What You Do Matters

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(Hi all. Originally, this post was intended for a small group of younger mom friends I try to encourage and meet up with from time to time. But it got too long for a FB post so I thought I would make it a blog post instead and share it here. I hope you’ll forgive the less formal format ūüėČ.)

Hi friends. How are you spending your weekend? Since I have a quiet house and some alone-time this weekend I am getting lots of reading done. (No hating please! There is a point to my sharing. ūüôÉ)

If you are already cultivating a reading life (or just want to someday) you probably like seeing what others are reading. I wanted to show you my weekend book stack. A few chapters in each will get me through them all eventually. Some will take months, some a few weeks, one or two I‚Äôll finish in a few days. I binge read half of Book Girl last weekend so I‚Äôm pretty sure I‚Äôll finish that one. It‚Äôs hard to put down. ūüėć

Anyway, the reason I‚Äôm telling you this is because sometimes I come across something while I‚Äôm reading that makes me want to stop to call you all up individually and read the same words to you. That‚Äôs how I felt yesterday while reading Mission of Motherhood. I wanted to have you over, pour you a cup of tea, light a candle, feed you chocolate,¬†and wave a magic wand to make all your kids be still and silent for half an hour while I point to the page and say, ‚ÄúDo you have any idea how much what you‚Äôre doing matters? I know you hear it from time to time, but do you truly believe it? Being a mother is the hardest best job there is. I‚Äôve almost raised six so I truly do know how hard and best. My life‚Äôs verse makes that evident. ‚ÄėDo not become weary in doing good for in due season you will reap a harvest if you don‚Äôt give up’.‚Ä̬†Gal. 6:9

With tears in my eyes I would gently take your face in my hands and tell you that what you do Рall things little Рabsolutely matters! And us moms of olders? We need the same reminder, especially when none of what we’re doing seems to be getting through or making a difference anyway. (That’s another mom lie we believe.)

Oh my goodness though, what you’re doing is making a difference and it does matter! It matters to your kids, your future grandkids, and to your legacy you will one day leave your children and grandchildren. And it matters to God. Do you truly know how valuable you and your role are to His design for the family?

Motherhood? That was HIS design. No one values our role as mothers more than God does. The enemy has long since done what he could to make us fall for the lies of the world’s devalued version of motherhood.

When you’re so very worn out, putting one foot in front of the other, barely surviving at times, it is so easy to get lost in mommy-zombie-land and lose sight of the eternal importance of what you do and why you’re doing it.

At times we may think surely there must be more to life than wiping up one more mess, wiping one more snotty little nose or one more dirty little rear end, cooking another meal, washing one more dish, one more load of clothes, scrubbing the toilet. Again. It can all seem so monotonous and mundane!

But I think sometimes we forget what Jesus’ ministry here on earth looked like. He was continually meeting needs, cleaning up messes and the people who made them. He knew what we as moms feel, constantly being pulled in different directions, trying to meet a seemingly endless barrage of needs.

Being kind, benevolent Jesus, He looked at all those interruptions as opportunities to serve. He lived his life as a servant-leader, modeling for us what it looks like to constantly (and ultimately) lay down His life for others, serving them with a heart of love, tenderness, and grace.

As well as meeting needs and serving others, Jesus knew the blessing and encouragement of regularly spending time with those closest to him, sharing His heart and listening to theirs. He walked and talked with them, laughed and cried with them, shared meals with them, and spent time in their homes. Friendships were important to Jesus and He devoted time to nurturing those relationships.

He also placed top priority on finding a quiet place of solitude for the purpose of prayer and rest. When we read about Jesus’ life we see that He was very intentional about this. Compassionate Jesus, the ultimate need-meeter, knowing the importance of and His own need for prayer and rest, would slip away from the crowds and the all people demanding one more thing from Him, even his close circle of friends, to seek the heart of His Father.

If Jesus felt the need for regular times of being alone with His Father, and placed such importance on prayer, rest, time in the Word, moments of refreshing, and time with friends why is it then that we think we can keep on going and keep on giving and pouring ourselves out without it? Jesus has Living Water to offer. We as moms must follow His example by daily nurturing our own souls with activities (I’m talking small here, like lighting a candle, buying a $5 bouquet at the grocery store, laughing at your kids Рor yourself Рmore often, getting lost for a few minutes in a favorite home decor or cooking magazine, opening a curtain to take a glimpse of your favorite tree, flowers, or the sun peeking through a gray cloud, hiding in the laundry room to eat a cookie without sharing, taking a walk, starting a gratitude journal to write something you’re thankful for at the end of each day, playing your favorite music while making lunch; insert here whatever fills you or breathes life into you Рdo more of it), activities, things and people that fill our hearts to overflowing so that we will have something from which others can draw. No more running on empty! It’s not sustainable.

