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How a Mom Fights for Joy- A personal reflection part two

This week is part two of my reflection to a recent podcast I had the opportunity to listen to. You can find my first post here and the podcast here! I'm hoping this will continue to be encouraging to all moms so that they can continue to fight and find joy in Christ, His word and help love others more.


 I reflected on these 3 points in the first blog post:

1. Who you are as a Christian is more important than who you are as a mom.

2If you're putting in here [your heart] worry, fatigue, resentment, fears, that's what's going to come out, But if every morning you're meeting with the grace-giver, you'll have more grace to pass on to your kids.

3. It will cost you something to be in the Word: It will cost you sleep, it will cost you time, it will cost you energy, but it will cost you so much more not to be in the Word.


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This week we continue on with my next two reflections...

4.I would encourage us as mothers to not let fears rule in our hearts. They will drain us; they will sap us. We'll be exhausted from those.

How many times in a day do I think about the things I fear?....way too often to count. It's exhausting worrying about sometimes unrealistic and silly things. I don't want to look back on these years and find that all my energy was taken up by worrying. As it says in Colossians 3:2 we need to focus on the things above, not earthly things. When I'm focused on serving others, encouraging others and most important of all Jesus, I find I have more energy. I'm not bogged down by fear because I don't have the time. I'm spending that energy helping others and investing in the most important relationship, my relationship with Christ.

 

5. your children in seeing how you relate to your husband get a beautiful up-close picture of Christ loving the Church and how the Church loves Christ...If a child grows up seeing her mom totally, passionately, helplessly in love with their daddy, it gives them a security and a picture of what kind of home to build in the future.

In our world today we often see husbands take the backseat to children and honestly it can be easy to put our husbands after our children. The kids are the ones screaming for more food, they are the ones crying "mommy", the ones spilling the milk on the table, the ones needing to be nursed, the ones needing diapers changed...all which require your attention. However, as said in the podcast for a child to be in the top place of mom's life is too much pressure. Thats not the position they were made to be in. Our husbands are our partners, they are the ones we need to continue to put first in our lives (after Jesus of course!) I love how Jandi made it a point to say that marriage is a close up picture of Christ loving the Church and how the Church loves Christ. I want my daughter to see her Daddy is the kind of man you want to marry. I want her to see how I love him, how he loves me. When children grow up seeing these healthy kinds of relationships they will desire that for their lives. They will see the type of home that is stable and focused not on themselves but focused on loving Jesus and serving others.

 

We as mom's need to continue to fight to keep our identity in Christ, to seek Jesus for grace for every moment, to focus on things above and to continue to strive to keep our relationships with our husbands a priority. Gosh, it is hard but it is so worth it. Find a community of other Christians moms, help them keep you accountable. Have them check in on you, see how you are doing. We aren't alone and don't need to be! 

 

Come to Jesus, He gives you the strength we need, He has the grace, He has the power to sustain. Come to Him. 

Have a great week everyone!

-Sarah

How a Mom Fights for Joy- A personal reflection: part one.

This past week I sat down to spend some time relaxing while Ellie took a nap. I tuned into one of my favorite podcasts Revive Our Hearts. I needed a break and just wanted to rest.  I was feeling tired, overwhelmed and just exhausted as a mom and wife. As I searched for a podcast to listen to, I came upon this one. I sat on my bed and listened; suddenly the tears began to flow.

My heart had been so heavy with guilt about not spending time with Christ, I was struggling to find five minutes of my day to spend in His word. I was so weary. I also struggled with my identity…I often thought, “Gosh, am I just a mom? A wife? Who am I?” I felt like I was in a never ending cycle of these thoughts and this continual feeling of guilt.

However, the Lord really spoke to my heart through this message. He showed me my need for change and gave me peace and joy while listening to Jani Ortlund, the guest speaker on the series. So today I want to present part 1 of my reflection to this message. Maybe you too have felt the same way and the Lord can speak truth and love into your heart today. 

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(Please if you get the time listen to this podcast series. It is entitled Missional Mothering. It is a five part series that speaks to young mothers and grandmothers alike.)

 

1. Who you are as a Christian is more important than who you are as a mom.

This has been something the Lord has revealed to me in the last couple of weeks and rang true again when I heard Jani (the guest speaker) talk about it on the podcast. I am a mom and a wife, but that is not who I find my identity in.  Motherhood is my ministry, not my identity. Being a wife to my husband is my ministry, not my identity. It's so freeing to know that's not all I am.

