If I was your enemy, I'd use every opportunity to bring old wounds to mind, as well as the people, events, and circumstances that caused them. I'd try to ensure that your heart was hardened with anger and bitterness. Shackled through unforgiveness, because then I could use your heart to corrupt your children. I could make them see that the God their parents talk about is not strong enough to keep their hearts obedient. That in the end, unforgiveness is the ultimate satisfaction to a wound ~
It is so good to be back! I certainly needed the week off to regroup, but I am so glad to be back at it, doing something I love, writing! So, this opening was a big pill to swallow. Forgiveness or a bitter heart, two very different roads to take with two very different outcomes. About four and a half years ago we moved in with my husbands parents. Prior to moving in I had had ups and downs with them, but for the most part we had a good relationship. Well, it is so true what they say about moving in with your spouse's parents. It didn't take long for the arrows to go flying. I never dreamed things could get as bad as they did. Despite my husband standing up for me the entire time, we moved out with our relationship with them severed. I can honestly say that I hated my mother in law at that point. The bitterness in my heart (whether justified by her actions or not) had gotten so strong it was painful. I am ashamed to say that I wished she would die.
It took a few months of prayer and fasting before I was able to truly forgive her. I don't mean I said I forgave her and went on my way. I mean a Holy Spirit intervention, eye opening, heart melting, forgiveness and it felt so WONDERFUL! I said before that my relationship with them was good, well it went from good to great. God turned a bad situation for good, for His glory.
The devil does not want this to happen. He wants us to hold onto our bitter hearts, he wants the hate to fester, the walls to be made stronger and thicker around us. He wants us to use validation for our unforgiveness. The devil wants us to stay on that high horse of righteousness. To stay in the mind set of, "They wronged me", and this is a sly tactic that twists the heart, knots it up, cuts off the blood flow. Validation ultimately will kill the heart. He will use our mind against us. Once the devil has BEGUN the work of killing our heart he then begins to attack our mind. We try to pray but it seems as if the prayers are hollow and dull. We start to feel like praying is just a "going through the motions" routine instead of actually communicating with a friend. And then he will let the seeds of anger and bitterness that are there fester and grow. Once the devil has control of our heart and mind things spiral out of control. We become easily offended to everything, even to our Father. This is because we feel like he isn't hearing, let alone answering our prayers. Whoever tries to help soften our heart we will take offense to as well. The devil will yell into our ears, "They don't know what happened, they don’t know how I feel, they don't understand how wrong it was, they need to mind their own business, they are trying to make me out to look like the one that needs to forgive!" Any of these sound familiar?
When we choose to forgive someone, we're not wiping their actions away as if the bad things never happened, giving people a free pass from the HARM they've caused. Instead we're just sparing ourselves the burden of working two extra jobs - being judge and jury for how justice is meted out in this situation. Give it to the One who knows what he is doing. Someone who is waiting to talk with us. Every single person in these pictures has hurt me, wounded me, and I had to forgive them for my sake not theirs. And I do mean everyone, even my children... even myself. And each time I have done so I have felt the sweet release of it all and I have been filled with peace and calm afterwards, at times even a "Holy Spirit High" as my pastor likes to call it. But it is no easy battle to win, like all good things of God usually are. How we fight back: His forgiveness, my friend… is freedom. His forgiveness. His forgiveness of us makes our forgiveness possible towards others! So lets break it down into steps.
Step 1: HONEST Prayer
Do what? When we go to Him with our request He can see our deepest, darkest, intentions. The kinds that have us praying one thing, yet deep down we aren't committed to the prayer. We had lived with my in-laws for almost 2 years. Things between us got so bad that to salvage any part of the relationship we moved into my parent's house for the last couple of months. My mother in law did things that I wanted justice for. When I would pray, deep down I did not want to forgive her. Then one day I prayed honestly to God. Spilled the darkest spots of my heart. Told Him I didn't want to forgive her, that I wanted her to pay for what she had done, that I hated her and despised her. Yeah, I held nothing back, gave my knotted heart to Him. Day by day, knot by knot asking Him to undo it.
Palm 34:18-19 - The Lord is near to those whose hearts are HUMBLE. He saves those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person has many troubles, but the Lord rescues him from all of them.
Step 2: Accept Resistance
This is not some easy quick cure resurrection. We are restarting a dead heart. It is going to hurt. We are going to resist the freedom. We are going to fight the peace God is offering us. But… since we were honest with our prayers we have done the work of giving the knots out of heart over to the one who can do all things; God is going to start our heart again with the blood of Jesus. It will seem impossible that the feelings we feel could ever part from us. But they will! I promise they will. I remember I was in church with my pastor preaching on forgiveness to those we love. I remember talking to God right there saying "Well what if you don't love them? What if you hate them?" As clear as a bell God answered, "Because you are to love all my creations. Hate is of the devil." And before my eyes flashed a newborn baby girl, it was a picture I had once seen of my mother in law. That innocent baby was who I am called to love. That was it, I forgave her right then and there! It felt so blissful, so peaceful, so joyous. Like a stone going through a glass window and shattering it. I WAS FREE!!!
Psalm 103:12 - As far as the east is from the west - that is how far he has removed our rebellious acts from himself
John 13:34-35 - I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. Everyone will KNOW that YOU are my disciples because of your love for each other
Step 3: Enjoy Freedom
Forgive, not because it is ever easy but because our enemy gets exactly what he wants from us otherwise. He wants us cold hearted, because it allows him to start spreading out to our husbands and to our children with corrupted seeds. When we chose to forgive we are plating the most POWERFUL seed we can into our children. Our savior died so OUR SINS may be forgiven. We have no right to deny others forgiveness and in being obedient to this our Father will open the flood gates of heaven for us! I am at total peace now because of my forgiveness to my mother in law. We certainly do not have the same relationship we had prior to moving in with them. But ultimately I think that is for the best. She certainly has things she needs to work on, but now that my heart is alive again I can pray for her and for her heart as well. It has improved my marriage with my husband because he has watched my struggle from beginning to end. My children will one day know the story when they are old enough but for now I can guide them in forgiveness as one that has done the forgiving. I am no longer a hypocrite to my children, I am living proof.
Romans 6:6-7 We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an END to sin IN OUR BODIES. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin. The person who has died has been freed from sin
If any of this is speaking to you. If you are feeling like your heart is hardened and you want it set free again. Those feeling to be removed, then I am praying for you sweet momma, but you must also set aside your pride. Step down from your high place in that cold heart of yours before it plants seeds into your children that you don't want planted. Step down and let the Holy Spirit take His rightful place there and watch the shell of bitterness crack and fall away. Know that you are loved mom! You are so loved, I love you, your family loves you, and your God loves you. He loves you so much He wants to take away the hurt so surrender it to Him and find your freedom.
