Category Archives: Meaningful Moments

Take a few moments and reflect on God’s will for your life.

“Bring him good not harm”

This morning Hunter had to leave for work early. I was up way earlier than I like to get up.  Usually when I get up with him (I am ashamed to say)  I usually go back to bed. But not today! Today is a new day. Instead of slithering back into bed as normal, I decided to get a head start on my day.  While making lunches, I was also making a mental note of all the things I wanted to accomplish for the day. My mind reeling with thoughts of laundry, organizing closets and getting meat out of the freezer for dinner.  But first…quiet time.

This morning, I was awakened with a strong hunger for my daily bread, stronger than I’ve had in quite some time.  My heart was heavy in certain areas, so I knew exactly where I was headed.  Strongly convicted in the area of being a good wife, I turned directly to Proverbs 31. I love this chapter. There are so many amazing things here!   But for today, just three verses.  “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” (Proverbs 31:10-11) And the one that sticks out to me…“She brings him good not harm, all the days of her life.” (v.12)   Now, I don’t “bring harm” to my husband.  Not in the way that we typically think of when we think of bringing harm to someone. But I do, at times, harm his “manliness”.

I like to think of myself as a submissive wife.  I firmly believe in Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”  But sometimes it’s all I can do to keep my mouth shout…and a lot of times…I can’t…as much as I would like to. My fleshly desires take over. I find myself opening my mouth and sticking my ginormous foot directly in it, inadvertently causing great detriment to the male ego of the man whom I love with all my heart. I don’t mean to hurt him or to “harm” his manhood, but sometimes I just know that I am right and he is, of course, wrong. And it would not be right to let him go on thinking that it’s the other way around. As much as my heart desires to be the Proverbs 31 woman who brings her husband no harm, I find myself (more often than I’d like to admit)   tearing him down.  I don’t do this intentionally. I would never intentionally say things that cause him to feel like less of a man. I never want to be controlling, or nagging or any of the other umpteen things that us wives tend to be without realizing it. The desire of my heart is to build him up.  The problem is that I’m a woman and he’s a man. I don’t know what it’s like to be a man. I don’t know how his mind works. I simply can’t comprehend the fact that sometimes his mind doesn’t work at all. (How is that possible?!? How can he not be thinking anything?? How can he turn his mind off completely??? I just can’t even begin to wrap my mind around that.  My mind is going non stop. I can’t shut it off, it just keeps going all the time.)  Okay, back on track here. Men and women are so  different. God made us that way. He doesn’t make mistakes. He very well intended for it to be that way.  I sometimes think about how weird my love is.  He thinks so “out of the box” and  has strange habits.  I remember back to when we first got married. I thought he was the only man who left his clothes directly in front of the hamper, or left the toilet paper roll empty or the seat up. How dare him! But then, I found out he’s not the only one!  Are you serious?!? There are actually other men out there that do this? Who in there right mind would want to sit on the couch in their underwear or drink milk straight from the carton? The answer is simple…a man.  Not only my man, but there are apparently  a lot of men who do these things! Over the years, I have realized the vast differences between men and women.  Our minds and bodies  tick in different ways. I see this in my husband and I, the differences in raising my sons versus my daughter, and even the way my 15 year old (oh my word, I have a 15 year old!) son and I interact.  I ask “How was your day?” and he wants to know what my attitude is about. Are you kidding me?!?  To get to the point…no matter how different our minds and bodies work, no matter how ridiculous I think his train of thought (or non thought) is, it is my God-given responsibility to be submissive…not to lash out at him for saying the wrong thing, or “nag” him about fixing my bathroom sink, or complain about why he didn’t call and let me know he would be late. Regardless of what it makes me feel like, it is my duty to still be respectful and loving to him. That doesn’t mean that I just keep my mouth shut and never say anything, it simply means that when I do choose to speak up, I need to  do so in a loving, respectful way that doesn’t belittle him as man. Proverbs 12:4 says “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”  I don’t want to be decay in his bones…eating him up from inside.  Proverbs 19:13b “and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.”  How my heart longs to be a wife of good character! I don’t want to be a “constant dripping”, nagging at his heels.

