Friday, December 23, 2011

The Widows, the Fatherless, and Blue Piggy Banks

For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot lately of the four and half months my husband was gone this year. God used that time to show me so many things, and in many ways I am still digesting those things. God promises many things in His Word, and one of those things is that He cares for the widows and the fatherless. I obviously had no understanding of what that meant until I didn’t have a husband at home, and I still have no complete understanding since my husband is still living. I look back on those four and half months though, and am amazed at the things God did for not only me, but my little girl as well. She was two and a half when he left, and celebrated her third birthday while he was gone. She went through things that no little one should have to go through. Her favorite movie while he was gone was “Finding Nemo” and she told me it was because
“Nemo’s daddy came back, just like my daddy.” Really? What kid thinks like that? All growing up, I was told that God cares for our needs, and not only our needs, but sometimes our wants. Even the little things. I didn’t really believe that, honestly, until a few months ago. Every year our church hosts a missions conference in October. To help remind the congregation to be thinking about the missions conference, 6 months before the conference the mission committee set up plastic piggy banks for the children to take home, so they could start collecting coins to give as an offering to the missionaries. The piggy banks came in assorted colors: green, yellow, pink, orange, and blue. When Anastasia and I reached the tables containing the piggy banks, every color was left except blue. But that was ok, because Anastasia didn’t even realize blue had been an option. She picked out another color, and as we walked through the church to find Grandma and Grandpa, she saw someone holding a blue piggy bank. She looked at me and said, “Oh, I want a blue one, Mama”. My first thought was, “Too bad, there weren’t any left”, but I said, “Okay, we can go look”, fully believing that she would be stuck with the color she had. We headed back to the table, and guess what? There was a blue piggy bank. It was as though God knew she wanted blue, and He purposely placed it there to show me that He takes care of the little ones’ wants. And yeah, it may sound like a stupid example, but I think back on it often. He took care of my little girl’s wants. It certainly wasn’t a need to have a blue piggy bank, but it was a desire of hers, and He gave it to her. Not only did He give her a desire of her heart, but He showed that little girl’s mama how faithless I can be. How often I go through life just flat out not believing that He can do something. And it’s usually the little things. And how rebuked I felt when I saw that blue piggy bank sitting there, waiting for Anastasia to take it home. And what a great reminder that God always keeps His promises.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Apples and Apple Cores

Since having children, I have been reminded of how often we, as adults, continue to act like children. I often wonder if God looks at us the same way we look at our kids as they are throwing temper tantrums, or telling us how things ought to be, etc. Our kids think they know what is best, when really, mommy and daddy know what is best. Today, my son, who is 16 months old, managed to find an apple core that was left somewhere by my daughter, and tried to eat as much as he could of what was left. I put him in his high chair, and proceeded to take the core away, telling him I would give him something better: an actual apple. As I took the core away, he screamed and cried in anger because he wanted that core so badly. He didn’t understand at the time that I was going to replace that core with something better. He only knew what he thought was best. I was reminded that I often respond the same exact way when God takes something from me that I think is good. I am content with the apple core, and in fact, I like it. And when God chooses to take it, sometimes I scream and cry in anger, just like my 16 month old. But just as I replaced that apple core with something good, God also chooses to replace our apple cores with something good. Though our apples may not always seem good at the time, in reality, it is our Heavenly Father who knows what is best for our lives. And what a comfort to know that He takes care of us, even better than we take care of our own children, and even when we may throw temper tantrums like little ones.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Better Country

All too often I get tired of my job. I get tired of the same thing every day. I get tired of waking up to poop everywhere. I get tired of sweeping Cheerios off the floor yet again. I get tired of watching Tigger, or Nemo, or whatever happens to be the favorite animated character that day. And all too often I find myself ungrateful for the things that I have. I find myself thinking that if I only had a bigger house, or if I only had a child that obeyed, I would be happy. Today, I was really tired of my job. I’ll just admit it, I was cranky. So I opened my Bible up when the kids went to bed, purposefully opening to Hebrews 11. It’s a passage I have read many, many times before, and I was hoping to get encouragement from it. And I did get encouragement, just not from the verses I expected.