John 8:32, 8:36 - You will KNOW the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free ~
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If I were your enemy, I'd make everything seem urgent, as if it's all yours to handle. I'd bog down your calendar with so many expectations you couldn't tell the difference between what's truly important and what's not. Guilty for ever saying no to your children, trying to keep everything under control, when really you're just being controlled by it all (including at times, your children as well). If I could keep you busy enough, you'd be too overwhelmed to even realize how much work YOU ARE SAVING ME FROM DOING! ~
I am not going to lie. I don't feel like writing today. I know each and every one of you have been there. Doing something you don't want to do but know (or at least feel) like it is an absolute necessary. Now, I am lucky for the fact that I love writing, but even that still has me wondering if I should take this week off from it....
But since I have started I am going to continue and if for some reason there is not a new post next week, you will know why. I simply needed to rest my writer's mind. Until then, though, lets get started with this week's strategy. Did the opening war strategy hit you in your gut? Did you recognize it as if I were talking directly to you? If so I pray this week's post gives you hope and a new strategy of your own. If I had to guess, it would be every single mom out there has a hard time fighting off the attacks of "busyness". Our motherly nature to nurture our young is overwhelming. Even in most animals the case is still the same. Never to have time to rest, always needing to provide; whether food, shelter, entertainment and the list goes on and on. So how does the devil get us to put our times of rest aside?
First, he will lay on the pressure... that's it! The one and only form of attack. Pressure to do for our children what they might be able to do for themselves or even to pressure to accept that they learn that their daily lives being full of joy depends on mommy having some down time. There are sub categories to the pressure for sure. Because as we all know it's not only our children that are pressuring us, but a whole assembly line of them. Pressures from our husbands, our bills, our family members, our friends, our priorities, our self image, our future, our homes, and on and on and on it goes. So to make it easier lets break the pressure into three subcategories.
One, is the pressure to be the perfect parent. This is the strongest one in most of our lives currently, and I stress currently. Our children adore us, love us unconditionally when they are young. But their constant demands for attention, affection, knowledge and even discipline can drain us as mothers. We literally can play with them on the floor for an hour, get up to go to the bathroom for two minutes and they are attacking us at the door like it has been a week since we acknowledged them! Some days it seems like a losing battle with the "more, more, more" demands they give us. And the devil has no problem playing on our nature. He will make us feel beyond guilty, like horrible mothers if we tell them to go away while we are in the bathroom. Thoughts enter our mind like, "I'm selfish, I'm hardhearted" OR "they wont always want to bother me when I am in the bathroom." You know what? GOOD!!! There is a point, no matter how brief when we need to let our children know they can't have 100% of mommy's time.
Next, is the pressure to be the perfect person to everyone else. This goes for our husbands, parents, siblings, friends, bosses, even church family. Every time we choose yes to something it cost us. Whether it be energy, time, happiness (note that I didn't say joy), money, or devotion. It doesn't matter, everything in this life has a price. When we feel the guilt of the word "yes" play on our hearts, we are accepting the cost, whatever it may be, willingly. My father is a great example of this. He has a horrible time saying "no" to anyone. It can get so bad that he has to cancel or in some cases even lie as to why something didn't work out. The devil uses this pressure tactic on him so much that it not only drains him, but hurts people around him. It cost him honor to his word, relationships, and most importantly, rest. When we can not put our priorities in order, and one of those has to be rest, we become slaves to our lives instead of our lives working for US.
Last, the pressure to do it all. Okay fellow mommies, let's be honest. Do you...pay the bills, clean the house, take out the trash, make the important phone calls, primarily raise the children, help your husband, do the laundry, do the dishes, make the plans, do the grocery shopping, and insert anything else you like? If you said no to even some of these go home and give your husband a big kiss and say thank you and pat yourself on the back for have the self control do let him. We are under SO MUCH pressure to do it all!!! It NEVER in the Bible anywhere says we are to do it all by ourselves. Mankind has needed help in everything from the beginning of time. Even Adam couldn't do it by himself so God gave him Eve to work together, to share in everything. And don't think for one second Eve could have done it without Adam. Why do you think the devil was so sly in making sure to tempt Eve? Had the devil tempted both of them together the outcome could have been very different. Accountability can count for everything. But because we do live in this fallen world we feel our busyness can be turned into a badge of honor. It is why we are so rarely satisfied with where we are or what we have, always fearing we won't be enough. Well guess what? We are being bullied by a liar. Intimidated by the enemy's cruel application of pressure against us. But not anymore!
Okay, so lets learn how to fight back. The first step is actually going to be different then all the others. Remember that the outline for my series came from the book "Fervent" as well as the quotes (for the most part, I did tweek them to target us mothers specifically). But this change is because these steps are involved, detailed, and invasive. They will make you really look into your life, not only the lit up places but also the dark places.
Step 1: Take Inventory
We need to take inventory of the pressures in our lives. We can do this by simply checking our schedule for patterns where we are being enslaved to things that are not truly critical or as indispensable as they seem. This could be too may activities for the kids throughout the week as one example. If we are so pressured to give our kids these activities but then sit there and are short tempered and irritable on those days what messages are we sending our children? We need to check our motivations as to why we are saying yes to so many things. Check to make sure the places or people who overloaded our time are not working their way into a status of idolatry. Check to make sure we aren't trying to keep up with the Jones'. The devil had no problem enslaving us to GOOD things, in fact he prefers it because it is harder for us to recognize. So don't let the pressures of life become idols. Here's how we know if we are in danger of that:
1. The pressure to preform, for example, often means we've made an idol of our reputation.
2. The pressure to maintain a ridiculously jam-packed schedule becomes an idol of self-reliance.
3. The pressure to maintain an impressive standard of living becomes the idol of achievement.
4. The pressure to take on everything in which our children show even the slightest interest becomes our children being the idol!
***ANYTHING CAN BECOME AN IDOL, GOOD OR BAD, JUSTIFIED OR NOT, GOOD INTENTIONS OR NOT***
Psalm 119:36-37 Direct my heart toward your written instructions rather than getting rich in underhanded ways. Turn me eyes away from worthless things. Give me a new life in your ways.
Step 2: Pray
Now that we know where our reasons for lack of time to rest are coming from it is time to turn to our Father. We must ask of Him to lay upon us real discernment because some of these determinations can be subtle and hard to spot. A free woman (whether a wife, daughter or mother) possesses the God-given ability to know when He is truly asking her to do something - as well as the God-given ability to know when He is NOT. But it requires fervent prayer to give us this power.
Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Step 3: Applying It
We can now discern when we need to work and when we need to rest. We can now begin to give obedience to our Father by resting so that he can further mold us into the mothers He called us to be. A free one. A rested one. A contented one. The devil may get the best of us sometimes, but he will still walk away with some new, deep battle scars to remember who he is messing with. But that can not happen unless we actively start resting. Mark it in our calendars. Tell people when they ask for something, "I would love to, but I have a meeting I have to go to." because we do! We have a meeting with God where all he wants is for us to rest by his side. It can be something as simple as a nap. Seek out the rest, learn to crave it. Teach our children to want it. This week I have implemented a new thing with our children. I have already implemented quiet time with our children, but they don't always like it. So now I tell them the quiet time is so they can talk to God and it's quiet enough for them to hear Him. They can still play in their rooms but it gives them a new sense of how to talk to God and how they can hear Him better.
James 1:25 However, the person who continues to study God's perfect laws that make people free and who remain committed to them will be blessed. People like that don't merely listen and forget; they actually do what God's law says.
