BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU
I married a man whose idea of a fun vacation was being in the middle of the woods in a pop up tent. My idea of a vacation was a nice hotel (on the beach, with a heated pool and room service). But hey, I fell hard for that handsome, rugged man so a few years later when he suggested we go camping, I said sure. I was OBVIOUSLY still in the dreamy stage. Jessica was just over a year and I was VERY pregnant with Andrea. We were camping in the middle of no where. This wasn’t a campground with restrooms, it was the woods with trees~ and the restroom was one of them. Trying to pee when you’re 8+ months pregnant, while leaning against a tree, is almost impossible. But I did it~
BECAUSE I LOVED HIM.
When I think about that crazy camping experience and how hard I thought it was, my thoughts go to Mary~the mother of Jesus~who traveled thousands of miles on a donkey and gave birth in a manger.
Because she loved HIM. Her Savior.
And then, my heart takes me to her Savior~MY Savior. He left the immense majesty of heaven and all it’s glory for us~
BECAUSE HE LOVES US.
He was born in a filthy cattle stall in Bethlehem~
BECAUSE HE LOVES US.
He died a horrible death for me, for you, and He wants to be born in your heart~
BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU.
Jimmy Pena put it beautifully. He wrote~ “Isn’t that what we want? For our hearts to be His Bethlehem? Born in us? When you and I walk into work or school or the gym... when we make dinner for the kids or visit a neighbor, we hold Him. We’re His Home on earth.”
What better time than the week before Easter to be reminded of Christmas? So, my reminder to you for March is this~ Jesus our Savior, born for us. Don’t let a day go by this week, or this year, that you neglect to thank and praise Him for His amazing gift and for His home in your heart.
BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU~
that beautiful, powerful name is the priceless, precious gift of Christmas that we should be thankful for every day of the year.
~~You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down.~~
WAIT! WHAT HAPPENED?
There are little moments in the lives of your children when you stop and think~”Wait! What happened?” One minute they want you to hold them and rock them. They want to snuggle with you and listen to you sing lullabies. Because their precious, little hearts love you so much~ they are no respecter of privacy or alone time. They beg to be with you, whether you’re cooking dinner, doing laundry or trying to hide out in the bathroom. They look at you with complete and utter adoration in their eyes. You are the most important and most beautiful woman in the world to them. You are their everything.
And then~you’re not.
Suddenly, one day they are telling you that you are mean because you won’t let them have their way. The adoration is gone.
And it hurts. Deeply.
A few years pass and you might even hear the heart wrenching words “I hate you” (or the look on their face says it). They won’t talk to you, and they either want to be alone in their room, or out with their friends.
And it hurts. Deeply.
And then they get married and start talking about having their own kids and suddenly the mom who could do no wrong, was wrong. You are told they will do things differently with their own children, (just like we probably told our parents). Their memories of how things happened while they were growing up might even be completely different than your own. It makes you feel like somehow you failed. You let them down.
And it hurts. Deeply.
You desperately want them to know how much you love them~ more than life itself. You want them to know that you would do anything in the world for them and that you didn’t have all the answers, but you did your best. And you prayed and prayed and prayed and then prayed some more. You desperately want them to know that, no matter how old they get, they mean everything to you. When they hurt, you hurt. When they cry, you cry. When they laugh, you laugh. You lay awake nights trying not to worry. You think about them all day long. But you don’t think they realize this. They don’t realize.
And it hurts. Deeply.
Dear mama, one day this too will pass and suddenly you will think~”Wait... what happened?” because they are telling you that they are thankful for how you raised them. And the look in their eyes shows the adoration they had for you so long ago.
Until that day, continue to pray mama. Don’t ever stop and don’t ever give up. Give your children to God, trust Him and have faith. It might take a while to get past the stage you are in at this moment, but God knows the end of the story and if you’ve given your babies to Him, it will always be a happy ending. You aren’t mean. You are doing what’s best for your child. They don’t hate you. There are stages where you can’t be their friend, as much as you want to be, you have to be their mother. God has given you the task and ministry of raising them for His glory and some days it will be harder than you can imagine. And then one day, you wake up and you are a grandma and that precious, little grand baby is looking up at you with complete and utter adoration.
