Adjusting to fit in is common. A tweak here or there to even the playing field doesn’t hurt right? But what if those tweaks change who we are? Little by little, those adjustments can change the landscape of our lives. At first glance, our reflection looks the same, but after further review, standing before you is someone you don’t even know. How did I get here? What did I do? Over time “tweaking’ compromises who we are. I recently read “When we compromise, the effectiveness of God’s power is diminished”-(InTouch Magazine, July 2015) Whoa! So I have control over the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit? If not used properly, the effectiveness is lessened? Luke 10:19 says….19 Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you!(Amplified Bible)So yes, through the Holy Spirit, God has given us control, the ability to activate His power in everyday life. When activated we are representing Him and His loving power. So standing firm on who we are and what we believe pushes the cause! Tweaking only allows Satan to get a greater hold on this world and chokes out the Light we are called to be.
Stand firm my friends. Ask for daily Godly wisdom to navigate your life. Only the hand of God can truly TWEAK who we are. Leave that changing up to Him.
Today as I sat and felt the cool crisp North Carolina air…..I realized the seasons ARE changing. Although, here in Carolina, it’s hard to determine our seasons, with 75 degree weather in December and 40 degree weather in May, it can be quite confusing. But feeling the morning breeze across my face, I realized that change is coming. Sometimes in life, change comes as expected, as clockwork, or maybe even as a surprise….its arrival is the only certainty. We’d do well to be prepared and ready as no one can accurately predict its path. In the coming days as the green view turns into hues of brown, red, orange or yellow, take deep breaths, allow the cool air to wash over you, and determine what role you will play in this change.
Stay well my friends-
A Time for Everything
1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace
She stood on her little stool in the bathroom, pieces of her curly hair bouncing across her forehead as she brushed her teeth. She paused and looked at me with with an earnest expression that comes from a state of deep contemplation. She opened her mouth and the conversation went as follows:
Alex: Mommy, why aren’t you my friend anymore?
Me: Where in the world did you get that idea from? I’m your mom, the first friend you’ve ever known. I love you very much.
Alex: Well, because you get angry at me. Yesterday you got angry at me. You can’t get angry at daddy, me, or Lily Girl. Friends are nice to each other. You have to be nice to us.
Mommy: We all get angry sometimes honey. That doesn’t mean we don’t love each other. Sometimes mama gets frustrated because you’re not a very good listener. But I love you very much OK?
Alex: Ok mama. But don’t get angry with me today. Just be kind OK?
Me: Ok, my love. I will do my best.
So that happened this week. Sure I can view it as my dear old threenager lecturing me because she didn’t get her way about something, and to a certain extent that’s true. But that ‘yesterday’s anger’ she referred to was very real. The night before this heart-to-heart took place, I distinctly remember getting so upset that I had clenched fists and angry eyes. I was furious and had to remove myself from the room just to keep it together.
The sad part is I don’t remember what caused this intense feeling to bubble up inside me. Unfortunately I feel as though it’s happened quite a bit lately as my daughter has tested my patience and I have responded extremely poorly. It hurts my heart to know that my smart, aware, and observant little girl absorbs such negativity from her own mother.
One of my favorite artist/authors is Ruth Chou Simons of http://gracelaced.com/ . She coined the Instagram hashtag #motherhoodissanctifying, and this was certainly one of those moments.
Why do I have so little patience towards those closest to me? Why do I have so little patience for my three-year-old child?! Is something really wrong with me?!
I recently shared these thoughts with a dear friend of mine, and bared my soul about the guilt I felt. I told her that I prayed and prayed, and sincerely tried my best to be a more patient parent. I was downtrodden and discouraged because it seemed like progress was not being made at all, and I didn’t want this despicable side of me to be all my children would see. This individual is a wonderful and patient mama in my eyes, and the kind of woman and wife that I only strive to be like one day. So it certainly surprised me when she shared a few stories of having outbursts when her children were younger or losing her temper more times then she cared to admit.
During our talk she reminded me that I am seeing her now, and not the person she was then. She also reminded me that just because God doesn’t seem to answer a prayer immediately, doesn’t mean that we have been overlooked. “Patience is cultivated,” she said. “Patience is cultivated.”
“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking
nothing.”James 1:4 NKJV
These wise words from my friend preceded the conversation I had with my child by some weeks, so clearly I still have a long ways to go in the patience department! However, I am realizing more and more how important it is for me to lean on God and not my own understanding. I know I want there to be an immediate change, but sometimes there is a process to things that we don’t always want to face or admit.
I know there are going to be plenty more days where I feel like I screwed everything up as a mom, but then there’s grace.
Holy, freely-given, and gladly received grace. Grace I often forget to extend to myself, but it’s the same grace that I see my child give me, even when mama is very, very, very mad.
In the trenches? Back up against the wall? Tears streaming down your face? Take a deep breath mama bear and repeat after me: patience is cultivated!!
Patricia A. Taylor is the proud wife of an amazing godly man, and mama to two precious girls. After having her first child she realized that motherhood, like life, is a journey best shared with others! Her heart’s desire is to cultivate a down-to-earth and faith-filled space where real experiences are shared, and sincere encouragement is given. Visit www.lifeofaministermom.com and join her on this faith-filled adventure!
5 Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. 16 Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicatedalways in her love. 20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? 21 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondersall his paths. 22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. 23 He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.