Alright, I know this was a very long one. But it was so important and I needed to get it to you. Two more to go and we will conclude this series!
Psalm 23: 1-3 The Lord is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He RESTORES my soul ~
*** URGENT/ATTENTION: DUE TO WEEBLY'S NEW ALGORITHM CHANGES I NO LONGER CAN SEE VIEWS UNLESS THE PERSON HAS COOKIES TURNED ON. I AM ALSO NOT SEEING COMMENTS EITHER. UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, SO I CAN CATER TO MY READERS, PLEASE CLICK ON ONE OF THE BELOW PLATFORMS AND LEAVE YOUR FEEDBACK THERE. LET ME KNOW HOW YOU LIKED THE POST, IF IT WAS TOO LONG OR TOO SHORT, WHATEVER IT IS. I AM RELYING ON YOU, AS MY READER, TO LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WANTING TO READ SINCE I CAN NOT LONGER SEE IT FOR MYSELF. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! ***
Gruesome imagery isn't it? If your a mom, heck if you are human, you have probably had to deal with your share of parasites in life. Those creepy, crawly creatures that make you squirm in your seat. I love blogging, but I must admit there are times when God's sense of humor I do not find funny. Two weeks ago I found a parasite on my daughter. I was mortified that my precious baby girl could have something so... well we will just leave this part blank. LOL. I could have acted in many different ways to this discovery, but I remained calm, rolled up my sleeves and with my husband we took care of the unwanted creatures.
The devil has his own set of parasites he sends our way, but unlike the animal parasites, he has disguised his parasites as something so tempting to the eye we can't resist. There are three very important things to remember when it comes to the devil. One, he has sharp precision. The devil is not some half baked, want to be, fighter. He is ruthless, smart, and unrelenting. When he attacks us, it is not a random arrow pointed at a random part of us. No! It is a deadly arrow aimed straight at our hearts, minds and souls. The mere definition of precision is the quality, condition, or fact of being EXACT and ACCURATE. So he is strategizing to "hit you where it hurts". Second, he loves personalization. As we discussed in attacks against your family regarding our children; the devil knows both our strengths and weaknesses. He is going to personalize these parasites to us specifically. He will make us think that slithering, vile, repulsive parasite is the shiniest, most desirable bit of unclaimed satisfaction we've ever seen. And without a battle plan we will justify embracing the parasite with excuses like, "I've been so stressed with the kids", "I deserve this after what kind of day the kids put me through", "It doesn't hurt the kids if I do it", "They need to learn mommy needs to indulge sometimes". Any of those sounding familiar? Lastly, the devil has perfect persistence. Yeah, this one is a kick to the gut. This one means that even if you can beat him 1 time, 5 times, 10 times IT WONT MATTER! He is going to keep coming after us time and time again, never ceasing, always looking for the in; changing the appearance of the parasite to trick us into embracing it again. He will wait for the right time - the moment when we are most weakened and susceptible to attack. Days when the kids have been fighting, days when there seems to be more vomit stains on the floor then actual clean floor, days when we try and try to see the silver lining in our children's constant demands but grow weary. He will be there waiting to be welcomed in.
Parasites weaken our prayers which in turns weakens our power! The energy given by the Holy Spirit and our prayers to access and generate is cut off, choked out, bottlenecked. We are leaking our power and it will drain from us so that we don't stand a fighting chance. The parasite will start off seeming "normal", with the lie that nobody is getting hurt if we only embrace the parasite from time to time. And then when the damage is done we can't expect to cry out to God with our wrong when we don't do anything to change the environment in which the parasite lurks.
Prayers that have power come from a person in pursuit of righteous living. Purity leads us to fervent prayer, and fervent prayer leads us to purity. Make our victories as mothers become an everyday occurrence, the norm rather than the exception.
The pictures above list just a few things that God wants us to use for good, but if we are not wearing our armor, then the devil will corrupt and turn into personal parasites. God WANTS us full of power and confident as mothers. He wants us free to bless and encourage our children. He wants us to become such powerful warriors for our children and Him, that to the devil we look like sticks of dynamite. We want him so terrified of us that when we put our FIRST foot on the ground in the morning he is running to the pit of hell. So how can we do this?
Step 1: Prayer
When we pray in this area we must leave everything at the feet of Jesus. It's not like we can hide it from Him anyway, but it shows humble obedience when we specifically and individually name our parasites. Unmasking them, bringing them into the light which they HATE! Personally for me, my two biggest ones CURRENTLY are poor eating and compulsive buying. Though a few months ago I would have to say social media was on the list (and I'm sure without a careful eye, it could creep in again).
2 Peter: 2:9 - The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation
Step 2: Read the Word
In order for us to actively fight off parasites that are masked as pleasure we need to read the Bible to decode how to see the temptations the devil sets specifically for us. We need to truly be the stick of dynamite that inside is filled with the Word so that when he tries to mess with us we can fire a blast of our Father's own words right back at him! If prayer is our lifeline, then the Bible is our ammo. Don't be afraid or offended by it. Our Father loved us so much that He gave us a physical, tangible gift to guide us in battle. Light your tongue on fire with those words and let it blow up in the devil's face.
1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has over taken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to ENDURE IT!
Step 3: Fellowship
This war was never meant to be fought by ourselves. It takes us, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But there is one key tool that we must take advantage of and that is fellowship. Fellowship is more then just a friendship. Fellowship is a friendly association, ESPECIALLY with people who SHARE one's interest. A synonym for fellowship is support. These people should believe in Jesus and our Father. These people are people who we can be transparent with, even about our deepest and darkest secrets. the reason for this is ACCOUNTABILITY! When we have true fellowship, in a world where Satan is usually a lot louder then the whisper of our Father is, it allows us to have someone to hold us accountable when we want to indulge with our parasites. They are our sisters and brothers in Christ. Warriors just like us. They want what is best for us just as God does. Whether it is in a small group, a church, a mommy group, etc. If they know when we are putting our parasites before our children it will in turn makes us stronger to resist because we know they will call us out on it.
Hebrews 10:24-25 - We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things. We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.
Step 4: Change The Environment
Almost finished, promise! We know that devil is matriculate in his strategies. We also know that he is patient in waiting for the right moment to strike. So, to mess up his plans and throw him off his game we must be willing to change the environment in which the parasite hides. Back in November of last year, I was drinking way to much. I was using the excuse of my kids to do it. Alcohol had become a parasite for me. So I changed the environment. I stopped buying alcohol and my husband supported me by doing the same. This parasite is no longer welcome in my body and if temptation arises I remove myself from its presence. In strategizing our obedience as diligently as the enemy is strategizing those temptations, we have to be willing to make the sacrifices to keep them out of our home. The flesh is magnetically drawn toward the allure of temptation. So we can NOT simply try to disguise it until we "think" it's a good time to indulge. We need to eliminate it from our daily lives. Gulp! What will happen if we don't? Well we know there will be consequences, and that the consequences are never minimal. The waves of our choices will ripple outward from our hearts, minds and souls to our bodies...and then pass on to our children (Num. 14:18, Exodus 20:5, Deu. 5:9). Our children are watching us, as mothers it is our duty and obligation to protect them, even from ourselves. So tell them your weaknesses, let them help you stay accountable, and watch your bond with your children grow stronger!
