Thursday, July 31, 2014

Strength in Weakness (Excerpt from "Queen of the Home")

From the conclusion to Queen of the Home:

As you begin to grasp just how vitally important your role as the queen of your home is, it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. Building a nation, raising an army, training, guiding, guarding, loving, helping and nurturing—as well as changing diapers, washing dishes, wiping cute little noses, doing laundry and tending to a mind boggling array of other duties around the clock—is a tall order to fulfill. Isn’t this all just a bit too much to put on one person? Is it even possible to attain to all these high and lofty ideals? What if we have no idea how to begin?

Take heart! This is where we must remember that we cannot depend on our own strength to do this great work. We are weak, we grow weary, we are sinful, we get tired of laying down our lives for others (we just want to lay down and take a nap), and we can easily lose our vision (it got buried under all those piles of laundry). When discouragement begins to creep in and you feel like throwing in the towel (or, in this case, the crown) consider just a few of God's beautiful and sure promises:

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. Psalm  73:26 
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. Psalm 18:32 
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:2 
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Isaiah 40:29
What does it really mean though to look to Him for strength? How do we find rest when we grow so weary?  What about those days where we feel like we really have given our all, but still have to keep on giving? It sounds wonderful, but how does this actually play out  in the day to day whirlwind?

I was pondering this myself one day; wondering particularly how “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) actually worked. I opened up my Bible to Proverbs 16:20 and found my answer: “Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.” 

Our strength comes from our joy in the Lord and our joy in the Lord comes from our trust in Him. When we truly trust the Lord then we rest in Him, and no longer rely on our own strength but on Him to hold us up and carry us. Eureka!

It is trust in God and what He says in His Holy Word that keeps our hope and vision alive; without it we lose our purpose and our way. Trust is what causes us to cry out to Him for help and sees Him answer in all the little details. This is where we can find delight and peace and joy like we've never known. This is what we fall back on and what pushes us forward. Our trust in Him strengthens us to obey Him and our obedience leads to even greater trust. It is confidence in Him that undergirds us and gives us a sure foundation on which we can stand even when the winds blow hard. When we are built on the Rock (Matt. 7:24) He holds us up even (and especially) when we come to the end of ourselves.

If we could rise to this high calling in our own strength we would not learn to depend on the Lord the way we do when we fall exhausted at His feet—and when we learn to depend on Him, then we also glorify Him. Instead of patting ourselves on the back and feeling satisfied with our wonderful accomplishments we point to our faithful God and know the only reason we accomplish anything is by His grace and mercy.
As daughters of the King of Kings may we rule honorably and well our little corners of His Kingdom.  Let us keep our eyes fixed firmly on our Heavenly Father and His Word. Though to the world our heads may look bare, may we earn and wear the crown of glory promised to those who seek wisdom and faithfully persevere:

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Proverbs 4:7
May we never forget the might and power of our calling and our utter dependence on our Heavenly King to fulfill it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Simple Meal - Salsa Chicken


Chicken Breasts - enough for your family
Salsa - enough to cover the chicken
Taco Seasoning (optional)
Cilantro (optional)
Olives (optional)
Shredded Cheese (optional)

Place chicken in 13x9 inch pan, sprinkle taco seasoning over the top, cover in about a cup of salsa, sprinkle with cilantro, cut up (or broken up) olives and shredded cheese, cover with foil, put in the oven at 350 and cook for an hour. Remove foil a few minutes before you are ready to take it out of the oven. Goes wonderfully with rice and can also be easily adapted for the crockpot.

Quote of the Week ~ July 30, 2014

"The employments of daily life, of women especially, need often the remembrance that they are done in the sight of Him, in whose eye the lowliest act is of importance. There are many persons who do not perform them well, because they do not look upon them as part of their religious duties. Such persons could perhaps make great sacrifices for conscience sake; they could act nobly and wisely if any great service were demanded; but they do not consider that the whole progress of human life consists of a succession of small acts.

It is often with lesser duties as with lesser trials, that strength to do or to bear is not sought of God. Some great trial befalls us, some important sacrifice is required, and feeling our helplessness, we fall back upon God, and support is given; but every‐day events are, by their very monotony, unimpressive; we think lightly of them, and the help of God is not sought, and they are not duly considered, and so are performed in a careless, perhaps in an unwilling spirit. But He who is the Judge of all the earth, looks down with approval on the mother whose life is one daily course of self‐sacrifice, on the daughter whose gentle smiles and willing work render home happy, rather than on her who is roused from a course of usual listlessness to some one act of great exertion, or to some one costly deed of self‐denial.

