Sunday, January 31, 2010

“You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!”
When I started giving my daughters chewable vitamins they would shout out their color request as I went to grab the jar, “I want the red one…” I started to say to them, “you take what the jar gives!” And thus I eliminated the fights over which color vitamin they got.
How many times in my life am I shouting out my demands and requests – wanting something different than what I am given? Too many! A spirit of discontent is a dangerous thing.

When I allow my girls to watch one short program on TV, they often ask for “just one more.” And I ask them, “are you being greedy or grateful?” How many times does my mind wander to, “if only I just had more…”? Too many! A greedy heart is a dangerous thing to have.

A cute little children’s book we have, “Pinkalicious” – has the mother telling her demanding daughter, “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!” We’ve read it so many times that the girls will quote it to each other, reminding their sister not to complain. But really, I think they should be saying it to me!

It’s easy to want a bigger house, more clothes, a new car, different friends, one more baby, more money, and the list goes on. But it has been impressed upon me lately to be content and enjoy what I’ve been given without asking for more. I already have more than I’ll ever need. Today I’m going to be grateful.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to Reality

If you have children and you’ve never gone away without them, I highly recommend it! Not because there is some kind of magical bliss that comes from being “kid-free” as if life with them is a burden. But a good amount of time away from them allows a mother to process all the changes that have occurred in her with this life change. It allows you to rediscover yourself, apart from the children, because there is still a very important person with needs, likes, dislikes, talents and value that all exist apart from the role of mother.

As I was in Seattle this past week I had the privilege of being the speaker for a college retreat. I used to minister to college students prior to being married and this was truly my passion. As I flew up there I was a bit nervous because it’s been a long time since I’ve spoken to college students and I feared that I’d “lost the edge!” To my surprise, the opposite happened.

After I spoke on Friday night, I went back to my cabin on a bit of a high. It felt good to once again use my gift of speaking and teaching. I didn’t expect my heart to race as I got up on stage and definitely didn’t expect to fall in love once more with college ministry. I had a rush of emotions that ranged from intense gratitude to God for giving me this opportunity to use my gifts - to intense guilt about having such a deep love for something that has nothing to do with my husband or children. Instead of choosing to indulge in this love affair of college ministry and the fear for what that would or wouldn’t look like once I came back home, I decided to be grateful for the moment. Thankful that I was having this opportunity to feel significant in a larger context than my immediate family and offer something that I know God has gifted me to do.

In this season of life most of my energy is devoted to caring for my young children and making sure their lives are pointing in the right direction. That doesn’t require my gifts that I am passionate about, but I’m passionate about them, so I’ve found new gifts – like making it out the door with all three kids on time 95% of the time!!! Yet I was reminded this past weekend that I do have other things to offer and in the right season, those gifts will be used.

If we’re not tapping into our true talents and gifts right now, God has not forgotten us. Farmers know that some seasons they need to let the ground lie fallow and plant nothing. That way the soil can regain nutrients so that in the right time, when seeds are sown again, those fields will reap an abundant harvest.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I’m off to speak at a college retreat in Seattle for a few days and will not have a new post until next Wednesday 1/27. Have a great week and enjoy the "Bonus Round" on the right!

Child of God
When I was little and heading off to school, my mom would stand at the front door and yell, “You’re a Child of the King, don’t act like an orphan!” I didn’t fully grasp what that meant then, but I do now and remind myself of that often! In the Bible it tells us that if we believe in Jesus then we are adopted into God’s family and we become a “Child of God.” We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ to the full inheritance of our Father which includes eternal life, the promises of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and so much more! Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much we really have!
Most of all we are given an identity that never changes – Child of God. In a world where we find who we are in what we do, our identity can constantly be changing. I went from a college student to “Viewer Relations Coordinator” at E! to a college minister, to a wife to a mother… my title has changed many times, but I have to remind myself that my identity isn’t found in a title or paycheck or what I do everyday. My identity is found in Jesus alone.
I forgot this often after I left my job in college ministry. The words I had spent years encouraging college students with, were now ringing in my ears. I felt lost and insignificant without a job. I still fight those feelings as a stay-at-home mom many days. But I remind myself that I am found in Jesus, my identity is a Child of God and that will never change.
In this day, you might feel powerless, insignificant, lost… but if you know Jesus, remember – You’re a Child of the King. Don’t act like an orphan! The full inheritance of God is at your fingertips!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Know I Love Popcorn
A friend once shared with me that sometimes in life it’s really easy to focus on all that we don’t know and don’t understand. It’s overwhelming, discouraging and frustrating. He said, at those times he sits on his front porch and says over and over, “I know I love popcorn, I know I love popcorn…” He said, if he knows one thing for sure, it is that he loves popcorn and even though that is simple and small, he focuses on what he knows for sure, rather than all he doesn’t!