Remember, as you go about your day meeting the needs of your family you are tending what matters for eternity. God says in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do for the least of these we do for Him.

Your children mean everything to Him. And so do you. You matter. What you do matters. Every little thing. Every single day. All of it. IM-POR-TANT. He sees, and He is blessed and glorified because of it.

Love & Prayers,

Becky

His Presence

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Have you been able to get alone with God for even a little while this crowded Christmas season? To take a step back from the activities, the decorations, and the presents to ponder anew HIS presence? 

I admit this time of year when I should be even more focused on the incarnate Christ, I am usually running myself ragged doing all the things.” Are you, too, familiar with that seemingly ever-growing list? I love doing all of it: the planning, decorating, shopping, wrapping (okay, so I don’t love all of it), cooking, baking, on and on it goes. And most importantly, sacrificial and spiritual things too, you know, like baking cookies for neighbors, shopping for children who don’t have much at all in this world (not even a family), giving more to missions, buying chickens and goats for the poor in third world countries, attending the Christmas Eve service at church, etc. It’s all about giving because of Christ’s giving and it makes my heart soar to do it.¬† BUT¬†without spending time in and dwelling on His presence, it all becomes¬†merely something else to get checked off my ever growing to-do list and at the end of the day I’m left bone-weary and all emptied out.

So today I’m pondering His presence. Really, really mulling it over.

Jesus’ presence sets us free! Because of His sacrifice made in our place, his people no longer had to worry about which sacrifice to make, the bull or the doves or the lamb? Now, which kind of offering are we to make this time? Should it be a smoke offering, or burnt, or a grain, or a drink offering? Will he find me acceptable? Worthy? No more meaningless rituals to cleanse us from our sins. No more striving to earn His love or approval. No! His coming set us free. Free from trying to do and be good enough. His coming paid my sin debt and yours. Christmas made Easter possible.

“You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”¬† Matthew 1:21¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

THAT’S what I’m celebrating this season. Our freedom made possible because of His coming as flesh to dwell among us.¬†

His coming answered thousands of years¬†of prayers and brought deliverance and freedom to a world groaning under the sheer weight of trying to make atonement for all their sin. I’m sure that on that first Christmas night in the stillness and hush that finally came after all the excitement, you¬†could have¬†heard a collective sigh of relief from a world that was at last set free. Their freedom and ours would be found in that humble baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger (Luke 2:12). The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory (John 1:14).¬†

The birth of The Messiah, our long-awaited Deliverer, Our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty King, Prince of Peace, Immanuel, God With Us fulfilled all God’s promises He had given throughout the ages.

Promises such as He loves us, He hears our cries, He gives us strength and comfort, His grace is all sufficient, He died for us and we are His.

Promises like Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”¬†

And Exodus 33:14, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”

So as I enjoy my family and all the food, fun, and festivities, and as I delight in all the kids opening their presents, I’ll be careful to be aware¬†of and ever so grateful for His presence which truly is the best present of all.¬†

My prayer for you is that you are experiencing His presence¬†due to having¬†accepted God’s divine gift of love and deliverance for you through the birth, life,¬†and death of His only Son, Jesus Christ.¬†

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

May God continue to bless us all with His peace and may we be ever mindful that He IS with us and will never leave us. He is worthy to be praised! Hallelujah!

Merry Christmas! 

Love and blessings, 

Becky

“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record has been cleared of guilt.”¬†Psalm 32:1-2

Thy Will, Not Mine

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To what is He calling you?

Thy Will¬†¬†by Hillary Scott…
I’d heard this song before and thought it was pretty. I’ve heard some say the radio stations are running it into the ground by playing it¬†so much. But then today… today a friend sent it to me, knowing I am struggling, and it’s like I heard it for the first time. It completely undid me. Especially the first part.
It’s as though it¬†could have¬†been written about¬†my questions and feelings regarding our adoption 13 years ago and all that has happened¬†in consequence¬†of our obedience: the¬†tremendous joy¬†of precious children to love and give back to the Lord, as well as indescribable sorrow. It’s a story that we’re still living and processing. For years we’ve been stuffing it and suffering alone, keeping on keeping on and it’s starting to take a toll.
In the meantime, this little bit of letting out is helping ever so slightly with our healing. So will you allow us some of that and just give us grace and time for the healing to begin ever so slowly. Fast is too painful. We have to let it come at God’s pace, while protecting others involved, as He knows best what we can all handle. And will you just keep praying for us?
Of course, there’s been much joy alongside the grief. We can’t imagine our lives without these kids, especially the ones who do love us back and bring such happiness to our family. But even they bring tough issues and baggage.
So yeah, we’ve wondered, “Did we hear you wrongly, God? Surely we did, because this couldn’t possibly be what you had in mind for our family when You led us to adopt.¬†I mean, all we wanted was a bigger family, more kids to love. But what we got was a lifelong ministry. And yet we know we did hear You correctly and this IS Your will for us, because it’s not about us. It’s all about You. Your plan, our growth, Your kingdom, Your family, not ours. It’s about trust and sacrifice and doing it all over again just because it’s another circumstance that brings us to our knees and closer to You than we ever would have been had we not answered Your call. For that reason alone, yes Father, we’d do it again. Thy Will Be Done.”

To what is He calling you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAmh3yvmzXs

‚ÄúThy Will‚ÄĚ is the first single by Hillary Scott (of Lady Antebellum) and the Scott Family, off their upcoming new album Love Remains. Download ‚ÄúThy Will‚ÄĚ now…
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Real Joy, Real Pain, Real Life, Real Jesus

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imageThose nights when you can’t sleep because to everyone else your life on the outside looks so perfect, when in reality you’re dying inside and you just don’t know into how many more pieces your heart can break or just how much more sorrow you can take before it. all. comes. crashing. down.
I’m tired of the Facebook fa√ßade. You know the one. Where all is sunshine and roses and smiles and laughter. I thank God there IS a lot of that! But life is not a series of either mountain top or valley experiences. It’s not one or the other. It’s more of a journey going along on parallel tracks made of joy and sorrow running side by side each other often at the same time. So, yes, we have a tremendous amount to be thankful for and joyful over, while at the same time we continue to be blasted with enough sorrow and pain to last us a lifetime.

Is that your story too? If so, I’m so sorry. We are told in Scripture that this world is not our home and that we will, as Jesus did and all who follow him do, experience suffering. But. Don’t you love the word “but” in Scripture? “But God… !” But if we know Him we are not without comfort. We are not without hope or strength.
We’re strong in the Lord. It’s in our weakness HE shows Himself strong. He carries us. HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT! Every single time.

Aren’t we all just broken vessels? And when we stop hiding the cracks and let our brokenness show, that’s when more of His light can seep out into the darkness around us, helping to illuminate someone else’s dark path they’re on.
I’m afraid what spills out of my brokenness a lot of times isn’t the light and love of Jesus. It’s fear, doubt, and the anger of heartbreak. But I pray that through all this, He’s changing me.
In my brokenness and failures, I want HIS light to shine and for this earthen vessel to be softened, yielded to His loving hands shaping me into His image, not mine, using me to further HIS kingdom and plan, not mine, and to ultimately pour out comfort to others and bring glory to Him. That is what I pray is the end result. That’s the goal, right?
It’s okay to say things aren’t perfect and to admit you’re hurting. I know friends who are. I know family members who are.¬†I am.

How about you? Need prayer? I love to pray for people. I believe in it. I believe in the One Who hears our cry. My hope is in the Lord. Let’s pray for each other in the sweet, powerful, mighty name of JESUS believing that He hears, He cares, and He IS completing the good work He’s begun in us! Amen!

Love, blessings, and prayers to you.

Becky

This Hard Place

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Isaiah 43:1-3, 10-13

In what hard place do you find yourself right now?

Are you in a difficult work environment? Perhaps you have no work.  You may be under great financial strain.

Some are miles from friends and family, feeling isolated and alone. Do you find yourself in a too-small house, overrun with toddlers and laundry and more demands than you can ever meet? Or maybe your home that was once filled with laughter and activity is now too quiet, too empty.

Many are experiencing overwhelming sorrow over the loss of a child, spouse, parent, or friend. Others are feeling a deep sadness from being in a loveless, cold marriage, feeling lonelier than they ever have. Maybe you are a parent paralyzed by fear and grief over a teen or young adult child who is engaging in self-destructive behavior while running hard and fast away from you and God.

If you are¬†living through any of these circumstances, chances are great that you are struggling with questions you know will probably never be answered this side of heaven. If you are a follower of Christ, you do have a loving heavenly Father to whom¬†you can pour out your heart. He doesn’t¬†shy away from our tough questions, but He wants¬†us to ask “what” and “how” along with our “why.” Ask what¬†He wants to do in and through¬†you in the midst of this circumstance.¬†How does He want to use this in your life? How does He want to use you?