The flash of lightning produces a great effect; and the clearer air, and the cloudless sky, show that it has well performed God's mission; yet who would not rather that her light should shine like that of the evening star, whose tranquil rays nightly guide the traveller home, and cheer the mariner on the deep, and smile sweetly on the shepherd who watches by his fold, till they "fade away into the light of heaven."  ~ Anne Pratt

Monday, July 28, 2014

Planning with an Open Hand

From Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things:
I have a tendency to live in my ideals. I picture our ideal day, week, or term, and then I feel chronically disappointed because it never becomes my reality. I’m tight-fisted. I cling ruthlessly to my own vision and fail to recognize that the beauty is in the muddle.
What it really boils down to is a lack of humility and a failure to see that God is glorified even when the day looks nothing like it did when I mapped it out on paper. I’m so intent on having things go my way that I don’t leave room for Him to turn the whole thing on its head and do with it what He wills.
How do we open our fist? How do we teach from rest, willing to receive anything He hands us?
Click here to read the rest.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Quote of the Week ~ July 26, 2014

"[U]nto him who mounts the Whirlwind and directs the Storm I will cheerfully leave the ordering of my Lot, and whether adverse or prosperous Days should be my future portion I will trust in his right Hand to lead me safely thro[ugh]. . . ." ~ Abigail Adams

Motherhood is Application

Excellent insight from Rachel Jankovic:
The good news is, you don’t need to have been through some elite mother’s training camp to apply the gospel in your life. You need to believe. Trust God, give thanks. Laugh. Believe — and that will feed your children. Rest in God, and your children will learn to. Extend God’s kindness to you, to them. Forgive them the way God forgave you. You have everything you need to spiritually nourish your children, because you have Christ.
The gospel is not just something to talk about Sunday morning while you are in clean clothes and the kids are looking orderly. It is not limited to quiet times and reflective moods. It is something to apply while you are in a difficult position in the back of the car trying to buckle a child up who is playing the kazoo and needs their nose wiped.
God is not above these moments. He is teaching us, and leading us, and refining us, in them. He wants to see our faith in action. He wants to see us feeding our children with the grace that he has given to us.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fetal Cells Cross Placenta, Stay With Pregnant Mom for Life

Another amazing study on the benefits of pregnancy:
According to Krulwich there is increasing evidence that “when a woman has a baby, she gets not just a son or daughter, [but] an army of protective cells – gifts from her children that will stay inside her and defend her for the rest of her life.”
Some interesting points and quotes from the segment:
  • “In a teaspoon of an ordinary pregnant woman’s blood… [are] dozens, perhaps even hundreds of cells… from the baby,” according to a Tufts University researcher. Lab studies done “over and over and over and over” of mother mice with diseases (ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers) show that fetal cells rush to the places where they’re needed in the mom.


For all my fellow mothers in a season of exhaustion - who feel like they can hardly put one foot in front of the other, who are worn "even before the day begins", who are even more soul weary than they are physically weary, who are walking through trial while caring for the needs of their families, who are just plain wiped out. Keep fighting the good fight; remember  in the midst of the temporal chaos, heartache, crumbs and laundry that we are investing in eternity.  Remember we can rest in our faithful God Who never grows tired:
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40: 28-31
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9
I pray this song encourages you as it did me.

Mothering Through Fatigue

The fatigue threatens to steal my joy. It’s been a long day, we are out of town and I should be enjoying the break from everyday life. Instead old fears creep in as I struggle with being so tired.  I’ve walked this path before and it isn’t a pleasant journey.
I slip away for an afternoon nap, and wake up feeling just as exhausted. Downstairs I try to put on my happy face and visit with family as if nothing is wrong. Inside I really want to just cry.
Bedtime finally comes and I wrestle with my 2 year old not wanting to go to her bed in a strange house. Anxiety is rearing it’s ugly head as my body is so weary, my adrenaline is soaring as I try to stay calm.
Suddenly I stop. I have a choice to make. A decision to choose joy or to slip further into discouragement. As I start putting pajamas on the 2 year old and look into her smiling face, the answer is clear. I must choose joy. My children depend on me. My husband needs me to be peaceful instead of irritated.
The words to Psalm 46 flood my mind, and I remember my mother singing it through lips of faith. “God is my refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble. So we will not fear, though the earth give way. Though the mountains fall into the midst of the sea.”

