Raising children is the HARDEST job I have ever experienced. I can remember as a young girl dreaming about being a Mom and how blissful it would be! Ignorance truly is BLISS! What I didn’t know, while I was dreaming, is how much work, prayer, and guidance I would need to have any success at all.
Recently, I faced a very difficult parenting moment with my youngest son, Walker. He was involved in a situation where he made a very wrong choice. As I learned about this event, he and I sat down and he shared that he had done what I was told and that he was really sorry. I could see the remorse in his eyes and the sadness in his heart but there was still more to discuss. He needed to understand why his choice was so wrong and how choices like this would lead to huge consequences as he continues to get older. We talked about the “Y” in the road that we face where we either make the right decision or the wrong one.
And then I asked him this question. “Walker, What would Jesus Do, in this same situation?” He paused and answered, “Not what I did, Mommy!”
One of the consequences of his choice was to sit and write “What would Jesus Do” 100 times. I feel like having the powerful question, engrained in his subconscious will help him navigate the decision and situations he will face for the rest of his life.
And this got me thinking, this question can serve us, as adults, well too! I know there are many times that if I had stopped and asked myself this question, my choice would have been different. It’s funny how when we are in the thick of parenting and working to teach our kids, we are also being taught ourselves.
So, I not only want to help my boys carry this question around with them, but I want to make sure it is one that I ask every time I am faced with a situation or a decision. Because, there is no doubt, Jesus will always point us in the right direction.
Every step we take is Progress, and it Matters!
What is your “GREAT” Project? As you answer that question, pause to follow your evaluation up with this one: Are you giving your absolute BEST to your great project?
I have had a lot of good projects in my life. Things I have accomplished and completed! Projects that felt good and served others. Recently, I was reading my morning devotional in the She works HIS way app, and this very question came up. What is your “Great” project that God has placed in your life?
Well, hands down I knew immediately what my answer was. Raising my two boys! They are my great project! They are the most important project I will EVER have the privilege & honor of working on. I mean, I am raising humans who I pray with every fiber of my soul will one day be amazing men.
Now, in order to give them my absolute best, there are some things I MUST do. In my world, these aren’t negotiable. They aren’t options! They are how I know I can ensure that my boys will get the best mom possible on a daily basis. Do I get it right every second of every day? Unfortunately, No! But when I stay on track with these 5 things, I come out ahead more times than not and I can see the fruit in my boys.
I want to share my 5 tips with you. Now, your “great” project might be different than mine but these 5 things can be applied no matter what your great project is! I am listing them below. If you want a more detailed description or to dive deeper in to this conversation, in this week’s Progress Matters Podcast I expand on each of these tips. You can listen to it by clicking here: https://progress-matters.com/podcast
5 Tips to ensure your BEST is what you give to your “Great” Project every day!
1.) Daily Quiet Time: Spend time with God every day. Be in His word, pray, sit in silence, and LISTEN! Allowing scripture, His wisdom and guidance to pour over you and be the living water you need to show up 110%!
2.) Sleep: Yes, I said sleep! Getting adequate sleep in crucial to making sure you are rested and ready for what each new day brings. We all know, when we are tired we are less patient, more agitated and not our best self. We have to be intentional in this area to take care of ourselves so we can give our best to our “great” project!
3.) Healthy Nutritional Eating: Now, I will be the first to admit I LOVE all the junk! But I also know that if I were to eat it day in and day out I wouldn’t be my best. I would be sluggish, tired, short tempered; and that won’t serve anyone well. So, I make sure I am eating protein, healthy fats, and veggies most of the time. And yes, I throw in the occasional “treat” every now and then.
4.) Move that Body: I am not saying you have to do “Insanity” to keep you body healthy and active but we do need to move! Walking, running, riding a bike, going to a gym or working out at home are a few ideas but there are many more. The bottom line is, when we move and physically work our body and muscles we are stronger and more alive. We are most definitely healthier. And when we are all of these things, we can absolutely show up daily. My boys have always been SO BUSY! And as they grow, that doesn’t change. The activities just get bigger. If I want to be able to participate in life WITH them, then I must make sure I am taking time 5-6 days a week to keep up with my own fitness.
