"Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed." -Linda Wooten

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Backseat Sermons - The Beauty in the Back Roads

God really uses the strangest situations to speak right to us. The girls and I were on our way back from picking up lunch after church today, when Nevaeh straight up preached right to my heart with one comment. 

I am not a fan of interstate. I like back roads. Those who know me well, know I would rather take a scenic backroad to get somewhere over the monotony of interstate any day. So as we are driving one of those back roads home – here’s the conversation that went down:

Nevaeh: “Mama, do you take this road to work in the morning?”
Me: “Yes, most days.”
Nevaeh: “You like back roads don’t ya mama? They’re a lot prettier than interstate.”
Me: “Yeah. I like the scenery.”
Nevaeh: “Yeah. You get to see a lot more. I like it to. It’s almost like the pretty things are hidden. But you don’t get to see those things at all on interstate.”
Oh my! What a word!! When on the journey to the destination God has ordained for us – we often want to take the interstate route. The shortcut, straight through, easiest, fastest route there. But taking that route causes us to miss out on the beauty found on the back road, the hard path. The path with twists and turns and uncertainty. The path with hidden beauty, where it may take a little effort on our part to find the good stuff hidden.
The past 2 years of our life have been a drive down the back road. There have been hills we didn’t have the strength to climb. There have been more twists and turns than we would like to admit. There were times when I asked God “Are we there yet?” but oh the beauty we discovered along the way. We have joy in these trials because they have indeed produced perseverance. I am thankful for the strength our marriage has gained by taking these twists and turns together. I am thankful for the strengthened faith built by trusting the Lord when we couldn’t see where we were going.
Chris and I were just having a conversation the other day, about what a difference one year makes. Last year at this time – we were at one of our lowest points. But we were holding on to God with faith that He would stay true to His promises to us and see us through that storm and boy, did He ever. I could have never imagined we would be where we are today. What God has done for us over the past 2 years is nothing short of a miracle (that is a blog post for a different day.) But the wisdom we have gained, the blessings we have seen may not have been visible on the easy path.
So today I encourage you – if God has you on a tough road, have faith and look for the blessings all around you. They’re there!

Friday, March 24, 2017

When Heartache Hits...

This week has been a week of loss. We lost my grandmother, a dear friend lost a family member and the Christian blogging community lost a sweet, sold out to Jesus soul – that loss is still gripping me this morning.

Personally speaking – in the midst of my cries for peace and comfort have been shouts of “why” and “help me understand Lord.” Death is never easy…it’s a lighter blow when it comes at the end of lengthy, uphill health battle…but easier, NO. But when death comes unexpectedly – to a young mama of 4 kids or a teenager just starting to make their mark on this world – death becomes deeper. And if we’re not careful we’ll let that deep hurt seep in and become whispered lies of the enemy that our God is not faithful, our God is not good…or God is not an ever present help…

Yeah, the enemy likes to take times like this and use them to create a divide between us and the only One with the power to heal that deep hurt, to give peace in those moments of devastation – to bring about assurance where that doubt has sparked up.

Psalm 73:26 tells us:

“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

No – my ‘self’…my carnal mind will not understand…grief can be a catalyst for doubt and fear and worry…and that’s why we desperately need to cry out to the Father during these times of heartache – because our strength will never be enough and our flesh will deceive us.

The Geneva Study Bible says ‘portion’ means “God is our whole sufficiency, and ONLY contentment”.

God is our ONLY contentment! When the storms of life arise and bad, unjustifiable things happen to good people – the world would have us blame God – but the Word shows us God is the only comforter that will suffice. He is our whole sufficiency – meaning nothing apart from Him will be enough to fill that void left by loss in our lives.

I’ve often heard that noting in life is certain…but death. It’s a morbid truth that still doesn’t make the sting of life lost any less painful. And believe me – questioning God’s motives or lack thereof, having doubt in the goodness of God, allowing our faith to slip in times of troubling circumstances only further delays the comfort and peace God longs to give us during these times.

But…I can promise (because I have been there this week) – crying out to God, letting God take all that pain and turn it into peace, is possible. He hasn’t equipped us to live this life alone – to carry these burdens by ourselves. He absolutely will allow us to go through things that we can NOT bear on our own – because it drives us back to where we belong…at the feet of Jesus, allowing Him to carry those burdens for us – and to give us strength to face each day that follows.

What do we do when devastating things happen? When heartache hits, when tragedy blindsides us; go to the Father. God tells us in Isaiah 41:10 He will “strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

And He will…He has given me comfort and strength this week – He has made grief and the pain of death more bearable…all I had to do was seek Him…and I found that our God IS faithful, our God IS good and our God IS a an ever-present help.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Women in the Word Wednesday: A Journey Through Proverbs 31 - One Virtue at a Time

Now that I'm jumping back onto the blogging bus - I thought it would be a good idea to spend Wednesday's in the Word. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be in the Word of God often. It is such a source of strength and encouragement and is truly a road map of how we should lead our lives.

Beginning last week - I started leading a group of ladies in my church through Courtney Joseph's study of the Proverbs 31 Woman. (You can find all of the resources for this study on her website at www.womenlivingwell.org).