“Father God, I confess to You – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – that I have not been a wife of noble character! Take the selfishness from me and fill me with love, tenderness and compassion for my husband. Teach me to bring him good and not harm – to lift him up instead of tear him down. It is not my desire to belittle or disrespect him, but I find myself doing this often. God, I confess to you my shortcomings in being a Godly wife – I give this to you- cleanse my heart of my wickedness and fill me with your love.

There are so many times that I could choose to respond to a situation in a loving manner and my sinful heart chooses to respond in a way that tears down the man I love and is displeasing to the God I serve. But no matter how many times I fail in this area, my God is faithful and just to forgive me when I turn to Him.

Dear God, thank you for opening my eyes to You. Thank you for Your unfailing love – for opening Your arms to me every time I turn to You. Thank you for cleansing me from all unrighteousness. Dear Jesus, Hear my cry today! Give me the desires of my heart! I cry out to You from the depths of my soul! Take this wretchedness in me and replace it with fullness of joy. God, teach me to be the wife You have called me to be. Sensitize my heart to the the amazing man You have given me. Teach me to humble myself and not be prideful. Allow me to have a listening ear and discerning heart. You have blessed me with an incredible man – give me the strength to be the woman he deserves. Let me not be idle – but raise me up as a testament for You. Let my life reflect Your love, first at home and then to the world. Thank you for the incredible family You have entrusted to me. Let my handling of our affairs be pleasing to You. Take me from this day – grab hold of my heart – strengthen and let me not turn away from You, Oh God!

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Aside

Many days have passed since I last posted. Life has been a roller coaster for me, as it has been for many. I’ve found it extremely hard and painful to sit down and put my heart out there. Today, I … Continue reading

Give Me Words to Speak: Part 2

Five years ago, we moved our family almost 400 miles away from the place we called home. We left our friends, our family, life as we knew it, behind. It was a completely fresh start. We knew no one, and no one knew us.

It was like having a completely clean slate. No one defined us by our past mistakes. I thought it was great! No judgement! But as time passed and continues to pass, I realize that if people don’t know your past, they don’t truly know you. Can you have a meaningful relationship with someone, without revealing those life circumstances that have defined you and made you who you are?

I’m not sure you can. I have shared bits and pieces with a select few people, but even then I find my temperature rising, my heart racing and those feelings of “what are they going to think of me” creep in.

I learned some time ago, that I am much better at putting my thoughts down on paper than speaking them. That’s why I started blogging. It’s my outlet to release all of those thoughts that I can’t get out verbally.

So, I have decided that sometime in the near future, I will share my testimony here. The holidays are coming, so it might take some time, but it’s coming.

Give Me Words to Speak : Part 1

Was there ever a time in your life when you had a strong sense that one day God would call you to a do a certain thing for Him? You didn’t know how He would work it all out, but you were confident that in His time you would do this great thing for Him?

I did. I was 18 years old, and I was sure that God would use my life to touch other young girls who found themselves in my situation or to help prevent them from finding themselves there. I knew, or so I thought, that God would use me to further His kingdom in this way.

I find myself, at nearly 32 years of age, wondering if I missed it. Did I miss my chance to do great things for Him. Was He calling me, but I wasn’t listening? A flood of thoughts and reasons run through my mind as to why I never heard this calling.

And then I think I was never called to do this because I am not capable. It’s not my area of strength. My thoughts are turned toward Moses. Moses thought himself incapable of the task that God had for him, but he did it, not by his own will, but by the will of God working through him.

I was so sure that one day I would stand before a crowd of teenage girls and give my testimony and share my trials and struggles, and the triumph that I found when I placed my life fully in God’s hands, withholding nothing.

