The D Word

The “D” word seems to be all the rage lately. I see groups about it on Facebook where you can sign up for accountability and support. I’ve actually signed up for some of them myself. There are also books written about it. I’ve been trying to apply all the different techniques, but none of it’s really working for me. You know the word I’m talking about, right? Decluttering!

I’ve been trying to declutter and minimize for at least a year, but it just isn’t working.

I realize that I have six major problems:

  • Other People! With the best of intentions, other people (mainly family) bring in loads and loads of stuff every time they visit. On one hand, I really appreciate their kindness, but on the other hand, I’m totally overwhelmed by it and feel guilty when getting rid of it.
  • The “high” I get from shopping. You know how they say that shopping is therapy? That’s exactly what it feels like for me. Most of the time I end up buying things for my kids because seeing their happy faces is what brings me the most joy. I get all these warm and fuzzy feelings when I bring stuff home to them. But again, I also feel totally overwhelmed when I take a step back and realize how much stuff they have.
  • Figuring out how to get rid of stuff. It’s SO hard to let go of stuff for free, when you think about the money that you spent on it. However, this is definitely not the mindset that Jesus wants us to have. He wants us to be a blessing to others and to do it cheerfully.
  • Figuring out WHAT to get rid of. This one is especially hard for me because I’m a very sentimental person. I always think ahead to the future and wonder if I would regret getting rid of something after my loved one’s life has ended. I’m too emotionally attached to so many things because I think about the memories created with that object, or the person who gave it to me.
  • My children! This is definitely my biggest problem. I love them so much and buying things for them brings so much joy. But as I step back and take a look at the overflow in our home, perhaps I’m doing them a disservice and maybe even stalling their own creativity.
  • Accountability…or lack thereof. Well, now that I’m sharing this with the world, I will consider YOU as my accountability partner. Please join me in this journey so we can do this together!

Today I invite you to come along on this journey with me. I’m going to be very open and honest with you and share things that are just down right embarrassing in my home. My hopes is that you will walk away encouraged. If I can conquer the mess, anyone can!

Here’s a peak into my current situation. I’ll share specifics about these photos as our decluttering process continues.

Please be kind! This is extremely hard for me to share. A lot of this is in the basement, but still. I know we have way too much stuff. Hence, this post. 🙂

Here are some truths that I’m finding in God’s Word. With His help, anything is possible.

First we need to get our minds in order. If we don’t do that, we’ll aimlessly be going through the motions without guidance from God. Focus on these truths to help prepare your heart for the process of decluttering.

  • Proverbs 14:29 “He who is impulsive exalts folly.”
  • Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
  • Proverbs 15:16 “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble.”

Here’s the verse that really convicted me:

1 Timothy 6:6-8 “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”

Wow! We are to be content with just food and clothing. I’m overwhelmed with joy when I think about all that God has blessed us with. But what good is a lot of it when it’s just sitting on a shelf, seldom being used?

Stay tuned to see the transformation taking place in our home. I hope that our journey will be an inspiration to you.

Be blessed my friends!

 

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The Face of Depression

“Take a good look at that face. Go ahead, do it. What do you see? Do you see a happy, glowing mother-to-be? I bet you do, just like many others who have commented on my Facebook page about how beautiful and glowing I look. Do you want to know a secret? This was a picture taken on the one or two days out of the week where I actually got out of my pajamas, took a shower, and put on a little bit of makeup.

Behind that “beautiful smile” is a mom who feels so ugly most days that it hurts. A mom who doesn’t get out of the house enough. She’s isolated herself from many. She uses germs as an excuse (although a true fear), it’s still an excuse. Most of the time she’s covered head to toe in baby snot, tears, food, drinks, or something else. Most of the time she’s so tired that she requires a daily nap and that’s still not enough. This is the face of a mother who is hiding depression.

I have struggled off and on with depression since I was a teenager.”

Those words were written about 2 years ago when I was pregnant with our last son.
I can’t remember why I didn’t finish writing out my thoughts. It had to be the depression itself, exhaustion, or a needy child. Perhaps it was a combination of the three. Anyway, I want to take the time and finish it today to share it with you for three reasons.

#1 ~ I want you to know that if you are in a season like I was, it won’t last forever! That’s what Satan wants you to think. He gets in your mind and says that things will never change. God’s Word says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 

Here’s a current picture of me with a couple of my munchkins. Guess what? I’m not faking that smile. I’m truly happy! Depression isn’t forever! 

