Milk and Cookies, Moisturizer and Making Me Dwell in Safety

 

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A glass of milk with something brown, cakey or chewy, being able to think against the background of a still, quiet home and a good book propped between my hands with a pillow against my back are my favorite ways to end the day.

So not happening in my world. Yours?

Often, it’s a march from making lunches or a cleaning task that leads me straight to the bathroom, willing myself to brush teeth, clean face and apply eye cream and moisturizer to those fine lines before falling into bed.

And very often, none of that happens either.

Fatigue seems to be my regiment.

What a perfect match to the stillness of the Psalms that can bring rest to those jumping thoughts that come alive at night and help put to REST the rest of the continued to-do list, work in the form of paper piles and the pressing questions that can race through our minds as moms…the ones that call for immediate answers and solutions and that cause a small, evening anxiety party to break out in our minds.

“Keep it down in there, would ya?”

Thank you nocturnal, mental madness for invading my head.

I think God wants us to rest well. That means without worry. 

Free from doubts.

Free from fear.

Free from restlessness. 

We may not have perfect peace in our circumstance, but we have perfect peace that He is in our circumstance(s). God is alongside you doing dishes, making lunches, knowing your hopes, hearing your questions and planning the answers. But He’s not as concerned with those things as we are.

He’s more concerned about where your mind is dwelling in the midst of all that you are dwelling on.

So tonight, as you drift off to sleep, will you dwell in His mighty power and comfort? Where will your peace come from? He may very well provide a cookie, a can’t-put-down novel, the energy to clean or tidy up and even an effective moisturizer. But  more than all that, He’ll provide His presence and that’s a goodnight regiment worth taking every night.

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

How do you like to end the day? What brings rest to your soul? Can you make reading His word the last thing you do so you can make the last thing you do (rest)  a success?

 

 

Who am I? Finding Your Identity in Motherhood @ Carey Scott’s Let’s Get Real Ministries

So excited to have been over at Moms Together today discussing identity with SO many of awesome moms. The talented Author/Speaker/Life Coach, Carey Scott, got the ball rolling today as we explored the big question that moms so tirelessly grapple with: Who am I in My Role as Mom? So encouraging to read what other moms are feeling on this and how we are living out the answers. Come take a read at both places if you get the chance…you’ll be encouraged!

(Click here) Having left my career to step into my role as mom….I had a nagging question hovering like a helicopter. It wasn’t which mommy group to join or how to get my baby to sleep through the night….

Good Morning or Good Moment?

 

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For some, “Good Morning” might be anything but good right now. There are demands weighing you down, fatigue robbing you of the energy you need in order to be the mom you want to be, a tone of voice that emerges from within that perhaps shouts out to your children that you loathe, or frustration over something you are needing and that hasn’t quite come to fruition.  Maybe today you are wondering, “Who am I in all this and what am I doing and becoming? Where is my life heading in all the day to day details?” Take a big breath, moms. You are not alone. You may

A Homerun from the Dugout

I have it on good authority that a lot of you are in the baby trenches or the baby dugout as I like to call it, anticipating a time when you can get up to bat and move around those bases.  Perhaps those white squares represent different seasons you are eagerly awaiting

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to land on with your baby or toddler, but for now, you are longing to get up to bat or just make it on deck and practice your swing. Practice anything.

While you are in the dugout, have faith that God is doing a work in you and in your baby, your time, your connection, the bonding and nurturing while the minutes tick on.  You may feel as if you are watching the innings pass before you with little action or zero runs batted in, but at the end of the day, you were in the game and my guess is, played it pretty well. And THAT mom, is a homerun you can feel good about hitting. Tag your bases, and keep running.  You are doing great. And if you can’t tag them quite yet, look forward to the time when you can and make the most of your time in the dugout.  There’s much to be gained while on the bench and you’ll be up at bat soon enough.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 1-2

Blue is Okay

Sometimes they come in waves, without warning but crash with such force…in other instances they can attack with a subtle, silent pressure with weight that feels too heavy to tolerate. Often hard to shake but not impossible, and can travel like a cold front passing through to its next victim. The source is not always known nor the remedy always found…the blues can be so blue-ish. Some can will them away or prevent them from penetrating into their souls. We all have our attempts at fix-its yet sometimes there’s a place and purpose for those blues. For in those hues and tones, we hear our voice and cries which can give us focus and redirection or a time to just be still with our thoughts and listen to what we need to hear. In them, there is someone who cares. He is the lifter of our heads and knows your heart and cares for you. “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.” (Psalm 4:1) God hears your prayers today. Where do you need  relief from the Blues? How might God be using your blues to show you His greater purpose in your circumstance?