5.) Forget Perfection: Whatever your “great” project is, perfection should never be the goal. We are human. We will stumble, fail, disappoint, lose our patience and so many other things. We must give ourselves grace every day. Focus on making progress instead of being perfect! I know, my kids are much better off when I am real and admit my mistakes while they also watch me continue to work to be my best!
Again, I ask you: What is your “Great” Project that God has placed in your life for you to show up for every day. And are you putting your “best” in to it?
I pray this encourages you and that you find these tips helpful as your strive to make progress!
Reminder: If you want to tune in for a more detailed chat about this, you can listen to this week’s podcast by clicking below:
What’s your “thing”? What is the quality, characteristic or attribute you possess that has gotten people’s attention? Sometimes, I don’t even think we realize we have a specific “thing” until a family member, friend or even a stranger brings it to our attention.
One of my most defining attributes in my laugh! But I will be honest and tell you that I didn’t realize it was unique until others pointed it out. My laugh was just my laugh! I mean it is the only way I know how to laugh. It wasn’t something I practiced or worked to perfect; it is just part of how God created me.
As a young girl, in a small town, the kids I went to school with were the ones who first brought my laugh and how LOUD and distinctive it is to my attention. Now at first, I felt myself want to hide from it. I didn’t want to stand out because I was the girl with the loud laugh. Can you relate? Is there something you either used to or still do hide or want to subdue about yourself because of what others say ir think?
I look back on my childhood and I don’t feel I was made fun of in a mean way about my laugh; at least not the majority of the time. And frankly, it wasn’t something I could change even if I wanted to. When I got tickled, I laughed and there was no holding back!
As an adult, I LOVE my laugh! I embrace it! It is ME!! Recently, I was texting with one of my best friends while I was in Dick’s Sporting Goods. In between texts, I laughed at something the sales clerk in the shoe department said to me. She immediately texted me back and told me she knew I was in Dick’s because she heard me! Clearly she was in Dick’s too but we didn’t know we were both there until my laugh gave it away!
I have learned that my laugh brings others joy and sometimes makes them laugh too! And that is a gift and a blessing as far as I am concerned.
I am sharing all of this with you to encourage you to stand tall and proud in every bit of who you are! Whether it is your laugh, smile, sneeze, the way you walk or run, your height, etc. it is YOU! And God created you wonderfully and to shine bright just as you are!
Be thankful for all the attributes that are unique to you. Don’t hide from them, no matter what anyone says. Allow every bit of you to shine bright and share your light with the world! Because no one else can shine YOUR light the way YOU can!
PS….In this week’s Progress Matters podcast I am elaborating more on this subject, making progress walking in my truth and prayerfully hoping that it encourages those who need it, to walk tall in your truth too! You can listen by clicking here: https://progress-matters.com/podcast
As I sit here today, my heart is bursting to share how God rocked my world this past weekend. He, once again, reminded me that He’s got things handled and I have no reason to feel the need to step in. He showed me how powerful his reach is no matter where we are. He simply brought me to tears and filled my heart with more joy than I can express. But I am going to do my very best to share with you, in hopes of encouraging you in seeing how powerful God is; any time and any place!
I have been fighting a cold and this past weekend was the worst of it. I woke up Sunday morning feeling awful and my husband suggested I should stay home from church. After a little hesitation, I agreed he was probably right. He presented the idea of maybe listening to a podcast or watching a service on TV instead. As that thought set in, I hurried to get the boys fed so they could get ready for church, I was under that assumption that the three of them would still attend church.
As I was telling Walker, my youngest, what to wear as he headed upstairs, my husband walked in and said, “What is he going upstairs for? I meant we would all stay home together.” Clearly we weren’t on the same page with the morning plan. So, we stopped Walker from going upstairs.
I was instantly riddled with guilt. Guilt because I was sick and keeping the rest of the family from going to church. Frustrated that they were going to “miss out” because of me! And this is when God probably began to laugh out loud; as what was about to unfold was BEYOND my wildest dreams!
After I gathered myself and accepted the “new plan”, I turned on the TV and found the Gateway Church Service that we could all sit and watch together! As the preacher began speaking, he explained that the message was going to be about being “born again”! He started illustrating the difference between being born of the flesh and being spiritually reborn. John 3 is where we landed in scripture with the story of Nicodemus. Jesus replies to Nicodemus in John 3:3, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.” He goes on to say in John 3:5, “The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the spirit.”
