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 ~
If I was your enemy, I'd disguise myself and manipulate your perspectives so that you'd focus on the wrong culprit - a clean house, phone calls, social media, other mothers, your friends, your failures; ANYTHING to pull your focus away from your call to motherhood ~
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Our focus needs to never waiver. But it will, we are humans after all, we live in a broken world. But with God at our back guiding us we can keep trying, keep getting stronger in our focus, recognizing the devil's hackers before they snare us. So keep the focus and if you fall off that horse (no matter how many times) get back up and try again. You got this!
Micah 7:8 - Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light ~
Passion is what burns up the road between a child in danger and a parent in pursuit. It glows red-hot. And goes on driving. And grows even larger, the larger the obstacles become.
So at the end of the day mom, if this is ringing a familiar tune to you, stand up and take back the passion of your motherhood. Do it in the knowledge that God is for you and will fight for you, that your friends and loved ones are there to help you but you have to ask. And remember that feeling when your child was born and take your stand against the devil's arrow. You got this!
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up ~
SPIRITUAL SUGAR IS ANYTHING GOOD THAT IS NOT GOD LEAD ~
Fathers, do not provoke your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord ~