Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Three

Mom Confessions

This week has felt harder than some…and I am going to try and bring some humor to my post but may just need a virtual shoulder to cry on this week. So even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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For some humor (or horror) you take your pick…my week started with this “reality check” from my sweet little miss….I was changing into my painting clothes this weekend and Karlena happened into my room. She took one look at me and said (and I swear I am not kidding) “EEEWWWW!” So me, the clueless one, asks what she is eewwwwing, to which she responds… “Your legs mama, they are SOOO GROSS!” “They are just sooo gross.”

And then she left the room. And so did my self-esteem. ;) Yes my legs are white, and thankfully because of my genetic background, quite vein-y. But gross? Really was that necessary? (I will spare you all a picture because well at this point I can’t take any more rejection!)

This is what I had for breakfast on Monday…

Cookie Bar

Cookie Bar

I have no self control. I honestly felt that because of all the oatmeal and peanut butter in it that it was a lot like a healthy snack. This on the morning that I could have  should have started a 40 day sugar fast with the ladies over at Mother of Boys. Who am I kidding though, right now I am too emotionally unstable to be giving up sugar. That is probably just why I should…but it isn’t happening today.

And why am I so emotionally unstable you might ask?

Well for starters…this…

Isaac 18

I think the reality of this all is really setting in. My oldest, the one I made ALL the mistakes with, is actually graduating and like leaving (probably forever, I mean he will visit but he may never live long term with us again.) And I realize that this is a part of life, and I am so proud of him and excited to see him chase his dreams but oh the “letting go” is hard isn’t it?

And I feel like such a complete and total failure when it comes to what I should have done already for his graduation party. The invitations aren’t even addressed, I don’t have a single picture board made…heck when our external hard drive died 2 years ago we lost like 7 years of his documented digital life that I won’t ever get back.

A few years ago I made these amazing boards for a friends son(s) who were graduating. I totally love doing that kind of thing, but now my first born is graduating and I haven’t done anything and don’t know how in a month I can. Can we say #momguilt. Ugh.

The reality is he probably doesn’t care but I also don’t want him to think he isn’t super important. I don’t want our party to be totally lame compared to everyone else’s. How 11th grade is that?!

I need therapy.

And for the love of all things good and holy how do you plan for a party when you have NO IDEA how many people will come? I ordered 100 cupcakes, I think that will be enough, but what if it is short…what if we only need 30. Seriously I need therapy don’t I?!

So there you have it.

And to add to the fun, Elijah has been sick for the past 2 days. Bad stomach pains…we thought he was using the bathroom normally, if you catch my drift…but apparently maybe not as much as he should.

So he missed a day of school last week because of a stomach ache. Then 2 this week…I took him into the clinic this morning just to make sure it wasn’t something more serious.

Elijah sick

Turns out his belly is full of some pretty hard poo. Yep that’s fun! So we are upping our fiber, eating some dried apricots and drinking a lot of water. All good stuff….or will hopefully produce some “good stuff.”

So with that I bid adieu. ;)

***And a happy update since I wrote this post – I stayed up late and got the invitations addressed so thank God that part is done!!***

Can You Relate?

Relate-Womens-Ministry-1

I want to share something that I am SO excited to be a part of. Recently I was at a baby shower with a few women from my church. We spent the entire time talking and laughing and sharing stories. It was a wonderful time connecting with some of the women that I know, but didn’t know well.

A couple of us started talking later about how we needed to try and do things like that more often. I have said before that community is so important to me and being surrounded by other women (in person) was such a gift. How could we foster that type of community in our local church?

My friend Steph has had a heart for seeing some sort of Women’s Ministry at our church form and even had the perfect name for it…Relate! A place that we could gather together as one and find all those common ways that we can relate to one another.

So we are taking a leap of faith and moving forward and Relate Women’s Ministry was born!

God gave me some words to try and express our heart behind this ministry and I wanted to share those here. Friends if you are in the Marshall MN area and want to join me for our first “event” – please let me know!! I would love to have you join us!

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I don’t know about any of you…but Sunday mornings can be pretty stressful around our house. Heck any morning can be pretty stressful. Getting everyone out the door on time, without fighting can be a challenge can’t it?

So let me just say congratulations on even being here today!

