let’s impact our  lives, our families, our world, one small finished task at a time.  Are you ready?  Let us pursue an intentional life….together!