“Quiet Time” For Moms

I seriously desire to dig into God’s Word and soak in its deep truths.  Having a “quiet time” is vital.  But let me just be honest, my quiet time is the farthest thing from quiet.  It’s pretty much the opposite.

I am the mommy to three toddlers.  I have just recently survived nursing our baby a year, and our family is moving into a place where we can somewhat function again.  You would think that I could have it more together.  But then again, I am a mother—to toddlers.

I feed everyone breakfast (Usually more than one breakfast because my children are hobbits.  True story.).  I make myself a cup of coffee and turn on worship music. I get them set up in our boys’ room to play.  They are old enough to play well together.  I am steps away and can hear well, so please don’t panic.  I grab my cup of coffee, which is already lukewarm because I had to convince my littles that they could, in fact, play…with toys…in their room.  I sit down in my husband’s fluffy recliner with my Women’s Study Bible.  I take a drink of my now barely warm liquid and open the Word.

I have been seated less than one minute when the first “Mommy!” rings out.  I say, “Yes?” No answer.  “Mommy!” “Yes?” *Silence* “Mommy!!!!! MOMMMMMYYYYY!!!!” I rise from the chair and walk to the playroom.  “Yes?” They each act completely astounded that I am standing in the doorway.  “What did you need?” Our oldest says, “Nothing Mommy,” and grins in his infectious way. I return to my chair.  Focus my mind and open the Bible again.

I read one sentence.  *Crying* It’s the baby.  Someone is not giving her the toy she wants, or she is tired (Her first nap is early, and I often have to convince her to stay awake until 9:30 a.m.), or she has fallen down (Don’t worry.  The likelihood of a genuine injury is very slim.  She doesn’t like to fall down when she’s tired and being deprived of the one toy she wants in a room filled with toys.). I go to the room again.  Pick her up.  Snuggle her.  Place her back on the floor.  All is well, and I return to the recliner.

I pick up the Word.  I read a long list of genealogies.  I’m re-reading 1 Chronicles. It challenges my brain to read lists of names, but I want to soak in the tidbits in between and develop more of an appreciation for what the author is doing and saying.  I get a bit of a headache trying to be so spiritual.  Maybe 5 minutes has passed (Probably not, but I’m feeling generous from all my Bible study.).

I finish the chapter.  I am about to have a complete thought about the tribes of Israel returning from exile when the room erupts with little feet and giggles, shouts and “Mommy!” “Mommy!” I laugh and smile and take a swig of my cold coffee right before I am attacked with hugs and kisses by three sweet faces.

After more snuggles, it’s snack time.  I lay the baby down for her morning nap.  I thank the Lord for my “quiet time” and begin to fold laundry.

Be Blessed!

Miranda

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FOLLOW ME TO CROSSEYEDLIVING.COM!

For over a year, I have been blogging for the Kentucky Baptist Convention women’s blog:  crosseyedliving.com.  Join myself and other bloggers for some encouragement in the Lord!  Check it out, and thanks for reading!

Be blessed!

Miranda

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10 Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife

10 Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife:   