But can I be honest for a minute? I am pretty intimidated by all of you. I desperately want for you to believe that I have it all together, as though that belief would make you like me more…but the reality is that there are some Sunday mornings that I am screaming in the car on the way to church.

Can anyone relate?

Maybe you are a mom to small children and it feels like you have changed 1000 diapers too many and you just want to have an adult conversation for 5 minutes.

Maybe all of your children are grown and out of the house and you are wondering what your purpose is now?

Maybe you are single and you wonder if you will ever get married?

Or you are struggling in your marriage and you feel like you are the only one who isn’t seeing life through rose colored glasses…

Can anyone relate?

God is pretty clear about how He feels about community. He created us to be in community together, to support one another and to lift each other up.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”

Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

A few of us have been talking about how we can create a community for the women of Swan Lake. A safe place where we can meet and find laughter, encouragement, and lift one another up. A place where there is no judgement or comparisons but instead a time where we can share stories and just relate to one another. Find that common ground that IS there between all of us!

A place for all women. For the mothers and the singles, the empty nesters and the retirees. If you are a women (sorry guys) we extend an invitation for you to join us. Because this is new we don’t have everything figured out yet…but if you have a heart for this type of ministry we encourage you to join us and bring your ideas.

We are hoping to gather together once a month, on a Friday night or Saturday morning for a few hours. We will have an activity and a devotion and a time of fellowship. I know that there are several women here that I don’t know well and I am guessing the same could be said for many of you. We want to change that and are hoping that this is the place to start!

So for our first “event” we will be showing the movie “Mom’s Night Out” here at the church on Friday May 1st. It is a funny movie and one that all women, regardless of where they are in life, can relate to. Come ready to laugh and eat some popcorn and enjoy some fellowship with other women!

Feel free to bring a friend too! All women are welcome!

For Those Who Persecute You

Prayer

I know that I don’t fully understand what real persecution is like. The kind that causes one to hide to worship God because they fear the repercussions if they are found out. The kind that has men on their knees facing imminent death. I don’t for a moment want to compare the struggles we have been through to the magnitude that those are….but  we have faced persecution.

I don’t want to give too many specific details because honestly it is in the past and it doesn’t matter anymore…but there was a time that Dominic and I were persecuted by another. False things were said, attacks were made and ultimately God walked us through that time and has blessed us, but it was a painful time. Feelings were hurt and it can be hard to let those go.

Recently we heard that this person has cancer. We know no other details…just that word.

And can I be honest that the immediate thought that came to my mind was “they are getting what they deserve.” (Please know I am NOT proud of this either)

Immediately following that thought, was the command that I needed to be in prayer for this person. (THIS is ALL God)

When bad things happen to people that have hurt us, it somehow feels like a little bit of justice is taking place. Now let me temper that by saying that I too have hurt people, so by my own definition, I deserve bad things as well.

So please hear me that I don’t think that anyone who gets cancer must have done something to “deserve it.” Quite the contrary. What I am admitting to is that my humanness, my sinful nature, makes me react in a way that is not Christ-like.

I know that I am a failure. I can’t and don’t love like Christ. It is the reason that I need Him in my life every moment of every day.

But Jesus specifically said in Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

It seems pretty clear doesn’t it?

It doesn’t mean that it is easy though….

So I looked at it a little deeper…if you read a little more in Matthew you see this. Matthew 5: 43-47: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others?”

If I am seeking to model my life like Christ, I need to be listening to His words on how to live.

I was sharing my thoughts with two of my closest friends this morning, because this IS hard. I can know it, and believe it, but the walking out of my faith can be a challenge.

One of these friends shared something that hit me in a new way this morning. When Jesus was hanging on the cross he was in between 2 criminals. Now I don’t know that we know for sure what their crimes were. We don’t know how old they were or if they had ever lived a “good” life…but we do know that their crimes were serious enough to warrant an execution of this manner.

One of the criminals taunted Jesus and told him to save himself and them. The other said this… Luke 23: 40-43:But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.

The 2nd criminal may have been a criminal all his life. But in that moment, with the recognition of his sins and the acknowledgement of the kingship of Jesus…he was forgiven – completely.

He may not have done a single thing “good” in his life up to that point, but when faced with the truth of Jesus he knew he wanted to have a chance at being remembered.

THAT is why Jesus came…if even only for that one criminal.

As I felt challenged to pray for this person who has cancer, I initially looked at it selfishly. It stinks to admit this, but I thought if I prayed and they found Jesus, maybe they would make restitution for the things they did…the things they said.

But God calls me to pray for those who persecute me…and I need to do that regardless if the offender attempts to make things right. I felt convicted today because I knew that I was putting conditions on my prayers. (<====Click to Tweet)

I will pray for them IF the end result serves me.

God’s love is unconditional. Regardless of how I respond, He loves me. If I am seeking to be more like Christ, I need to model my behavior after the example that was set for me.

So I will pray that this person will know Christ in a real, personal way. That God’s presence would be felt and that healing would occur.

This isn’t and won’t be easy, but it is necessary. As I make choices that are against my “human” nature and more align with a Christ-like nature….slowly I am being transformed in His image.

And these moments of transformation are pretty exciting!

“Change my heart Oh Lord, make it ever new. Change my heart Oh Lord…I want to be like you”

Photo Credit: Lel4nd

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Two

Mom Confessions

Isn’t this time of truth and reality fun? I hope that I can stick with it…because trust me, I have plenty of “material” to share! ;) And while I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions. Hopefully these posts will be a little lighthearted humor for your day!

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In a house with 6 people we do a lot of laundry each week. A LOT. I typically start a load on delay start when I leave at 8am so that it is finished when we come home for lunch. That way i can put it in the dryer right away and it doesn’t get stinky. But can I share my laundry confession. The WORST part for me is folding socks. I will store up the socks in a basket until it is overflowing (3+loads) and then will finally give in and fold them. Why do I hate that so?

Socks

Our dog ate our chair. Oh and our other chair and our couch…but who’s keeping track?! This particular chair is one we bought for Isaac for college. Got a steal of a deal at our local Menards. It isn’t leather, just looks semi-leatherish. (Yes I know that isn’t a real word!) We had it 2 whole days and the dog decided to eat the corner. So I bought a kit to try and seal/fix it so it doesn’t get worse. Here’s to hoping it helps. Step 1 was to put on this adhesive stuff to fill the hole…then I will paint on color to match the other material. Crossing my fingers on this one.

Chair

Karlena rarely lets me fix her hair. Getting it combed in the morning is a challenge and I have been tempted to cut it short…but she insists she wants it long. On Saturday she let me curl her hair while I was fixing my own…but only for a time. So she went around that day with half her hair curled. She is setting a new trend girls just you wait and see!

Karlena Hair

And no fun Easter morning pictures from my family this year. We were all dressed nicely and attended church and instead of taking a picture when we got home I told the kids to change and go outside and play! ;) Does anyone else struggle to get a full family picture on these types of days?

Well that’s all for this week friends…hop on over to Anna’s place to see what other moms are confessing this week!

Unconventional Friendships – An (in)Courage Guest Post!

Incourage Friendship Post

Just under 6 short years ago a website was born who’s heart and mission it was to encourage women, gather them together, and equip them to serve well where God had planted them. That site is (in)courage and was one of the first community sites that I started reading after I started blogging myself.

Each morning a post would fill my inbox that gave me hope, brought me laughter and helped me feel like I wasn’t alone. You see making friends hasn’t ever been easy for me. I tend to isolate. And so having a little piece of friendship in my inbox each morning was such a  gift.

And so today it is with excitement and honor that I get to share a little of my journey to some “unconventional” friendships on the (in)courage site. I would love to have you join me there. While some of my dearest friendships have come in an unexpected way, it has reminded me that God can and will use any situation to gather His daughters together!

Because God knew my secret longings for friendship, and He provided it in the most unconventional way…(<====Click to Tweet)

And if you haven’t already been receiving the emails from (in)courage every day – sign up here so that you too can receive these free daily emails of encouragement in your inbox! You will be glad that you did! :)

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part One

Mom Confessions

Last week’s “Lest You Think We are Normal” post was so much fun to write. While I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions. Hopefully these posts will be a little lighthearted humor for your day!