He has purposes for you that He established before the formation of the world. He’s growing you and shaping your character. He’s preparing you. Take a deep breath. Take heart. Take God at His word. He promises to come through for you.

God does not promise to answer all of our questions, but He does promise to bring meaning to our pain and suffering.

(1 Peter 4:12; 2 Corinthians 1:4; Isaiah 53:3; Philippians 3:10; Romans 5:3; Romans 8:17, 18, 28)

God is in control. He loves you. He IS working in and through your circumstances.

His Word tells you…

Your God who created you, who formed you, who tells you not to fear has redeemed you. He has summoned you by name and you are His.

When you pass through the waters, He will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.

He is the Lord, your God. The holy One of Israel, your Savior. He gives your enemies for your ransom and in your stead.

You are precious and honored in His sight. You are loved. You are His witness, His servant whom He has chosen, that you may know Him and remain steadfast in Him. Know that He is. There were no gods before Him and there will be no gods after Him.

Besides Him, there is no Savior. It is He who has declared the future and has saved the nation (His people) in times of danger. He has shown that He is God. You are His witness and He is your God. No one can deliver out of His hand. He acts and no one can reverse it.

See Him in all of His power and might. He is asking you to let go of your fears and trust Him. Trust who He is and who you are in Him. Trust that He is accomplishing the plans and purposes He has had for you since the beginning of time.

No matter what you’re going through, He is with¬†you. He loves you.¬†Remember, what He calls you to¬†(by name!), He will walk you through.¬†He is¬†right by your side.

Won’t you let go of your fears and¬†trust Him? Rest in Him.¬†Take a deep breath. Take heart and take Him at His word.

Know that He is working!

Blessings, Becky

“This hard place in which you perhaps find yourself is the very place in which
God is giving you opportunity to look only to Him, to spend time in prayer, and
to learn long-suffering, gentleness, meekness – in short, to learn the depths of
the love that Christ Himself has poured out on all of us.”¬†¬† ~¬†¬†Elisabeth Elliot

 

Timing is Everything

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Acts 1:1-11

Jesus appeared to His disciples over a period of forty days between His resurrection and ascension. He ministered to them and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God.

He told them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the gift His Father had promised… the gift¬†of the Holy Spirit.

The apostles asked Him if He was going to restore the Kingdom of Israel at this time. In verse 7,  Jesus tells them it is not for them to know the times and dates the Father has set by His own authority!

He told them they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit when He comes on them and they were to be His witnesses until He comes again.

Great reminder for¬†me¬†or for anyone waiting on the Lord’s answer or waiting for Him to move in a particular situation.

He has the timing all worked out by His own authority. When He’s ready to let us in on it, He will.

Until then, we are to continue to live and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and to let others see Him living through us.

Remain faithful!

Blessings, Becky

A Happy Fix

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We cannot secure happiness on our own. The words “happy” and “secure” probably should not even be in the same sentence. Happiness is based on circumstances which are¬†anything but¬†secure.¬†Instead, we should look to our relationship with Christ as the foundation for true and lasting joy.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

Verses 10 and 11 speak to the futility of chasing after everything we think will make us happy:

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.

I have certainly been guilty of “chasing the wind.” It’s as if the state of being¬†happy is this elusive prize we think we can attain.

“Maybe under different circumstances I’d be happy. Possibly with different people around me I’d be happy. I would be happy if I¬†had¬†a better job or a¬†nicer house. Perhaps if I buy more¬†things or give more¬†stuff away then¬†I’d be happy.”

The list of things we believe will make us happy can go on and on. But I have learned that the only genuine source of lasting joy in my life is my covenant with the Lord. He never changes. His Word is true. He always, always keeps His promises. His presence is the only truly stable, completely satisfying thing in my life.

So¬†rather than pursuing temporary happiness by “building my kingdom just to watch it fade away,” I must instead¬†press in to my relationship with HIM¬†every time I need a “happy fix!”

Blessings, Becky

Psalm 68:3   But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.

Psalm 84:1-12¬†¬†¬†¬† v. 10 –¬†Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

John 3:3-8¬† 3 Jesus replied, ‚ÄúVery truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.‚ÄĚ

4 ‚ÄúHow can someone be born when they are old?‚ÄĚ Nicodemus asked. ‚ÄúSurely they cannot enter a second time into their mother‚Äôs womb to be born!‚ÄĚ

5 Jesus answered, ‚ÄúVery truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‚ÄėYou must be born again.‚Äô 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.‚ÄĚ

John 3:16-18    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

1 Timothy 6:6-7     6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.