  • I am sometimes tempted with works.  I know that I cannot earn my way to heaven.  I have to make sure, however, that as I serve and live for Christ, I know that I am not doing it to earn His love.  It is unconditional!
  • I used to love my husband too much.  This sounds crazy, but it’s true.  There was a time very early in our marriage where my husband became an idol.  I had placed him before the Lord.  I had to get my heart and priorities in the right place.  Christ must always be first!
  • I am a people pleaser.  I love to make people happy!  This can be wonderful, but I have to keep it in check.  I can’t serve people to make myself feel good.  Over 11 years of full-time ministry, I have also had to admit that there will be times when I cannot make everyone happy.  Ultimately, being obedient to God is only about making HIM happy!
  • I get tired.  This may seem obvious, but I think there are times when Christians can appear invincible.  There are times in ministry where I am worn out, and that is ok.  Being exhausted from serving is the biggest blessing!  Christ gives us endurance and strength.  It’s important too, though, to take times of rest and renewal.  Too many ministers burn out because they do not allow for a true time of refreshing.
  • I struggle with guilt.  I am constantly evaluating my effectiveness as a wife, mother and minister’s wife.  I see my own shortcomings, and they can lead me down a dangerous path.  I have to make sure that my inadequacies are placed in the fullness of Christ.  I confess any sins, and I have to accept God’s forgiveness.  There is no place for patterns of guilt in the freedom of the Lord!
  • There are times I neglect my temple.   It’s hard as a busy wife and mom who owns her own business and serves in the church to remember to take care of myself.  I don’t always eat or sleep as I should.  I fall in and out of exercise routines.  This is an area I am working on.  God wants us to be good stewards of His creation as we serve Him.  Neglecting our wellness is just as sinful as anything else.
  • I’m a real person.  My feelings get hurt.  People’s words go to my heart.  I’m protective of my husband and children.  I cry over the church and the lost.  I have a dirty house some days.  I get impatient and frustrated.  I am not perfect.  I am, however, striving to live unto the Lord in His righteousness.  He is the only thing good in me.
  • Ministry gets lonely.  Being the pastor’s family means that you sometimes live life with few friends.  Sometimes, far away from family.  You work long hours.  This has caused our little family to become closer than ever.  We have had to place all our faith and trust in the One who deserves it.  We have seen a bond between us flourish even deeper.  Leadership is a gift.
  •  Ministry is hard.  That’s just a fact.  It would be deceiving to say it wasn’t, but anything worth doing is typically difficult.  The cross was bloody and messy.  It involved sacrifice and ridicule.  It also, however, changed the world.  As we serve, we are placing our lives in the hands of the One who has the power to use even our weaknesses for His glory.  God makes us into His image through challenges.  The hard times are what defines us.
  • I never regret being a family in ministry.  When my husband, Jason, and I were dating, he was saved and called to preach.  I never once had any second thoughts.  I am called to be a pastor’s wife.  Our family is called to serve.  It is a high calling, and my prayer is that we do it well as unto the Lord.

Be Blessed!

“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”  1 Thessalonians 5:24

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Balancing Act

too_much_to_do

Have you ever seen a pie plate spinner?  (Pic above.)  They have the amazing ability to keep multiple plates spinning at a time atop tall, thin poles.  It’s quite a feat.  Have you ever felt like a pie plate spinner?  I have.  I am a stay-at-home mom to an almost two year old.  Throughout the day we are playing, reading together, learning numbers, letters, shapes and colors.  We also enjoy watching “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”.  I am a small business owner trying to really get my business off the ground.  I have an online children’s boutique.  I am constantly researching, marketing, creating orders and answering the needs of my customers.  I love what I do.  I am the wife of a Pastor.  We love serving the Lord and people.  That’s where our heart is.  We are in the process of adopting internationally.  This entails lots of paper work, self-education and fundraising.  I am many other things as well including a wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, friend…  It can seem as though I am standing in the center of numerous plates that may all fall at any moment.  I can run frantically from one to the next spinning with all my might, or I can choose to do something revolutionary.  I can choose to focus the most of my attention, my heart, on one plate.  Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?

It can certainly seem that way.  There is a call on our lives to be utterly in love with and completely devoted to Christ; to give HIM our all.  No plate spinner great commissions exist in the Word.  He has asked us to love Him and love others.  I know our daily lives are filled with tasks innumerable.  I understand that you are worn and weary.  But may I suggest that we are all frazzled and tired because we are spinning all these plates with no regard to the Lord?

Matthew 6:33 says, “‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.’”  We have to have our foundation, our hope and sanity, in Jesus.  We don’t neglect responsibilities.  God calls us to provide and care for our families in different ways.  Yet, we have the tendency to do everything in our own strength according to our own will and our own time.  This leaves us drained by a world that wants to do all it can to pull our eyes from the cross.

Colossians 3:17 tells us, “And whatever you do in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  Everything we are and all that we do must flow from a heart that longs for the Lord.  We must be selfless.  We can’t do that on our own (John 5:30a), but we must fully rely and REST in Jesus.  We have to let Him lead and prioritize our lives.  We’re all in different places with different callings, but we also all have the same commandment.  The message never changes, but the methods do.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 confirms that there are seasons to our lives.  There are times for everything.  Maybe you are a mother at home with small children.  They are your focus, but that doesn’t take away from God’s call to share the Gospel with the mommies He’s placed around you.  Maybe you are a single, busy college or grad student.  Your degree is your focus, but that doesn’t negate the calling to study God’s Word first of all.  Maybe you are a successful working woman.  Your career is your focus, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need God’s direction and blessing.  You may be all of these things.  Each of us needs the purpose of sharing the Gospel and discipling believers to be ever present in our thoughts as we go about our day.  We need one plate to take care of all the other plates.

