Identifying the Enemy

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-12

Lately, I’ve been struggling.  I’ve been sidetracked.  I’ve taken my eyes off the Goal.  You know what’s interesting?  I’ve found that I am very rarely intentionally distracted.  Getting distracted happens easily. Staying focused? That’s the hard part. The part that needs constant encouragement (from the Word and from other Christians).  So I am writing this to you so that you may be encouraged, sweet friend, because it is so easy to get discouraged in this life.

For instance: Why didn’t I get invited to the party?  She didn’t write me back.  He looked at me funny; why is he mad at me?  Why hasn’t she called; did I say something that upset her? No one has hugged me today.  My kids hate me.  I can’t do what they want me to do; I’m not qualified. I’m so tired, sick, fat, and frumpy. Our country is doomed. No one cares. I can’t do anything right. No one does anything right. Why am I always the one doing everything? This life is so hard! …and on and on and on…

Oh friends read carefully: Those thoughts are from the enemy of your soul.  He wants you to be at your lowest.  He wants to infiltrate your thoughts and make you sink into a black hole of “me, me, me.” Because when you’re thinking like that, you can’t be thinking like Him. And when you’re not thinking like Him, you can’t act like Him. You can’t love like Him.  You can’t be the Light this dark world needs. And Satan rejoices.  He sees you sinking into the darkness all the while God is calling for your heart to wake up and suit up. “Put your armor on, child! I am here for you! But you have to WAKE UP.”

I woke up today. Satan is NOT going to win this war in my heart or mind.  My God is with me, and we have work to do. 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”  ~2 Timothy 1:7

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9

 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ~Matthew 6:31-33

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up….” 1 Thess. 5:11

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


Weekend Recap

What a wonderful, busy, weekend!

First up, my darling husband took me to see The Phantom of the Opera!  I am STILL on the musical theater inspired high it gave me!  If you have the opportunity to see the most recent US Tour of the Broadway show, do it! 🙂 It doesn’t disappoint. That night we came home and let the girls color faces on their pumpkins (to be carved out the next day). They LOVED coloring all over those pumpkins!

The next morning, we relaxed by baking muffins, playing Chutes and Ladders, and swinging in the sunshine.  My favorite sound in the world?  Hearing my daughters laughing and playing together.  Sounds of childhood joy and innocence can’t help but make me smile. The pumpkin carving adventure was a little less fun for them (because I wouldn’t let them touch the knives), but they thought the finished product was super cool. 🙂

Saturday evening I was blessed to spend some time with my sister and her precious children. I needed some baby love and sister fun!  We popped popcorn and watched How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, one of my all time favorite “chick-flicks.” Sunday morning we were able to worship our God together and then fellowship over a meal.  I am so thankful my sister lives close enough to me to make days like this possible.  It’s been too long since we’ve had such frequent contact!

That isn’t the entirety of the weekend, but I’ll spare you any more details.  I hope your weekends were also filled with love and encouragement that you can take with you throughout your week.

An Artist at Work

“Momma can we please paint?”

Arabel came running in with the new paints we had been graciously given. Nice paints. Like, not your average elementary water colors. I tried not to let my eye-roll be too noticeable. I was deep into preschool preparation, and the thought of busting out (and potentially ruining) new paints made me cringe a little.

“Sweetie, those paints need a thicker type of paper than what we have.  I’ll see if we can get some painting paper next time we go to the store.”

“Oh! I saw some thick paper, Momma!” Bel bolted off and returned with three thick circular discs. Suitable for painting.

“Ok. Go get on the floor, don’t make a mess, and make sure sissy can paint with you.”

The look of joy on her face made me smile.

And then…


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Painting party 🙂

“ugh!! I can’t do it!”

“That’s ok Bel, just do it this way. See? It’s easy?” Ali chimed as she effortlessly creates her masterpiece.😉

“No! It’s all wrong!”

And then came the tears. The cries of frustration. The stomping off and coming back only to throw her hands up in defeat.

I listened and watched from my chair in the other room. Ali proudly finished her painting and brought it to me. She wondered why Bel just gave up and quit; that made me realize what a teachable moment this really was.

