Friday, November 30, 2012

He Gives Strength to the Weary

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men will stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

I know you all will not believe this, but I get the comment all the time. "I don't know how you do it!"  Referring to the number of children (4) we have and their ages (5,4,2 1/2, & almost 1). At least I'm pretty sure people not referring to being married to Timotheus.;) When I get this comment, I often don't know how to respond. I tend to agree with people and say, I don't know either, but something in my heart hesitates to say that because it's not true. I do know how I do it. 

At times the responsibility of being the mother of four young children is a great burden.  The daily tasks are overwhelming. The emotional tole is too much. Then I read passages like the one I read today.

"...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." 

I know my answer. I know how I do it.  It's not by my strength. Thank you for reminding me of that Lord.

It may sound strange, but I'll give credit where credit is due. The Lord renews my strength when I put my hope in Him.  It's really that simple.  Am I perfect at this?  I'll give you one guess.  Do I ever grow weary? Guess again.  YES I DO.  But I know The One who DOES NOT grow weary, nor does He faint. He doesn't even sleep. He promises His people that when we put our hope in Him our strength will be renewed and we will soar. Our weariness will be overcome and we will not faint, but walk instead.

I believe that.  Do you? 

When my hope is misplaced, I begin to feel weary and faint. I get tired and I stumble. When my hope is fixed in the right place, my strength is renewed and life is really too good.

Where have we placed our hope today?

My prayer is the next time I hear this comment, I'll be quick to respond humbly and lovingly that God gives me what what I need moment by moment to fully live the life He's so graciously given. Not that people are asking for a response, but there is always silence after the comment is made, as if people want to know what the big secret is. It may sound too spiritual for whoever is asking, but it's very practical to me. We serve an everlasting God. I believe what He promises to those who believe in Him. How could I not?  It is made evident to me, daily.

What about you? Will you soar with me today?

Thanks for reading... I'm going to go warm up my coffee from this morning and enjoy the rest of it while the two young ones are napping and the two oldest are entertaining themselves, and I better hurry while the moment lasts!:)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

He Gently Leads

"He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." 
- Isaiah 40:11 -

Good morning friends! I would have loved to start the day earlier, but we're up, breakfast is done, and the day is rolling by. I'm choosing to make the best of it. You know those days when you wake up a little late and it seems like frustration and anxiety looms over your head the entire day? I'm going to resist that today with all that I have. Part of that is taking the time, regardless of my schedule, to sit at the feet of Jesus. He's waiting to speak and move daily. 

All I need to do is stop, listen, and obey.

I was so glad to read Isaiah 40 this morning. The text compares the Lord to a shepherd tending his flock of sheep.  The words that touched my heart this morning were "He gently leads those that have young." I have lots of "young." I need Him to gently lead me always. Who wants a harsh task master when you already have a slew of demands, failures, guilt? My heart longs for His gentle leading. It's what I need to be the mommy I'm supposed to be. I remember the words of Jesus from John 15:5b, "Apart from me, you can do nothing." It's true. I can do nothing of eternal significance without Him. 

Will you pray with me for your day today?

Heavenly Father, You are Awesome. You are worthy of our time and focus.  You're worthy of our praise. We lay ourselves at Your feet today and ask that You would lead us in all that we do. We submit this day to Your good will, Lord. We acknowledge that You always know what's right and what's best and we trust You to lead us to just that. As we teach and train our children, gently lead us today.  Gently stop us when we're impatient and frustrated and remind us of how patient You have been with us. Remind us of Your long suffering Father and produce that same patience within us today. Thank You for carrying "Your sheep" close to Your heart. There is no place we'd rather be. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, I pray. Amen.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Be Still

"Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you will know what His will is." -Amy Carmichael

I know, I know...what a GREAT quote to put up during the Holidays, right? I read this quote tonight and it made me stop for a minute. It's so true. Yet, we continue to fill our proverbial plates. What is it that drives us to do that? Our culture is definitely an encourager, but why did it become that way?  I don't ask these questions because I have the answers.  I ask them so that we'll entertain what the answers may be.

I find myself drawn to a hurried, pressed lifestyle. It looks fun. It looks productive. It looks good.

But is it really? Is it working for you?

In my experience, business snuffs out the voice of God. It muffles it and at times completely silences it. Then I stand, shocked, and thinking, "Where are you Lord?"

He responds, "Where are you?" And He has every right to do so.

There's something deeper...much deeper. I feel a stronger pull to a peaceful, quiet life. I've always most heard the Lord's voice in stillness. I do not mean during a lack of activity, but in quietness of heart and mind. Although, I must admit it has often been during inactive times. My husband shared a quote from a pastor he heard say...
"The formula for success is the same as the formula for a nervous breakdown."
And I know it's true because I often approach the edge of my sanity. It's easy to be pushed there with four busy little ones, piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and meals to cook.  It's also easy for me to break for 5 minutes.  I used to break all the time for Facebook.  I still break for 5 minutes for Instagram and Pinterest. Well, honestly, it's usually a lot more than 5 minutes.

I have the 5 minutes to break, no matter what I may say to my husband when he asks about the use of my time.  It's hard for me to admit that I don't prioritize my Lord enough, even enough to give Him 5 minutes.  I wish I could say it was easy and that I run to the Father in those precious minutes.

I pray that is who I'm growing to be.

This morning I read Isaiah 30:15. The end of that verse says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength..." The Hebrew word here for rest means 'quietness.'  The word for quietness in this text means 'to be quiet, undisturbed.'