In reality, I have a hard time having a one-on-one conversation and getting my words out. I have been made more aware of this recently. I have known, pretty much forever, that I get nervous speaking in front of people. But it’s become more clear to me that I even have a difficult time
speaking with a close friend or family member, and clearly expressing my thoughts verbally. It’s in my head, it sounds good up there, but when I open my mouth, it comes out wrong. I don’t say at all what I’m trying to say and I end up feeling like a fool. When there is confrontation about an issue, it gets really bad. I know what I believe and why, but for me to get that out seems nearly impossible.

In October, I started leading a Moms in Prayer group. I had no idea how stretching this would be for me. I have been very humbled by this experience thus far. Even in a small group of 6-8 women, I cannot verbalize my prayers. The words just don’t come out the way they should. I find myself stumbling through the prayer time. I’m so thankful for this non-judgmental group of ladies.

If I can’t pray in a small group setting, how on earth did I think that God would call me to minister to large groups of girls? What was I thinking? Have I been fooling myself all this time?

I have recently been reminded of one event when I did share my story and talk with a group of girls. I never thought of that as being the “calling” I had been waiting for. I was probably about 22 or 23 years old and I shared with a small group of girls at a summer youth camp our church had started. I suppose I never thought of that as counting, because I didn’t feel like it reached anyone. I thought I said all the wrong things and left out the most important points that I had really wanted to get across. But honestly, I have no idea. That talk, with that small group of 10-12 girls, may have touched someones life that night. Maybe I did fulfill the calling that God had for me…one of the callings.

At this point in my life, I believe that my calling is to be a wife and mother. Some people are judgmental of stay-at-home moms, especially “in this economy”. But I believe there is no greater calling. Hearing your child sing along with a song like “ God’s not dead He’s surely alive, living on the inside roaring like a lion” is an awesome thing. Hearing your child pray for a child in their class that can’t speak or that has an anger issue is such a blessing! To know that I have raised my children to serve the Almighty God, gives me such a sense of “Yeah, I can do this. I’m right where I need to be.”

My prayer as of lately has been “Give me words to speak”; to my children, my husband, family members, friends, acquaintances. I find myself searching for the right words to say, but my words alone will never amount to anything. My words mean nothing without Christ in me.

Thankful Hearts

I can’t believe it’s already the beginning of November!  My mind is spinning toward Thanksgiving and thoughts of  how to make this holiday season particularly special. This year has been so crazy, that I really want to slow down and take it all in.

Here are some things I have chosen to create a memorable Thanksgiving season for our family this year.

Countdown to Thanksgiving 

To get the kids excited about Thanksgiving and to help them focus on others instead of themselves, I have decided to do a countdown to Thanksgiving.  I had the kids give me a list of things they are thankful for. I took the list and compiled activities to go along with each “thankful”.  Then, I made paper baskets and put some string on them so they can be hung. I made little pumpkins to go inside of each basket. On the pumpkins, I wrote the “thankful” and the activity to go along with it. I put them in order and strung them up in a large doorway.  We will begin on November 7 and have a 15 day countdown to Thanksgiving.

Here is what are “thankfuls” and activities look like.

We are thankful for….

Nov. 7     Freedom to worship God

–Pray together as a family and take turns thanking God  for His blessings.

Nov. 8     Jesus‘ Birth

–Come up with a new Christmas tradition. Make a decoration.

Nov. 9   Our family

–Family Game Night

Nov. 10   The things God has given us

–Donate to those who aren’t as blessed.  (OCC)

Nov. 11 Our church leaders and teachers

–Make a special treat or gift for Sunday school teachers.

Nov. 12   Our mom and dad

–DATE NIGHT!!!

Nov. 13   Our friends

–Make a special treat for friends. Acorns and pilgrim hats

Nov.14 Our clothes

–Donate extra clothing to those in need.

Nov. 15  Our food

–Donate to the church food pantry.

Nov.16 Our school and teachers

–Make a special card or treat for our teachers.

Nov. 17 Our home

–Decorate for the season.

Nov. 18 God’s creation

–Take a walk or drive and admire God’s creation.