So here’s a call to be grounded; to find a quiet place and balance in Christ.  To find contentment (Philippians 4:11), wisdom (Ephesians 5:15), peace (1 Peter 5:7) and rest (Mark 6:31) in the creator of it all.  All we need and who we are must be found in Him.  May He grant the desires of your heart, and may your desire always be for Him (Psalm 37:4).  Be blessed!

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Life Lessons Around the Potty

Our precious son, Kanaan, is 21 months old.  He’s been in the process of potty training for months due to his own desire to do so.  This week, we transitioned to the big potty with the little insert seat that keeps them from falling into the watery abyss below because he keeps insisting I place him on the big potty now.  He is obsessed with the toilet.  On two occasions, once with his daddy and once with me, he has reached his tiny hand inside to splash the water, which granted him a full head to toe sanitation and more talk of how the potty is for using the bathroom and nothing else.

Well, yesterday, our son, whose mind and body realize that he is nearing two, was playing perfectly in our room like the wonderful child he is.  I was completing tasks around the house and walking every few seconds between our room and the guest room approximately four steps away.  Near the end of my tidying up, I had made two of those four steps toward the guest bedroom when I heard a distinct clink.  The sound that a ceramic toilet lid makes as it hits the basin.  I whirled around and flung myself into our bedroom where I had a direct line of sight to a gorgeous, dirty blonde haired boy whose entire face was engulfed in an intoxicating smile sitting perfectly inside the bowl of our toilet.  I was flooded with emotions.  80 percent of me wanted to laugh hysterically, 10 percent of me wanted to spank his bottom and the other 10 percent wanted to cry.  I did none of these, but went over to him where I proceeded to give him a full cleansing that would have made the guys in jumpsuits who do biohazard waste removal applaud.  Satisfied, I moved on to every other surface in our ensuite as any good germaphobe would.  I then proceeded to further explain how the potty is where we potty.  I firmly reiterated that it is not for playing.  It is yucky.  All the while wondering how this limber, little person had placed himself inside our toilet so quickly.

It took me a full day to fully process these events.  I wondered what kind of a mother I was for allowing my son to have access to sitting in a toilet.  I wondered if I was too hard on him, or not hard enough.  I had some mommy guilt.  Then, I felt the Lord speaking gently, but firmly to my soul that I was His child.  As I was trying to guide our nearly two year old, Christ was guiding me.  I had a lot to learn.  Two lessons, specifically, from the previous day’s events.  First, my son needed a mommy who would teach him in love everything he needed to know.  Most importantly, to love and obey Jesus, but all the other ins and outs of life too.  Second, I would never be a perfect mommy, but God has not called me to that task.  There is a lot of grace, and grace is what we all need.  As I try my best in the Lord to parent Kanaan, God is taking those imperfect moments to train me.  I am HIS child, and He is teaching me through my children whether it is waiting for our second through adoption or guiding our toddler.

So today, as our sweet babe spilled the majority of a sippy cup of milk onto my newly mopped floors and refused to eat his lunch, I said in my spirit, “What are you teaching me, Lord?  I am listening today.”

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.” Ephesians 5:1

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While I’m Waiting

I’ve always heard, “Don’t pray for patience. God will give it to you.”  I am the most impatient person I know.  Ok.  I am definitely in the top 5.  I do not like to wait.  The instant gratification culture I have grown up in has taken root within me.  God is, however, continuing to mold me into His likeness.  He is doing it through waiting.

Right now, the word “adoption” is consuming most of my thoughts and life.  Not taking the place of Christ, but burning inside me because of Him.  We are in the process of adopting a boy from the DR Congo.  I do not know what he looks like, if he is born or when he will come home.  It’s worse than pregnancy.  I do not have a “due date.”  I do not get an ultrasound.  I can’t feel him physically.

What I do have is a deep sense of the Holy Spirit within me crying out for the forgotten, the abandoned, and the fatherless.  It is overwhelming.  I have to rely on the Father in a way I never have before; to depths I never have before.  There is so much unknown.  There are so many obstacles.  One looming always is the cost of adoption.  Ours will be around $40,000.  What is our mortal, finite family going to do to change the world?  Nothing.  We can truly do nothing, but be obedient to an impossible task that Christ has called us to.

It sounds hopeless, but for the ever-present peace that floods my soul.  Our God is the God of promises.  He keeps them.  He IS the God of turning the impossible into the possible.  He does not operate in our realm.  He is supernatural.  Praise His holy name!