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country ...” Hebrews 11:13-16a

I realized as I read those verses, that I haven’t been desiring a better country. I haven’t been desiring heaven. I haven’t been desiring God. I get so caught up in myself throughout the day, and the needs and wants that I have. And I was reminded of a truth that I have heard many times before … that my purpose in being a mom is to point those two little ones to a better country. A divine country. A country where God dwells. And that makes me nervous. And excited, but mostly nervous. What they hear about God is most likely coming from me. I am the one they are around all day, every day. And maybe they will hear more from someone else, but what will they see in me? Because I know that if they see me say that I believe in God, and yet I don’t live it, I have failed. So tonight I am thankful. I am thankful that God opened my eyes to this now. And I am thankful that tomorrow is a new day … with a purpose.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So, life as we knew it is back to normal .. Well, sort of. We are all so excited to be a family again. A family together, that is. My husband returned home last week after four and a half long months. I have been thinking this past week about those months a lot. It was so easy for me to just wish the days away, and hope and pray that the time would go by quickly. And now looking back, I wonder, "What did I learn through it? Did I learn anything? Will I change anything because of it?" And I've come to realize so many different things about myself. I've realized not only how much I took and do take my husband for granted, but I've also realized how I rely on him almost too much. And I'm not saying there is anything wrong with relying on a spouse, God designed marriage to allow us to rely on another human being in a way that we have never experienced, nor will experience again on this earth. But there is a danger in elevating that other human being to a level equal to, or higher than, God. In some ways, in many ways, I think I did that with my husband. So four months away from him really put things in perspective. As much as it hurt to be away from him, I find myself wondering lately if it hurts that much when I'm away from God for that long (i.e. when I chose not to be in regular fellowship with Him). Do I long for God the way I longed for my husband? Do I seek every opportunity to still talk to Him, even when life is absolutely crazy? And when I'm truly honest with myself, I see how I've elevated my husband (and to some extent, my children) to a level that is truly unfit for them. I've elevated them to a level that only one Being can fill, and that is God. So as difficult as these last four and a half months have been, I'm thankful. I'm so thankful that God has allowed us to experience this. He has shown me so many things about myself, that I don't think I would have seen otherwise. He has taught me that I don't always need to know the answers to my "why?" questions. He has taught me that He truly is a Father to those who don't have one (or to those whose father is absent for a time). And He has taught me that instead of relying on people, like I am so apt to do, I need to rely solely on Him.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


So I’ll be honest, I’ve haven’t written in awhile, because I am struggling. I am struggling with so many different things right now. I have been questioning God so much. I don’t understand why He allows what He allows sometimes. And I have really wanted to know the answers to why. But today I got a note from an old friend, and God used it to clarify things for me. I don’t need all the answers. For whatever reason, God chooses to allow things in our lives, and we don’t need to know why. As much as we want to know why, He finds it best to not tell us. And He calls us to trust Him. Trust that He knows what He is doing. Trust that He will take care of us. And that trust is called faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). And you know what? He doesn’t promise it’ll be easy. But he still asks us to trust and rest in Him.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Do you ever have days that you feel like you are barely holding on? That has been this week for me. Every day I have been stressed, for no particular reason, other than the obvious. I get stressed over anything and everything. Whether or not the dog needs to be let out. Whether or not the kids need to be let out. It is so easy for me to try to take back control of everything. The things that I think I can control, when in reality I can't. I can't control if my daughter will obey today. I can't control if my son is going to get sick. And it's hard to see disobedience and illness as a blessing. It's easy for me to think I'm a bad mother because of how my child acts. I feel as if I'm in the midst of a bad dream that I can't escape. And I know that it won't be forever, but right now, in the middle of it, it feels like forever. I wonder if it will get easier. It's been a month, and the house is still a disaster. I've never been good at cleaning anyways, so that in and of itself is a challenge. Let alone taking care of the kids too. And I don't say these things for sympathy. I just want to let it out. I know I'll be ok. If I do what I know I need to do, and even if I don't (not the preferred method, I know). Unfortunately, it is so easy for me, when tough times come, to try to do everything by myself. And I know it's pride. I know it's pride to think that I don't need to read my Bible or pray. I know it's pride to not ask for help when I need it. And I know it's pride to feel like I'm going to be a burden on someone. I know it's pride to feel that twinge of guilt whenever I ask someone for help. But I know I can't do it all on my own. I see why God intended for the family to be a man and a woman to care for their children. This single parenting stuff is tough. And I know people do it all the time, but I see how perfectly God has knit my husband and I together to compliment each other. And I miss him. I miss him a lot. I take him for granted in so many different areas. But I'm learning. Slowly, but surely, I'm learning. I'm learning to take one day at a time. And I'm learning that God's grace is sufficient for each day. I'm so thankful I only have to live one day at a time! And I'm learning that God is glorified in my weakness. "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content in my weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then am I strong" 2 Cor. 12:9. I can honestly say that I am not perfectly content with my weaknesses .. or my hardships .. but I am also seeing how the Christian life is a journey. A wonderful, amazing, tough journey. He uses different circumstances to mold us and to shape us to become like Him. It makes me look forward to heaven. No more sin. No more tears. No more hurt. And it makes me pray for my little ones. Pray that they would come to know Him as their Savior someday. They of all people know who I truly am. They see me day in and day out. All my imperfections. I hate how often I have to say "I'm sorry" to them. I hate that I sin. But I guess that's human nature, isn't it? Makes me thankful for the Savior, who overcame "human nature".

Monday, February 21, 2011


Ah, what a day. This time with my husband away has been quite the experience. In a good way. I am learning so much about myself, and so much about how God works. It's amazing, and wonderful, and scary all at the same time. It's only been 3 weeks, but God has shown me that no matter what, He is in control. As much as I want to control my circumstances, I can't. And I'm learning to be ok with that. I'll be honest, it's hard, but God is sovereign. I am so thankful that nothing surprises Him. And He always give us the grace we need for every situation. No matter how overwhelming a situation may seem to us, He knows, and planned it for our good. He planned it to make us more like Him. What an overwhelming peace that comes when I realize I am not in control, and I don't need to be. And if I'm honest with myself, I don't want to be in control either. I'm learning what my true priorities are, not what I want them to be. And overall, at the end of every day, whether good or bad, I know I am blessed beyond measure.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Remember You

I'll be completely honest, I hurt right now. Like really hurt. This week has been rough. It seems that seemingly bad things only happen when my husband is gone. And yet, I am blessed. It's so easy to look at the things that are hard and difficult, and forgot how much I have. Yes, my husband is gone, but only for 4 months. Some military families have to go a year without seeing their husband/daddy. And we get to talk to him. All the time. I'll be honest, though, this week has been very difficult to pray or read my Bible. I guess it just shows how I naturally turn away from God when times get difficult instead of running to His arms. A dear friend shared a passage with me the other day, and I knew that I would need it while my husband is away. I turned to it tonight, and was so encouraged that difficulties are nothing new to believers. Honestly, I struggle to even call what we are going through a difficulty. I'm one of those people that looks at things as good pretty much all the time. Things can always get worse. I mean, I'm not fighting for my life. I haven't lost children or a husband to death. I have been blessed with a wonderful church family and biological family. I have two really calm kids (for the most part ... weird to get two, I know). But yet, with all those blessings, my heart still hurts. I know in my head that I am blessed. I certainly feel blessed, but my heart still hurts. But I will spare you my ramblings .. But one of the sons of Korah puts it in much better words than I.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you ... Psalm 42:5-8

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Being an Example (for Good or Bad)