Nov. 19 Our grandparents

–Call or send a special note.

Nov. 20 Our extended family

–Call or send a special note.

Nov. 21   Family memories

–Make a Thankful Journal. Family Game Night.

Nov. 22 THANKSGIVING

–Read  “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving”

Our Thankful Journawill be a simple journal where each member of the family will record what they are thankful for this year. It will be kept and brought out each Thanksgiving to record what we are thankful for that year.  It will become a family tradition and a great keepsake for years to come.

We will also be doing a Thankful Wall.

For the Thankful Wall, we will use post-it notes and every day, each of us will write one thing we are thankful for. We will stick the post-it to the wall. Viola! Thankful Wall.

Make Great-Full Jars for each member of the family

For the Great-Full Jars, we will get a jar or cute decorated box for each member of the family. Grab some cute paper and cut it into slips. Write down things we are grateful for about the recipient. We will write each memory, reason, gift, on individual slips of paper. Fill the jar with the great notes of memories and joys and love, noting why we are so grateful for that person. They can go to the jar anytime and pull out a note of encouragement.

For our Family Devotions, we will intentionally focus our prayer time on praise and thanksgiving.

Another thing we are going to do is throw in some “fun” days.

No Complaining Day: Dare to go all day with no complaining. Slip a rubber band on your wrist and every time you complain, move it to the other wrist. Dare everyone in the whole family to go the whole day without moving their wrist reminder. We will celebrate with a special treat when the whole family can go the whole day with no complaining!

Random Acts of Kindness Day: This is a character trait I have already tried to instill in the kids, but how fun to have a day when we intentionally do random acts of kindness. At devotion time, we will share what we have done!

I am excited to really take time this year to intentionally Thank God for all his blessings to us. Sometimes in the busyness of life, and the trials and struggles  that we face, we forget about all the amazing gifts we have.  I encourage you to spend some time today to look beyond the pile of laundry, the fussing kids, the stack of bills, the long hours at work, or whatever those things are in your life that wear you down, and open your eyes to the many gifts that God has given you.

December Resolutions

Family: Pursue Peace

☐ Remember I love them and they are mine.
☐ Remember they love me.
☐ Show them my love.
☐ Let it go.
☐ Don’t harbor hurt feelings.
☐ Touch base once a week.
☐ Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11

Occasionally we have moments when we don’t want to claim our family. There is something they do that embarrasses us and we would rather not be associated with them. This month my resolution is to focus on the good qualities and attributes of my family, from my grandma all the way to my kids. Occasionally we need to remind ourselves why we love them. For this reason, my first resolution is to remember I love them and they are mine.

The people we love the most are the ones that hurt us most and vice versa. Not they we intentionally hurt each other, but when someone you love disappoints you, it hurts. If a friend or acquaintance disappoints us, it’s much easier to let it go because we don’t have as much invested in that relationship. When family members hurt us, it’s easy to feel unloved regardless of the fact that we KNOW they love us. My second resolution is to remember they love me.

Often we think of how we want others to treat us and have high expectations for others and yet don’t hold ourselves to the same standard. Resolution three is to show my love.

Resolutions four and five go hand in hand. Let it go and don’t harbor hurt feelings. This is not easy. When someone hurts you it’s hard to let it go and it’s even harder to leave it there. We tend to hold on to things. Even if we have apparently forgiven someone for hurting us, it’s easy down the road to pull that back out and dwell on it. This month I want to examine my heart and ensure that I am not harboring past hurts and that I really let them go for good.

I am embarrassed to say that I have gone months at a time without talking to my brothers or having any contact at all. To maintain my innocence I acknowledge that they don’t call me either, so I shouldn’t feel bad. In the end, I still end up feeling guilty. Touching base once a week will allow me to build stronger relationships with my family.

It’s easy to allow little things to hinder a relationship. It’s hard to let go of hurt feelings. This month my resolutions are meant to remind me to encourage and build up my family. Friends come and go, but your family is yours for life.