I sat down on the floor next to Bel and asked her what was wrong.

“There’s too much white! I don’t want to be an artist! It’s not working!”

With some patience, I helped her fix the “white spots” that weren’t absorbing the paint.  I showed her how to use less water on her brush to make the paint look more vibrant. She watched my careful efforts to repair the painting she thought was ruined.

“What color would you like here, Bel?” She would point and I would paint. And by the end of it, she was wanting to finish up most of it by herself (as long as I stayed there to watch her).

All of this got me thinking about the parallels between my humbling imperfect parenting, and that of my Heavenly Father.  How often do I beg Him for something, only to cry and throw a fit when He grants me my request? How often do I think I have everything I need, but throw my hands up in defeat when it doesn’t go my way?

One of my favorite parts of Parenthood is seeing my children the way my Father sees me. I do hope they know what a blessing that is, and how it renews my patience and love every time I take a step back and see them through His eyes.

The best years of my life…

…are the years I spend with Jesus.

I grew up in a Christian home.  I don’t remember a time I didn’t love Jesus and want to please Him.  I hit that “age of accountability” very young because the Bible and Biblical principles were taught daily.  As soon as I knew sin for what it is (a separation from God), I wanted to be baptized to make myself right before Him. I was 8 years old when I decided to live for Jesus.

But… that doesn’t mean I have always “lived for Jesus.”  There have many many times throughout my walk with Him (these 22 years…wow!) that I have chosen to live for myself. To live for fleeting pleasure or material gain. There have also been times I’ve chosen to live for someone else.  Putting the wants (or what I thought they would want) of others above my love for and obedience to the Lord.  I heard a POWERFUL sermon from brother Eric Owens last night (I will probably share it here when I can figure out how to do that! lol). He talked about the difference between “salvation” and “sanctification.”  So in my case, salvation came early, but sanctification (for the longest time), was a journey of one step forward and two steps back.

The best years of my life are when….

  • I choose holiness over happiness.
  • I make life choices based on prayer and study of His Word, instead of my worldly opinion or fears.
  • I daily choose to serve others (and seek for opportunities to do so) instead of myself.
  • The best years of my life are those filled with days of yearning to be at His feet, learning more of who He is so I can better reflect Him to others.

When Jesus is at the center my eyes are opened to my purpose, and life just doesn’t get better than when one’s purpose is clearly set before her and she obeys.

here we go…

I’ve been writing super long posts on social media platforms for a WHILE now, but I wanted to start a blog to put things into better focus.  Bear with me… while I have a passion for this, I am a bit rattled.  The hype of “my blog” has been circling through my brain for too long and finally putting my jumbled thoughts into focus is surprisingly intimidating.

“Be Radiant”.  “Momma on a Mission”.  These phrases have been central when thinking about my purpose and passions.  “Be Radiant” came about a couple of years ago when I began a huge fitness journey.  A journey to not only exercise my body, but also my soul.  To put my faith in God into action.  Practice self control and discipline like it MATTERS (because, friend, it does matter).  I want to glow.  I want to glow with strength and confidence; in my body? Sure. But MOST importantly, strength and confidence in my place in God’s Kingdom.  “Momma on a Mission” swirled more through the spaghetti spirals of my brain the more time I spent with my kids instead of work. The more they saw me take care of myself so I could better take care of them.  I am on a mission to bring my daughters up in the training of the Lord.  I want to teach by example and have my actions towards my children not prove any of my words vain or hypocritical.

My “radiant mission” is to daily surrender my life to God and let that surrender dictate my actions to others, and to love my family as He loves me.

So what  can you expect to see here?

~what I’m learning through God’s Word

~workouts I love

~homeschooling adventures and lessons

~bits and pieces of my day to day life

~favorite songs sung by me or my peeps 😉

~ideas I have or have seen that may help stir up a call to faith-in-action in your life

~guest posts/sermons/lessons I’ve found impactful and couldn’t say any better myself. 🙂

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments.  I’m looking forward to this new step in my journey!