A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak at a dear friend’s baby shower. I said yes before really thinking about what that would mean. (If you’ve read my blog before, you know that speaking in front of others is not exactly a gift of mine.) Nonetheless, I made a commitment to share some words of advice. As I thought and prayed about what I would say, God brought to mind some things that He has been teaching me lately. I have been under a lot of stress lately (ok, maybe not a lot, more like a colossal amount of stress). Either way, it’s been eating me up inside, and I haven’t even noticed it. I tend to be one of those people that holds things in until I explode. Kind of like a volcano. The other day, I lost it. I yelled (ok, screamed) at my husband for something so minute, that I don’t even remember what it was. And thankfully, he was gracious enough to show Christ to me by just holding me for awhile and telling me that I’ve just been under a lot of stress lately. I mention this because God has graciously given us marriage as a means of showing us who we really are. He has given us marriage to show us more of our sin, and to allow us to sharpen our spouse. And just as He has given spouses to reveal more of our sin nature, He has also given us children to show us more of our sin nature. The Lord has been showing me more and more of my sin nature through the actions of my daughter. Sometimes she does things for which I look at her in stunned amazement, realizing that she acts the way she does because I act the way I do. And the more I see her mimic me, the more I realize that I need to be living in such a way that is pleasing to the Lord if I expect her to live in such a way. Sometimes it’s so much easier to expect things out of other people that we don’t expect from ourselves. It’s easy, and it’s sin nature to believe that we are the exception to the rule. It’s easy to accept laziness from our own lives, while expecting productivity from another. And yet, as a parent, I have these two little people that look up to me as an example. And what kind of example am I setting? Am I setting an example of Christ in the way I speak? The way I conduct myself? My faith? My love? Am I teaching them through my words, but not through my life? There are so many things to ponder; so many questions to answer and so many things to examine in my life.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Content. What is it mean to truly be content? I find myself in a place not many twenty-four year olds find themselves. I am a wife and the mother of two children. I married at 21, and delivered my first child at 22. Not exactly the typical American female. Most of the time, I love my life, but in my “life plan”, I certainly did not expect to be where I am at today. I never really wanted to get married. Well, I wanted to, but certainly not at a young age. I wanted to live my life. I wanted to do missions. I wanted to go off to some obscure place in Africa and work as a nurse helping others before I married and had children. And yet, here I find myself. I still finished nursing school, but instead of helping other people fight diseases, I help littler people eat, bath (hopefully without screaming from the little person), go potty, learn to say “please” and “thank you”, etc. And sometimes I find myself wishing I were in Africa. Not because I don’t love my children, I love them very much, but I find myself getting annoyed with the same routine every day. I find it hard to find joy and contentment in the mundane. Until recently. The Lord has been working on my heart in so many areas lately. I find that as my family grows, it becomes less and less possible for me to do certain things outside the home. At more than one point, I have become angry that I can’t “minister” to other people because I need to clean, or do laundry, or put a child to bed. I have been so blessed that I have a husband who is more than willing to allow me to go out if I want too, even if that means going to the grocery store at midnight. Together, we have been involved in ministries at our church, and we have loved it. With my husband leaving for so long, I see that it is necessary for me to take a step back from some things. And that frustrated me at first. It frustrated me because I am selfish, and I am prideful. I want to do the things that I want to do. I don’t want to be restricted. But I am. And I’ve come to a peace about it. I’ve coming to realize (and am still coming to realize) that my number one priority is my family. It’s not the people outside my family. It’s my husband, my daughter, and my son. And with my husband being gone, my daughter and my son will need me even more. My priority is raising those two little ones to be God-fearing adults. And that starts in the home. It doesn’t start with sending them to Sunday school, or Wednesday night church, or a Christian school. It starts with us. It starts with Dad and Mom. It means giving up what I want to do, so that I can nurture and cultivate relationships with them now. It means stepping back from other responsibilities, so that I can take care of the responsibilities in my home. And I’m ok with that. I’m excited about it. I’m excited to pour my life and energy into these two little ones. What a blessing it is, and what a daunting task it is to raise children to be like Christ. And I know I’m not perfect, I know I’ll make mistakes. But God has blessed me, and equipped me with His Word to teach me how to teach little ones. So amazing. But for those of you who read this, please pray for me. Please pray for me in the coming months. I have good days and I have bad days. Some days I rejoice, and some days I mourn. Most days lately, I mourn. But in my heart, I know that God has planned this for our good. And I am excited to see what He has in store for us in the coming months.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Flu

Today, I am thankful for God's gift of the flu. And I'm truly not being sarcastic. My husband was able to take last week off work, and was supposed to start working out at the Air Guard base this week, but because we got the flu, he took another week off work. :) Because of the flu, we got some much needed time with Daddy before he leaves. We got to watch a movie as a family today, and just spend time together. I never thought I would say getting the flu was a blessing, but this week it truly is.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


"Heal my heart and make it clean,
Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like You have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks Yours,
Every thing I am for Your Kingdoms cause
As I walk from earth into eternity."
- Brooke Fraser Ligertwood

Friday, January 14, 2011


Today, I am grateful for every moment I have with my two little ones. I am grateful for the runny noses and the cranky moods. I am grateful for the sleepless nights and the stinky diapers.
Life again was put in perspective for me today. We attended a funeral for a 6-year-old little girl. The last two funerals we attended have been for little ones. The first was for a 4-month-old baby boy, and today, a little girl. I don't mean to write about death so much, but maybe it's just that I have been thinking about what life really means lately. As a believer in Christ, I can be comforted by death. But what about those who don't believe in Christ? How do we comfort them?
So many things to think about today. It makes me grateful for the hope we have in Christ. It makes me grateful for a Savior, but more than grateful. I am in awe that we have a Savior. Awed ... Humbled ... Grateful ... It makes me look forward to being with Christ forever. To know the glory of being with Him for eternity. To worship Him forever. Now, that is comforting, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Wow, what an encouragement this post was to me this morning. I don't pray for my children nearly as often as I should, but here are some great verses and ideas of how to make prayer more intentional throughout my day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Choosing Gratitude