Romans 6:12-14 - Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. FOR SIN SHALL NOT BE MASTER OVER YOU, FOR YOU ARE NOT UNDER LAW BUT UNDER GRACE.
***This doesn't mean you'll never fall into temptation again. Even Paul speaks of this in Romans 7:15 when he says, "I do not understand, I am doing the very thing I hate. I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out." But take great comfort in knowing that when God saved us, it was with the understanding that He'd be providing us "sanctification by the Spirit" all along the way; from the inside out, His purity and holiness changing your heart until it comes through as purity and holiness in ACTION (2 Thess. 2:13, Fervent)
Galatians 5:16 - Walk by the Spirit, and you WILL NOT carry out the desire of the flesh ~
If I was your enemy, I would use anxiety to cripple you, to paralyze you; leaving you indecisive, clinging to safety and sameness. Always on the defensive because of what might happen. I would have you focusing so much on the "what ifs" that you let God's blessings for you pass by ~
We have all been there. Playing a movie reel in our head of all the those possible horrors that could take our children away from us. People that could do it, diseases that could do it, things that could do it, even themselves! Before we know it we have dug a "what if" so vivid into our brain that all we want to do it grab up our children and sit in a bubble so small that you have no choice but to hold them safe in your arms. Is this you? I know I have done this.
Two weeks ago I let my youngest go with his grandparents to Georgia to their cabin. I felt that tingle of worry on the edge of my mind, but I managed to block it out. Later that week I had to leave as well. The horror reel I kept letting the devil push on me we something happening to my husband and the older two kids or something happening to my youngest and me. It was so bad I did not want to leave for my trip, I was letting the devil win. Little did I know the blessing God had for me where I was going.
See the devil pushes this on us because he also knows God has blessings for us and he wants to keep us from receiving them. The same goes with God's favor as well. The devil wants you stuck in the fear, not moving, because then you can't grow. And that is exactly what the devil wants, stagnancy, staleness because those lead to death and rot.
So how do you know if the devil is attacking you in this area? Well lets see. What are some fears that are rerunning in your mind when it comes to you parenting you children? Having you wallow in fear of something is not just a stray thought; it is a deliberate strategy to attack your calling. He will make your fears so magnified, so insurmountable until you start avoiding your driving motivation as a mother. Frozen in fear, darkness, of what could happen.
We need to confront our worries, CLAIM our calling. Because that is what scares the devil the most, NOT being able to keep you from obtaining your destiny.
So how as mothers can we reclaim our destiny? There are four steps.
Step 1: Prayer
Prayer is the difference maker. An invitation for honesty, yes, for telling Him how you feel - so we need to give our fears to the Lord. All of them! If it is weighing on your mind and wont relent then go to Him. And then be still and listen, clear your mind, and let the peace of the Holy Spirit wash over you.
Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere men do to me?
Step 2: Don't Play The "What If" Game
When we allow our minds to be consumed with the "what ifs" of a road the Lord has placed in front of us it becomes our focus. We start to lose our focus of motherhood and focus on the fears instead. This can be a very hard game not to play, we will all fail at times. But being able to recognize this attack is key. If God is asking you to walk through something with your children, regardless of what it is, you must keep your eyes focused on what matters. Even Jesus was fearful in the garden before His arrest, it said He wept tears of blood. But in the end he kept His focus on his Father's will and it gave him peace. So, if God is asking you to walk with your child through something, acknowledge the fear but then give it to God. He knew before the beginning of time that you and your children would walk this path and He promises to be there the entire way, a shoulder to lean on. If need be He will carry you and your children. But fix your eyes on Him and not the worries that lie in the darkness around you.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.
Step 3: Be Confident
We are princesses of the Lord Most High! When He directs our path we need to be confident in His love for us. We need to tell the devil to get OUT OF OUR HEADS, that we have a job to do. Because we do, whether it is the call of a stay at home mom, the call of a mother to go back to work, the call of a mother to homeschool, the call of a mother to give testimony of past mistakes to their children (or other moms for that matter). Whatever you calling is, be confident that since God created our destiny that we will succeed even if we fall down in the process.
Luke 21:15 I will give you the right words and such wisdom that NONE of you opponents will be able to reply of refute you!
Step 4: Find Peace And Comfort
We now have the tools to maintain our passion, our focus, our identity, our families and our confidence in our fight for our destiny as mothers. Take comfort and peace in that knowledge. Our God is for us! He WANTS us to succeed in our calling, He KNOWS we can succeed in our calling because He gave us the POWER of the Holy Spirit and He is outside of time and knew us before we were ever in our mother's womb. We were destined for this from the beginning of time! How cool is that?!
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."
Romans 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified ~
Wait A Little Longer
Adara my sweet daughter. It feels so warming to finally call you by name. I can see you now. The fog has cleared and my path is now known. For so long I denied you, for longer still I ignored you. Once I acknowledged you I was ashamed to call you mine. Ever so patiently... you waited a little longer, for me to see the way.
I hurt you and I betrayed you. Then I clung to the hurt I had in fear without it I would forget. That without the hurt that consumed me, you would become a distant thought. It was something I couldn't bear to part with. I could not forget what I had done so I drove the hurt deep into my heart. Patiently... you waited a little longer, for me to embrace healing.
So today my darling girl, I accept that healing. I no longer call myself a murderer. For that is a label the devil gave me and is now removed. For you, by the grace of Jesus, I now call myself your mother. My vision of you is embedded in my heart and forever in my mind. How I long to see you, to hold you! I long to smell your sweet hair and feel your gentle hands around my neck. To hear you whisper, "I love you mommy, it's okay, you don't need to cry anymore."
But for now I hear you say... "mommy wait a little longer".
PS - Be your brother's keeper until mommy comes home and can hold you both tight, in the meadow of my dreams.
I had let go of my daughter Adara over 15 years ago. Until this past weekend I didn't realize I had stopped living. Sure I had fun times, great days, blessings overflowing. But my ever present depression was always knocking at the next door, threatening to come out. For most of that time I hid the secret of what I had done fearful of what people would say. When I would go in for my prenatal appointments of my three children and they would ask how many pregnancies I had I would usually lie. For when it came down to losing Adara and her brother it never failed the nurse would ask, "miscarriage or termination?" and my anxiety would race. How ashamed I was to be there to have my other three children after what I had done. I couldn't accept the blessing God was offering me.
My poor husband for years he had thought it was his doing that had changed me. I kept telling him it was not him, there was something wrong with me. I had everything I had ever wanted, was living the life I had always dreamed. But I could never put my finger on my persistent feeling of going through the motions but fighting every second to try to be joyful. I had gone from a patient and compassionate mother to one that was grumpy, short tempered, annoyed even; and it was only getting worse. Even after seeing the movie Unplanned I could not come out of the dark capsule I seemed to be stuck in. From the outside most people probably thought that was just who I was.
