Focus High

Have-tos. Unresolved matters. The to-do list. Our children’s cares. Unfinished work. Interruptions. Lots going on that can feel like a brick has been put upon our spirits.

When your heart is heavy, keep plugging away at your prayer lives, moms. Keep talking to God, keep focused on Him, all the way.

When disappointment and frustration come on the scene, it is so easy for our eyes to stare at what’s before us and remain fixated on the problem…and as moms, we have a lot of concerns, questions, decisions, pulls and tugs—fix your eyes up above, pray and know that God will see you through the situation even better when your eyes are set on Him. For it is in that focus, dependence and trust where you will receive the strength, wisdom and encouragement you need instead of the discouragement and worry that comes from focusing on the parts of our problems.

Get on your knees.

Pray.

Talk to God.

He has a plan.

And it doesn’t include worry, fear or anxiety but peace, dependence and trust in Him.

If our circumstances create that greater dependence and submission, let’s thank Him. That’s a good thing because it is in those empty places of our soul where He fills us and where we experience His hand at work.

Real work.

True work.

Perfect work.

When you seek Him, the things above, you’ll experience His mighty power that will put those doubts and fears into a smaller place—where they belong, Mom.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Col 3:2

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Your Steps Today

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One step at a time, moms. Much awaits our children but we don’t accomplish teaching them everything they need to know in a day nor even a week but over time. Lots of time.

Through do-overs.

Repetition.

Mistakes and mishaps.

Lots of repeats in this business, huh?

And….through joys and fun times, laugh-outloud comments and silliness….let’s not forget those. God works the same way in us. There are hundreds of steps we are climbing in the course of a lifetime….we don’t climb the whole staircase ourselves. If we were to, we’d be overwhelmed and probably run back down…to the basement! There are days I am sure we all feel like doing that, just like there are days when it’s hard for a kid to be a kid (even in Australia, right?!) but we hold our children’s hands through those days just like God holds ours. And He doesn’t ask us to endure those days alone. He is with us and provides support.

Through His presence.

Through His Word.

Through the Company of others.

He brings back-up. Support. Faithful friends and family. He is God and can do all things. And wants to do those things for you.

Where is God bringing you as you parent in this season of mothering? What small step is He asking you to make?

A step of trusting in Him?

Waiting on Him?

Changing?

Getting rid of something undesirable?

Stepping out of your comfort zone?

A step of change?

A step of attitude or adjustment (or an attitude adjustment?!)

Whatever staircase you are climbing and stepping on (and even if you are stopping for a bit before having to take the next step), God can be trusted on the way up, the way down (if need be), and even on the landing if you are between steps. He is our faithful guide and protector who won’t let us fall. He has has a plan, remember?

Of all the steps you are taking, be sure not to lose sight of that one, mom.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Keep climbing, mom. You are doing great!

 

 

 

A Better Way

 

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We trust our cars to start when we turn the key, that our loved ones will come home safely and that our friends will remain faithful. We trust that our children will be protected out in the world or at school, that our health will be “good,” or that we’ll get better if we are ill. We trust our doctors, children’s teachers, favorite magazines, radio programs and blogs to help us figure out how to be better moms,  better stewards of our money, better problem solvers. We may even trust the Food Network to provide dinner suggestions, and home decorating publications to direct us with style tips and organization ideas. We trust that a class will educate us, a movie will entertain us. All great resources.

Are we first trusting in the Lord? Trusting Him to:

Redeem us?

Restore us?

Change us?

Renew us?

Build us?

Re-develop us? 

Sound too hokey? Sound too weird to put that much trust into God when we can do it ourselves or seek what the world has to offer in terms of its solutions to fulfill and gratify? We are capable and self-reliant, right?

Do we trust that God might be bigger than our attempts? Do we trust that He is in control, unchanging, stable, reliable, all-powerful and dependable in ALL circumstances, ALL the time?

Maybe we should just cross our fingers and hope for the best. That takes faith too. 

I’d rather put my hands together and cry out to a God who hears. A God who cares. Who has my best interest at heart. Who will never leave me nor forsake me. That’s His promise to me and that’s His promise to you.