#2 ~ I want you to realize that you never really know what someone else is going through. They can appear to be living a wonderful, joyous life. Their face may look just like all the others that you pass. But on the inside, they’re hurting. Maybe they force a smile because they don’t know what else to do. Maybe they don’t talk about it because they worry what others will think. Don’t assume that you really know what’s going on with people. Listen! Take the time to really get to know people. They may need someone close enough that they feel comfortable opening up to.

#3 ~ If you know someone dealing with depression, please be there for them. This is definitely not the time to walk away from a friendship. You may be the only hope they have. The Bible says, “A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17  When I stop and think about this verse, it makes me think about the very few people who stood by my side during those times of depression. Those were real friends. And then I think of the relationships that I lost. Man, how that hurts. I want to cry all over again, just thinking about how easily some people give up on relationships. I know that if you have never truly experienced depression, it’s really hard to understand the people in your life who are going through it. But just because you don’t understand it, that doesn’t make it okay for you to turn your back on them. The best thing you can do is just show up. Show them that you care. They may say that they don’t want company, but usually, they do. They just want to see who really cares. They need to know you are there for them.

I finish this tonight with a thankful heart. I’m grateful to God for bringing me through the storms. I’m thankful that even through the pain I endured, that He made me stronger and opened my eyes to all that He has blessed me with. If you’re in the midst of a storm, I would love to pray for you. Just leave a comment. I don’t need details unless you want to share. God knows!

Be blessed my friends!

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Mastitis Without Breastfeeding

I wanted to write a quick post about something that I recently experienced, in order to educate other women. A little more than a week ago, I woke up with pain in my left breast. My initial thought was that one of the kids had probably elbowed or kicked me there the night before. Those little body parts can hurt! As the day went on, I started getting more and more concerned. I just felt like something wasn’t right. It felt like more than a bad bruise.

The next day when I woke up, I was in more pain. When I checked it out in the mirror, I noticed a red streak that went from the center of my chest, inward. It was on the opposite side where I was experiencing pain (but same breast). I thought that was kind of odd. As the day went on, I kept checking it in the mirror and I noticed a red ring with normal looking skin in the center. Okay, this is the point that I started freaking out a little bit. Of course I did what most women would do (but shouldn’t). I hopped on Google and started researching all of my symptoms.

I have heard that breast cancer doesn’t hurt, but of course I came across a type that does. It’s called inflammatory breast cancer. Once I found this, my mind went crazy and I kept looking for this “orange peel” effect that is almost a sure sign. Once you notice this cancer, it’s usually already in advanced stages. I was praying so hard that it wasn’t cancer and that I wouldn’t even have to go through the tests to find out. You see, just over a year ago, I had to have a mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy on this breast. The whole experience was just terrifying. But, I would go through it all again if I had to, because early intervention could mean the difference between life and death.

The red ring was very close to where my pain was (on the left side, extending outward towards my underarm). When I looked up images, it looked a lot like ringworm. Only, my redness wasn’t raised, flaky, or itchy.

Picture that I found that looks similar to what I experienced before it began to spread.

As a day or two went on, the ring disappeared, and the redness started looking more spread out. It was also extending further upwards. I didn’t have a fever, but I did feel sick to my stomach, and extra tired, and the pain was getting worse. The nausea may have been from my nerves. I wanted to feel for a lump, but I couldn’t due to the excruciating pain. Of course this all took place over the weekend, so when Monday finally rolled around, I called my OB to make an appointment. I got in right away and the doctor saw the redness and the pain I was in, and was able to feel a knot (man that hurt). Thankfully it hadn’t abscessed.

As you’ve probably already figured out from the title, I had mastitis. Who knew! I sure didn’t! I had a feeling though, because this sure seemed a lot like all the times I had it when I was breastfeeding my children. I got it with every single one of them, sometimes multiple times. And if my memory serves me correctly, it was always on the left side. I don’t know why I’m so susceptible to getting mastitis, but it sure isn’t a fun thing to experience. The last time I breastfed was over a year and a half ago.

I currently have a couple more days on my antibiotics, but I’m so happy to report that the pain, redness, and lump are all gone. Thank you Jesus!

Be blessed my friends!

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How to Handle Changes in Friendships

Today I want to talk to you about something that I have dealt with a LOT in the last few years; changes in friendships. I have experienced so much heartbreak, especially since moving into a subdivision. Before we even bought this house about 5 years ago, I prayed so hard over our future relationships. I prayed that we would easily make great friends and that there would be more stay-at-home moms here so I wouldn’t feel so alone when my husband was working.