I thought this would be the perfect place to start our Wednesday series of being in the Word.

Trust is the first virtue we encounter in this chapter.

“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.”
Proverbs 31:11

"Does your husband have full confidence in you? Does he fully trust your spending habits, your training of the children, your ability to run the home, your words that you speak about him when he is not in the room, your faithfulness to him in regards to flirting with other men, your emotions and temper, and the choices you make?"

The husband of a VIRTUOUS woman has full, secure confidence in her and trusts her and because of his security in her – he will have no lack of gain.

Isn’t it awesome that we have the opportunity to be such a treasure to our husbands?  Proverbs 19:14 says that

Houses and wealth are inherited from parents but a
prudent wife is from the Lord.”

A prudent wife is a blessing from God. But what is a prudent wife?  Prudent means acting with or showing care and thought for the future, being wise, sensible and understanding. Truthfully – some of those characteristics just aren’t traits I possess on my own – but are things I must seek after and ask God to help me with.

·       Do you struggle in any of these areas?

Reading through many of the verses in the book of Proverbs – we are reminded over and over that choosing to walk in wisdom and righteousness, putting our trust in God and heeding the instructions in his Word will lead to a blessed, joyful life. Why then do we find walking in this sort of obedience so difficult? Because it is in our nature to be selfish. It comes naturally for us to think of our husbands –“well he sure doesn’t do this…or he doesn’t always make the best decision or I don’t see him heeding the Word and walking in wisdom…”

At the end of the day – we are on this journey to become the Proverbs 31 woman – NOT only to please our husbands, NOT just to be praised and adored by our children, NOT just to remembered any certain way, NOT even to provoke a change in our husbands – but simply because this is the kind of woman God has called us to be…and it is our responsibility as a women of God that desire to please Him to walk in obedience.

Are you striving to become that Proverbs 31 woman? How are you intentional in your daily life - to be that virtuous woman?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tasty Tuesday - Bruschetta Chicken

*This recipe was originally found at Bruschetta Chicken www.food.com & tweaked a bit by yours truly

I really need to work on my photography skills. This pitiful picture absolutely does NOT do this recipe justice. This recipe has become a family favorite - and is perfect for summer tomatoes!!

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast   **(I used chicken breast halves)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 c. Italian Panko Crumbs
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil  (to cook the chicken in) **vegetable oil is pictured but EVOO is best
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil  (to be used in the bruschetta)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion salt
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
shredded mozzarella cheese  (to be used for topping)


*Whisk together 3tbsp. of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir in the basil, garlic powder, onion salt and tomato. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Allow to sit and marinate for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*Dip each piece of chicken into the egg and then press into the panko crumb mixture to coat.

*Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan or skillet.

*Place the chicken in the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pick in the center, and has a golden brown color.

*Reduce the heat to low, leaving the chicken in the pan. Spoon the bruschetta over the chicken and top with mozzarella cheese. Cover the pan and cook just long enough for the cheese to melt.

*Serve the chicken with a side of veggies or salad and ENJOY!!

(again - the pictures just don't do this recipe justice. This was AWESOME! You will not be disappointed.)

Share some of your favorite go-to chicken recipes in the comment section below.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Morning Madness

Why is it so easy to become angry? Why must frustration become my first reaction?

This morning started out as perfect as a morning could start out. I actually got out of bed early (I only hit ‘snooze’ one time – win for me!). I made myself a wholesome, healthy breakfast – sat down at the dinner table and soaked in just a few moments of alone time, enjoying my omelet, the sunrise and a chance to check my email in peace.

My first little princess wondered out of her room – curled up on the couch and was content with her blanket and cartoons. I still had a whole hour to get ready before I had to get out the door.

Fast forward 15 minutes – apparently my husband and I miscommunicated about the plans for the day – and my serene morning quickly turned into chaos. Now I only had 45 minutes to feed the kids breakfast, pack their lunches, pack my lunch, get myself ready, drop them off at day care and get to work.

My gentle, kind and quiet spirit quickly turned to stressed, frantic and loud. Fighting ensued between the girls – discipline was dished out for bad attitudes and disrespectful behavior, and my demeanor was on a downward spiral.

I was frustrated and everyone in the house knew it.

Have you been there? Has it been your intention to show grace, have patience and speak softly – but you just keep missing the mark? That’s my intention every time – but more often than not, I react based on my frustration rather than reacting with wisdom the way God would have me to.

“…because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires”. James 1:20

I know this is an area of my life that needs work – and I’m willing to bet that some of you struggle with the same thing. (Let’s be honest – I think some mornings our kids wake up with the intention to drive us insane!)

But when we react with grace and patience when they’re expecting us to fly off the handle – we’re modeling self-control.

When we show gentleness and kindness when they expect punishment and harsh words – maybe, just maybe, they’ll learn to react the same way.

If your morning started out like mine – take heart in knowing, it’s not too late to start over. Admit your wrong doing, ask for forgiveness and move on with your day determined to react with wisdom rather than foolishness.

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