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Settling

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“Settled” is not something we always feel yet there is lots of settling we do in our roles, huh mamas? Perhaps you have to settle for feeling tired all day because it was a hard night or settle for just not having the laundry folded, dishes washed or dishwasher emptied.  You may have to settle for the disappointment of  not being able to purchase something you’d like for your children because money is super tight, or settle for another evening putting the kids down yourself because your husband is working. Perhaps you are a single mom and have to settle for doing everything on your own.   Maybe you have to settle for an old car that is just not running the way it once was, or settle for a meal that came out just so-so. Then there are the diagnoses we have to settle for when the test results are back from the doctor.   Sometimes we settle for unfair treatment or someone’s best effort that we deem as merely standard. I am sure you can think of dozens of things you settle for in the course of a day.  If we have a heart of gratitude, are we settling as much? If we focus on what we have, is that feeling of settling as strong? “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:10)

Where do you need to settle today in order to feel guided and at peace? How might God be calling you to settle where you are and what might He be asking you to trust Him with? An outcome? An answer? Peace of mind? May you settle well today, mama, and may you be held fast and guided so that settling takes on a fresh foundation.

One Call Needed When Everything Calls at Once

Sometimes, everything calls at once….ever have days like that? Everything and everyone calls for your attention–now. There’s no time to wait nor time to take a moment to pause. Hurry, hurry. On to the next priority. Maybe the moments seem to be ticking too fast to get the present job done. Or maybe  today will be more like a step-by-step day rather than run-by-run. Whatever your pace, whichever your flow, your feet are firmly planted in the foundation of your principles, values and priorities. When you are focused on those things, the rest can (temporarily) be sifted out and take their rightful place to the right of your center.

Today, lots may push, pull, tug at you and cause you to tip. Try to allow one direction for yourself and keep your feet firmly rooted in what you know is the priority and value of the moment.  “He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Psalm 40:2)  May God give you the clarity, discernment, footing and security you need to accomplish what you have to today.

And if you find everything calling at once, call on God.

It’s Okay If It’s Not Perfect

Yesterday when I spoke at a MOPS group, a mom shared the pressure she sometimes puts on herself with having to have a clean house before someone comes over or having to______(you fill in the blank–we all have those expectations we put on ourselves!)

As moms with busy lives and with the priority of taking care of our children, we do what we can. How great that even if your furniture isn’t dusted, that you made a friend feel loved and welcomed when they walked through your door. That the hospitality you offered by making a pot of coffee, putting on the kettle, the acceptance they felt by your warm hug and how they were treated by you, is really what counts.  (And hopefully, our friends aren’t that judgmental–it’s the expectation we put on ourselves to have everything just so!)

So tell yourself it’s okay, that you not be able to get to everything and things don’t have to be perfect. Even Author Jill Savage says so. Read below from her book, No More Perfect Moms.

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Are there areas that you might need to let go of having perfection in? Leave a comment below or share in the conversation at: https://www.facebook.com/ShapingYourIdentityInMotherhood

 

 

Proverbs 31 Woman: You May Be Closer than You Think – Guest Blogger: Alexis Hassell

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The Wife of Noble Character: Wrestling with My Identity in Christ

If you have read Proverbs 31, then you might be familiar with verses 10-31, which are devoted to describing, “The Wife of Noble Character.” Even if you haven’t, you might have seen reference to it somewhere because this mantra for Christian women is literally everywhere. At some point in your life, maybe you have wondered: Who is this woman? Is she even a real person? Maybe you have tried to compare her with people you know or have encountered  in your life and even with yourself. I would venture to believe that most of us would think she is the “standard” of what a good Christian woman looks like. If that is true for you then this woman is everything you would want to be, hoped you could be, and is possibly the reason why you might have felt like you don’t measure up.

I can say that for me my journey with the Wife of Noble Character has been full of mixed emotions. Initially, this standard provided me with the groundwork of what a wife could be expected to do for her family and husband. In this department I need all the help I can get. So I got the crazy idea that I would write out this passage on my best paper in my best penmanship. I figured if I had it visibly as a constant reminder then maybe I would never forget what I should be doing. So I did just that. After I finished, I scoured my house looking for the perfect frame. None were good enough, so I vowed that I would buy one that was worthy the next time I was out running errands. I wish I could tell you that I had it hanging up in my home in no time. Unfortunately, my good intentions were short lived. I never bought the frame and there the paper sat. It sat just like my efforts to become this woman.

Years passed by and I pursued other avenues to assist me in becoming a better wife and mother. I went to seminars, took classes, consulted friends, and read books. You get the idea. I revisited the Wife of Noble Character from time to time, yet I didn’t find myself feeling that same enthusiasm. To me she had become the impossible standard, a nemesis actually, and a reminder that I didn’t live up to the expectations. The words of the passage that mentioned about getting up “while it is still night to provide food for her family,” echoed within, confirming that would never be me. I have always been a difficult riser and could never get up early let alone provide food for my family. My kids are very familiar with getting their own breakfast in the morning because Mommy has a hard time getting it together. Other words referencing “(that she) does not eat the bread of idleness,” only further highlighted my inadequacies. Forget eating an occasional slice of that kind of bread; I was probably eating loaves of it. Some days I would be successful but other days I was consumed by the weariness of responsibility. Many other verses in the passage condemned me as well. I felt like a failure. My heart sank and had convinced myself, why even try, this will never be you. I resolved to be good enough and instead, worked on accepting myself for who I was. So I prayed that God would do the same and resolve in me these feelings.