When we first moved in, it was almost scary how friendly people were. I wasn’t used to that at all. We developed good relationships with all of the people around us, and we were just ecstatic to learn that some people we knew from church were moving in behind us. There were stay-at-home moms and plenty of kids for mine to play with. It was amazing! These great relationships continued for a couple of years or so and then everything just took a wrong turn.

It’s been a few years since the first relationships were ruined, and I still don’t understand just exactly what happened. To be honest, I have gone from being friends with people in the neighborhood, to losing those relationships with FIVE different people! When this happened to me a third and fourth time, I had already spent years crying over the first failed relationships. I never could figure out what went wrong. And recently I began thinking that I was somehow a horrible person and something just had to be wrong with me.

I even lost my very best friend. We had been friends since junior high. Well, a year and a half ago, I met her at an amusement park one day and things didn’t go well. I was very stressed out. I had an 8 week old baby with me, along with my other 3 kids, and my oldest’s best friend (and my husband wasn’t there to help me out). What could possibly go wrong? Haha Well, something obviously did, because that best friend of mine hasn’t spoken to me since then.

Anyway, now that this had happened a FIFTH time, something in me changed; something that needed to be changed.

I FINALLY stopped caring what anyone else thinks about me. I FINALLY realized that if someone were my TRUE friend, our relationship wouldn’t just end abruptly over something insignificant.

A REAL friend wouldn’t leave me because someone better or more convenient moved in next door. Why have I spent so many years in tears over people who don’t even care about me? I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a sensitive person and that’s just the way God made me. I’m a person who truly cares about other people. I care about relationships. I’ve had a hard time understanding why God made me so sensitive, but I’m beginning to see the strengths in this trait now, instead of only the weaknesses that I’ve seen my entire life.

Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. It’s a sign that you have a big heart, and that you aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength. ~ Brigitte Nicole

With God’s grace, I’ve reached the point where I see that I’m not to depend on people for my happiness. My joy comes from the Lord! He’s done so much for me and my family. It’s hard to believe now that I’ve spent so much time hurting over people who have clearly moved on without me.

If you are struggling with relationships, here are some key points to help you move forward:

  1. We were not put on this earth to please people, but to please the Lord!

    The Bible says in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

    Oh man, this has been a huge issue for me, my entire life. It started with always wanting to please my parents. I tried to prove to my dad that I would do better than my older brothers did. Unfortunately, I carried this mentality with me into adulthood and I’ve learned that, while it’s nice to love others and do good things for them, it’s not good to worry about what they think of you. Keep your eyes focused on the Lord, and He’ll help you with all of your relationships.

  2. There is a season for everything, and that includes friendships.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

    While I may no longer be friends with someone, it doesn’t mean that I can’t look back with joy for the time that we spent together. So now, instead of dwelling on the hurt because of the end, I can smile back on the times that we were happy together. That season has ended, but God has prepared me for a new season, and new friendships.

  3. “A friend loves at all times.” ~ Proverbs 17:17

    If you are wondering if someone in your life is a true friend, then they’re probably not. You shouldn’t have to worry and walk on eggshells. A real friend will love you through all the hard times and will still be there for you when life gets easier. For people like this, I now love them from a distance. I have zero expectations from them, and that alone has brought me so much freedom.

  4. God may be protecting you.

    Psalm 91:11 says, “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.

    Even though you can’t see it, and you don’t understand, it’s best to trust that God knows what He’s doing. I feel like a curtain has been opened before my eyes. Some of those failed relationships, I can now look at and actually thank God that it didn’t work out. Part of being a people pleasing type of person, makes it harder to see the negative in other people. I see now that God was protecting my children from further heartbreak of their own. I also see that He was protecting me from lifestyles that don’t line up with Godly character.

    If you found this post to be helpful, please consider sharing it with others who may need the encouragement.


Be blessed my friends!

 

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A Fun and Easy Science Experiment ~ Soap in the Microwave

Last summer we created a summer bucket list. You can read more about there HERE. We did a lot of things on our list, but there were several that we didn’t get around to for one reason or another. One of the things on the list was to do science experiments. You would think that would be one of the first things to get marked off of the list since we are a homeschooling family. Nope! Guess what? I feel like I stink at stuff like that. I really wish I had more interest in science stuff, because, well, I’m a mom of 4 boys. I feel like that should be a requirement for boy motherhood.