It wasn't until after seeing Unplanned that I realized God was not finished with closing up the scar in my soul. So He pressed me to reach out for help, and flat out told me I could not further my ministry until I could fully close up this old wound. I listened to Him and scheduled a help with a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat. The week leading up to the retreat I wanted so badly to back out, to not go and pretend I didn't need what God was offering. But I swallowed those feelings, packed my bags, and kissed my family good-bye. I can not tell you how glad I am for the technology we have! During the ride I put on a podcast of one of my Pastor's recent sermons on God and His waiting period. It took away my anxiousness and yes, the fear as well. It gave me a glimmer of hope that these past years were a waiting period for me and now the waiting might be finished. Was it possible to truly live again?
To go into the experiences I had at my retreat would be so long I would have to write a book. In a nutshell it took me from a state of pain and dare I say pride, to a place of acceptance and peace. So I will just tell you my turning point. In my letter to Adara I speak of a meadow at the end. This meadow was described in vividness to me and it became a place of realization for me. Despite being only in my mind, I truly felt I was there. Later during my prayer time by myself I was playing worship music and I felt like I just didn't want to be the one talking to Jesus anymore; I wanted to hear from Him instead. So I put on a song with no lyrics. While this song played my pain came pouring out. I did not dry a single tear I shed that weekend. I let them flow away, years of toxic labels and self loathing. I cried out my pain during this song as I saw my sweet Adara and my sweet daughter Briseis playing in this meadow. I saw them running away, holding hands while their brothers chased them and they all laughed. I saw Jesus, standing next to me, laughing at their silly play. And I remember Him telling me, "See, Briseis has a sister" and for the first time I let a little pain go. I did not let it all go, not until the last day when I said good-bye to Adara in my letter.
It was then, only then, did I begin to see my life as redeemed. I felt the joy and release of the pain and the excitement to start living again. God knows we will fail Him, He knows we will hurt ourselves and others, He knows we will beat ourselves up about our short comings. But God does not wish for us to stay in that place of torment, self-injury, self-loathing. No, He wishes for us to forgive ourselves and to learn from our mistakes. That is all. There is no going back to the past, so we must learn to let go of it. So if that is you, please don't dwell there, for it is where the devil plays a nasty trick of making you relive the hurts of the past. Instead, accept God's blessing of wisdom and grow in your faith because of it. There is a plan in the works for the mistakes we make. A great design is beginning to unfold, we just can't see the big picture yet.
So I take each day at a time. God never said all burdens would leave, but He did promise to be with us every step of the way. And now every step I take has a new pep to it, every word I speak has a new fire about it. Though there will be times to rub the scar and shed a tear or two in remembrance of my daughter, it will no longer be a well of pain I am fighting to hold down deep. The wound is healed and now it is time to go out and use my story to help others out there that are fighting to live, feeling like the fog is where they must stay.
Romans 8:28-34,37 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us...
A special thank you to all the foundations and facilities who help women see the value of life, the healing of God, and the power of their testimonies ~
***For my personal testimony go to www.halfwaytosundaymom.com/blog/losing-control***
If I was your enemy I would constantly remind you of your past mistakes and poor choices as a mother. I'd want to keep you burdened with shame and guilt, in hopes that you'll feel incapacitated by your many failings and struggle to keep your passion, focus, identity and even your family on a Christlike path ~
I was watching Mama Mia last night and the song came on where the lead is singing about wanting time to slow down with her daughter. The lyrics are so vivid about the time that has past that I cried. The lyrics are how I am already feeling with my daughter. Now, I love my boys but there is a special bond between Briseis and me. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact I had not wanted a daughter, especially as my first child. But God has a sense of humor and to this day, the feeling I got when the doctors set her on my chest and her big blues eyes looked up at me, has never been repeated. Anyway, as I lay crying after the song I tried to sleep but a flood of my failures as a mom to her came washing over me. I have to be careful when this happens because if I can't stop it, it will overflow to the boys and Lance and before I know it I just want all of us in one bed together where I be close to them. LOL! But I did stop it before I got to that point, but it was too late for the attack on my failing of Briseis. Needless to say I couldn't sleep until I snuggled up next to her and prayed for the memories of past failures to be veiled.
The devil is crafty like this. He loves to make our hearts ache with regret and to force us to relive failures like on a movie reel. But here is the thing; he really holds no power over this, he just wants you to think he does. So lets look at how he does this to our worn and weary souls.
The first way he will attack you, is through your past. Whether it was something small, like punishing one of your children when they actually had done nothing wrong; to something big, like snapping at them to the point they cried just because they accidentally spilled their drink. The devil IS going to use this against us at every turn. He will use it to poke holes in our future with our children. He will make it a rerun in our minds that is nothing short of a horror film. He will convince us that our mistakes with our children are worse then everybody else.
The second way is, judgement of other mothers. Watch out for this trap!!! If the devil can't rattle our confidence, can't make us feel judged, he WILL try turning us into judges of other mother's mistakes (now a days we call this the comparison game). He is very good with this one. I have caught myself doing it multiple times, even when I know better, "Oh she has no idea... If she doesn't nip that now then ... I'm glad I was able to stop doing that unlike her..." It is wrong, always stay humble, and offer help.
The last way is what I like to call, The Merry-Go-Round Effect. This is another tactic he is great at luring us into. We see a mom that has something together we don't, we lose years off our life trying to get to their point, and when it happens we then see another mom ahead on something else and the cycle starts right back over again. He wants us to waste so much of our valuable time with our kids trying to get them caught up to the kid down the street. Sadly he wins at this a lot. He puts a veil over our eyes to the areas our children are excelling at, draining us of our joy of where they are in THEIR lives by having us obsess with someone else's child.
The past is the past. It doesn't have permission to touch us anymore. We are confident in who we are as mothers and what our goal is! We have tools to help us, we have our passion as mothers, our focus as mothers, our identities as mothers, and because God's wisdom we have our families to hold us accountable to falling into these "pity parties" ~
So what are OUR ways to fight back against the devil's assaults in this area? In a nutshell is boils down to being CONFIDENT in who we are as mothers! Our past mistakes may have left a scar but we know how to use that to STRENGTHEN our confidence. You, mother, can do this by breaking it down into 3 steps.
Step 1: Pray, pray, pray
At this point it is pretty obvious in all things we need to talk (because that is all prayer is, simply talking to our Father) to our Lord. Yes, He knows what we are thinking already, but he LOVES to hear us say it non the less. Give thanks to our Father who lives outside of time and because of that sees the past as obsolete. Ask for forgiveness when we do make mistakes. And then mediate on what you were able to gain in wisdom out of the failure.
Isaiah 64:8 - But now, Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are the work of your hands.
Step 2: Learn from the failure
We may be grown adults, but we are still learning how to do this parenting gig every day. It will never stop so we need to be prepared to remain teachable pupils. Be eager to learn so we may pass down that knowledge to our children and they to their children and so on.
Ephesians 1:7-9 - Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness. He poured out his kindness by giving us every kind of wisdom and insight when he revealed the mystery of his plan to us. He decided to do this through Christ.
