Spiritual Mothers + Messengers

I knew there was a reason I wasn’t able to write about the #SheSharesTruth topic of spiritual mothering yet. It’s because what He had on my heart for it was just perfectly in line with the Five Minute Friday word: messenger. So I’m combining the two…

It’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Messenger

And the #SheSharesTruth topic…

How is spiritual mothering already taking place in your community? Has a godly woman influenced you in your growth in the Gospel, or has mentoring a young believer impacted your life? How would you like to see Titus 2 shape your relationships moving forward?

*****

And go…

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. ~Titus 2:4-5

The call in Titus 2 to us as women is very clear. Older women are to teach the younger women, and not just older as in years, but further along the path, if even just by a little bit.

I have seen so many women floundering with no one leading or encouraging them in the ways of Christian womanhood. And I’ve heard lots of excuses from women why they aren’t being these mentors to younger women: work, too busy, not “good enough,” nobody wants to hear from me. Yes, they do, and knowing and experiencing all this makes me want to be a spiritual mother even more when the time is right.

Spiritual Mothers

We need messengers, ladies. Women who aren’t there just to say, “Cherish this time.” We need honest messengers of hope and Truth, women who have raised families well in the name of the Lord, not perfectly, but with His grace. Women who know the struggles of the daily motherhood grind and looked to the Lord to sustain them.

My heart is burdened to tell the next generation of women and moms that it is all worth it, but it is NOT easy and that is all the more reason we need Jesus. I love all the things Titus mentions – marriage and home and family – but I could not do a single one without the Spirit guiding me and giving me fresh strength when I’m all out.

I’m grateful for the honest spiritual mothers that have brought these messages to me – not sugarcoated with “You can do it!”, but rather messages full of understanding and the reminder to always look to Jesus to guide me and get me through one day at a time.

Wherever you are in your journey, FIND those messengers and BE those messengers, sisters. Spiritual mothering is a holy call.

Stop.

*****

Read the beautiful words of my fellow writers over at Five Minute Friday and She Reads Truth today!

How has spiritual mothering been important to you? If you don’t have a spiritual mother, what would you hope to gain from one?

 

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Close {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Close {which I read wrong and went with close as in shut, not close as in nearness – whoops!}

*****

And go…

There’s a door I’ve been hovering around lately. When the door first opened, I stepped fully in, with great joy and anticipation. But the longer the door has remained open, the more I have creeped back towards it, trying to get out.

Close

Through the door is where God asked me to go, but it’s hard in there. And with one foot in and one foot out, I’ve been trying really hard to close that door this year. I made up my own mind that the door would be better off closed.

He has different plans. No matter how hard I’ve tried to slam that door and walk away, God keeps gently opening it again and again, asking me to walk fully through with Him. My stubbornness makes me dig in my heels. But He has plans for me.

And even though the other side of the door is hard, He knows that is where I will grow the most. The hard produces the most fruit in us. If I close that door, the growth stunts. There will be no fruit-bearing.

I want that door closed, but He knows better, and I’m starting to see the holy in leaving it open. So I’m taking His hand, letting Him lead me all the way through, and closing the door on my own plans in exchange for the best He has for me.

Stop.

*****

Go read more fabulous posts about being close {the right topic!} at Lisa-Jo’s place today!

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Mighty {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Mighty.

Stick around for why this week is so important!

*****

And go…

I’m coming up on eight years of being a mom and I’m still not sure of myself. The moment I think I’ve figured out what works for our family, our boys, things change – ages, stages, moods, circumstances. I’m a little lost and trying to find my place.

Mighty Men

But I do know one thing about these boys of ours: I want to raise them to be mighty men of God. I want them to recognize the strength and power that comes from the Holy Spirit when they are living in relationship with Jesus. To use that might for the Kingdom. To be mighty for God and to love mightily. To use their passion and strong will for justice and mercy in His name.

I know no other way to do this than to be a mighty warrior in prayer for them. I’m not a guy. I don’t know how to be a godly man. But I know how to pray and prayer is a mighty weapon. None of us will be mighty on our own, but in His hands, there is strength this world can’t come close to touching.