Knowing how much science experiments mean to my kids (especially the 8 year old), I found a way to make it happen without causing me much stress. The answer is: Soap in the microwave! It’s the easiest thing in the world and it’s SO neat to watch. All you need is Ivory bar soap and a microwave! We watched it until it stopped expanding and then we took it out. It usually took around a minute or so. Once you take it out, be sure to let it cool. Then your kids can have fun feeling it’s unique texture as it crumbles apart.

To add a little more excitement, drop some food coloring on it before putting it in the microwave.

If you want to see videos of the actual process in the microwave, check out my YouTube video HERE.

I also have a video HERE with our 3 year old’s reaction to it. He had a lot of fun and it was easy to clean up. I mean, after all, it’s just soap!

 

Be blessed my friends!

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My Grieving Heart

I’m so troubled by everything I’ve been witnessing on social media and the news. I just don’t know how much more I can handle seeing each day. I keep seeing my “friends” posting things that I not only disagree with, but things that I know grieves the heart of God. My heart is so grieved too. How can these women, many of them who are mothers, and many who claim to be Christians, be pro-choice? They stand up for the rights of animals, but not for the rights of an unborn child. I seriously don’t get it. My heart hurts for God. He had a plan for each and every baby that he planted in the womb.

baby
“Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20:13

I pray daily on how to handle this situation. I want to stand up for God and not care what anyone else thinks. He’s the main authority in my life. He’s the one who created me and the one who will judge me when I enter into eternity. I want to be brave for God. I want to empower other woman to stand up against the grain. It really stinks, but you will lose friends over standing up for what the Bible says is right. I know this first hand. But it gives me peace to know that even Jesus faced heartbreak when Judas, one of His 12 disciples, betrayed Him. (John 18:1-12) He knows the heartbreak you feel from the loss of friendship. He will help you heal and move forward.

These women who protested for women’s rights don’t represent me or God. These women need our prayers, but the world needs to see that there are millions of other women like myself who are pro-life women who love and respect our husbands. We are happy with our rights as women. We have so much freedom in America. How dare these women complain and carry on like they have chains around their necks. They don’t like America? They should do research on other countries where women still have barely any privileges. I’m SO thankful that I can stay home with my children and teach them about God. Many countries don’t even allow homeschooling or free worship. (If you are reading this right now from one of those countries and you long for this type of freedom, I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I’m praying for you!) We are women who strive to please God. We do this by respecting the authority figures that He has placed in our lives.

Romans 13:1-3 says, “All of you must obey the government rulers. Everyone who rules was given the power to rule by God. And all those who rule now were given that power by God. So anyone who is against the government is really against something God has commanded. Those who are against the government bring punishment on themselves. People who do right don’t have to fear the rulers. But those who do wrong must fear them. Do you want to be free from fearing them? Then do only what is right, and they will praise you.”

I would like to end by saying a prayer.

Lord, I thank You for all that You’ve done for me. Thank You that my mother chose life so that I may experience Your goodness and love here on earth. I’m thankful for the air I breathe, for warm water, for my family and friends. There’s just SO much to be thankful for. Thank You for the gift of being home with my children and for giving me a hard working husband to provide for us. I pray for those who don’t know You. Please soften their hearts and open their eyes to Your Word and Your plans for their lives. I pray God, that the division will stop right now and that Your love will conquer all. Bring peace to America. I know that division is Satan’s plan, not Yours. He’s having a field day right now. But I know God, that You are the name above ALL names. I know that You have a plan for each and every person on this earth, whether they believe in You or not. I pray that Your plans for us will prosper and that every weapon formed against Your people will fail. I pray for those who don’t have the freedom to worship You freely. I pray that their leaders will be drawn to You and things will change for the good of Your people. I pray that You will protect those who have to worship You in secret. Give them peace God. Give Your people courage and a bold spirit to stand up for what is right and for the things that bring honor to You. But help us to do it with love and kindness. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Be blessed my friends!

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FIRE IGNITED

Tonight I finished reading “make me a Legend: For The Dream of a Better Tomorrow” by Chuck Balsamo. Yay! I finished an entire book! That’s a huge accomplishment for a mother of 4 who finds it hard to focus on anything longer than a few seconds. I started out reading this book because I’ve been on this quest for significance in my life. Too many times the title “Mother” just doesn’t seem as spectacular as I hoped that it would. I finished this book with the understanding that I am not just a mother, I will be a legend to them, and hopefully many others. There’s been this very small flame inside my soul for way too long. Maybe I wouldn’t even call it a flame. Have you ever stood over the stove while you were fixing dinner, just so you could warm up a bit? Sadly, that’s how powerful my “flame” has been for at least a couple of years. Looking at my spiritual life now with a new set of eyes makes me want to cry. How pathetic have I been! I’ll get over it quickly though because I’m excited about the new spark that has hit my soul.