As the images of the devastation in Haiti have burned into my brain this past week, the world is swirling with questions of “Why would God allow this?” “Where is God in this?” Or “If God is a loving God, why is there such great suffering?” To all these questions, I would answer – “I don’t know.” And to dwell on theses questions without answers is overwhelming, discouraging and frustrating. But instead I choose to focus on what I do know for sure, that God is not absent from the people of Haiti in the midst of their suffering. God loves the world. God is the only one who can give lasting hope and restoration to the people of Haiti. God will make something beautiful out of the rubble.

Some beautiful Haitian children I met while in the DR.

“For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” Psalm 22:24

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Having a Happy Heart
I've been trying to teach my children to "have a happy heart." Meaning that their attitude, words and actions would come from a happy heart, not a mean one! What we say and do are reflective of what is in our heart. If they are mean to each other or disrespectful to me, I ask them, "do you have a happy heart? Did those words come from a happy heart?" It's no surprise that they know the right answer - No! Even at a very young age they know that they have a choice in how they act. Why do we gravitate towards the bad, negative or wrong way? In training my children, I'm kinda training myself! I often choose the negative outlook, the harsh response or disrespectful tone. I'm trying to change that and it daily takes practice. Choose what is right. Dwell on what is true and kind. Focus on the good. Purify my heart O God! I want my words and actions to come out of a heart that is clean and "happy." I'm grateful that God forgives and purifies my heart when I ask Him, because I could never attain a pure and right heart on my own.

These photos are of little people with happy hearts! I hope they add a smile to your day and put a little "happy" in your heart too!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just Keep Going! Several years ago I was in Kyrgyzstan and there I met a missionary with 5 children. She told a story of taking all five kids back to the states by herself to go visit family. The flight from Kyrgyzstan to the US is very long with a few stops that require plane changes. She said that each kid had to pull their own carry on bag because she obviously couldn't carry them all herself! As they trekked through the airports she would say to her children over and over again, “come on kids, just keep going.” Several weeks later, back in Kyrgyzstan, her younger son was in school and the teacher was going around the room asking the children to describe their mom. This little boy said, “my mom just keeps going!” When I picture that missionary with her 5 kids running through airports to catch connecting planes, I picture her with her head down, focused, determined, and stopping at no cost; cheering on her brood as they wane and falter under the load of their baggage.

Lately I’ve talked to several friends who are in the midst of life’s mess. They’re at the end of their rope and on the ground gasping for air. Just a few months back that was me. I woke up each morning with a pit in my stomach, not wanting to go through the routine one more time, not wanting to deal with disobedient kids, not wanting to make one more meal, wash one more dish, brush one more set of teeth. I just felt done. I had dinner with a friend who himself has three teenage daughters and recalling when they were little he said, “you are in the toughest season of your life.” Somehow those seemingly discouraging words allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief. “OK”, I thought, “this is going to be hard, so put your head down, buckle up and just keep going!”
(If this is too “heavy” check out the meatloaf in “What’s For Dinner”!!!)

I love this! Sometimes I spin my wheels trying to eliminate all chaos in my life, trying to keep all the balls in the air and failing time and again. The reality is, life is messy. We need to learn to live in the midst of the mess. Don’t waste time trying to get rid of the chaos, you can't. (But a few hours alone at the spa sure helps!) The beauty with knowing Jesus is that we can not only learn to live through life's mess, but we can thrive in the midst of it.