Step 3: Share your revealed wisdom
In the movie "War Room" there is a point when the young mother realizes that her mentor prayed for God to send her someone she could pass down her knowledge and wisdom to. To keep that person from "stepping on the same land mines" she had. Our confidence as mothers needs to be so great that for EVERY FAIL we make we can hold our heads high because that becomes a teachable moment to other mothers (and our own children). They need to know we are CONFIDENT in our failures because of the grace and love God has for us! "So talk it up, devil. Because as high as you choose to ratchet it up, you're only showing off ' the breadth and length and height and depth' (Eph. 3:18) of the love of Christ extended toward me!" ~Fervent Do you see??!! For every attack we lose against the devil, every single one, it only further proves HOW MUCH WE ARE LOVED BY GOD AND HOW CONFIDENT GOD IS THAT WE ARE THE MOTHERS FOR OUR CHILDREN, NO ONE ELSE WOULD FIT THE PART. How awesome is that? It is like the coolest episode of Law and Order because the two lawyers are Jesus and Satan and they are both fighting for our souls, but no matter what the tongue of the serpent utters, it only makes him further lose his case. Have confidence in that if nothing else!
Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 - Thus says the Lord...Do not call to mind the FORMER things, or ponder things of the PAST. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
***Our past mistakes as mothers do not define us as mothers, instead they are like the wrinkles on an old lady. Proof of a life well lived and good lessons learned along the way. She walks with confidence down the street, proud to share her life story to a willing ear.***
Hebrews 10:35-36 - So don't lose your confidence. It will bring you a great reward. You need endurance so that after you have done what God wants you to do, you can receive what he has promised ~
Yesterday we started our first day of homeschooling for this year. I always have the kids wear the same shirt (and one day it will actually fit them!) and they hold up a piece of paper that states their name, year of school, favorite color and what they want to be when they grow up. We my oldest son put that he wants to be a knight when he grows up because his God-sister is a princess (yes, that is exactly the reason he gave me and I didn't even ask why he chose it. LOL). It made me start to consider the whole "knight in shining armor" fantasy children tend to have when they are young. So precious.
Fast forward to the time you were dating boys and I'm sure all of you have heard your dad say it at least once to a boyfriend. Tell me if this sounds familiar, "Don't you break her heart" or "Don't you hurt her" or some other comment meant to protect coming from your dad's mouth. See, I can relate a little to my dad because I don't want my daughter or my sons getting hurt by anyone let alone a boyfriend or girlfriend. No, honestly if I knew how and when they would get hurt it would be hard for me to not be waiting in the perfect spot to ambush the one who hurt them. So I know my dad only had my best interest at heart and I know he loved me so much he wanted to try and control something he never could have controlled...my husband's actions. See I love my dad. I was and still am a daddy's girl. For my wedding he wrote me this beautiful short story-poem titled "In The Land Of A Father's Heart". I cried when we danced at my wedding because he was relinquishing his power of protection to my husband. And for a girl that loves her daddy, that was a hard thing to accept.
Here is the thing though. My dad was telling my "man" not to hurt me when in fact growing up that is all I saw my mom and dad do to each other. I didn't understand it then, but as a wife and mother now, I understand all to well. My dad was telling my husband not to do something that he himself was doing. He wasn't meaning to be hypocritical by any means. All he saw was a daughter that he loved and didn't want to get hurt, not realizing he was forgetting about his very own wife.
When our fathers give our men a command such as "Don't you hurt her", they are giving them an impossible challenge. That impossible challenge puts immense pressure on them from that point on. It's not that they are meaning to do so, they are just looking out for their baby girls. But the fact remains, our men will hurt us.
The bible is very clear that every single person we love will let us down at one point or another. If that wasn't the case then we could find someone other than Christ to lean on. Your friends, your family, your husband and yes, even your children will at some point let you down. At some point they will hurt you, either intentionally or unintentionally. When our fathers say to our men they better not hurt us they are in turn setting our men up for failure, because it is an impossible goal.
You may be asking me right about now, "But Christen, what harm does that do to me? I want my man to know my dad expects him to take care of me?" and I do see that point. But here is the catch...it ends up hurting us in the long run. When my dad told my husband this, long before he was my husband, it put a false sense of love on the relationship. By my dad saying this I took it as a sign that if my husband never hurt me then he was my "true love". That in lies the problem. They first time my husband couldn't stand up to this goal I felt depressed. I was so sure he was the one I wanted to spend my life with, but now he had hurt me, my knight in shining armor had failed me. This happened throughout our dating. Little things, nothing major, little fights about things I can't even remember now. It is only by God's grace and intervening that I stayed with him instead of ending it and continuing my search for a man that could stand up to my dad's high standards. Then my husband made a terrible mistake, a mistake that hurt worse then anything he had done or has ever done since. But God works all things for His glory. So I give Him all the glory that despite my husband's mistake I stayed by his side and let God make our marriage stronger then ever before.
As mothers raising children we have to be very careful how we handle getting hurt. My dad set unrealistic expectations on my husband (and previous boyfriends), expectations that he himself couldn't keep to my mom. Our children are watching us. They need to know there is no such thing as a "knight in shining armor". That fictional character is not real life, there is no riding off into the sunset. Marriage is HARD because it is like anything good and sacred and the devil has his eyes set on making hurts the cause of ending something sacred. Our daughters need to know what to look for in their husbands; men chasing Jesus, who are going to make mistakes and hurt us, but that will keep fighting for them until the end. Our sons need to know to seek Jesus and His heart, that no one is perfect and we all mess up and hurt people, but to never stop fighting for their wives.
As a mother I want my daughter to still have her innocence, she is only 7 after all. So she is not ready to hear that her future husband will mess up and hurt her even if he doesn't mean to. But there will come a time soon when I will have to start telling her to look past the facade of "her knight" and see the man God has for her, with the knowledge that getting hurt it something we experience from every single person we love, but to press on and fight for the relationship. For my sons, who again are too young to need to know these things, but someday they wont be; I will tell them what to look for in their "princess". To look for women who can forgive when they accidentally don't tell them how beautiful they look, or if they have a fight and things are said they wish they had held their tongues on.
Lastly, we need to communicate this to our husbands. Remind them of the pressure they were under and the feeling of disappointment they had when they couldn't live up to a certain expectation. And us? Mothers, we need to be able to forgive our husbands when they fall short of making the mark. Heck, if we are being honest, we have done the same to them. Said hurtful things, made remarks we wish we could take back. It is human nature, intended to assure we would only lean on one person throughout life in 100% security, and his name is Jesus Christ.
Because in the end we all want our children to have a better marriage then we have, and the only way to help that happen is to love, serve, and forgive. Because ultimately that is what our children are watching. They are watching how we love each other, how we serve each other and how we forgive each other.
Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony ~
Hello fellow mommy readers. I decided this week to take a break on the series "Don't Let The Devil Steal Your Motherhood". I have had something weighing on me for a little over two weeks now and had validation to write about it from more than one spot. So, without further delay lets get started on this week's topic.
