{Being OK} Thanks

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The last link-up for the launch of Being Ok With Where You Are was this week. I’m a little late to the party but chapter 9 is about thankfulness.
Stacey writes:

I wonder what if would look like in my life if I determined everyday to praise God, regardless.”

Bur what would my life look like if I didn’t determine in my heart the praise God?

Oh I know all about that one. It’s a bitter, angry, selfish place where everyone else has everything I don’t. It goes hand-in-hand with not being ok with where you are. It’s lonely, dark and sad. Living without thankfulness is much harder than living with it.

Just like Stacey, I started counting gifts with Ann way back in 2008 after a Sunday School class taught at my church. Not all my gifts make my public list (which I keep between Twitter and here) but I count and search and hope that I am installing thankfulness in my daughters.

Living without thankfulness is like cutting off your own arm. It is like punishing yourself to continue a pattern of bitterness when you could start to count gifts in your life and begin to see God’s grace in your life.

How can you honestly not find a single thing to thank God for today? I’ve had some bad days in the last few years. But finding even that one thing is sometimes just enough to remind me that the grace of God is just a short prayer away.


It’s also an amazing way to keep record of how God blessing is near, if we will only recognize it. Going back through these lists is like flipping through the pages of a photo album. I can see exactly what was going on around me for many of them. It’s a reminder to be that God is good. God is so very good. Even when it seems like we have no idea what is going on – God is good.

Have you started counting gifts yet? Did you notice that the leaves are the most amazing shades of orange and red right now? Did you pause to thank God for that smile on your child’s face? Did you thank God that the bills got paid, even if it’s just by the skin of your teeth? Did you just thank God that your children, husband, parents, friends woke up and you were all given another day today? There is always something. Just find that one thing and remind your tired heart that the grace of God can be real in your life.

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” (Psalm 34:3-6 NIV)

{Being OK} The F Word

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{I’m linking up with fellow Launch Team members, and anyone else that wants to join in, over here today.}

When I started reading Being OK With Where You Are by Stacey Thacker, I knew it was going to be one that I would reread.  Sometimes God just brings you back to the same issue over and over again. For me it’s “fine.”

Chapter 3 of Stacey’s book is all about the veil of fine.

As many times as I’ve said it to friends and as many times as I’ve written about it here, I still find myself wanting to hold up that veil. It’s so much easier to just use that little F word when a friend asks how you’re doing. Not that F word! It’s another 4 letter word that starts with F and can quickly change the tone of a conversation.

Fine.
I’m fine.
Everything is fine.

Sometimes everything is fine and it’s the perfect word to use when someone asks how things are going. When I’m in line at Walmart and the cashier that I’ve seen once a week for the last 5 years says “Hi! How are you?” The right answer there – “I’m fine, thanks.” No need to expand.

But when a friend that loves you sits down in your living room and says “So. How are you?” the real answer needs to come out. Sometimes, it’s a fun and encouraging conversation about the amazing things God is doing in your life. But other times, it’s a messy conversation with tears and snot running down your face as you spill all the details of what’s going on behind the veil. It’s real and it’s honest and it’s fellowship and it’s one of the most effective ways of building bonds within the Church.

Galatians 6:2 says Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
How can we bear one another’s burdens if we don’t even know what they are?

Today I realized what it is that keeps my veil of fine firmly in place. It’s pride. Rotten, self-serving pride. I don’t want to let anyone know that sometimes things are hard because that would let them know that I’m not perfect. And isn’t the whole point of life to show others how perfect I am?!

No. No, it’s not.

Stacey writes:

 

Plenty of people have told me that I’m crazy but it has never come after I drop the veil of fine and let others know what’s really going on. Usually, the person I’m talking to just encourages me to seek the Lord or says something like ‘Really? Me, too!’ Or the best of all, the friend will pray for me, bearing my burden as their own and reminding me that Jesus didn’t ask us to live on a deserted island. He asked us to band together with believers, to encourage one another in our belief that He is more than we could ask or imagine.

As women who love Jesus, let’s encourage one another to drop the veil of fine. Let’s cast off our proud faces and be honest with each other.  It’s in our moments of weakness that He is strong, right? Honestly, I hate being weak. My pride rebels against it. I want to be strong and in control. But the truth is I am weak, I do need others and He needs to be in control. Not me.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Being OK

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I wish I could remember how I first stumbled upon Stacey Thacker’s blog. Perhaps it was through (in)courage, as I was reading through the list of contributors and realized that she also has four daughters. I don’t remember. But when I did start reading her blog, I realized that I had found the voice of a friend in very similar life circumstances.
Stacey had just released the book co-written with a fellow blogger called Hope For The Weary Mom. It was during our season of moving and moving and moving again. Of waiting for things to line up so we could build our house. Of more waiting. It was a weary season and her words spoke clearly to my tired heart.
I kept reading Stacey’s blog as well as her sites Mothers Of Daughters and Hope For The Weary Mom, finding the words written there to be comforting, transparent and full of the hope we have in Christ.