With prayer and faith, I will no longer worry about what others think of me. I will be the best me that I can be and if they don’t like it, well, that’s their loss. I have come to a point where I’m so tired of wasting my time, energies, and resources on those who could honestly care less about me. There was a chapter in this book about getting connected with the right people. I’ve struggled so much with wanting to please everyone and be friends with everyone. Tonight I’m feeling better about moving on without those who no longer belong in my circle, and refocusing my energies on those who truly care. Also, I wrote down a quote from the book that I will be meditating on (replaced with the word I), “This is where I overcome my fear of people – godless people, faithless people, and intimidating, self-righteous people.” I have been holding so much back, out of fear of what others might think of me. So many things that I wanted to say, and should’ve said, but didn’t. I held my tongue as to not offend someone, while at the same time I was swallowing down words that would’ve defended my Savior. No more! My eternal soul and your eternal soul matter more to me now. I will preach the gospel and spread His truth with the world. I let go of my fears. Oh so many fears!

I want to cry tonight, but the tears just won’t come. Perhaps because I know how hard it will be to stop them from flowing. As I look back over the last few years, I’ve somehow, ever so slowly, drifted so far away from Jesus compared to where I was. My husband and I had stopped praying together. I can’t even remember the last time we prayed together as a family. How embarrassing to admit this to you. I stopped writing. I stopped singing. I stopped serving. How on earth did this happen? Well, I know how it happened. It’s exactly how Satan had planned it to happen many years ago. But I have news for him! I’m running back to Jesus and His arms are open wide. I feel His embrace surrounding me now. Angels are rejoicing! Look! There is a flame now, where once there was only the feeling of heat.

Perhaps the drifting away all began when I started out on the quest for more significance. I started searching in other places. I started envying other’s lives instead of being content with the wonderful life that God has blessed me with. I wanted more for MY life. Perhaps if I started out asking God what more I could do for HIM, then I wouldn’t have gotten so off track.

Tonight I will sleep peacefully knowing that I am making a difference in my boy’s lives. We will get back to praying together. We will get back to consistent church services and I won’t just be a bystander. I will set the example for my boys. I will make the sacrifices and be a servant for God’s kingdom. I trust God to use me in ways that I never imagined. I will get back to writing (starting with this very post). I will finish a book someday. I will use all of the hurt and heartache that I’ve endured to encourage others and to help bring them out of bondage. I am tired of playing it safe! God has so much more for us and I’ve gotten in the way. It’s like He stepped aside for these few years and said, “OK, have it your way.” He was always there with me. When I was searching for more, He had His arms around me, trying to show me that He is the more. He’s all I ever needed. When I went through painful trials, He tried to reach out and rescue me, but I wouldn’t listen. I prayed to Him, but I couldn’t hear Him through all the distractions that Satan had created in my life.

I believe that the turning point (a major shift) for me came when Chuck Balsamo wrote in his book to ask God to point out anything in my life that may be holding me back. Whew! I had to stop and take a close look a that. I prayed about it and then as I continued to read the book, God showed me more. I’m going to share my list with you as a bold step of faith. I feel in my heart that this list may resonate with you. It won’t all be the same, but maybe very similar. I’m listing these in order that they came to my mind. See how it starts out looking like pretty minor issues, but then God pointed out deeper issues in my heart.