Giving and Thanksgiving

This month I worked on having a grateful heart. I was blessed, during our family’s devotion time, by the children’s hearts of thanksgiving. This month has gone well and I have felt as though my resolutions were completed.

UNTIL…Yesterday we unexpectedly received a check in the mail. I was excited, thinking of how I could use it towards Christmas. It was not an extremely large amount, but would definitely help out. This morning I began thinking about the little things, or not so little, that God has done for our family this month. Providing when we needed it, allowing “issues” to fix themselves, and then giving us this money for Christmas. I was thinking about how awesome He is and how grateful I am for His provisions and His hand in our lives. The things that we tend to take for granted are truly God’s handiwork.

Just as quick as these thoughts arrived, new ones entered my mind. But these were more than just thoughts, this was a strong conviction that flooded my heart. “Give it away.” Are you kidding me!?! We need this! I need to think of my family! I don’t want to give it away! I struggled with God. I tried negotiating with Him, but the conviction continued to get stronger. So, what do I do? I try to reason with myself. “Give and you will receive.” If I give this away, God will give back to me. As if I am entitled to something in return.

One of my resolutions this month was to give without feeling prideful. This was not the problem today. Instead, I was fighting the act of giving altogether. I don’t want to give it away. I want it for myself, for my family. I called Hunter to get his insight and he said “Sounds like we need to give it away.” I was nearly in tears when I called him. I was struggling with it THAT much. Why was I feeling so selfish? Why would God ask me to do this? I know there are people who give to others, having faith that God will provide for them, but it’s not feeling like faith to me. I haven’t agreed to this with a willing heart. How can God possibly bless that?!?

After talking with Hunter and allowing the shock of this mission to wear off, I am feeling at peace with it. I’m sure it will greatly bless our hearts to give to others that are truly in need this Christmas season. That’s what it’s all about.

God, Thank you for softening my heart today and for opening my eyes to the desires of Your heart. I long to have a heart like Yours. Thank you for all You have done and continue to do for our family! Thank you for the gift of Your Son, it makes the gift we are giving seem insignificant. You gave Your Son for me and yet I struggle with this small task. Forgive me for my selfishness, and open my heart and my eyes to the peace and love found in You! You are the giver of life and everything we know and hold dear! Thank you, God, for the grace and mercy that You pour out on us! Your love is unfathomable.

November Resolutions

I am late posting this months resolutions, but it is none the less important in my heart.

Gratitude: Thankfulness and Giving

☐Thank God for everyday.
☐Give to others without feeling prideful.
☐Be content.
☐Teach the children to truly have thankful hearts.
☐Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Life doesn’t slow down. With all of the activities and responsibilities that we have, sometimes it’s hard to remember everything we have to be thankful for. A heart of gratitude is something we should carry always, but in the every day grind of life, sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle. This month I want to truly focus on having a grateful heart and giving to others.

This is a great song. It’s audio only.
watch?v=3K5rzgVt5iY

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Gotta Have Faith

Faith is believing without seeing, or without having ‘proof’. There are some areas of my life in which I don’t struggle with having faith, while other areas it is a constant struggle. I have faith in Jesus Christ as my … Continue reading

Hope for Tomorrow

This week for our family devotions we are talking about hope. Hope is believing in something expected or that something will come to pass.
Lamentations 3:25-26 says “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”

Today there is so much turmoil and chaos in the world that it is hard to hold on to that hope. Some days when I look around it is hard for me to see hope, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everywhere I turn marriages are failing and families are falling apart. Children are dying of cancer and accidents are claiming lives. Obscene language and acts of violence are all around us. People are losing their jobs and struggling to support their families. When you listen to the news there is seldom an encouraging word.

My heart aches for those who do not have the hope that we as Christians have. My hope lies in Jesus Christ
the Giver of life. It is only when I daily come to Him that I can look past all the sorrow in this world and find true hope and joy.

It is so easy to let the troubles of this world discourage us, but have hope for joy abounds in the Glory land.

Natalie Grant \"Our Hope Endures\"