As the years pass, so do the little moments, and you find yourself saying, “Wait! 😊, What happened?” because your own children aren’t just your children anymore, they truly have become your best friends. And on that day, as you find yourself listening to your best friend talk about their own kids, holding back the tears, you pray and thank God because you have complete and utter adoration in your eyes for this miracle He has blessed you with.
James 4:14, Proverbs 22:6, Psalm 127:4-5.
THE COMPARISON GAME
I’m a dreamer. Not just in the “wide awake, think about the future” sense but also in the “fast asleep, in the middle of the night” kind of way. I dream EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT.
They’re all very realistic. Some days they’re good and some days they’re bad, and when they’re bad, they’re very bad. It can ruin my whole day if I let it- even though it’s literally something that never happened.
One such dream came about last week and I woke up irritated and down on myself. I allowed it to ruin my day. I was in a funk and couldn’t snap out of it. My mind kept telling me “I wasn’t good enough” and asking “why in the world did God ever call me to be a pastor’s wife?” God’s answer was so clear, but I wasn’t listening and I wasn’t listening because I was too busy comparing. Comparing myself to all the outgoing, talkative, socially energetic women who would do a much better job than I do. Comparing myself to all the pastor’s wives on social media who have amazing testimonies and wonderfully articulate, beautiful, eye pleasing, heart convicting blogs. And then there was me. An introvert, married to an extrovert pastor, living in a small town~ with lofty thoughts that maybe, just maybe, I could write about it. And that’s exactly where satan wanted me~and you know what Ladies? I allow him to win~time after time after time. I am NOT looking for affirmation here. I was wrong. Plain and simple.
I have a comparison problem and it’s called sin.
After much internal struggle on my part, God’s answer to my question that day? Here’s what He told my heart~I called YOU to marry Mike, I called YOU to be a mama to your four beautiful children. I called YOU to Caseville to minister along side your sweet family. And then I asked YOU to write about it. Stop comparing and start trusting ME.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
Comparison can certainly suck the life out of you, and the world we live in can make it so easy to play the comparison game, and lose every time.
But they, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Cor. 10:12)
Have you ever been there Ladies? Let’s stop looking at our reflection through the eyes of society, television, our phones or tablets. Let’s look for our reflection in God’s word and let it shine from our hearts. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) Read Gods word. Talk to Him continually. Trust Him without reservation and daily remind yourself that the ONLY ONE we should compare ourselves to is Christ. He isn’t just a dream, He is our reality. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
I will be satisfied when I awake with HIS likeness. (Psalm 17:15)
I’m not really that person that sits and studies their love as they sleep, but the other day after church he fell asleep in his recliner and I just couldn’t help myself. It’s crazy how much stress shows up on a face just from every day life~(hard work and constant busyness, lack of rest or even emotional turmoil), yet fast asleep it all melts away. There’s such a peace while sleeping and I thought~ “man! he looks like he did when we first met.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he looks old~ 😂 but tired~ quite often. As I watched him sleep, I wanted to curl up next to him. I began to yawn and I laughed at myself. It was contagious. And then I thought~ am I contagious? Not in a sick way or even a sleepy way but in a God~like way. When others watch me do they see someone who exudes the peace that only comes from God or someone who’s face is constantly tied in the knots of stress, worry, busyness or turmoil. Our faces are a picture of our souls. Even when we don’t realize it, others are invited to flip through the photo album of our hearts just by what we show them on the cover. What will your first impression be? If someone happens to be studying you without your knowing~ would your face still show God’s presence? His peace and rest? We all will experience things that life throws at us, but when we are resting in Jesus our face will show the peace that passes understanding. A smile, a radiance, a calmness, a light. I’m afraid that too often my face can be contagious in a bad way. If my day is going bad, instead of giving it to Jesus and allowing Him to help me through, I make sure everyone knows I’m having a bad day~ and pretty soon we’re all miserable. You know the old saying~ ‘if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.’ It shouldn’t be that way. I understand we can’t be on top of the world 24/7, but thank God when we take our bad moments to Him, He will wrap His arms around us and His comfort and warmth will melt them all away. Be contagious today. Smile, laugh, twinkle. Be someone’s light. Show others what it truly means to rest in Jesus.
Romans 14:7. I Corinthians 12:26. Proverbs 15:13. Acts 2:28