  1. Cookie Jam Oh how embarrassed I am to admit this. In case you didn’t know, this is a game that I play on my tablet. I’m on level one thousand and something. I’ve been playing it for less than a year. I’ve wasted so much time just spacing out and playing this game, when I could’ve been using that time to draw closer to the Lord. There are so many better uses of my time. 
  2. FaceBook Raise your hand if you’re with me on this one. Scroll, scroll, scroll…Wow! How did I just sit here for half an hour looking into everyone else’s lives? Meanwhile I’m feeling sorry for myself and feeling like an inadequate mother and wife because Super Mom just posted again about her glorious world that she lives in. 
  3. Anger (deep breath) This is so hard for me to admit. I’m so ashamed to bring it to the surface and share it with you. But I know I’m not alone. I’ve been working on this for years. I know this has gotten in the way of God moving in my life. Tonight I surrender all anger over to Him. I know I will still have outburst, but I also know that He is alive and working in me. All things are possible and this is one of the mountains that I expect to be moved so God has a straighter path to my heart.
  4. Bitterness This issue came about during some hurt that I’ve experienced in the last few years. It’s a newer feeling that I hate to carry around. I’ve tried to let go, but it rises back up and rears it’s ugly head at me from time to time. What I’ve learned is that there is no trying harder here. I’ve tried, and tried, and tried. What needs to happen is God’s transformation in my heart and I believe that I’m on the doorstep of this happening. 
  5. Other’s Opinions of me This! This has been a major setback for me in SO many areas of my life. Chuck mentioned in his book that unlike Jesus, we seem to need our world to like us, enjoy us, approve of us, and celebrate us! Did you catch that? Unlike Jesus! We were put on this earth to please our Heavenly Father and to model His example. His opinion should be the only one that truly matters! I’m sharing all of this with you right now because I know that I am doing the work of my Father, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. This is a HUGE step for me!
  6. Fear Fear has held me captive for way too long! Fear of bees, tornadoes, something happening to me, something happening to our children or my husband, fear of going broke, starving, fear of letting people down, fear of what others think, fear that I’m not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. The list goes on and on and on. Why? God’s word tells us that worry won’t change anything. And this brings me to the last thing that God put on my heart.
  7. Lack of Trust in God Tonight God showed me that all of my fears are due to a lack of trust in Him. Wow! The one who created the entire universe and keeps it all functioning every single day. The one who made me and you. There’s no reason to not give Him my whole heart and fully trust Him. I know He wants to give me complete peace and rest that’s only found in Him. All I have to do is let Him!

Tonight I saw myself as the woman in this skit. With each character that tries luring her away from Jesus, I pictured all of these issues that I just mentioned that have been holding me back from Him. Thank God that I didn’t go down many of these terrible paths. But I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if I didn’t stop long enough to listen to that still, small voice inside of me. That voice that was pulling me back to Him. He was the voice!


I’m so sorry God! Help me to trust You more! Break theses heavy chains that have had me bound so tightly. Fan the flame and make it grow! Give me more opportunities to share Your love with others and help me to be bold. Help me and my family to be Your hands and feet. Help us to bring thousands of others to You. Break the chains that bind Your people. Break the mold off of their eyes and make them pause long enough to see how much Satan has been distracting them and slowly making them drift away from You. Help Your people to rise up again. Give them back their backbone and their voices! Draw them out of the dark places and light their souls on fire so that they will be the light to others. In Jesus name I pray! Amen!

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My Life at the Moment

I don’t think many people truly understand what’s going on in my life. Raising 4 kids is SO hard! With Aaron working long hours, it just makes things that much harder on me. I can’t blame him (even though I do at times because I can be a very selfish human being). He works so hard to provide for our family and when I can take a deep breath and reflect, I’m so very grateful for his hard work and dedication. I know I don’t show that nearly enough. Because I’m drowning here at home! I’m so depleted. I feel so alone, even though I’m very blessed to have a handful of great friends. They’re busy living their lives too.

You know what’s funny? Well, not really. I had a friend once (when I only had one child) who had 5 kids. She would always use her kids as an excuse for not being able to go places and do things with me. I completely didn’t understand. My thoughts were, “Well, she knew what she was getting into when she had all those kids.” OH my how bad I feel now for the thoughts I had towards her. I actually ended our friendship because I got tired of her “excuses”. Now here I am with my 4 children and I feel terrible. Now I (sort of) know what she was going through.

I always dreamed of having 4 children and honestly, I thought it would be a glorious walk in the park. Even after my first 2 kids, I was still thinking, “This is great. We should have more.” So, along came my sugar booger. He’s the sweetest child ever, but he can also be SO rotten. Ever heard the term threenager? That’s him! Let’s step back for a second. When he was just over a year old, we thought it would be great to have another baby so we could have 2 kids close in age. I also really, really wanted a girl. Less than a month of thinking we should have another baby, Aaron and I agreed that maybe it would be best to wait a year or so until our finances were better and we were more prepared for a 4th child. Well, God had other plans because I was already pregnant!