I was at the water park a couple of weeks ago, sitting in the water just people watching while I waited for my kiddos to come down the slide. As I watched I started to notice something. There were women there that were thin and not thin, old and young, healthy and unhealthy, different colors, different races. You name it, it was a collection of everything. Not all of them were mothers either. There were younger teens there and it also wasn't only women. There were men there too, all with the same diversity as listed above.
As I sat and watched I started to notice something. Not one person was sexy... not even one. I started to ponder this reason. Over the past years of being a mom and diving deeper into faith I will admit that my TV consumption certainly has changed. If I am being honest the shows I typically watched (Lost Girl) were not Christlike even a little (back before I leaned in closer to my Savior). I am more of a Heartland or at the very least clean comedy type of person now. Heck the anxiety alone of watching shows I used to enjoy would be too much for me to bear. But maybe that was why I couldn't find sexy that day. Maybe society wasn't able to control my perspective any longer through vulgar shows and commercials. Who knows.
But here is the thing. Not one person in this water park did I find unattractive. Now hear me out before you might try to pass judgement, wait and see where I am going with this. All these people were very attractive but it had nothing to do with a sexy body, it had to do with who they were being at this water park.
Every single person at this park was engulfed in doing what God had intended for them to do. They were all in a state of fellowship with someone. The teens were all playing tag with each other or racing down the slides. The dads were chasing little ones around or helping them navigate the fun. And the moms? The moms were so beautiful to me. I tried so hard to find the fittest, skinniest, prettiest mom I could find so I could say "Now that is a sexy mom. I want to be like that.", but I couldn't because every time I looked what I saw was a beautiful mother with a nurturing look on her.
See, their outward appearances were beautiful because they were doing what God had intended them to do. Nurturing their children. It made me start to think, who in the heck came up with "sexy"? So I did some research on the word sexy. The first notation of it that I could find was in 1923 in reference to Valentino. Who else finds it funny that the earliest record of the word sexy was in the 20th century?Next, lets look at the definition of sexy. The Webster dictionary states it means sexually attractive or exciting. The synonyms? Seductive, desirable, alluring, inviting, sensual, sultry, slinky, provocative, tempting, tantalizing, and the list goes on. So what about beautiful? Pleasing the senses or mind in a way that gives pleasure. These people, these mothers were all beautiful to me. I could look at each one and see the compassion and love they had. I could see the teenagers' faces full of joy and excitement. The fathers had looks of pride and admiration. Beauty was abound at this place.
I am realizing as I grow as a mother and a Christian that I am seeking things that are beautiful not sexy. I am seeking the real and the true. Mothers, we are beautiful. When we are focused on our calling we are pleasing to the senses to everyone we pass. We are the light of Christ and the world around us is seeing that and it is drawing them closer. Closer to wanting what we have emanating from us, a joy that is super natural to this world. So the next time you look in the mirror, smile at that beautiful face staring back at you. Because she has a super power surging through her body, a power so strong it can change people; and one day soon she is going to send forth her little ones into the world with that same beauty. So forget about sexy and embrace beautiful!
As a personal testimony, allow me to show you these three pictures. The one on the right is from January 2017, middle January 2018 and left is January 2019. From 2017 to 2019 I gained 50 pounds. But I look at these pictures and I truly believe I look beautiful in all of them. Yes, I have plenty where I am like "Holy crap that is going to break the glass!" but in those ones I am usually on my time of the month, no make-up and grouchy. But when I am not bloated and in pain, showered and put together, and finding joy in my calling as a mother, I am beautiful. So tonight I am asking you mommies to start seeing yourselves as I see you. I see you all as beautiful women because of your love and sacrifices. I see you as beautiful because you know the value and the responsibility of the task you have been trusted to see through. I see you as beautiful because you know the truth about this world and you have chosen to rise above and I admire you all for that!
1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious ~
IF I WAS YOUR ENEMY, I'S SEEK TO DISINTEGRATE YOUR FAMILY AND DESTROY EVERY MEMBER OF IT. I'D WANT TO TEAR AWAY AT YOUR TRUST AND UNITY AND TURN EVEYONE'S LOVE INWARD ON THEMSELVES. I WOULD MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY DIDN'T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE IT'S SUPPOSE TO. BECAUSE THEN PEOPLE WOULD LOOK AT YOUR CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE, YOUR CHRISTIAN CHILDREN, AND SEE YOU'RE NO DIFFERENT, NO STRONGER THAN ANYBODY ELSE - THAT GOD, UNDERNEATH IT ALL, REALLY DOESN'T CHANGE ANYTHING.~ Fervent
It is a scary kind of knowledge, knowing there is someone out there trying to do this to you and your family momma. What is even scarier is knowing that this enemy never rests, never eats, never sleeps; he is unrelenting in his cause to destroy everything you have work so hard to create.
The devil almost got away with this when we first moved into our new home. Things were BAD! Lance and I were constantly fighting and it was getting worse every time it happened. The kids were becoming timid and walking on egg shells. Our family was being broken down and was on the verge of destruction. Had it not been a friend of mine and her love for me and my family I don't think we would have made it. She gave me a book titled, Created To Be His Help Meet. It was a hard read but I discovered what the devil was doing and how to fight back and it saved us.
Don't get me wrong. It still takes a conscious effort to keep the devil out of our home. But just like anything good that was designed by God, it is a constant battle to win against the attacks of the devil. Even as recently as this very minute the devil tried to weasel his way back into our home. But as these attacks come and I win with Lance by my side, we become wiser to when the devil is trying to advance and can be quicker to lean on God.
So, where is the devil attacking your husband and you (if married)? Where is the devil attacking your child(ren) and you?Where is the devil attacking your extended family and you? Do you think your relationship with your husband and extended family has any hidden attacks towards your children and you in it?
We need to fortify the lives of those we love. There are no "buts" to this. Because there may be family (husband, extended family) that you don't love but that your children DO and unless it is an emotional or physically abusive relationship you are required to forgive. Strengthen the family, the more cords that intertwine with Christ in the middle, the stronger that family will be against attacks, against hardships. You will have a generation of VICTORY warriors!
Since we know the devil is behind the attacks, stop fighting those people and bring the fight to the real enemy. There will always be disagreements, but the devil is the one that needs the power the Holy Spirit has given us, fired into the places where he is slithering about, not your family members.
Step 1: Fight FOR Your Husband Instead Of Against Him
Gulp! We must learn to be respectful and submissive to our husbands for OUR CHILDREN'S SAKES. This is a hard role to play since as mothers we tend to act like lionesses when anything involves our children, running the house and yes even the finances. We must do this because are children are watching how we act towards our husbands. They are learning how to give love (if you have daughters) and how to receive love (if you have sons). We must think in the long picture. Would we like it if our daughters treated the little boy down the street as we sometimes do their own father? Would we like our sons taking a beating from the bully down the street that happens to be a girl since they see their own father beaten down constantly? In our hearts we know that answer very well. Fighting alongside our husbands FOR our marriages consists of the following:
I. (In case you haven't guessed it) Prayer: We must pray for our husbands! Pray and give thanks for them. Pray and ask to be forgiven for the wrongs you have caused him. THEN, we pray God changes our husbands' hearts to seek God relentlessly. We pray for the areas that are under attack. Because with God on our side WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS!