Jesus promised that in this world we WILL have trouble. But take heart, He has overcome the world! Meaning, the trouble we have is not the end of the story!! God has overcome every obstacle we will possibly face in this life and with His strength and His grace, we too will overcome.

Those of you who have shared your life’s chaos with me lately, know that I am praying for you. Hang on and just keep going!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's Just A Season
My life moto was always, “live life with no regrets.” Not making foolish decisions, but perhaps pushing myself a bit more to do things that I might normally not, but in the end be thankful that I did. Take risks because “where there is risk, there is reward.” I went on many life changing adventures because of this moto!

Once I started having children my moto changed. It became, “it’s just a season.” With the radical life change that children bring, it’s easy to miss the old days of sleeping in, traveling wherever and whenever, going out to a movie on a Friday night without planning ahead, having a clean house… But the sleepless nights are just a season. Staying home for vacation is just a season. Renting a movie and having frozen pizza on Friday nights is just a season. A messy house that I can’t get ahead of – “it’s just a season!” All too soon these precious jewels will grow up and the season of freedom will return and I’ll probably miss the days when we played hide-n-seek, sang silly songs at dinner, and an unwelcomed little person snuggled in bed with me in the middle of the night. I probably won’t miss the messy house though!

With the daily challenges that motherhood or life in general brings, I constantly remind myself, “it’s just a season.” I can’t possibly accomplish all that I used to in one day because I now have 3 children added in the mix. With each new season of life, my goals and expectations must change or I’ll forever be disappointed. It’s not making excuses or becoming less ambitious! It’s being realistic and making room for new joy that is offered in new seasons of life. I need to also remember that the joy of cuddling a baby in the middle of the night is just a season. Putting pigtails in little girls' hair and going down slides at the park is just a season too.

It is important to embrace the season you’re in. There is a time to mourn the loss of single life once you get married. There is a time to mourn the fun carefree newlywed life once children come. But as my old pastor in Seattle used to say, “crying is ok for a time, but eventually you need to stop and figure out what you are going to do.” Today I’m embracing the season I’m in. I’m not going to fight it. I’m going to live into every aspect of it, even the tough stuff. Because I know this season is preparing me for the next one and if I miss the lessons of this season, I won’t be equipped for the next. And as we all know, seasons always change.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Not My Own

Not My Own
I always thought that if I ever recorded an album, my title track would be, "Not My Own." As a follower of Jesus, I've learned time and again that my life is "not my own." Sounds counter-cultural since we always hear about "taking control of your life", "you're in charge", "you make your destiny", and so on! But I've learned that the more I let go, the more I gain. The more I give total control over to Jesus, the more freedom I feel and the more real life I live. My life is not my own, but it belongs to Jesus and there is no better way to live. Thus the name of my blog, "Not My Own."

Well... kinda! That is the start of the story - the rest came with marriage and 3 kids! Over the past 5 years, my life REALLY isn't my own! It belongs to a wonderful husband and 3 precious munchies! "Not My Own" has taken on a whole new meaning these days. Yet the more I give of myself to my husband and children, the more I fee like I'm living into the truth of abandoning my life to Christ. My worship to God is laying down my life to do His will and right now that is to love and nurture my family.
     OK, enough with the title explanations! WHY am I starting a blog? Well, I'm not totally sure! It's been on my mind for about 6 months and I just can't shake it. So, I thought no better time to start than the top of the year. Not sure who will read it, not sure why anyone would. Not exactly sure what I'll write nor how eloquent it will be- I'm not a good writer according to many of my past English teachers! Oh well. In some crazy way I just want to encourage others with what God is doing in my life, pass along what I'm making my kids for dinner to those frustrated moms who just don't know what to make anymore! and throw in a few "must haves." My goal is to write at least 3 times a week. That's it. Hope you enjoy. Or at least, I hope I do!


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