lessons for the working, homeschool, mama

Oh, my!  I’m one tired mama.  Since January I have worked full-time, while still  homeschooling the kids.  My husband has been patiently awaiting a permanent place at UPS after working the holiday season.  He’s been painting houses and doing side jobs for the time being.  Okay, we’re both tired.  In a nut shell, it’s been a tough season.

It’s been a long hard season in fact.  Sometimes I have thought that everything that could go wrong has.  We have suffered loss.  We have had our marriage under attack, financial devastation, career change that led to months of unemployment- which led to mortgage debt.  I was wrongfully fired from a coffee shop job just as things were looking up financially.  We’ve been through it!  Just when are about to get a drink of refreshing water, it seems someone kicks the bucket over.  Why is everything SO hard!

Before you completely check out and stop reading, there is a point to my unloading.  I have grown tremendously in the past year.  The season of trials has proven a great season of lessons learned.  It’s a well-spring of spiritual opportunities and assessment.  I understand just a little more about God’s grace and forgiveness.  I have a clearer picture of what it means to run the race set before me.  This race has felt like it would kill me.  I’ve been at the end of my strength, dying of thirst, ready for the demand on my energy and exertion to end, but God’s grace has furthered me down the path a bit more.

Friend, have you been down a path like this?  One that makes you re-think all that you knew or believed?  A path speckled with hurdles that look so much bigger than what you can handle?  You are not alone.  In fact, the more I feel brave enough to honestly share my own struggles, the more those around confide in me their own battles.  I’m learning that people are afraid to share that they aren’t perfect and don’t have “it” all together, but it’s a fact!  With a determined heart I follow Christ.  When I want to give up and get away from my problems, I pray for Him to be the strength I need.  Join me, won’t you?

Acts 20:24

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

I signed up for a race, and I aim to finish it.  I’ll be ragged and disheveled by the end or I’ll get my runner’s high.  Knowing myself, I’ll likely be crawling to the finish line- perhaps an ambulance escort.  I decided to follow Jesus, and there is NO turning back.  I’ll get there.  How about you?  When life gets hard and every step is uphill, What verses do you cling to?  Be encouraged.  HE is our strength.

exercise your spirit

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As a mom of many, I have found that the best time of day to have a quiet time to fill my spirit has varied greatly over the years.  Some of these moments didn’t happen until naptime- sometimes not at all.  Often they were snuck in while nursing a babe in the wee hours of the morning or late into the night.  Now that the kids sleep though the night (unless they sneak into our bed), I have had to find my way back to a purposeful schedule of study.

I’m a believer of survival study.  When you have infants and your exhaustion is at its peak- read when you can, so long as you do it.  I’m not in this place anymore, so I don’t have many excuses to give myself.  It’s so important for me to rise before the kids.  I’m not a morning person- depite what people may think of farmers.  I have never been one.  I am; however, a gal trying to seek the wisdom of the Lord.  That requires sacrifice.  I feel more “ready” for the demands of schooling and parenting when I wake, instead of getting woken.

I have tried over the last month rising before anyone else.  I’ve done a decent job at it.  For that I thank God, for he has woken me up even before my alarm most days.  It has come in the form of our big dog barking, annoyingly loud birds, crop dusters, and neighbors wanting to go for early AM walks.

The reality of this need to get up early came when I realized trying to read while the kids ate breakfast was more like trying to read while serving and cleaning up after tables in a restaurant.  Not so peaceful and filling.

I have, even today, skipped out on walking so that I could put the Bible first.  I know exercising my spirit is more important than my body.  I’m not overweight.  I try to eat healthy all the time.  Exercising is great for me, but not a medical necessity.  Maybe it is for you.  Maybe it will be for me some day. Right now, I know my spiritual health is more important.

I mentioned last week that I am going through another one of those mama phases.  The one where you look around and think, “Can I do this?”  I need the strength of the Lord.

Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore! 1Chronicles 16:11

I’m still sifting through loss and grief.  How can I help those going through the same?  The wisdom and comfort of the Lord alone, helps us press on.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 1 Corinthians 1:3-4

I thought I was going to be some sort of marathon runner.  Turns out, I’d rather run into His arms.  Running has it’s place, but what can take to place of the Lord?

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for a imperishable crown.  Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not asone who beats the air.  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.  1Corinthians 9:24-27

who I am

In the middle of an everyone’s crying moment (while still wearing my PJ’s– which I still am), caught in the middle of “I’m going to lose it” and “I’m so blessed to have such great children” I was reminded of a story.  I never completely understand why these reminders come at such times, but they often do.  The Lord is so kind and gentle to quietly remind me of, me.

I remembered.

I wasn’t alwayS the “Jesus Freak” that I am now.  No, no, no.  Completely the opposite in fact.  I was a Jesus opposer.  It was the dumbest thing I could think of.  There was certainly no God, and I was convinced.  It’s ironic, really.  Here I am 10.5 years later a pastor’s wife!?:)  I answered a question July 26, 2000.  “Who do you say that I am?”

Let me explain, before I explain.

I am a nerd.  A big one.  I love to research.  If I wonder about something– How to doorknobs work?  How many people live in Rhode Island?  Why don’t people invent something so toilet covers don’t loosen? ect.–  I find out the answer.  I still don’t know the answer to the last question…anyone?

When I wanted to know the “meaning of life” I researched.  It started out with science, then philosophy, until it ultimately lead to the Bible.  Where better to research than the library right?  I checked out every movie available on the Bible, Jesus, and religion.  I actually watched them.  All 15 or so.  I was still confused.  Maybe even more confused than when I set out.  I did have options about who Jesus was.  A teacher, a prophet, a nice guy who lived long ago, a myth, a fraud.

Then I heard it.  The call to come.  I answered.  Ultimately, I answered the most important question of my life.  I had ideas about what everyone else thought of Jesus, but I had to answer that question for myself.  I answered, “Lord.”

Here’s the story that kept running though my mind today in the middle of a near breakdown.

“And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.”  Luke 9:18-20.

What a gift to know Him for who He is.  These words spoke peace into my heart today.  I hope you are blessed as well.