Mighty

I need to wear out the knees of my jeans in prayer the way my boys do playing hard. A mighty prayer warrior to raise mighty men of God. Only by His grace, I’m finding this is my place.

Stop.

*****

Do you ever feel lost and completely un-mighty in your role as a mother? You’re not alone. And even though our paths to motherhood are very different, I’ve never felt so understood as a mom as I did reading Lisa-Jo’s new book, Surprised by Motherhood. Mamas, this book is for all of you and it will rock your world. Go. Pre-order it now. For you, your mom, your sister, your bible study – all the mothers you know. I have more to share on this next week, but know that I laughed and cried and finished it in 48 hours.

And go read more fabulous posts on the topic of mighty at Lisa-Jo’s place today!

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Choose {Five-Minute Friday}

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Choose.

*****

And go…

This morning I made two small, but defining choices.

  1. I got out of bed before everyone else.
  2. I embraced my “learner” strength during my God time.

What a difference those two choices have made already in my day! I grabbed my Bible, journal, and devotional and settled in for some quiet time with God and Spurgeon. I stumbled upon a word Spurgeon used in his “old” style and had to look it up because he used it right before the word grace…

munificent – larger or more generous than is usual or necessary

I learned a new word! And it means so much when used with the word grace. Grace more necessary than I deserve. How appropriate as we move into the Lenten season.

Study Bible

Then I looked up the verse Spurgeon referenced in today’s devotion – Psalm 62:5 – in my amazing new Study Bible for Women. In the margin I discovered this word:

hupotageGreek, act of subjection, obedience, submission; suggests a necessary connection between the acknowledgment of God’s power and authority and the ability to “cease” restless independent activity

Wow. Not just acknowledging His power, but ceasing any activity independent of Him. If anyone needs that reminder, it is me.

The way the two choices of getting up early and digging deeper to learn something new have already changed my day are just a sign of the hand of God in everything I do.

A sign of His munificent grace.

Stop.

*****

What little choices could make a big difference in your day today?

 

Don’t forget to read lots of lovely thoughts from the Five Minute Friday gang over at Lisa-Jo’s today!

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Growing Vegetables + Children

This is where I usually tell you that today is another Five Minute Friday, where Lisa-Jo gives us a prompt and invites us to write for FIVE MINUTES ONLY, no editing, no rethinking, no shame.

But this isn’t just any Five-Minute Friday. Yes, it IS Friday. Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day, but the kind of love we’re sharing here today goes beyond a one day holiday. You’ll see…

Today’s prompt: Garden.

*****

And go…

The gardening analogies were lost on me until we bought a house with landscaping that needed to be kept up. I had always said I had a black thumb but that wasn’t really the issue – the issue was my own lack of persistence, patience, diligence.

Garden Kids

There is no garden quite like motherhood, where I am toiling to produce the fruit of Christ in my children and He is working to produce the fruit of the Spirit in me. There is daily planting, daily digging, daily weed-pulling, and if I don’t remember His call to not grow weary in doing good, it might all just be too much.

My mama soul has been turned over and over again just like the dirt. Every part of me feels the joy and pain, the lift and weight of the toil of parenting, and I live in a place where everything I could ever need is in reach for me without physical labor.

God is working on my heart, pulling up the weeds of selfishness, bringing forth new growth of love and service, showing me beauty and joy in swept floors and folded laundry.

Garden LisaJo

The work of beautiful women around the world, literally planting and harvesting to nourish their families, body and soul, is finding root in my heart, giving me a vision for true service to my family.

Garden Women

They grow vegetables AND children, even children who aren’t their own, loving them as if they were. And while I haven’t latched on to the whole vegetable garden in my own backyard, I am a mother who is growing children and, as Lisa-Jo says, “There is nothing ordinary about being a mom.”

Stop.

*****

Today a bunch of not-so-ordinary moms are linking arms and running forward in love to show the world LOVE is a VERB. It goes out and does crazy stuff like build a center for a community in South Africa in need of a safe place for sustainable food, child care, economic empowerment, job skills trainings, a gathering place for church, classrooms for HIV/Aids education, and a playground for their kids. THAT is love and we can show it today.