When my relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in my life, everything else falls into place. He has blessed me with a husband and daughter, but nothing takes the place of being a follower of Christ. The reason I am here on this earth is to bring glory to His name, to show other's the love and salvation He offers and to continue to seek after Him. 

(I love this list that describes who we are in Christ, it's so encouraging to see who I am in Him.)

 

2. If you're putting in here [your heart] worry, fatigue, resentment, fears, that's what's going to come out, But if every morning you're meeting with the grace-giver, you'll have more grace to pass on to your kids.

In Matthew 15:18 it says that the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart. I know in my own life I spend countless hours worrying and giving into fears which causes me to be exhausted and overwhelmed. These are the things I dwell upon. I am putting them in my heart and am constantly seeking and thinking about them whether it's conscious or not. That's why it is so important to go to the grace-giver each day. I need that grace in my own life. I need His grace to be what I focus on. Jesus needs to be the focus. I need Christ's compassion, gentleness, patience, humbleness and humility to flow from my life to my husband, daughter, family and friends. Through my life others can see the beauty of the gospel.

3. It will cost you something to be in the Word: It will cost you sleep, it will cost you time, it will cost you energy, but it will cost you so much more not to be in the Word."

It's gonna cost ya. I never thought about it that way. For me to have time with Christ it is going to cost me something. Something has to be given up. My first instinct is to hoard my own time; the free moments that I rarely get. When I get time alone I want to go to Target, read a book, take a shower, sleep! However, to spend time with Jesus means I may have to give up some of that alone time doing the things I find relaxing. But just as Jani said, it will cost me so much more not to have that time sitting with Jesus, meditating and learning from Him and about Him, allowing Him to work in my life and change me for the better. Those anxious thoughts, the worrisome spirit, the weakness it will all come barreling down on me if I don't take the time to be strengthened by Christ and His word. My need for Him is too great. 

I love this quote by Nancy Leigh Demoss:

“As we walk through each day, responding to the needs of those around us, we can become physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. God has a never-ending supply of grace, strength, and wisdom available that He wants to flow through us to others. And we need to keep coming back into His presence to get our supply replenished.” 

Remember as you go throughout this week, moms, that you are more than just a mom, you are loved so much by our Jesus and He wants to spend time with you. He wants to give you strength, grace, love and help you focus on things above. Seek Him. :) 

Have a great week. Part two is next week!

-Sarah

 

What the World Doesn't Understand (About Marriage)

Marriage. It's what brings us together today. (Or, maybe not.)

At least, it's the theme of this entire week.  

My husband and I are celebrating a decade of wedded bliss, and my baby brother is getting married two days after our anniversary. 

The world has it all wrong when it comes to this sacred institution. And I would love to enlighten the confused, although, I doubt most of them would even dare care to read our blog anyway. 

Marriage is sexy; prostituting yourself isn't  

I don't get it. I don't get the single (or married) people that find the fleeting one-night-stand thing appealing. How is that sexy and marriage deemed "boring"?

Truly, I get it, sometimes marriage goes thru "down times" where there is little much of anything going on sans just passing one another in the hallway while wrangling kids, life, and/or projects. But really, I mean, how is it preferrable to hop from one soul to another leaving yourself completely vulnerable and exposed, and then feel sorry for the married friend who has to have sex with the same person for the rest of their life?!!? 

Are you kidding me?!?  

I get to have sex with my best friend. The person that has vowed before an Almighty God to love me more than anyone else. I get to experience that with someone who won't forget to call me the next morning, or sneak out before the sun comes up. I get to look into my spouses eyes and see a deep, caring love radiated back, not lust. You're being robbed if you settle for giving yourself to someone who doesn't first hold your soul in marriage.  You think a "Fifty Shades" relationship is hot and something to acquire; Something that marrieds couldn't possibly have?

I can outdo your "Fifty Shades" any day. What a cheap ticket to ride. If that's hot to you, then you're doing it wrong.  

If only people would come up to me when they see my brood and say, "wow, five children, eh? You must really love your husband." To that I would say, "thank you, ma'am! I certainly do! How incredibly wise you are! Are you from another planet, perhaps?"

In fact, it is considered considerably more noble and acceptable to have several children because of several one-night-stands than it is for me to have a large family with my monogamous, "married-only-ever-to-me" husband. But, I digress.