When You Need Grace to Make Chicken Salad

Words of  wisdom from Bambi Moore at In the Nursery of the Nation:
These are the Calgon moments of motherhood. The rock tumbler as one mom called it. We start to smash into each other and painfully get our rough edges knocked off. The surprise of it is like being in the wave pool at a water park. You’re having a great time and then out of nowhere one of those big waves hauls off and hits you right in the face, stinging your eyes, burning your throat and you’re having a difficult time finding your feet.

Overwhelming scenarios like these are when we must remember the gospel and choose to live in light of it. We must not think the gospel is too big for these little circumstances in our lives that present themselves without notice. The gospel is for every moment, big or small. Our homes are a mission field, after all. Just as important as what goes on in foreign mission fields. We must apply to our families what we know about God and our communion with him through Christ. Communion with Him means becoming like him. We must use what we know about God’s extending hand of mercy, grace and loving kindness. In times like these we make the effort to abide in the Vine, take the grace our Father has bestowed on us, and be a channel of that grace toward our children. 

Survival for Tired Moms

From Charlotte Siems at This Lovely Place
If a good night’s rest seems like a faraway dream, welcome to motherhood. The season of having little ones sometimes seem to require more of us than we have to give. Having “been there, done that” for about 25 years, I get the feeling of desperation that sometimes overwhelms tired moms. Here are some ideas on how to survive—and thrive—when you’re one tired mama.
Take off the cape. You know, the Super Mom cape. You are human. You cannot do it all. The years of caring for children (and that includes teenagers) are demanding, but they are not forever. Don’t miss them by trying to impress people or prove something, thereby working yourself into the ground.

Why Moms Need to Reboot

I get tired. I get grouchy and start to look around and only see too many pairs of shoes out of place, dust under the couch, toys left out for the 100th time.
But I MUST reboot, and remind myself that the mechanics–that is, how I handle the mechanics, are intricately tied to this bigger thing that we do…this growing of souls, and launching of good, sturdy men and women.
I cannot allow myself to be too tired for too long. Grace is given, yes, but then I must draw, not from my own strength, but from that source of never-ending power that comes from the One who has called me to this.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I Signed Up For This

Excellent reminders from Mrs. Gore’s Diary:
Motherhood is HARD, yes, but it doesn’t have to be dreary and droopy. Chin up, buttercup. Shoulders back. Turn that frown upside down. Swallow those sorrowful sighs. Choose joy, because even on the hardest days, it is still exactly that: a choice. Laugh at today and all the days to come!
Last week, I shared a post on the common complaints I've been guilty of indulging in as a mom, along with my resolution to (try to) abstain from all the sighing and moaning and groaning that so easily accompanies this life with little ones…
but, thankfully, not every day calls for such resolved action, and, as a lady who truly loves being a stay-at-home wife/mom/homeschooler, I would be remiss to mention all the things I struggle with in the mommyhood department without mentioning the things that bless my slippers off.
Because, thankfully, when you “sign up” for the daily grind that comes with being a parent, you are also the natural beneficiary of a good that far, far, FAR outweighs any bad that might occasionally (daily) weigh you down.


A powerful post on motherhood from Rachel Jankovic at Femina:
The strongest women in our world today are those who are as a group feeling the weakest. It certainly doesn’t feel like a blow for the kingdom to spend another nine months in a brain fog. It doesn’t feel like we are fighting for the future of our country as we drive strollers with one elbow so we can hold one fat defiant hand while sloshing coffee on ourselves with the other.
But His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He loves the obedience of the widows mite – the offering of the littlest thing that is our everything. It can seem so petty and uninteresting when what you are putting in the offering box is giving up sleeping in. Or joyfully driving the mini van that you never wanted. Or spending Friday nights folding laundry and picking up board books. But God delights in that, and He delights in us as we obey.
Do we want to spend our time giving little things that delight our Savior, or trying desperately to please the world? The world might be pleased with us if we stood for hours in our stupid sneakers fighting for a woman’s right to kill her children, but they will never applaud us for being inconvenienced and actually carrying those children.
What we are failing to see is that this weakness haunts us so much when we want to rely on our own strength. But this weakness is His to strengthen. This weakness is the greatest offering that we can give – because it is the offering of obedience.