Even Now

The locusts were sent by God as a judgment on an unfaithful people. They had turned their backs on Him. They had forsaken the One who had brought them so far. Then, there are two of the sweetest words in Scripture…

“Even now…”

After all that you’ve done – even now you can return to me.

After all the places you have been – even now there is a place for you here with me.

No matter how far we have fallen. No matter how many times it has happened. No matter what lies the enemy whispers. God says to us, “Even now, come back to me.”

And He calls us back, not to a place of shame, but of restoration. (Joel 2:25)

He promised to restore what the locusts had eaten. The locusts that were sent by Him in response to their sin. Think about that! He offers to restore to them the very things that their own unfaithfulness had cost them.

That’s grace.

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Mom Talk: Trick or Treating with an Easter Basket

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23 NIV

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I am super proud of myself because all of my children already have their Halloween costumes AND candy buckets three full weeks before Halloween. To fully appreciate this you would need to understand that, last year, I forgot the buckets and sent my kids door to door with old Easter baskets.

Trick or treat! (Also, He is risen). Whatevs – in my day, it was perfectly acceptable to use an old pillow case. You know what, it held WAY more candy than a plastic bucket with a handle that breaks before you get to the end of the street.

It was a confusing time and more than one person commented on the unusual choice – as if I had the two options before me and decided to go with the blatantly inappropriate one. Sometimes, a girl is just doing the best she can, y’all.

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When you see that mama at the store and her kid is screaming in the buggy and folks are giving her the stink eye? Yeah, she’s doing the best she can. No one needs to comment on how her kid would never act like that or that child should be at home taking a nap.

The other day I saw a woman at the store and she had two kids dressed in boots and jeans like it was about to be a blizzard, two kids in shorts and flip flops like they were on their way to the beach and one child still wearing what she slept in the night before. That poor woman – fine, it was me – was doing. the. best. she. can!

So, if some sweet child knocks on your door and says, “Trick or treat,” while holding a frilly basket decorated with Easter eggs, just give her some candy for crying out loud. And, if you are one of the ones who choose to hand out oranges or toothbrushes or mints from the Olive Garden (true story,) we will know that you’re doing the best you can.

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It’s all any of us can do – the best we can. Our kids may still make bad choices. We will still make bad choices. We will wish for do-overs and have to settle for grace overs. We will say things we regret and regret the things we didn’t say.

Here’s my promise to you. When I see you fall, I’ll lift you up instead of laugh. I’ll listen to you instead of judge you. We can love each other without looking like each other. I will try to understand even if I’ve never stood where you stand.

We can do this thing together doing the best we can.

You are loved. ❤

Mom Talk Monday: Speaking Truth to Your Children

I am a control freak.

There, I said it.

I like my towels folded a certain way. I like three slightly rounded {but not heaping} tablespoons of coffee in my cup {the one with the cupcakes on it} filled with hot water {from a tea pot and not just warmed in the microwave}. I like the kitchen counters to be clear of clutter. I want clothes hung a certain way on the hanger. Right now, I am packing for vacation and I have stacks of outfits for my kids organized by what I want them to wear on which day.

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I guess what I’m saying is that I like things the way I like them {usually because it’s the best way.} Oh, I kid. Sort of.

It’s not just little things like whether the toilet paper roll goes over or under {obviously, it’s over} that I try to control. I obsessively try to control situations and outcomes. I analyze a situation and think through all of the options. In my mind, I follow each possible outcome all the way to its conclusion. If I do A and B, then we are going to end up with C. If I choose X and Y instead, then we will find ourselves with Z. 

Something happened, however, that threw all of my controlling tendencies into a tail spin. I became a mom.

No amount of controlling, on my part, can protect my children from broken hearts, disappointments or mean girls. Nothing I do, today, is going to guarantee that my babies won’t deal with financial struggles or job loss or sick children in the future. There is not a magic formula for raising children that promises that they will never make poor decisions and be forced to suffer the consequences.

And it gets harder the older my children become. I nearly have convulsions every Sunday morning when my oldest child says, “Can I just leave my hair down?” In my mind, Sunday mornings are french braids, frilly dresses and cute sandals. Now, I could insist upon a certain look for her. She is an obedient child. But, I have really been convicted regarding my controlling ways and I am trying to be more of a go-with-the-flow kind of gal. {It ain’t easy, y’all.}

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Just this morning, I was reading in Ezekiel. In chapter 2, God gives Ezekiel his ministry assignment and, spoiler alert, it’s not an easy one.

“I send you to a nation of rebels….who also are impudent and stubborn…and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.'”  – Ezekiel 2:3-4

This, my friends, was going to be a difficult task {much like your role as mom.} These were people who had rebelled against God in the past. They were disobedient and stubborn. {Anyone ever have a rebellious child? A disobedient one? A stubborn one?}

Ezekiel’s task, however, was not to control them. He wasn’t told to demand certain changes or force them to dress a certain way. His job, in this particular situation, was to speak truth to them. “Thus says the Lord God.” One of the greatest things we can do, as moms, is to speak truth to our children throughout every stage.

Let’s be honest, ladies. Motherhood is a difficult assignment, but we make it harder than it needs to be. We try to manipulate and control things that, in the grand scheme of things, won’t even matter.

Whatever season you are in, whatever the current drama of the day happens to be – take a step back. Loosen your grip just a little. Develop a laser focus when it comes to your motherhood mission. Your task is to speak truth to them. And, if you can sneak in a french braid on Sunday morning, that’s just icing on the cake.

You are so loved.

How to Live in the Moment and Not Just Photograph it

  1. When you’re tempted to say “Go play” to your children, choose to say, “Come here.”cropped-scripture-doodle1.jpg
  2. When your long and lanky almost 10 year old wants to sit in your lap – you let her.
  3. Sit in the bathroom floor during bath time, even if the kids are big enough to do it on their own.
  4. Look people in their eyes.
  5. Make sure you smile.
  6. Never pass up an opportunity to talk to your children.
  7. Read, read and read some more.
  8. Tell your kids family stories – like the time their grandpa, as a kid, fell in the family outhouse.
  9. Bake something.
  10. Be silly.
  11. Dance in the living room.
  12. Play a board game.
  13. Go through old family photos.
  14. Roll the windows down and turn the radio up.
  15. Put down the camera.
  16. Remember: If you didn’t put it on Facebook or Instagram, it still happened.
  17. Be intentional about living.
  18. Take note of the beauty in your every day. Count your blessings.
  19. See yourself in light of your Maker and not your mistakes.
  20. Laugh out loud.
  21. Embrace grace – for others and for yourself.
  22. Leave your phone at home.
  23. Sit at a coffee shop and people watch.
  24. Write a letter.baby shoes
  25. Take the time to really see the people around you.
  26. Don’t worry about crumbs in the floor and piles of dirty laundry – there will come a day when your home is clean and quiet and you will be kind of sad.
  27. Don’t stop dreaming.
  28. Plan a vacation.
  29. Stop and listen to the sounds of life around you.
  30. Breathe deeply.
  31. Hug someone.
  32. Step away from the computer.
  33. Celebrate something every day.
  34. Take a walk.
  35. Sit on a swing.
  36. Drink something hot.
  37. Don’t forget how to play.
  38. Take pictures – but make sure you are actually in some of the photos.
  39. Invite someone into your home.
  40. Sing out loud.
  41. Keep traditions alive or begin new ones.
  42. Be creative.
  43. Be grateful.
  44. Keep your word.
  45. Be a forgiver.