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I made the mistake of showing Dominic the “Tight Pants” You Tube video a few weeks ago. You know the one with Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell? We were playing it and the kids were in the room. I know, I know. And yes there is one bad word in it. The kids weren’t aware but yes, not appropriate…anyways… Karlena has been humming that song now for everything. EVERYTHING. She makes up songs to that tune which makes me all kinds of proud. #momfail

5 of the 6 of us had dentist appointments today. This was Karlena’s first visit. Yes we should have started sooner…but she did really good and didn’t fuss or cry at all. I was so proud of her. She has a small cavity starting in her back molar, which stinks. Apparently it has deep divots in it so it wasn’t a surprise to the dentist, but somehow I feel like it a reflection on my mothering. Do you ever feel this way?

Karlena dentist

Oh and while we are talking dentists, I don’t floss. I have basically lied about it for years, because who wants to admit that they don’t floss? But I don’t. It kind of grosses me out. I have been in the car enough times with a certain someone who flosses and meat chunks fly out onto the dashboard. Makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little…so to avoid the barfing I avoid the flossing. I do use a Sonicare toothbrush…so I am counting that as close enough to the actual thing without actually having to floss. (My hygienist doesn’t buy it either) ;)

The other day Karlena came up to me and rubbed my side and asked me what that bump was….well my darling daughter that is my muffin top. Oh yes I just did! She laughed and said that her side was flat. I smirked and said just you wait my girl. After you birth babies and have a love addiction to all things sweet, it will change. It will change.

The graduation announcements that I made for Isaac came yesterday. I loved how they look until I realized that I didn’t add an RSVP….the reality is that most wouldn’t RSVP…but now they won’t for sure, because of course. So if you are coming just me a shout won’t you? Seriously how do you even begin to plan for an event like this?!

Isaac Graduation

Well that is all the fun I can share for now….but I would love to hear your Mom Confessions for the week! Jump on over to Anna’s place and join in the fun won’t you?!

Tetelestai

Tetelestai

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30

I heard the word for the first time from one of our worship team leaders. She was sharing a song with that name. The greek word Tetelestaai means it is finished.

The last word that Jesus spoke on earth before He paid the price for my sins.

The weight of that word is on my heart this week. As we approach Resurrection Sunday and the celebration that is, I can’t forget about what happened just 3 days before.

I have been participating in the She Reads Truth study for the last 41 days. Looking at my own sin, coming once again to that place of repentance and recognizing the immense sacrifice that was made on my behalf.

There are days that I feel pretty good about myself. You know I get up and read my Bible, I am patient and loving to my kids, I work hard at the office and might even have a good meal for my family for dinner.  I pat myself on the back for a job well done and might even polish my halo a little.

I’ve got this….look at all I can do.

It doesn’t take long for reality, my sin reality, to smack me in the face once again.

The moment I think I have it all together, is the moment I disregard the gift that was given to me on the cross.

I can’t ever do enough, be enough, strive enough, to deserve the grace of God. (<===Click to Tweet)

That is what makes His grace, His unconditional love so scandalous. 

Our pastor has been teaching out of Romans for the past several weeks and has been bringing a Word to our congregation. Oh it has been just what my soul needs to hear. The first few weeks were tough…I mean Paul’s letter to the Romans talks over and over again about how we ALL have sinned.

Romans 3: 11-18

“None is righteous, no, not one;
     no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
 “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
     “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

None is righteous, No not one.

So what are we left with then?

As our pastor told us…stick with him, because the hope comes in Romans 4. Using the faith of Abraham as an example, Paul tells us that God’s righteousness is not just for Abraham, but for us also.

Romans 4: 20-25

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,  fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”  But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,  but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,  who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

Because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf, if we have faith in God, righteousness will be counted to us as well.

He called that kind of grace scandalous. And it is.

There isn’t anything that I can do to “earn” that kind of favor.

Jesus gave His life for MY sins.

For the fight I had with my husband and the ways I acted in disrespect. Tetelestai.

The day I argued with my kids and said things that hurt feelings. Tetelestai. 

For every time I gossiped and spoke unkind words, and fueled the fire of negativity in another. Tetelestai. 

For my lack of faith, my lashing out at God, my utter defiance to His will in my life. Tetelestai. 

No one is righteous, no not even me.

And yet, my Jesus was accused, falsely charged, beaten to near death, forced to walk carrying His own torture device, pierced and nailed to a cross, and hung to die for me.

For every moment that I am not proud of, every single one…Jesus paid the price.

It is finished. Tetelestai. 

