Lord, give me fresh eyes…

Have you ever read a scripture so many times you become numb to it?

My friend, Joni Stepp, wrote about this in her Instagram post on Monday.  It’s so easy to become numb to words you’ve heard all your life–yes, even the Words of our God. The best way to combat this? Pray for fresh eyes every time you open the Bible. Pray for God’s Truth to jump out at you–NOT just a version truth you want to fit your preconceived ideas and opinions.

But HIS Truth.

His way.

His voice. That it may penetrate to your heart, and open your eyes to His call.

(FYI: you may not learn something “new,” but I pray you allow God to mold you into the warrior He needs with every word from Him you read.)

I prayed for fresh eyes Wednesday morning as I was reading a familiar text. John 4. Here’s what I wrote down after reading this:

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

“Reaping what we have not sown. The labor of others (Old Testament prophets & faithful families, John the baptist, etc.) was the foundation that prepared the harvest for the disciples; the foundation that prepared the way for Christ.

Application for me: God is working through His people. Every encounter someone has with the TRUTH brings them closer to the Harvest. My job may be to plant the seed, or water the ground, and my job may be when it’s time to pick the harvest. EVERYONE’S life following Jesus has a purpose–to bring more people to Him. Yes, God provides the increase (1 Corinthians 3). His hand is always at work–even when we cannot see. And we must continue to be that Light so that we can all (reapers and sowers) rejoice together!”

All of this means this: no job is too small in the Kingdom. No smile, kind word, or act of service goes unnoticed by our God. To those who are outside of Christ, every encounter they have with someone in the fold brings them closer to the Truth. So stay the course dear friend. Your efforts are not in vain and just because you’re not seeing the fruit of your labor for Him, doesn’t mean you aren’t planting or watering!

Be encouraged! God is working. 🙂img_9692

Mourning a Godless Choice

Let me start by saying I am not writing for sympathy, but to share a bit of my story and my heart. Most importantly, I want to encourage you to always make decisions based on prayer, Bible study, and Godly counsel so that you may never find yourself mourning a choice that didn’t have to be made–whatever that choice may be.

Fear is a motivator. Sometimes it motivates us to seek God’s wisdom and peace. Sometimes it motivates us to act alone and “take charge” so that [we think] our worst fears won’t become a reality. Five years ago, I fell into the 2nd category.

Our youngest daughter was just shy of a year and I was SURE I was done having kids. After all, I’d always wanted to adopt and I just “knew” I wouldn’t want/be able to do that if we continued to have kids of our own. Not to mention pregnancy made me fussy and irritable–why go through that again?  We have two beautiful children.  Plus, what if our third child wasn’t perfectly healthy? “I don’t think I have it in me to be able to handle that scenario… let’s just not have any more.”

That was the gist of my thought process. Motivated by fear (having an unhealthy child), rationalized by good intentions (adoption). But where was my prayer? Where was my faith? I remember Justin asking me before a permanent change was made, “Are you sure?” “Yes! I want to adopt. I’ve always wanted to adopt. I just know we won’t if we have more kids of our own.”

I was so arrogant in my reasoning. So sure I knew what was right for us–for me. But you know what I can’t quite remember? Asking my husband what he wanted. Did he want to adopt? Could he see himself being a father to a child he didn’t father? I assumed he did. I knew he would be great (and I still have no doubt about that!), so I gave the green light.

Fast forward 2, 3, 4, and 5 years later.  This Mom of 2 is yearning for more babies to hold. She’s yearning for kicks in the womb, whimpers and cries in the night, soothing another child with a touch or a song. She’s yearning to love and care for ALL the children this world wants to toss aside. “I want the babies no one wants….”

And somewhere along this rollercoaster ride of wants and fears, I turn to my God. Humbly admitting the faithlessness of a choice made those years ago and eagerly praying for Him to give me a child. One way or another. But then something happened very recently…Instead of praying for me to have my way, I began praying for God to have HIS way in me.

“Change my heart God… if my yearning isn’t bringing me closer to You, my husband, or my children, take it away. Give me the wants and contentment of my husband. Help me to never forget YOUR WILL be done–You are able to do more than I can even ask or think, and I know it will be done if You are willing.”

If you are mourning a Godless choice I want you to take comfort in this: there is ALWAYS hope and healing in Christ. But it takes an honest heart to take the first step down that road of redemption.


Homeschooling: not for wimps.

I admit it: I’m a wimp.

At least I used to be… “Homeschool will be a breeze!” I thought. “I have my degree in Early Childhood Education. This is right up my ally. And getting to have my girls all day? What a blessing!”

Yes. It’s a blessing.  But little did I consider, it could also be the end to my sanity.  (Don’t worry, there’s a happy ending coming. Just bear with me.)

Homeschooling my oldest child has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences in my motherhood experience thus far. But because of the challenge I almost gave up.

Remember my words for 2017? Follow through… so quitting right now isn’t an option.

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my darling girls

I’ve learned so much about my Bel. What motivates her, what makes her shut down, her interests and abilities, etc. This child is NOT self motivated. She is easily flustered and distracted. She is quite smart and catches on to things quickly, but can only handle a small amount of new information every day before turning her brain off and checking out.

Let me just say, that if I didn’t have dear friends who also homeschooled their children, I would have given up a long time ago.  But this most recent battle between me and Bel had me questioning this entire choice Justin and I made.

“I hate conflict, Justin!” I said one afternoon on the brink of tears. “I can handle discipline in regards to being her Mother, but I HATE having to push her and force her to do her school. It puts us at odds all the time. This is NOT what I imagined it would be…” And in his wisdom and gentleness, my husband said, “Let’s talk with Pamela and see if she can offer any advice. Then let’s look into a different curriculum that might meet Bel’s needs more. But if you are really done, we can look into other schooling options as well.”

Wow.  I love my husband.  He’s so kind and patient with me when I’m a tightly wound canon ball of emotions.

So we talked to Pamela and her advice made ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!

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Struggling through our first music lesson.

“Do you have a rewards system in place?” She asked. “um… not really.” I replied. But I was really thinking: I just feel like she should do it because I say to do it!

So my sweet friend enlightened me to the wisdom of REWARDS.  I knew this.  I’d like to say I knew this… I mean that’s such a DUH thing, right?  Even adults will work harder when you dangle a reward in front of them. How much more would a child?

Well folks, our new system has changed the tone of school around this house..for the better! For each assignment the girls complete, they get a sticker. Five stickers = 1 prize from the bin. When they reach 100 stickers, we will go out and celebrate as a family (something super fun–trampoline park, six flags, water park, dinner and a movie, etc.). And part of the beauty is, I decide the length of the assignments and the value of the sticker. So as she progresses, earning a sticker may be harder (but we haven’t gotten to that point yet).

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sand tub play time 

All that being said, homeschooling is not for wimps. And with the help of my patient husband, my wise friends, and the strength of Christ, I am slowly working my way out of wimpyville. But pray for me, I know this is just the beginning…