You don’t have to have hope in hope.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

There’s really no down side in putting your trust in the Lord, is there? Think of all the places where you have put your confidence.

Do you have anything to lose?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

But you sure stand a lot to gain.

So Long Dry Bones

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The BIG deals we make about little things can stay with our kids forever….let’s be dead to the small things that rattle us, including fatigue, the temptation to yell, the moment that we already yelled, where we blew it, where we are feeling frustrated and be alive to giving grace to our children just as we have received grace from the Lord. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a mama who dries up her kids’ bones.

And it’s so easy to do.

Our tone of voice. Our words. Our demeanor can be deflating to those around us.

Drying.

Hit the pause button before reacting and pray. Pray for self control. Pray that if firmness is needed, you’ll be firm not angry. Pray that if you need to sit down, that you can steal a moment to regroup. Pray that if there is an opportunity to smile, that you will soften your cheeks and communicate joy with the motion of your lips.

Let eye contact and sweet tone of voice prevail in your demeanor so your children can be filled with the love and warmth you feel for them that may not always surface among the day’s running around and to-dos. We live by the list, don’t we? We are always on to the next thing. Rushing. Running.  I know you are tired. I know you are stretched. Early days of mothering (and the ones that come later) can be fatiguing.

You are pushed.

Pulled.

You just want a break.

Let’s take our days and the power of God available to us and receive His mercy, strength and love so that we can pour those very same attributes into our children and give them good, moist, strong bones. Regardless of our moods, they are going to grow and have memories of their home. Memories of you. A relationship with you.

Let’s make their bones strong with what we can deposit. 

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13

Let the truth of God nourish your bones today, mom.

 

 

Weary–Not!!

 

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For anyone who is feeling tired (ok, so you didn’t work out today), in need of grace (because even as moms, we blow it), longing to respond to circumstances in truth and with integrity (as we are often led by our emotions, feel pulled in the direction of what the world says we should be or swayed by the opinions of others), fighting for focus (we are sometimes scattered or distracted) and needing strength (we are at times, simply put, weak), God guarantees our success in all areas.  “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.” Psalm 119:29-30

Oh mom, mothering is hard work. Where are you needing rest today? God really does want to partner with you and guide you in the journey. Look to Him and He will give you what you need to take the right steps.  Steps taken in His might, not your own. He is right beside you.

Where are you needing to depend on God today? One area at a time, one step at a time.

A Plan for You

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

If you feel disheartened, discouraged or anything in that “what’s the point or why bother?” category, cling to this promise above. God STILL has a plan, even when events seem completely upside down, confusing or lack order or purpose.

Trust in God.

The Song You Aren’t Singing

We are all singing different songs today, aren’t we? Perhaps you are far from feeling like you want to sing or your song isn’t very cheery. Some songs are more like cries or pleas that come from a scared, desperate or concerned place, either for our children, loved ones, or ourselves.  There are songs we can barely sing because we are just plain old tired or we maybe we have lost our desire, our passion, our light. We don’t want to sing. Maybe we are too busy to sing. Too worried to sing. Too weak. Maybe even sick. On the other hand, we have songs of joy and gratitude or blends and combinations of high notes and low. Maybe we are just bursting with songs of praise and thanksgiving.

For those of you who are not, you can sing a sad song.

That is okay.

If you can’t sing at all, that works, too. You are just not there. Many of us have days where we aren’t.

Where can you go for a song? For words and notes that are uplifting, that have meaning? Hhmm…I have a place. Yes, but I mean after Disneyland. And oh yes, after the chocolate cupcake with white icing and sprinkles. Actually, before.

Scripture. Prayer. One Another.

Will you let God put a new song in your heart, today through Him and through His vessels?

But you don’t know what I am dealing with. True. But God does.

But this is bad, things are SO bad.  God knows how bad. He has walked the bad. The ugly. The unthinkable.

But I just can’t get a grip…and I am worried, and scared and I am out of answers. God is powerful. Your Creator. He is involved. He already knows the outcome. He has the answers.

If you are awaiting results of something and are fraught with fear,  if you are worried about something with your child or are so doggone weary you don’t know how you are going to make it till 4:00 let alone 9:00 p.m., know this:

God can carry the tune when you can’t.

God hears the melody of your heart, the words to your desires, the inflection of your voice when you have a question that is circling about. You may not be able to give yourself a new song, but He can. He is pretty amazing that way. When you can’t lift your voice to sing, He can give you the ability and the means.  Your new song might not be void of pain but can be filled with direction, strength, focus, confidence, wisdom or trust.  Will you let Him give you that song to rest in the benefits? If you do, the tune you are humming might just take you through the day on a new, meaningful note.

And you can sing that truth all the way to Disneyland or to your favorite cupcake.

Scripture References

“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love, for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:16

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:3

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.” Psalm 96

 

 

Battling Big Bugs: When Mama’s Sick, By Guest Author, Jenny Lee Sulpizio

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Battling BIG BUGS: When Mama’s Sick

                                    (An excerpt from the recently-released, “Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe”)

Taking care of your children when they’re sick is hard enough as it is, but trying to take care of your kids when you’re sick is an entirely different story, isn’t it? When mama’s too ill to get out of bed, everyone and everything tends to suffer. All efforts to maintain the regularly scheduled programming are cast aside, and it’s as if our homes are literally turned upside down. The housework piles up, the kids are running amuck, and all we can do is lay there in the fetal position, lethargic, zapped of all of our energy…and completely useless.

 

 

At this point, there’s no denying that we’re in need of some serious assistance. No matter if it’s a spouse, relative, or family friend-when mommy’s ailing, we girls are in need of a reliable caretaker to see that the kids are fed, clothed, and (somewhat clean). We need help getting our kids to school, activities, appointments, engagements, and so on. But for Wonder Woman Wannabes, who struggle to ask for help in the first place, this can seem like an impossible task to accomplish. We feel awkward, uncomfortable, and more often than not, we’d rather just deal with it on our own, instead of having to bother anyone else.

 

 

However, it’s in these moments that we need to ditch our Supermom tendencies and call in some reinforcements.  I mean, not even Wonder Woman herself could claim victory over vomiting without enlisting some help from her Super Friends. So, let’s forget about our need for perfection, rid ourselves of any pride we’re holding onto, and devise an emergency back-up plan for when Supermom-I’m talking about you here-is super sick.

 

 

It’s time for the Buddy Back-Up Plan.

 

 

Now, the idea here is pretty simple: you’re basically setting up a structured schedule detailing your children’s activities and events, should your health suddenly decide to go South for a day or so.  By discussing this with your friends, and devising a system that works for all involved, you are teaming up to make sure that should the need arise, your kiddos are covered.

 

 

Wanna see what this type of plan looks like? Even better, want a printable version to keep on hand in order to start a pact with your friends?  Click here to view, print and download!

And how about a giveaway? Would you like to win a copy of the recently-released, “Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe: On a Mission to Save Sanity, One Mom at a Time?” Enter below to do just that!

Author Bio:Jenny Lee Sulpizio is a wife and mother of three who enjoys writing about anything and everything under the sun, but especially loves to instruct, motivate, and guide other moms with practical advice, tips, and a whole lot of comic relief in the process. Jenny is a contributing writer for The MOB Society and Moms Together, and is the author of the recently released guide for all mamas titled, “Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe: On a Mission to Save Sanity, One Mom at a Time.” To find out more about Jenny or to follow her blog, visit www.jennyleesulpizio.com.

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennyleesulpizio.author

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JennySulpizio

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jennysulpizio/boards/

 

Loss, Loss, Go Away, Come Again Some Other Day. Deal?

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Who doesn’t love a colorful welcome mat to make their entry appear warm and inviting?

Cute pots of flowers, stone-made animals, flags that blow in the breeze or wired figures, antique tables, shapes and flags that twirl in the air or blow in the breeze can all brighten our front step.

But there are the things that you definitely do not want on your front steps. Things that are SO not your style, look cheesy or are just clearly, not your taste. Then there are people. Salesmen with flyers and business cards.  Solicitors. Brokers who want you to know the latest comps in the neighborhood. Even the adorable neighborhood kids selling wrapping paper for a school fundraiser can create annoyance. Some people and some things just aren’t desirable to have on our welcome mats.

One of them, is loss.

We lose things, though, right? Sometimes it feels as if it’s our sanity :), our needed or beloved job, a favorite series that went off the air (I was crushed when Alias ended and that was years ago), a relationship, a neighborhood, our dear home, aspects of our health, a loved one. Sometimes we lose time or an opportunity. Often we lose sleep,the ability to organize….the list goes on.

Loss is out there–far and wide, other times, close and narrow.

We long for a remedy from those empty spaces that run deep or dryness from the tears, energy to combat the affects of what has been taken, the need for joy to replace the ache.

Are losses blimps on the screen of our lives defined by waiting out the passing of pain with the infamous “this too shall pass” worldly hope?

Perhaps.

Or is there a deeper hope? Are losses markers, bigger than blimps, more like hot air balloons, that ultimately inflate us with strength, sensitivity, compassion, perspective and growth rooted in God’s purposes and plans?

Likely.

To know that loss hangs over the horizon as a known, forthcoming event and is just a matter of time before it darkens our doorstep can carry a level of anxiety that we’d rather not receive nor think about. Other times, loss can broadside us in the present moment, jolting us into a state of shock and even despair. If only keeping the front door closed could block its entry into our lives….wouldn’t that be nice?!

When loss barges in through our front doors, standing on the other side is the One who shares the spot with its pain.

Jesus.

He has not only teamed up with loss, but coached it through till its bitter end.

He feels it. Mourns it. Is familiar with the dark, empty spaces that fill our souls. He knows about suffering.  About pain. About what you are up against. He also knows YOU and grieves with you. In His knowledge of knowing you, is the depth of Jesus’ love, care and provision for you through your tears.

Jesus stands on our welcome mats waiting for us to open the door, not so that we can greet the loss but so that we can welcome what He has for us in the loss. We can go through the loss with or without Him.

Which do you prefer?

God may not bring back what you are missing, but He promises to bring something else to you in the process. What that “something” is looks different for each  one of us and can only be discovered by opening up the door and setting out our welcome mats for Him. The One who restores. The One who brings healing and hope. The One true God.

What a sight and visit that can be for those of us inside our house feeling hopeless and experiencing what Jesus has for us on His welcome mat.

In our pain, our opening the door can be the best choice we make.

Scripture References

“I, even I, am he who comforts you.” Is 51:12

“I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4

“The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; The LORD accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:9

Sharp Edges that Don’t Have to Pierce

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“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9 Do you have those times where as a mom you think, “I handled that so well,” or, I am so on top of my game here, I am doing great. I know my kid, I know how to handle things, I know their needs and wow, I am doing pretty good here.”

And then…..crash!

We can hear the sound of brokenness, the clatter of destruction echoing throughout our being. Their sharp edges pierce our hearts and dent the flow of what we know is right and true in our minds.  We slip. We fall. We BLOW it. We think, “I am the worst possible mom there is! How could I have responded that way, said ______,  made that decision to____, or….?”

If you are sweeping up  broken pieces today, take comfort in knowing that we are made strong through our weaknesses as the Apostle Paul said. God gives us the strength and correction we need in those difficulties we come back from and when we disappoint our children and ourselves because of our weaknesses. In those times when we are weak, as Paul said, “then I am strong.”

Paul  delighted in his “hardships, in persecutions and in difficulties” (2Cor 12:10) for it was in those trials that he was able to endure because of God’s power, not his own.  We are no different. We have our weaknesses, we have our own personal persecutions, hardships and difficulties but we have the power of Christ. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2Cor 12:9.

Today, if you crash,  you can rest in the healing strength and power of God.  If you didn’t have struggles, you wouldn’t need nor possess the strength God gives you. And it’s in the crashes and broken pieces of our lives where we can discover wholeness, rest and true healing that comes only from His power and love.

Let that truth dull the sharp edges that cut to give you the soothing strength you need today.

Where do you need God’s strength today, mom?