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The Threenager

 When our little Sweet Pea arrived in June of 2015, this put him and my Sugar Booger exactly 2 years and 3 weeks apart. And man, did life change!!! I thought things were hard before this and that it wouldn’t be that different just adding one more child. Again, I was so wrong! I can’t remember a time in my life where daily living seemed like such a struggle. A year and a half later and we still can’t sleep through the nights consistently. I’m constantly cleaning up messes that the baby throws all over the floor after ripping things to shreds. If something isn’t bolted down, the baby will find a way to move it or climb on it. Or, if it’s something to get into, he will get into it and take everything out and throw it all over the place. He then jumps off of things, like the chairs, slides, and the couch. Keep in mind, he can’t stick a landing yet. I pray almost daily that this child won’t need an ER trip for a broken bone. His newest feat is climbing all the way onto the table. I sure hope he doesn’t try to jump from there when I turn my head for 2 seconds, because that’s how fast he is. I want to spend time with my friends, but I’m realizing more and more that it just can’t happen with the baby around (unless we are in my mostly baby proofed home). I try hanging out with others while I have him and every single time I want to walk away in tears. He’s all over the place. I can’t put him down outside because he’ll run so fast, I’m afraid he’ll fall and hurt himself on the concrete. I can’t put him down inside someone else’s house because he gets into EVERYTHING! I’m constantly chasing him around while trying to keep up with everything else. I’m trying to keep up with homeschooling, house cleaning, and all of our financial stuff. I have to prepare meals, grocery shop, extracurricular activities for the kids, and somehow try to find time for myself, my husband, friends, family, and God (not in that order). Oh, and I’ve completely gone off of the deep end and added a puppy to the mix. I love him, but, “What was I thinking?” Again, I was only thinking of loving my son who has been begging for a husky for over a year.

My life feels like a wreck right now. I feel like I’m losing friends. Because, just like I once judged a friend of mine, I feel like my friends are now judging me. They don’t understand. And I don’t think you can understand unless you’ve walked in my shoes. My marriage is suffering. There’s no time for us. When we do have time, we’re both completely exhausted. It seems so unfair. I wish someone would rush in and save me. Someone to just help me get this all figured out. Someone to give me a real break, where I can leave the house and not worry about the kids or what time the sitter may need me back. That would be so wonderful! I love my kids with everything in me. Perhaps that’s my problem. My life really does revolve around them. But at this moment in time, I don’t know how to change that. And honestly, even though things are completely bonkers around here, I don’t know if I want to change that. Our oldest just turned 17. Time is like grains of sand being tossed in the wind. Before you know it, it’s over.

I want to cherish this time with my kids more, but I’m so stressed out on a daily basis. What I want everyone to understand is that I need you! More now than any other time in my life. My family doesn’t live near me. I need encouragement, prayers, and company. I need YOU to pick up the phone and call and text me (because my brain is constantly occupied here and I honestly forget). Maybe even ask for some one on one time together. I can make that happen…if anyone showed that they care enough about me to want that time with me. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a friend or two who gets it! If you’re that friend, thank you SO much! Everyone else, please just bare with me. Don’t give up on me! I know I’m a great friend if given the chance. And I know in time, I will be an even better friend, mom, and wife. Because I expect this journey to get a little easier as my babies continue to grow up. Thank you to those who are on this journey with me for the long haul! I know you’ll never completely understand unless you’re in my shoes, but hopefully my little cry of desperation here will just let you know how hard things have been for me lately. And if I seem distant, it’s not because I want to be, not at all.

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FOCUS

This world is moving so fast these days. I mean, technically it’s not spinning faster than it was 10 or 15 years ago (I don’t think), but with advanced technology, most people have become better multitaskers. Maybe better isn’t the correct word. It surely isn’t correct for me. I feel like I’ve been forced into some futuristic world where it’s almost impossible to just sit and relax with good company without everyone tuning out by looking at their phones, tablets, or television. I’m guilty too. Oh so very guilty. I’ve been sucked into this vortex and I’m having trouble getting out of it. Gone are the days where I could just go to the bathroom and think to myself or read a good book. Oh no, now I have to make sure to take my phone and spend waste more time on Facebook or checking useless e-mails. I know it’s gross, but you know you do it too!

Another problem I have is getting through one book at a time. There are so many great reads out there! I would go buy about 5 books at a time and expect to read just a little bit of each one every few days. Tell me you have this problem too and I’m not just a crazy lady. I feel so bad for most people who try to have a conversation with me (especially my husband), because I just tune them out without realizing it. I can’t count the times that my husband has had to repeat himself to me. I completely bar talk him all…the…time. I don’t do it on purpose. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. Well, I didn’t realize it, but now I’m trying much harder to put my agenda aside and completely FOCUS on others around me. This is my word for 2017, but I’m starting early.

Realizing that you have a problem is the first step towards change. 