It all starts today with a garden. A vegetable garden. And that’s just Phase One.

You can donate through the project on Pure Charity. And you can also purchase a gorgeous necklace through one of my favorites, KraftyKash, from her “Fall in Love With the World Next Door” line and $12 from each sale will help fund the Maubane Community Center in South Africa.

I’m just giddy and teary and overwhelmed by so many coming together to love on these kids, this community. Love IS a verb. Let’s do this.

 

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Five Minute Friday: Write

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Write.

*****

And go…

I was just pondering this recently: what am I doing here, at this point in my life, calling myself a writer?

Writing was never a part of the original plan, but as I look back, God was laying the foundation in fifth grade writing chapter books with girlfriends and sleepovers and during my senior year of high school as I wrote for the school newspaper.

But a writer? Really, God?

This is my year to embrace it and I asked God just WHY He wanted ME to WRITE. This is what resonated in my heart and soul…

Write

What good are the things God teaches us, brings us through, redeems in us if we keep them to ourselves?

This is why I write. I am a teller. The things I love and learn, the things that excite and challenge me – He uses them all when I share for His glory. He has asked me to do this in the form of writing.

Knowing the WHY behind why I write changes everything. I’m telling His stories, bringing Him glory, in ways only I can because this is how He has spoke to me, changed me, grown me, SAVED me.

I have to tell the world. Boldly, I will write.

Stop.

*****

Don’t forget to read lots of lovely thoughts from the Five Minute Friday gang over at Lisa-Jo’s today!

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Day 22: I Don’t HAVE to… Go to a Conference {+ Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Together.

*****

And go…

Some of my very best online-turned-real-life friends are all together at a conference in South Carolina right now. I am missing the hugs and face-to-face conversation with them desperately, but that is not where I am to be right now.

After a busy, crazy, chaotic, FUN month of October, I am home, together with my family for the weekend. And while I long to see those far-away friends, my heart is overjoyed to be here, preparing for a “normal” weekend at home, together with my precious boys and handsome husband.

Yes, our normal together includes some on-call weekends, children not always cooperating, cleaning up spills and doing laundry, but THIS TOGETHER is what I crave right now. I need the family togetherness more than any other kind right now, no matter how messy it may be.

Conferences and retreats and events tug at my heart every once in a while, and if God says, “Go! Be together with them!” I will go. But His word to me has been “stay” lately.

And I will relish the together I have here, at home, with my family, every moment I get.

Stop.

*****

31 Days of NOT Having It All Banner

I’m breaking the Five-Minute Friday rules a bit, but I need to add a little round out my thoughts on this aspect of NOT having it all…

Go to a Conference

I am a raging extrovert, so conferences are totally my thing. I LOVE meeting new people, networking, learning and being inspired, and most of all, sitting down with friends who live too far away for coffee and in-the-flesh fellowship.

But conferences require planning and money and sacrifice, and you know what? Going to conference doesn’t make you more important or special than anyone else.

You don’t HAVE to go to conferences to make a difference or be known or get connected. If God has made a way for you to attend one, then GREAT! I know you will have an amazing time!

But if the door has been closed on attending any “special” events right now, please don’t fret or mope, dear one. He has His reasons. And He is working out His plan and purpose for you right where you are. He doesn’t need a conference to accomplish His goals and dreams for you.

Today, I am praying for all of you at Allume and any other wonderful event or conference or retreat going on this weekend to have amazing, divine appointments and leave refreshed and renewed by Him.

And I am praying for those of you at home, wishing they were somewhere else, to see the value of being together where you. I’m praying you will see the divine appointments He has for you in your own home, church, community this weekend. Going to a conference doesn’t make you special. He has already done that.

And here is my favorite moment so far that I would have missed had I been away…

My Scary Pumpkins 2013

Wherever you are, have a blessed weekend!

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Mercy {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Mercy.