Remember when Sarah laughed when the Lord told Abram she would conceive (Gen. 18:12)?  He said, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14)  Remember when the spies went into Canaan and 10 came back with a negative report (Numbers 13:31)?  Then God hears Israel’s cry and the Canaanites are defeated (Numbers 21:3)!  You know the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She is made pregnant through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).  The Lord says of this, “For nothing shall be impossible with God.”  (Luke 1:37)  Christ raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:44) and said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)  And I could go on and on.  John says, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (21:25)

Our God is the God of Abram, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  There is great power in the name of Christ.  We MUST remember that our Lord is risen!  He is alive and active.  When we follow Him, we are in the presence of the creator and sustainer.  We can trust Him with our lives.

There is a beautiful song by John Waller called “While I’m Waiting.”  The chorus says, “I will serve you while I’m waiting.  I will worship while I’m waiting.”  I do not know what God is asking of you or your family.  I don’t know where your walk with Christ will lead.  But I do know that if He is calling you to wait, it is a beautiful thing.  It is an opportunity for you to be held in His arms.  It is a chance to cling to His promises.  It is the perfect moment to worship and serve.  Let the world see you go after Christ with all your heart.  Be blessed!

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No Greater Love

This week our country will celebrate love with a national holiday.  Whether you call it Valentine’s Day, Single’s Awareness Day, or The Hallmark Money Maker, this holiday is second only to Christmas in regards to the amount of money spent by consumers.  With an estimated 17.6 billion spent in 2012 according to the Huffington Post.  That’s about $126 per person.  It seems the majority of America is focused on this iconic day.

And I am not surprised.  Ask anyone what they want most, and it would surprise me, if they were honest with themselves, if they didn’t say “to be loved.”  We are hard wired to seek it out.  We were created to be loved and give love.  The problem is the source of that love.  In our culture, it is impossible to come away from television, movies, books and music with a true idea of what love is.  In our society, love is reciprocal.  If someone loves me, then, I will love him or her in return.  In our worldview, we are the focus of the word love.  It is self-seeking, selfish and self-promoting.  It is materialistic and sexualized.  It’s a far cry from how Scripture defines the term.  And yet, the world that does not know Christ shouldn’t have it all together, but I find that we as believers tend to follow the secular definition.  We are comfortable with “love” as long as we are the ones benefiting.

What does the Word say about what love is?  I warn you, it is not what sells Hallmark cards.  There are no fuzzy bunnies here.  The Christian life is difficult to live out, and the center of being a Christ follower is love.  Thus, love is hard.  Matthew 5:43-48 says,  “’You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have?  Don’t event the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary?  Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’”  The love that we have as believers is one that sets us a part.  It makes us different.  It doesn’t make sense to those around us.  We love unconditionally as Christ does.  Our love cannot be earned, and it cannot be made void.  It doesn’t end in hard times.  It is for everyone in every season.  We can only love that way through the Holy Spirit, but when we love that way, God shines through us to those around us.  It’s countercultural.

Christian love is sacrificial.  It is selfless.  It gives with reckless abandon for the cause of Christ.  Listen to the words of the Lord through Luke, “But I say to you who listen:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also.  And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.  Give to everyone who asks from you, and from one who takes away your things, don’t ask for them back.  Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners love those who love them.  If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners do that.  And if you lend to those from who you expect to receive, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full.  But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.  Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (6:27-36).  This isn’t the American way, is it?  This love that Christ calls us to tells us to give and give and give and expect NOTHING in return.  The reward is that our souls will be shaped more into His glorious likeness.  We will be a witness of His GREAT love.  The fact is:  We CANNOT out give the Lord!

We show that we love Christ by loving others.  This is the greatest commandment:  To love one another.  To lay our lives down for others; for everyone.  We cannot say that we love God and hate those around us.  God’s Word calls us liars (John 15:9-13and 1 John 4:7-21).  We cannot say that we are followers of Christ as we drive by homeless people and turn our heads the other way, as we sit in our grand houses full while others are hungry, as we put our children to bed knowing that there are those without families.  We cannot sit idly by.  Whatever God calls you to do, He has called you to LOVE!

I pray that as Valentine’s Day approaches, you reflect on the true love that this world needs.  I pray you and I will live out that love for others so that they may be drawn through the power of the Holy Sprit to Christ.  Be merciful and gracious.  Be blessed!

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