Over the next few days  I encourage you to be aware of how big this gift is that we have been given. We don’t have to end up in a pit of despair, we all have sinned, we all have fallen short. That is what makes His gift so amazing.

He paid the price.

Because of the shedding of blood we can stop striving to earn God’s favor. (<====Click to Tweet)

We already have it, it is finished.

Tetelestai.

Photo Credit: Its His Gift

Lest You Think We May Be “Normal”….

Family

One of my friends does a weekly “confessional” on FB and shares a bit of the reality of her life and asks others to join on in.

So in the spirit of that I thought I would give you a look into our little lives, and lest you think we may be “normal”…well sit back, read along and be transformed in the truth! ;)

I let Karlena eat the chocolate snack she got from dance class on the way home in the car. I know it is right before dinner but it was this tiny kit kat bar..how much trouble could it cause? Well after our 3 minute car ride she was covered in melted chocolate, even getting it on her brand new tights. That’s what I get apparently.

Today we took our dog Sydney to a “spa day” aka she needed a trim and a wash and mama ain’t got no time for that so let’s pay someone else $30 to do it for me day. She was soft and fluffy and clean, And then it rained (because of course) and someone aka Gabriel let her outside and left her outside for a long time…and she is no longer clean nor fluffy. She basically smells like wet dog. Ahh good times.

Speaking of dogs, ours is shedding at an incredible rate (lest the reason a haircut seemed appropriate). It is as though she births 15,000 small rabbits each day all across our main living space. They tuck themselves in each nook and cranny that they can find and hide there until I can vacuum. I have done so the past 2 nights and am frightened at how much I am picking up. Will this end before graduation in May, please tell me it will.

My 2 youngest children speak in a slightly British accent. I am not sure where it came from as it doesn’t always show itself. I call it Minnesota British. It is really quite unique and I can’t even begin to describe it…but if you are ever around my kids listen to them say something about “the last morning” and you will know what I am talking about.

Oh did I mention that I have a SENIOR this year and I am basically doing my best to hold it together before he ditches our family all together for life! Ok maybe that is a little extreme but when he is moving 7 hours away I am guessing that we won’t see him very often. And can I say that this whole transition phase is also not fun. He needed a copy of his medical records for college, I call and can’t get them because he is 18.

I know, I know the rules, but such a hassle, especially when he is working or in school from 7:45am to 7pm most days. We have all of his Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive/HIPPA docs prepared so that if something ever did happen we could make decisions for him…but we have to pick a date when he isn’t working and we are free and can find a Notary that isn’t one of us and get the darn things signed.

On my list of things to do. Along with painting those stupid shelves. I know kids we don’t say stupid but right now I am over those shelves and wishing they would paint themselves.

Anywho…

Oh and speaking of toy rooms, ours is incredibly clean right now which only means they are not engaging in playing with toys and likely spending too much time playing video games instead. But sometimes when I need 20 minutes to write a ridiculous blog post, I just let it slide. You understand right?!

Oh and a little behind the scenes to the picture above…Isaac looks like he was in a drug induced stupor (he was not)…and Dominic is, if I remember correctly, grabbing my “bumper” as Elijah would call it trying to make me laugh. Always a good time happening around these parts.

So there you go. A look into our wild and wacky and sometimes weird but hardly “normal” lives.

When Laughter Lifts Spirits

Laughter

I had the joy of attending a baby shower yesterday for a sweet new mama. This is her first child and it can be scary. Several of us from our small group joined together to have this shower and it was such fun.

Nancy hosted and made the yummiest of treats. I ate 3 of her filo cups at the shower (I was trying to be super polite) …I could have had 50. They were THAT good. They were these little filo dough cups filled with cheese and mayo and bacon and tomato. YUM!!

I digress….

I had an idea for the cake and was scheduled to do the frosting and then my kids got the stomach flu (YUCK)…so my friend Steph offered to take care of it for me, which was such a blessing.

They did such a good job. It was so adorable! And their story about how it all came together (or almost didn’t) was HILARIOUS. I was laughing just hearing it.

I needed that laughter yesterday.

I said it before but I have found myself in a tough season. It has been a struggle and while I have felt God’s presence so clearly, it is still hard. I haven’t found myself laughing much, and sometimes it is just what we need.

We spent almost 3 hours laughing and sharing stories.