*****

And go…

wpid-5231cebe2542d3.59054632.jpg

The word mercy wasn’t on my radar much before Mercy House Kenya, but I think the founding of that amazing place came at just the time God wanted me to become really aware of mercy in my own life.

I still feel like I’m learning just what mercy is, but even with my vague understanding of it, I see God pointing it out to me over and over. As a mother, one of the verses I’ve come to lean on most often is…

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning. ~Lamentations 3:22-23

Very few days go by that I don’t feel like I’ve messed up or yelled too much or let someone down, but He always brings those verses to mind and, each morning, I know He has a new start for me. He doesn’t remember my transgressions from the previous day, and I am free to move forward in His mercy.

But how am I at showing mercy to those I love the most?

As my Bible study group started The Fitting Room this week, I asked each person which virtue they would like to grow in the most.

Mine: tenderhearted mercy. I want to know it more. I want to show it more.

Act justly, LOVE MERCY, walk humbly.

Stop.

*****

I wanted to let you know about an incredible opportunity to be a part of the work of Mercy House Kenya without ever leaving your home. A project is happening now as a partnership between Mercy House, {in}courage, and Pure Charity to raise $74,00 for the needs of the organization before Christmas. There are five different phases and you can read about Phase #1 right now at Pure Charity!

And don’t forget to read lots of lovely thoughts from the Five Minute Friday gang over at Lisa-Jo’s today!

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Worship {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo! But it’s actually over at (in)courage today! 

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Worship.

*****

And go…

We went a few rounds today, me and that boy. He’s strong-willed, I’m strong-willed, and there are lessons we both need to learn in this mother-son relationship. But we both came to our ends and it didn’t play out well.

Yelling. Frustration. Tears.

As we walked away to cool off, I knew only one thing would bring my heart back to the right place.

Worship.

Worship is defined as so many things, but it’s the music part that drives me, moves me, focuses me, changes me.

The words of Christian worship music are a powerful force in my life. Just a few minutes has me falling at the feet of Jesus, laying down my faults and weaknesses and my I-want-to-have-control attitude.

Worship puts my mind at ease because it puts my mind on Him.

I love music. I majored in music. I taught music. The melodies are gorgeous, the rhythms fascinating, but the lyrics of worship are prayers I can’t pray when I just speak. When I can’t pray, I sing.

Five Minute Friday Worship

And the heart of worship was able to mend those torn bonds between my boy and I to move forward with calm, peace, eyes on Him and not my own strength.

Stop.

*****

I can’t wait to read through all the other musings on worship over at (in)courage! Hope you’ll hop over there as well!

And I would love to know your favorite worship songs to calm and focus your heart in the middle of a rough day!

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The Last {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Last.

*****

And go…

The Last

A woman was murdered near our home in the dark hours of Wednesday morning. Only a few blocks away. In our quiet suburban neighborhood.

I was rattled Wednesday with news of an armed and dangerous suspect on the loose, but I became more unsettled as more was released about the victim.

33 years old.

Wife.

Mother of three.

There has been no sense of peace for me over the last few days. Her description almost fits me to a tee. Too close to home, too close to my heart. And even though I didn’t know her, friends of ours did and the whole community is shaken.

I was tense yesterday, partially because of this tragedy, and that tension showed at my home until I was driving with the boys and thought…

What were the woman’s last words to her kids? to her husband? What were the last words each of them said to her?

What if today was my last with my kids and the words I just spoke were the last I said?

When all is said and done, only love remains… ~For KING and COUNTRY

Living, speaking, loving like today is my last. If anything good can come out of this horrible act of violence, Lord, let me be a part of it.

Stop.

*****

I cried my way through this post. My heart is broken. I needed to process this in words.

And I hope you’ll join me in praying for the dear family left behind in all of this. The community is really rallying behind them, with prayer vigils and memorial funds and even people signing up to bring meals for over two months already. Pray for the family to feel God’s love and comfort and peace through this His people here on earth. Pray for those sweet children.

And you can read a much happier “last” post from Lisa-Jo today on her oldest son’s birthday, along with many other beautiful writers on Five Minute Friday!

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