If we are nurturing and treating our marriages like Christ expects us to, second only to His relationship with us, then marriage is and can be smokin' hot. It literally would put any "player" out there to shame. Married people don't "fizzle", they blaze like a roaring fire.

I get overwhelmed just thinking about how amazing God designed marriage to be for His glory and our benefit. Man, His design is just GOOD. To be ONE with another human of the opposite sex. To collaborate daily in all of the spiritual, mental, and physical rhelms is so incredibly beautiful. 

We are sinful and hopelessly flawed, but God within us can make our flaws into something of eternal value. Which brings me to my next point.

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I'm better off with you than without you

Ecclesiastes 4:9 "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour." 

Married couples that do life according to God's will, they have a double effectiveness for the Kingdom of Heaven. Sure, I could've done great amazing awesome things for God solo. Many people are called to live life on mission for God as a single. That's incredible and I admire them so much.  God doesn't only use married couples, but I'm so glad to have the blessing of doing life with another Christ-follower.

I thank God everyday for my husband because I know together, we can do and accomplish so much more than separately. Our first mission field is our homes. Then our extended families and the community around us and beyond. Supporting, dreaming, collaborating, synchronizing, stretching, and working hard together so that the world will look at us and see Christ. That's worth fighting for. Fighting hard for.  

In a world where "self" is exalted and "others" don't even cross most minds, (Biblical) marriage is the ultimate challenge in selflessness. For life. 

Marriage isn't for you 

If you think marriage is for someone to cater to your every whim, someone to flip your pancakes for you, and to share a bank account with, then don't get married. Marriage is for God's glory, ultimately. Why do so many marriages fail? Easy. When you approach marriage with a "what can I get outta this" attitude, you're marriage is already failing before it even begins. When you don't meet their expectations, bitterness comes. When that happens, you aren't able to see past yourself, then you become your own victim. Divorce is the answer.  

Expectations will always ruin relationships. Always. Unless, of course, you expect your spouse to fail you daily. Then you are living reasonably.  

When the wedding is over, then comes the marriage 

Hey! Guess what?! Marriage isn't about that three hour wedding that took an entire year and $50,000 to plan. I'm so tired of seeing so many people live and plan and feverishly spend, spend, spend money, time, and energy on the wedding day and then pay no mind to the marriage that inevitably follows. 

Christians have fallen into that "wedding" trap just as bad if not worse than non-Christians. It's embarrassing and it's probably a contributing factor as to why the Christian divorce rate is no different than the worldly divorce rate. 

Stop investing so much into the wedding and invest into your marriage.  

It's absolute JOY to witness and support a marriage that YOU KNOW will go the distance. The first time I met my future sister-in-law this past November, I just knew. I knew she was perfect for my brother and I knew when their wedding came upon us, that we would be so beyond thrilled to be apart of it. The same goes for my sister and her marriage almost seven years ago. Same excitement. Several friends of mine have been married and you can't help but just praise the Lord for the ones that you just know are God's plan. Marriage, orchestrated by God, is a blessing!! 

God designed marriage, so He calls the shots   

This won't be a debate about who and how we should marry. I trust the Author of marriage. He designed it. He gave us very strict guidelines for marriage, our bodies, and how we should live our lives. The world shouldn't be expected to follow those guidelines. They are lost for a reason. They're confused. They set their own definitions, expectations, and guidelines.

But, Christian, we must stand up for and proclaim God's Word about God's will for marriage. There is a reason why He gave us so much information about marriage, because His design is perfect and good for our lives and for the survival of the human race.  

When marriages fail, we fail. When marriage is valued about as much as a cracker jack prize, then society falters. We are seeing the effects of decades of divorce being the "norm" in our culture. The world doesn't value, nor sees the importance of God's design in marriage anymore. This should make us weep.  

I intend to keep fighting for marriage. Ten years in, and I'm wholly better because of my marriage. It's my greatest joy and my greatest sorrow. It fills me with hope, love, and peace and exposes my faults, shortcomings, and selfishness.  

To the world, I say, stop cheapening marriage. Understand that settling for a McDonald's kind of love life means you're missing out on the "fresh homecooked meal with a massive plate of warm chocolate chip cookies" love. It takes more work, and a lot more effort and ingredients to serve up the latter, but boy does it ever beat a drive-thru love you're convinced is more delicious than the meal I eat everyday. And to that I say, "you can have your Big Mac, these cookies won't stay warm forever". 

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