This passage of Proverbs is a bit steamy as we read about marriage. A partnership for life! Often times, society will have us to believe that marriage isn’t until death do we part, but its more like until I can’t take anymore, then I part! Marriage is a covenant between three folks, God, man, and woman. Should for some reason, the covenant becomes shaky, cracked, or broken, we gotta remember that all parties matter. A partnership only works and is a true partnership when all parties involved are active, present, and doing their jobs! In a marriage its just that simple…..the husband should focus on pleasing the wife, the wife focus on pleasing the husband, and together, they both focus on pleasing God. For if God is pleased, the rest will fall into place.
I’ve been with my life partner, my husband for 16 years, and during those times time, I’ve wanted a divorce. It’s when times were hard, whether at my hand or his, I couldn’t find the extra umff to carry on. When I finally realized that it wasn’t about him, but it was about me seeking God, asking Him to change me, and to give me understanding for my husband, that’s when the turn-around began.
There’s no magic trick to marriage……just a willing heart to follow God, and the rest will come.
On the back row of the school bus, I’d been watching this girl who was well liked, but not popular. She was cute, but stood out. She didn’t blend in, there was something different there. I went up to her, not really knowing her or what she was all about and said..”you wanna be best friends?” Looking back at me, sizing me up, looking me up and down, she said, “yeah”. Twenty-nine years later….she’s still my very best friend. Friendship is one of the greatest gifts given to man-finding the one(s) who share your ups, downs, dreams, and despair. But among women-friendship is a special treasure, finding that one gem or rare stone, is well worth it. A sisterhood that plays out in sororities, clubs, ministries, it helps to have a true friend.
What makes a true friend;-honesty-she’ll tell you when you’re fat! -Dependable-she’ll arrive at your doorstep for support, even after you’ve said you don’t need her to come. Supportive-she’ll listen to your gripes and complaints about the rotten boyfriend she told you to dump 2 years ago. Objective-she won’t agree with all your decisions but will give objective feedback and scenarios so you’ll be able to do what you think is best.
God loves us so much that he gave us friends. The very best friend in Jesus Christ!
John 15:15-I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. A friend that died for us so that we could live, love, and share his sacrifice with others.
Does any of that look familiar? Taking a glimpse at my day doesn’t look much different from any other wife/mother in the world! No matter what race, nationality, geographic location, or socioeconomic status, we have a ” plan” for our day. And the running theme……never taking time for yourself! I know for me, its hard penciling myself in. Taking care of my husband, children, and the household always seems to rise to the top, while my needs lag in the distance. Having a need to run the household like Bree Van de Kamp…perfect and perky, all while wearing pearls is a goal most of us try to acheive.
But being perfect in God’s eyes is what I nowstrive for. I had become desperate for alone time, for me time, for personal time…just to hear my own thoughts, to seek God for MY benefit, to see what’s in store for me. Desperation is a barren place, where most of us don’t wanna be. The definition alone-“feeling, showing, or involving a sense of hopelessness”, is like a dirty secret we dare not utter, but that’s where I was. One thing I’ve learned, if I suck, it’s pretty much down hill for the family! So being desperate led me to seek after God more and more. I became deserate for him……a desperate housewife.
Psalm 142:25-7 (NIV)
5 I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
Heck yeah! Let’s just get that out-of-the-way. For all of you who think that working from home isn’t really “working”…sorry, it is! Working from home is a blessing for some and not so much for others. I’ve been blessed to work from home for the past 6 years and it was an adjustment, since I’m a chatty chatster who takes pleasure in chatting it up with the coworker-homies. But working from the confines of your home is just as much a REAL JOB as it is working offsite. The key to working from home is planning, balance, boundaries, and patience.
Planning-is my fav! Planning for me is artwork in a binder. I didn’t see myself as artsy or crafty until I began keeping a lifeplanner to organize. Planning is key if you want to be a home based success. Pen to pad lists have been proven to increase memory and save a frazzled mom a time or two! (All in favor say Aye!) Whether spiral or binder form, get a planner, write your crap down, and get organized.
Balance-BIG SIGH! There really isn’t a magic bullet for this one, it’s just something we’ve got to achieve. When we’re out of balance it’s unhealthy for us and the people around us. It causes stress, burn-out, anger, sadness, depression….it sux. So balance comes from a place of realistically looking at your life, one chunk at a time, getting things done, in small batches, day by day, piece by piece. Work-Life balance has to be implemented if you work from home. Since home IS the workplace, lines are easily blurred if there is no balance. Having a specific area to work in, a specific time to report to, and a specific schedule to adhere to, helps.
Boundaries-Kinda goes along with balance. But set clear concise boundaries for yourself and for your family to follow. If your “work” hours are from 7am-3pm Monday-Friday with a 30 minute break, post it so that expectation can be set. Be sure that you adhere to those set boundaries as much as possible,. If you don’t take it seriously…others won’t either. Finally never put work before the family. If you have a good daily plan or schedule, work hard to complete your tasks, and save the rest for another day. Never work late just to clear you list….remember family first!
Patience-Be ginger with yourself. I didn’t become a work from home genius in one day! It took me about 2 years to get myself and the family acclimated to what my goals and expectations. Over the years, these have changed, so I’ve had to renew the process several times. Six years later, I think we have a rhythm that works well. But I had to be patient with the process, and to pray when I was overwhelmed.
So let’s recap-working from home is most definitely work. It takes planning, balance, boundaries, patience…….
Dear God-bless all of us who are fortunate enough to work from home. Even if it’s not a fortunate situation, we count it all joy in your name. Help us to keep you first in all that we do, to be good stewards of our time and energies, to have healthy work-life balance, to keep clear boundaries, and to have patience when we do all we know to do and things still seem to go wrong. We depend on your love for guidance, comfort, and peace. Thank for all things! In the name of Jesus we pray-Amen