So when I read that Stacey was starting a new book, I couldn’t wait to read it. It was a book about those moments in life that disappoint us. When things sometimes spin out of our control and our hearts hurt from the weight of it. Those times when we really aren’t okay with where we are. I was chosen to be on the Launch Team and had the opportunity to read an advanced copy. I’m so thankful that I did!
Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there right now. Struggling to find the joy in every day life when you are so disappointed with a situation or circumstance in your life. This book is all about how God helped Stacey deal with those moments. not just that, but it’s full of stories from God’s Word telling of how the Lord wants us to handle those hard times.
I would highly recommend that each of you to read this book. Even if you aren’t feeling disappointed with your life right now, chances are you will at some point. Why not be ready to see disappointment with the filter of God’s Word?!
Stacey would like to giveaway a digital copy of her book to one of my readers! Please note that this is a PDF copy that can be read on a computer, iPad, Kindle, etc. and not a print copy. (We’re saving trees!)
To enter, just leave a comment. That’s it! The giveaway will close on September 10 at noon. Stacey will email the winner their copy of the book soon after that. And if you don’t win – go buy this book! It’s one you will appreciate having on your shelves!

The giveaway has now ended. Comment #5 is the winner! Congratulations, Julie!

{Dear Weary Mom} Choosing


I wasn’t going to write this post today. I don’t feel particularly encouraging or helpful lately. But this post really struck a chord with me.

Anger, head butting, harsh words, hormones. Yep. I’ve been there. Regularly. Sometimes daily.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about after our vacation last week was choosing my battles. I don’t know how child rearing and relating works for everyone but this is what is (sometimes!) working in our home.

I choose my battles. And sometimes, I feel like such a failure because of I don’t choose every battle. But honestly, weary mom, sometimes I just can’t choose every battle.
Reading Ephesians 6 this morning showed me two things that helped me think maybe it’s okay.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4 NASB)

In my weariest moment, if I cannot correctly deal with a situation or battle in love then I’m provoking my children to anger. All I’m going to do is escalate the situation into a full-blown war. So I (try to) choose to lay down my anger, ego and pride rather than pouring more gasoline onto an already intense moment. I choose a moment of alone time for both of the people in the situation. For me, one of my girls or maybe all of us.

This was the one that got me though –

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NASB)

My battle is not against the beautiful faces that fill my days. It’s against the enemy of our souls that wants nothing more than to break apart families that are united for the Kingdom of The Lord. I need to remember this. I need to remember this when a harsh word comes out in a hormone-laced moment or a fight breaks out among the littlest people in our house. Yes, it’s the people in those bodies that are choosing to fight, but it is the enemy that whispers and nudges each of us towards those battles. He wants nothing more than to see fighting and anger in the homes of families that are purposing to raise their children to follow hard after God.

So weary mom, this really is just a letter to me. That I might remember to aim my fury filled darts at the enemy and not at my children. In the heat of the moment when I don’t want to be peaceful, I can remember to call on the Prince of Peace and ask Him to reign in our home.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10, 11 NASB)

The Trap

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It was a rough Sunday. My hubby had pulled a muscle in his back and was unable to come to church with us. The usual clothing arguments had been manageable but still produced a few more gray hairs, I’m sure. We got to church on time, that was good.

Then worship started.
This apparently signals some animal-like instinct in my two year old. She turned into a wild screeching monkey before we got to the second song.

I picked her up.
I let her stand.
My older girls tried.

Nothing worked. Little miss Addie Jane was determined to be wild.
It added to the weariness, you can be sure about that.

What kind of mother can’t keep her child quiet for a few worship songs? What is wrong with me?! Look over there, her children are quiet. They’re even raising their hands and worshipping right along side their mom. I’m such a failure.

Is this what God says about us, moms? Is it what He says, even about the moms with monkey-like children during church?

No.

The fastest way to pave a path for the Enemy is to compare yourself to others. The easiest way to discount the value that God puts on your tired, melted-crayons-on-the-car-floor life is to compare yourself to others.

Never believe the lies that the path God has given to someone else would be a better path for you. Their battles may not look like a monkey-child hanging from your hair during worship but don’t doubt that there are battles in those seemingly perfect lives.

Pause, look around, thank God for the messes, the dirty children and the cereal for dinner because every single one is evidence of God’s blessing in your life. Battle the weariness and exhaustion with finding just one thing to be thankful for. Battle the temptation to compare yourself to others by thanking God for one beautiful thing in your day.

Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. (Psalms 97:12)

{I’m writing again today with the moms over here. Join us for some beautiful encouragement in our calling as mothers.}