As we listened, my youngest, Walker, who is 8, stated that he wanted to be “spiritually reborn”! Now, back in 2016 he decided one Sunday morning to go up to the front of our Church and ask Jesus into his heart. We reminded him of that day and assured him that he was spiritually reborn on that day and has been walking with Jesus ever since.
Here is where God, once again, proved to me that His reach has NO LIMITS! As we finished speaking to Walker about his spiritual rebirth, I turned to Nathaniel, my 10 year old, and asked him a question I, honestly, I had never asked him before.
In awe that I had never uttered these words to him, I said, “Nathaniel, have you ever asked Jesus into your heart? And for him to be the Savior of your life?”
He paused and said, “I think so but honestly I am not sure when it was.”
My husband and I took this opportunity to talk to him about why actually asking Jesus into his heart is such an important part of his spiritual rebirth. And as we spoke, the sermon we were also listening to in between comments, was mirroring what we were sharing.
We explained how you can do things on behalf of Jesus. You can proclaim Jesus’ name but if you don’t have a personal relationship with him, those things don’t matter. In Matthew 7:23 Jesus makes this perfectly clear when he addressed religious people, who sounded religious but weren’t. He said, “But I will reply, I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.”
We could see Nathaniel was taking every word we said in and the wheels were turning.
As the service ended, we were asking the boys if they had any other questions. Walker bounded from the couch with a “No, I’m good” and headed upstairs to play. Nathaniel looked at me and said, “No, I don’t have any questions but I asked Jesus to be the Savior of my Life and to come into my heart at the end of this service, Mom”
And that my friends, is a moment in time that I will NEVER forget! We didn’t need to be a church that morning for our souls to be fed. God used this opportunity for us to sit around our living room, watching church on TV to minister to all of us and to give us the opportunity to minister to our children.
I am grateful for moments like these! When God shows up SOOO BIG, just as you think because your plan has changed the opportunity for him to speak to you and your family is lost, and He reminds you that nothing is lost and EVERYTHING was gained! EVERYTHING!
Thank you, Lord! You are a GOOD, GOOD Father! And your plan trumps mine, every, single time!
PS. If you want to hear an audio account of me tell this story, stay tuned for this week’s Progress Matters Podcast, which will be released on Thursday morning! You can find it at https://progress-matters.com/podcast
During my quiet time, earlier this week I was reading in Elisabeth Elliot’s Book, “Discipline” and 2 Timothy 2:4 was part of the lesson that day. Let me just say, WOW….did it get my attention!
2 Timothy 2:4 says, ” And as Christ’s solider, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you into His army.”
Y’all I was stunned! Speechless! Literally, felt my mouth fall open. I honestly am not sure I have ever read this scripture before but I am instantly IN LOVE with it! And here is why.
It is so ridiculously easy to get wrapped up in our own agendas, plans, desires, dreams, etc. We focus so much on the things of this world. The things this world puts such great value on. And when we do this, it turns our focus away from what REALLY matters. I am so extremely guilty of living my life this way in the past. I was focused on the money I wanted to make, the rank I desired, my wish for “my name” to be known! All the “things”! And, I’ll be completely honest, those were ALL the wrong things!
God created me for HIS purpose! And he created you for His purpose too! If our purpose isn’t wrapped up in HIM and only him, we are not living up to be the soldiers we were created to be! My name doesn’t matter! It is my duty to help His name be the one that is famous and well known!
Now, I am married to an Air Force Soldier. I understand a little bit about the commitment being a soldier requires but I have NEVER thought, not once, of myself as a soldier, let alone Christ’s Soldier! But God in his amazing way, shook my world and changed the way I see myself when I read these words. I literally felt like standing up and saluting as I let this reality sink in. I am a soldier in Christ’s army. But if I truly want be able to fulfill my role, I must be blinded to the things and ways of this world, so I can hear the orders of my Commanding officer.
I am ready to walk that path! I am ready to stand tall in those shoes, trusting that I am worthy to answer that call, because God created me with all I need to do my part as HIS soldier! Will it be easy to keep from getting distracted by all the “shiny” objects this world makes seem so enticing? No, but I believe with every fiber of my soul, that if I “Report for Duty” every morning, Christ will help my focus remain on the duty HE is calling me to fulfill!
So, this is me, working to make progress every day, reporting for duty with an open mind and trusting heart to fight for Christ!