I’m not really a New Year’s resolution person. In fact, I despise New Year’s resolutions. Kind of harsh, I know, but I’ve never been fond of the idea of choosing a “resolution” that lasts 2 weeks. (And please understand, I know that not everyone views resolutions like this.) But this year, I’ve actually made a resolution of sorts, even though I don’t really want to think of it as one. In September, I bought a book called “Choosing Gratitude” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have only read the first page or two, but I have determined that my goal or my “theme” for this year is going to be “choosing gratitude”. God has blessed me beyond measure, and I don’t ever want to forget that.

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15


I am so thankful that God has given us so many examples in Scripture. He gives us examples of people who are upright and walk in Him, and He gives us examples of those who don't. Sometimes when I read of the people who reject Him over and over, I find myself judging them, even though I am the exact same way. It is so easy for me to praise Him when things are good, or when things are going my way, but it's a whole lot harder to praise Him when things are bad, or when things aren't the way I like. I am so thankful though, that He brings those hard times to make us stronger in Him. He brings them to draw us close to Him. What an awesome God we have who wants us to be close to Him. He wants us to bring our difficulties before Him so that He would be magnified and lifted up. It always amazes me when I read the story of Job. I know it's a familiar passage to most people. In the first chapter, Job loses everything he has. That chapter ends by saying, "In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong" Job 1:22. Wow. One of my worst fears is losing my family. Job lost all of his children, and yet he didn't sin. What an awesome illustration of Christ. And yet, Job remained blameless and upright when everything was taken away from him. What an awesome example. I am so thankful that God gave us these examples in Scripture so that we might have hope. We have hope in a God who knows all things, who plans all things, and who gave us a Savior from our sins.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

To Him Be the Glory

Why is it than when I hurt I so often look to myself for the answers? I send that question out, but I know the answer. I know that I look to myself because I am a sinner. And I so wish I wasn't. Do you ever feel like the "chief of sinners" that Paul talks about? I do. I am lazy, I make up excuses not to do things (or to do things), I neglect Scripture, I look to the world for wisdom instead of the Word, I get angry at my husband and children, I am jealous, I am prideful ... All the things the Lord says He hates, I am.
I explained yesterday that my husband is leaving for a few months. It's so easy for me to say on the outside that we'll be ok. It's easy for me to tell others that we don't need help, even though we do. Honestly, I know it's because pride is so deeply ingrained in me, that I want to put up a good front. I want people to think that I have it all together, when I don't. I'm falling apart on the inside. It eats me up that my husband is leaving.
But I also know that I don't have to do it on my own. I certainly want too, but I don't have too. It's so hard for me to give things up to God, but that is exactly what He wants us to do. He gave up His only Son, so that we don't have to carry our sin burden with us anymore. He paid that price for us. How amazing. 1 Timothy 1:16-17 says, "But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever. Amen". He gives us mercy to display HIS goodness. He gives us mercy so that HE might be glorified. I am so thankful that there is nothing I can do to deserve His mercy. I am so thankful that He doesn't look at my life and determine if I am "good enough". I am so thankful that in His mercy and kindness HE saved me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I don't do change well. I never have. I like things in the same spot all the time. I HATE moving. Which probably explains why I've only moved about 3 times in my entire life. Well, our family is going through lots of change in the next few weeks. My husband is in the military, and is going to training for 4 months. I've tried not to think about it too much, because whenever I think about it I start to cry. But today in my devotions I read this, "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit" Psalm 34:18 .. I wouldn't exactly say that I am crushed in spirit, but I think it's safe to say I'm in the brokenhearted category. And the Lord is near me. What an encouraging and humbling thought. I certainly don't deserve Him to be near me. I deserve the opposite. And yet, He is near. I am so thankful and grateful that He is here. I don't have to worry about who will take care of us for 4 months, because He will. I don't have to worry about my little girl who won't have a daddy with her for 4 months, because He will take care of her. How awesome to rest in a God who has perfectly planned this for our good.