Months passed by and I grew discontented, I wanted more of myself and I wanted more than what I was seeing. At the very least, I wasn’t going to give up trying like I had wanted to before. And God was working inside of me. My heart was changing. I figured out a way to get up early; I was waking up at 6am every day.  I did see the value in waking up early, something that had been a mystery for so many years. This small act became a big miracle for me. I quickly realized it wasn’t ever really about me becoming an early riser because that was what the Wife of Noble Character did. God in His wisdom was teaching me something more important. God was giving me a victory and a glimpse of hope that things could be different. They could be better. Then a few months ago my eldest daughter had opened the Bible and asked my husband to read it. I had been sitting on the couch next to them with our youngest daughter. He read the words describing The Wife of Noble Character. Hearing those words read aloud that day, pierced my heart like a double edged sword. And without warning, my husband uttered the words, “That describes your Mommy” to our daughters. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing my husband say! I knew if he had taken a closer look at each of those verses, he would have known that that didn’t possibly describe me. They just didn’t. I mean how could they? But to him it didn’t matter if I did exactly what “she” had done. It was something he had seen inside “me.” It was the heart of the Wife of Noble Character. Again, it was the hope of something better.

My eyes and heart had been refreshed by God’s faithful work; I was convicted that the Wife of Noble Character represented something greater than a standard to emulate. Her greatest purpose is that she is and will always exemplify the woman who follows after God’s plans for her. These are her own individual plans that God had developed for her specifically. She isn’t following the way that she thinks she should because it’s what she thinks is best. What’s more, do you notice that it doesn’t mention that she is doing what everyone else is doing, or that she spends her time comparing herself to others, or that she is following a standard that society has set for her?  No, she is focused, driven and confident to stay on the path set out before her. She pursues it and doesn’t take her eyes off of the prize for one second. She knows what she has and is content but she also does whatever she can to keep it, to maintain it, to appreciate it. And something ahead of her is guiding her steps.

So I ask you, who is the Wife of Noble Character? It isn’t just her or someone else. It is YOU; each and every one of you has the ability to accept this identity in Christ today. I challenge you, if you already haven’t, to find your own path. Not in just any direction but the one that God has designed for you personally, the one that is the very best for you and your family. Don’t worry that it may be different than everyone else. Keep your eyes off of others and you will do just fine. The first step is taking one step and putting your foot right in front of the other. It might seem scary, but I promise you, it will all work out better than you could have ever imagined. And if you are looking for proof, take another look at the Wife of Noble Character.

Alexis Hassell is mom to two daughters, ages 6 and 4. She lives in Westlake Village, Ca with her daughters & husband, Kris. She has a strong passion for learning new things and a love for the Lord.  God has used this passion & provided the opportunity for her and her husband to homeschool their girls this past year…a journey to which they hope to continue on with in the years ahead.

 

 

Because I am a Mom

There are moments when I feel more like a mom than others….like when I desperately want to end the day and go to sleep but can’t. Why? Because I am a mom.

Tomorrow is my daughter’s birthday and I am baking brownies for her to bring into school. Unfortunately, the mix I chose serves only 16 brownies, so I had to go back to the store to buy a second box. I realized this, of course, at 9:00 p.m., just after I had put the kids to bed, finished washing dishes, preparing next day’s lunches and launching one batch into the oven. Have you ever had to gear up to do something when all you wanted to do was collapse into a horizontal position?

When I am tired and longing to end the day by dropping my head onto the nearest pillow, I have to remember to thank God for the gift of motherhood He has bestowed onto me…it’s now an integral part of who I am. Motherhood doesn’t completely define my identity but brings definition to how I spend my time and prioritize responsibilities. And I have responsibilities that I didn’t have before…because I am a mom.

There are moments when it’s natural to feel tired…tired of having one more thing to do and feeling as if  you can’t possibly add one more task to the nearly-toppling-over pile on your plate. We add and add and by God’s grace, we are able to take away from the pile and reduce its size.  But in that adding and removing, we must pray for wisdom and  discernment and ask, “Do I really need to get this particular job done or can it wait? Does doing that task mean that I won’t be able to spend time with my child in a meaningful way or perhaps nurture my soul in a meaningful way?” Maybe the task at hand is truly time-sensitive, in which case, something else has to wait in an effort to prevent your day from becoming a jog-a-thon through the to-do list. God knows our abilities, what we can handle, what we can accomplish and gives us His strength to draw on in that process. We have endless responsibilities because we are moms, and we are moms because we have children.

The next time I am longing to put my head down when I am trapped in a kid-related task, I need to remember that the task is at hand because I am a mom. Then, like in the case of waiting for a dozen brownies to finish baking at 11:15 p.m., wait for the oven timer to go off with a yawn and a smile.

Recommended Scripture:

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29)