Joy, our youth pastor’s wife, shared the devotional and gave the best “10 things to do to go crazy” list. Dave Letterman doesn’t have anything on this woman. So so good. Everything was written to be sarcastic and we were roaring through it. Like “When you are feeling down about yourself, go onto Facebook and compare your life to all of the perfect people out there…” or “Apply every piece of advice someone give you to your life immediately.” (Don’t we all find ourselves doing these very things and then going crazy over it?!)

And then we just shared stories about our kids and life.

They weren’t the “bragging” kind of stories. No, these were the real life, it isn’t easy and we all make mistakes, kind of stories.

Laughter filled the room, time and time again.

And as the time was coming to the close my friend next to me said something to the effect of “this was so much fun. I just feel better about myself as a mom and feel like I can go home now and better deal with my life.”

Isn’t that what community should be about?

A gathering where our joys are multiplied, and our sorrows divided. (<====Click to Tweet)

If we leave a time like this feeling better about ourselves, it is so so worth it.

It wasn’t really about the food or the cake (although both were amazing), it was about shared heart-stories and women gathering to support and love one of their own.

I need more of that in my life.

I need to make it a priority to spend time with other women, in community. Because when I do I walk away with a lighter spirit and a song in my step.

Laughter truly is the best medicine!

Photo Credit: a4gpa

Building Spiritual Muscles

Journaling Bible

I am a girl with lots of ideas. I love home improvement projects and changing a space with paint. But at times I have terrible follow through. I start something and then get really close to finishing it and stop.

This is evident most in my recent toy room re-do. I have everything done, except painting 2 long shelves that hang on the wall. I can’t hang my pictures until I hang my shelves. I need to get those darn shelves painted already.

I have avoided it for the past 4-5 weekends. I know if I just set out to do it…I would get it done and I’d be so happy with the results. I really have no excuse except that I am lazy at times!

The same goes for exercise.

I am not one of those people who LOVES exercise. I despise it in fact, it hurts during and after and I don’t get the results I want overnight…so I commit for a day or 2 and then quit.

This seems to be my “MO”.

And committing my time to God has suffered the same results, until recently.

Last fall I was asked to participate in a 40 Day Prayer Challenge with a group of other women. We read/listened to Mark Batterson’s devotional and committed to praying for 40 days. Knowing my track record, I didn’t think I would make it past day 5…but I wanted to spend more time getting to know about God and felt this was a great way to start.

To my surprise, I went through the entire 40 days and didn’t miss one! I journaled every morning and committed to praying for our son who is a senior. He has some big life choices ahead and I wanted to cover him in prayer.

This 40 days was life changing for me. I had started to develop a spiritual discipline and was working my “muscles” every day. It felt good. I was listening for God, seeking His path and documenting all the ways He was answering my prayers.

But I wanted to take it further. I knew that if I wanted to see and understand who God was, I needed to get into His Word.

My husband bought me (after much hinting) a journaling Bible for Christmas.

This too has transformed my time in the Word. Feeling free to write, underline and highlight my way through His promises has created a desire for more. (<===Click to Tweet)

Each morning I get up an hour before I need to take a shower. It is early and I am so tired, but it is important. I start with the prompts from She Reads Truth, then join in my Hello Mornings online group and recently have been going back through the Circle Maker  as a walk through Lent.

I will be honest, I have missed a few mornings. But this time in God’s Word has become a lifeline to me.

I tend to get a little squirrely when I am not spending at least 15 minutes each morning in some form of quiet time. I can tell a difference when I choose to sleep in. I am more snappy and less patient.

As I continue to develop this routine I am building those spiritual muscles. I am more confident in God’s love for me. The past month has be TOUGH personally. I am working struggling through some things that typically would bring me to a point of hopelessness and defeat. But as I have committed time to God, He has committed His promises to my mind.

Those promises remind me of who I am through Him. 

He is my strength and strong tower.

He upholds me with His right hand.

He has a plan and a purpose for my life.

He told me there would be trouble, but to have heart because He has overcome the world.

With each new day I am reminded time and time again why I need to hold onto hope. And we all need a little of that don’t we?!

It can be hard to get into the routine, but I promise you when you do you will be filled with blessings overflowing!

What has been your roadblock to more time with God?

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Joining my friends over at the High Calling.

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