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’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
Surrender! How do you feel when you hear that word? Does it make you tense up? Feel out of control? Are you filled with the urge to fight back, refusing to give up the reigns and surrender?
If you were sitting here next to me, you would be able to see my heart rate increase as we begin the conversation about Surrendering. I’m one that likes to have control and am definitely all about knowing the “plans”! I mean, if I’m honest, not much happens in my household without me being at the center of the plans. Planning is my thing!
Now, let’s pause to imagine God laughing as I type these words. Because, I KNOW, I provide humor for him on a daily basis! I mean, who am I kidding? I have NO CONTROL! I am not the Ultimate planner of my life and how it will unfold. HE is!
I’ve been spending a lot of time the past few months slowing down and being still. Working to give up the reigns I love so much to hold on to and just frankly, getting out of God’s way. Y’all, I can wholeheartedly tell you I am a work in progress…probably always will be but I’m making progress nonetheless. I am learning the beauty in what truly surrendering to God really means. I am finding peace and freedom in not “knowing” what the next step is all the time. Yes, I really just typed that! I know…crazy, right? But SOOO true, girl!
Right now I feel like God has placed a blind fold over my eyes to help me learn to blindly trust Him and let Him be the ruler over my life, day by day and minute by minute. Easy? Ummmmm…NO WAY! But I am starting to really see the fruit of being blind. Seeking God first every day and giving my relationship with Him quality time is becoming a deep rooted desire in my heart and mind every morning as I wake.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the world! All the “Things”; I mean it really never ends, unless, WE make a choice. Choosing God, seeking Him for the next step in our lives instead of what people on Instagram or Facebook would lead us to believe is next; that is the sweet spot! God is the sweet spot! And He’s got me and you!
He works is so many amazing ways that my mind is continually blown. One of the things I have been praying for and asking for him to intervene in is to make me desire to want to spent more time with him. And because He is a good, good Father, that desire is growing by the day! And it isn’t just a quick 5 minutes of reading a devotional to check the box. It is reading multiple devotionals, scripture, journaling, being still and praying. And that time is beautiful! Sacred! A time when God lays things on my heart and speaks over me because I am making myself deaf to the noise of life during that time so I can BE with Him. I mean, REALLY, be present!
He is working in me and I know this will allow him to work through me too! So, while surrendering used to cause my entire body to grow tense, I am learning to lean in, laying my life and all that I have at his feet. Surrendering it all with a joyful heart and an excitement of how He will use this transformation for His good! And even when I have a lapse in judgement to try and take the reigns back, God is there is lovingly loosens my grip and reminds me that His plan is always going to be FAR greater than any plan I can orchestrate! And, I am beyond grateful for that reminder because I do believe that with every fiber of my being but old habits sometimes die hard!
Can I get an Amen?
Who am I? What a question, right?
Do you ever take time to really ask yourself this question and then actually EVALUATE the answer?
So, I know, I know…I have been EXTREMELY quiet for a few months now! When I say I have been going through a lot of reflection, reinvention and rest…I’m not joking!
The past 5 years have been a journey! A lot of learning, growing, laughing, crying, frustration, stress, celebration, pushing, fun, sacrifice, losing sight of what “really” matters and oh so much more!!!
You see, all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a wife and a mom! When I was 29 I became a wife and when I was 32 my first son was born followed by my second when I was 34. Life was EXACTLY as I wanted it to be and prayed for it to be for SO long. I was blessed and happy but also began to feel lost and like I was losing myself! SO easy to do when you are in the throws of raising a family, right fellow mamas?
So, when my boys were 3 & 5 I decided to do something for me. I decided not only to work on my own health and fitness but to also start my own business helping others do the same.
I dove in head first with every ounce of my being! And I loved it! So many wonderful things about it! I was surrounded by amazing people, making amazing new friends and feeling needed while I was contributing to the world in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time.
Sounds all good, right? Well, the problem for me was; I started to allow the “business” to define me. Whether I was happy, sad, frustrated. Whether I felt accomplished, successful or like a failure was all determined by if I hit my monthly goals or if I was doing as well as “she” was! The comparison trap is OH SO REAL and VICIOUS!!!!
Now this is “MY” story and isn’t true for every person that decides to build their own business. But for me, I was missing the mark. And I don’t mean the mark in my business. I mean the mark in my LIFE!
I was allowing the wrong things to drive me, define me and determine my happiness! I had allowed myself to become so tense inside that I had NO IDEA how to just breathe and allow the cards to fall as they were meant to.
At least I had NO IDEA, until now! This story is far longer than I will share in one post, but my reality the past many months has been about remembering and understanding WHO I AM! Who God created me to be! Who I am as a wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend. I know God isn’t done with me yet! He has plans and I don’t know what those are yet but he pulled the rug out of from under me this past year to get my attention and help me refocus on the things that are the most important in life. My faith, my family, my friends and HIS purpose for me defined by no one else!
I have started a bible study that couldn’t have come along at a more perfect time! As I dive in it is helping me uncover insecurities, comparison and how to peel the layers of the onion back to get to the heart of who “Christy” is and who My FATHER created me to be!
So, for now, I am embracing time with my husband, my children, my family and friends. Time with God where I am working hard to listen and not just do all the talking! A challenge for me for sure! LOL!
REST is what God keeps saying! So, I am working on doing just that. No more agenda, pressure, comparison! Just me, in my lane, working to be the best version of myself as God intends!
My story will continue to unfold and I am at a place now where I am ready to begin sharing as I feel led to, not because I am pressuring myself with the “Oh my goodness I haven’t posted all day, I NEED to put something out there!” attitude!
I want to get back to being real, raw and authentic; agenda free! 2018 has a much different feel than the last few years have felt. I am excited for that and ready to see what God has in store!
Here’s to enjoying the journey and making progress in this life I have been given!
Do you ever stop and wonder if you want you are doing is making a difference in the lives of those around you? I was reminded recently that our efforts can make a bigger difference than we realize. I’m sharing what happened with you in hopes that it will help you recognize how your efforts MATTER to others and their journey in this life!
Every Step you take is Progress and it MATTERS! 🙂