There are so many signs that have been screaming in my face lately, telling me that my lack of focus is a real problem. My husband feeling like he’s not important to me was a huge smack in my face. So I vow to go against the grain and the world’s ways of doing things, to help my friends and family feel more loved by me. Focusing will help me too. I will be able to accomplish so much more. My first experiment with focus was to get through an entire book before going on to another. And guess what? I did it. I finished an entire book! That’s so huge for me. Now I’m working on another. It’s so refreshing to actually remember what’s going on in the book because you’re not switching between several books at a time.

So, here are some things that I’m going to do to help me focus in 2017. I’m not going to try everything all at once because I’m afraid that would set me up for quick failure. Maybe you can give some of these a try too.

  1. As mentioned above, I vow to only read one book at a time. This doesn’t include my Bible time or my devotional.
  2. I will stop getting notifications from Facebook on my phone. This should drastically reduce my time on there. When I see a notification pop up, I just have to see what so and so said.
  3. I will spend more time in God’s Word and prayer, asking him for daily guidance and for His help to help me focus more on the people and things that truly matter the most, Him being my first priority.
  4. I will intentionally stop and listen when someone is talking to me. I will also tell them to hold on a sec if I’m not ready to honestly listen. Or maybe I’ll even ask them to talk to me later when I’m not focused on something else.
  5. I’m going to create a schedule for myself that will include time at the gym, play time with the kids, chores, and maybe even down time.
  6. I will stop trying to multitask. This means, I will stop checking out Facebook on my phone while playing a game on my tablet, while the television is on and my kids need me. Yeah, I’m seriously guilty of this. Pretty pathetic huh.
  7. I will seek out others who value real relationships and one on one time with others. People who can put their phones down and look me in the eyes and savor our time together.

What will you do to be more focused? Or maybe you don’t have a problem staying focused. If you could choose one word to gear your life around in 2017, what would it be?

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My Review of the L’Oréal Paris COLOUR RICHE® La Palette Lip

I really like the L’Oréal Paris COLOUR RICHE® La Palette Lip and would give it 4 out of 5 stars.  I didn’t give it 5 stars because there are a few things I would change it if were up to me. But first, let me tell you what I do absolutely love about it!

 

My favorite thing is that there are so many different colors to choose from (8 to be exact), so you can create a look that is unique to you or how you are feeling on any particular day. I’m a pretty laid back, easy going gal who normally prefers more natural shades of makeup, so I chose the Nude colors. For me personally, I love lining my lips with one of the darker colors, filling in all but the center with a slightly less darker color, and then finishing it up with the lightest color (the highlight illuminateur). It really makes my lips pop! The nude colors work extremely well doing it this way. I also love how well it goes on with the brush, nice and silky smooth. The brush is very precise and doesn’t get all bent out of shape after a few uses. If you have really dry lips, it’s best to apply some clear lip treatment prior to putting on your lipstick. I have tried this lipstick for a couple of weeks now and I can say that it stays on pretty well. It will last several hours as long as you aren’t using your lips a lot; you know, kissing, eating, drinking, etc. But that’s with any kind of lip product! I’m also happy with the price. I’ve checked these out at my local shopping places like Meijer and Kroger, and I’ve seen them for right around $15 each. That’s definitely a price I’m willing to pay for EIGHT different color options. I know some lipsticks cost more than that, and you are stuck with just one color to choose from.

And now for the things I would change if I could. I love having so many choices, but I also like to carry my lip products with me wherever I go so I can always have fresh looking, vibrant lips. However, with the L’Oréal Paris COLOUR RICHE® La Palette Lip, it’s pretty bulky for my tiny purse. I would much prefer a more compact lip product, perhaps one that is 2-tiered where you can unfold it, so it would be a square instead of a rectangle. This is just my personal preference. I also think that adding a mirror would increase the value of this product, and I’d be willing to pay a little extra for that feature. And last, but not least, I really love the brush that comes with it, but I’m terrible at cleaning my makeup brushes like I should. So it would be great if this came with either a double sided brush, or an extra brush so my colors don’t get all mixed together on the brush.

Overall this is a really great, new, exciting, and innovative product and I have already shared it with some friends and will continue to share because it’s one of my favorite pieces to my makeup routine now.

The picture is of me after trying on the product for the first time. It looks pretty light and simple, but that’s what I like. I also realized at that moment that I needed some lip treatment. After treating my lips for a few days, the L’Oréal Paris COLOUR RICHE® La Palette Lip colors looked WAY better on me!

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