II. We PRAISE the good: All the time mommies. If we constantly are praising the good aspects of our husbands then our children's love for their father AND for us will grow because the Christ like seeds of who our husbands are will pass to our children TENFOLD! Leave the negative things to God's doing because ONLY HE can fix what is broken.
Proverbs 16:23-24 - A wise person's heart controls his speech, and what he says helps others learn. Pleasant words are like honey from a honeycomb - sweet to the spirit and healthy for the body
Ephesians 4:29 - Don't say ANYTHING that would hurt another person. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help WHEREVER it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you
Step 2: Fight FOR Your Children Instead Of Against Them
Satan is after our children! We must not allow him to run roughshod over our children. We must fight for them and with them. Satan knows the parts of their characters - both their strengths and weaknesses - where he can worm in and try stunting their growth, their potential, and their confidence. Watch for these strengths and weaknesses. Know when and how to nurture the strengths and how to fight against their weaknesses. Fighting alongside our child(ren) FOR our relationship consists of the following:
I. Prayer: We need to pray FERVENTLY for our children. Their very souls are at stake. They are already being schemed against and attacks may already be happening. We need to take action now. We need to pray God amplifies their strengths and defends these attacks.
II. Pray with them: We need to start teaching them now how big OUR GOD is, because let me tell you, the devil is not going to wait a second longer to make his attacks look like he is the biggest thing out there. If they have nightmares, if they fear something, anything negative is mentioned we can not AFFORD to blow it off and tell them it's nothing. Pray with them, let them know our Savor died because He loved them that much, so of course He can and WILL take the fear away and replace it with peace and comfort.
III. Bonding: This is probably going to the be the hardest area since some of us have jobs, others have more than one child. But doing things with our children, being involved COUNTS FOR EVERYTHING! Even if it is as simple as a walk to the park or a movie, or go big with date nights, go small with reading a book to them before bed. And be consistent with it! I say this for our own good, because if we do this our children will literally crave it and want it to continue. They are being attacked so show them God and you are not afraid to fight back and keep WHAT IS YOURS! Our children are "like arrows in the hand of a warrior (yes, we are those warriors), we raise them up to shoot them out into the culture, bearing the image of Christ to the world (Psalm 127:4)
Isaiah 8:18 - Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts
3 John 1:4 - I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth
Step 3: Fight FOR Your Extended Family Not Against Them
We must realize the real enemy at work here. As I am writing the devil is pissed and is even making my computer glitch. LOL. Tough! Our extended family whether non believers or not, may be feeling attacked themselves by the devil; or even intentionally or unintentionally participating with the enemy's design against us. It does not excuse us from the seeds we may be planting in our children by our words and actions on these members. So what to do? Fighting alongside our extended family FOR our relationship consist of the following: (But before I begin this part we need to know that this area is the 'highlight" attacking spot. He can do more damage with less effort by attacking us here, within these relationships than in any other area)
I. Prayer: I can see it on some of your faces now, do what?! But our extended family allows the devil so many avenues of attack. I know this from personal experience. If we fight with one person it can lead to fighting with our husbands and/or children. We must pray for them in the same manor we do our husbands and children. The areas under attack, the parts that are broken, we must ask God to heal and repair.
II. Forgive: I see it again, "Christen you are not serious? If you only knew what I go through!" Hey, don't get mad at the messenger, lol. God calls us to forgive, not forget, not pick up where we left off, not act as though everything is fine and dandy (because it isn't but that's okay you are praying God heals those areas and you have faith He will answer you). We do it … and listen very closely to this … we do it so WE can move on, so we don't hurt, so we don’t have the anger and anxiety anymore. Okay, well how do we forgive someone that has us so furious and so anxious and so
… lets face it PISSED OFF???? Read on and you will see.
III. Move forward: Last we need to move forward. We need to be cordial to these family members for the sake of our children. They may adore the person you can't stand. We are doing them an injustice by putting them in the middle of our issues. They will have plenty of issues of their own, with their own spouses, their own children, their own extended family, their own relationships… but that one is for a later discussion. Don't allow your troubles and hurts to be shared with your children.
Colossians 4:6 - Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
The enemy who's intent on disrupting the peace in our homes doesn't flinch when we try to force our own fixes upon it, but HE DOES start worrying when A WIFE, A DAUGHTER, A SISTER, A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW starts avoiding the noise at the periphery (remember we need to keep our identity, our focus, and our passion on our calling) and starts making some noise of her own, RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR TO THE DEVIL'S WORKSHOP! Get ready to go to war FOR your family!
Romans 14:19 - Pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another ~
If I was your enemy, I'd DEVALUE your strength and MAGNIFY your insecurities until they
This week I have been dealing a lot with identity. My friend and I were working on my official logo (gulp) and all the first ones she showed me were great except that I didn't quiet feel my identity in them. It took a lot of trial and error and back and forth at the drawing board for the logo that was to become my new identity to surface. But with love and a lot of hard work the logo that will be forever (God willing) be Halfway To Sunday Mom was formed. (A quick shout out to Greenlight Graphics for the awesome work!)
Our identities as mothers work the same way. Most of us don't like feeling like we are labeled "moms" like there is nothing else to us. But the truth is we have many labels (mom, servant, lover, wife, nurse, teacher, cook, cleaner, helper, need I go on?) but as we have been discussing the past two weeks; we are mothers. So motherhood for the time being needs to be a focused identity of who we are. But the devil, using the world to corrupt us, is trying with all his might to make us lose our identity as mothers. With equal rights for the sexes, non sexual orientation, women can do anything men can do lies. Now that in no way means that we should not be able to work or have hobbies or travel and so on. But if we chose to have children our identity is motherhood not CEO of a large company that steals all our time away from our family. Hope that makes a lot of sense. Just because women can do what men can do doesn't mean we should be. If you are feeling like being a mother is something your doing on the side, what negative identities is the devil whispering in your ear (Your job is more important, you deserve to go out and party still, you aren't their slave)? What negative identities is the world yelling at you (their teachers are making sure they are doing well, kids need their independence, if you want them to be happy buy them things)? What negative identities are friends and family telling you (you shouldn't be handling them that way, let them find themselves, you are over disciplining them, you are under disciplining them)? Have you let everyone crack away at pieces of your identity until you can't even tell what direction you are suppose to be going anymore?
So how do we fight back against this attack? We need God and us to stamp what our TRUE identities are repeatedly onto our hearts. Key word there being repeatedly. Fervent prayer keeps our identity in FOCUS! It reminds us of who we really are and taps into the power we really have in Christ to be the mothers we are called to be. ~ Fervent
To accomplish this try following these 4 steps and remember this will take time and practice to turn it into habit.
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As mothers we need to be PROUD of the identity that is motherhood. Not every women out there will get that identity even though she may cry herself asleep wishing that she could. We were given a gift (or in my case gifts) and we should be proud and thankful we were chosen for those gifts. So the next time someone tries to put a break in your identity, a crack in your love of motherhood you stop it by giving praise for the wonderful mini yous. You are training up the future parents of this world and that is something you need to be able to stand tall about.
Isaiah 49: 16 - See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me ~