We find strength in quietness, and not in doing more, but in being still...being quiet. I have experienced this time and time again. If I will quiet my voice, my emotions, my children (by hiding from them...;)), I can hear my Father. Only then do I know which direction to take. Then I remember who I am..God's daughter. The daughter over whom He rejoices. No wonder He commands us to be still and know that HE is God (Psalm 46:19a).

Stillness can give us perspective and offer us peace in the midst of any tantrum, shouts of joy, and/or excitement from a game of toddler tag around the piles of laundry. During morning sickness (why do they call it that again?) and yes, even in the middle of darkness we can receive God's peace. Doesn't that sound nice? It's true. I'll break for that 5 minutes to connect with the Father. I hope you'll do the same, especially through the holidays when it's so easy to fill schedules with tasks.

My prayer for all who read is no nervous breakdowns in this season but clarity of spirit instead.
Make Jesus the priority this holiday season and be willing to be still.

25 Things I'm Thankful For

Meet Jack. 
We started a new tradition with our young family this November.  Every evening, when we sit down for dinner, we each say one thing we're grateful for and write it on a construction paper, turkey feather. Then we post it on our poster board turkey, Jack, who hangs on the wall in our dining room.  His feathers increase with each dinner.  The picture to the right was taken after the first night of feathering.  My husband says he looks like a peanut.  We couldn't bring Jack with us to my in laws house, but yes, we brought our feathers and have tried to keep up with filling them out each evening.  I think we're 2 for 5... 

Side note: My daughter Kayla says she's thankful for mommy each night.  It melts my heart, girls. Especially because she's 2 1/2 and throws multiple tantrums with me, and seemingly, at me every day.  We're working on it.  

Anyway, I tell you that to introduce a list of 25 things I'm thankful for. Don't get me wrong with this post.  I have plenty of things I could gripe and complain about.  Plenty of things that, in moments, I am not grateful for.  However, I have learned over time that to focus on those things causes my spirit to regress.   And in reality, I truly have many more things to be grateful for. 

What about you?  What are you thankful for?  If you can spare 5 minutes, I encourage you to write a list of 25 things and keep it somewhere you can revisit.  Pull it out any time as a reminder of God's gracious hand in your life.  Especially on those days when you can't seem to pull yourself out of the pit of self-pity, dispair and regret. Take heart friends, we have so much to be grateful for!  Veggie Tales says it best... "A thankful heart is a happy heart."

Here goes...

  1. My husband's determined commitment to Christ
  2. The Lord's grace
  3. Our children
  4. Our home
  5. Sisters in Christ to process life with
  6. A healthy, working body (I mean, as far as I know:))
  7. My mother
  8. My In-Laws (yes, I said it and it's true)
  9. Salvation
  10. Judah's bright eyes and smile
  11. Simeon's desire to please his parents and God
  12. Jada's in depth pretending with her dolls 
  13. Kayla's shoulder shrugging, wrist twisting and eye brow raising when she talks
  14. Starbucks
  15. Mop's
  16. Mentors (you know who you are:))
  17. My two sisters
  18. Safety in travel
  19. Music
  20. Reading and writing (may seem odd, but I truly enjoy both)
  21. Beauty (In every sense of the word)
  22. Netflix :)
  23. Freedom from sin 
  24. Unconditional love
  25. Chocolate and peanut butter... one of the world's greatest combinations
There you have it.  I simply listed what came to mind.  You can do it too and my heart is joyful as I close. I hope yours will be too!

O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.  Psalm 16:5-6

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  Psalm 103:1-5

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh How He Loves Us!

I want to remind you today of how much God loves you!  I know it sounds elementary, but with the business of our lives, if you're like me, we need to be reminded often of simple truths.

Life can be so messy. Trust me. I know. With four little ones at home, a marriage to build (with someone outside my race and culture), housekeeping, homeschooling, extended family, and discipleship relationships to steward, who doesn't become distracted from that truth? Let's not forget how ugly the world is at times. It can be suffocating.

Yet, God loves  us, so much so, He gave His only Son to bring us to Himself eternally.

"The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

"But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation." Psalm 13:5

"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the while family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,that
 Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you , being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21

He loves you. 

His perfect love surpasses knowledge and brings peace in the midst of any storm. It covers a multitude of sin. Take time to stop and listen to God's voice speak the words, "I love you." He has not forgotten about you. He is there...always has been and always will be.  Live in that truth today. Don't let a moment pass by without that truth sinking deep into your conscience...He's waiting. Perfectly. Peacefully. Lovingly... waiting and longing for you to enjoy His love for you.

I'm praying you will experience His perfect love all day and for the rest of your life.

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it...

Yep!  I AM SO EXCITED!!  I've received so much encouragement over the past few months through blogging that I thought I'd start one myself.  

The Lord challenged me to leave Facebook some time ago and I, very sheepishly left, because well, He told me to.  I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the COMPARISON MONSTER and me feeling like FB was calling my name all hours of the day.  In other words, it had a hold on me and not me on it.  Can anybody relate?  As He was calling me away from FB, He was also showing me how fond I had become of writing.  Especially when He was speaking.  After talking with my husband, we thought He was leading to this blog... My Name Is Mommy.

Where did I come up with the title, you ask?  Wellll, as we were driving one day, my 3 year old (at the time) son called me by my FIRST TIME and I FLIPPED OUT on him and told him very firmly that MY NAME IS MOMMY! 

Then I looked at my husband and burst into laughter at the statement.  

Who had I become?  Was my name still Kendra, because I, obviously did not think so.  

Anyway, my husband jokingly said that would be the name of my first book... Therefore it is the name of my first blog.

I hope you're encouraged by it.  I hope you encounter the living God through it as I have through so many others.  I'm not sure how often I will be posting.  We'll see how this develops and how I will find the time to write anything.  

"And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone."  1 Thessalonians 5:14