The “Old” Mommy

Brady and Eli absolutely hate when I straighten my hair. To them, Mommy looks different. I’m not the “Old” Mommy they have known all their lives. “Old” Mommy always had curly hair and that’s how they like it. They don’t want me to change.

Sometimes I don’t want to change either. Sometimes I want to stay the same “old” me. Even though I have entered into a more intimate relationship with Jesus, the same old me still likes to come out in full force.  Old me likes to argue with the new me. The old me is back and ready to go and the new me is hiding, nowhere to be found. Not until I feel the tug of The Holy Spirit at my heart, do I realize I need to check myself.

How do I even know there’s a new me? Maybe because I can feel that tug now. The old me didn’t know what that felt like.

The new me knows it as conviction.

I  promised my boys I would wear my hair curly for them tomorrow. They gave me their sweet smiles and I could tell this made them happy. They love the “old mommy” hair.

My boys can’t tell by my hair that I am growing in my walk with Jesus. But I sure hope they can tell it by watching my faith grow daily.  Although my walk is still bumpy, there is a new me inside this old mommy body, ready to glorify Jesus as much as possible.

I can do that with curly or straight hair.

He doesn’t care how I wear it.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

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Bulls Eye

Lately, I have spent many Fall afternoons watching my three boys ( the 2 little ones and the one big boy) practice archery in our back yard. There is a lot of testosterone going on out there. I think my sons feel like “manly men” as they pull back their arrows and practice shooting their bows. They are still novices to the sport and, most of the time, they end up missing the target. But if my boys are anything, they are persistent. They keep trying.  Eventually, they will be able to hit the target more than they miss it.

Their father is very patient with them as they try and perfect their shots. He advises them to take their time, watch their balance and to focus all of their energy on pulling back the arrow.

As I  continue to grow on my walk with Christ, I sometimes feel like I am missing the target more than I hit it. There are multiple factors that can knock me off balance.  Whether it’s pride, jealousy or trying to control things instead of letting God control them, I certainly fall short all of the time.

But there are also times when I  feel  as if I am getting a little bit closer to the Ultimate Target.   When my time is centered around Him. When I use Him to balance everything else. When I focus all of my strength on  nothing else but Him.

That bulls eye is growing bigger, slowly but surely.  I know I will never be a perfect shot.  There was only one man who hit the target right every time. I will fall short. We all will.

But I would rather be closer to the red than off the board completely.

When you shoot an arrow, you have to learn to “develop your stance.” Your body must be positioned in a certain way to get the best arrow flight.

Develop your own stance for Jesus. Keep your eyes focused on the ultimate target. Don’t let the meaningless things of this world get in between you.    They will try to knock you off balance, distract you or have you aim somewhere else.

When you give yourself over to Christ, nothing will stand in your way.

Just remember to aim high.

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Writer’s Note: I apologize for any bow hunting terminology I may have defined incorrectly in this post. My husband, the bow hunter, was asleep when I started writing 😉 

His House

I had never really been a part of a church family until I joined my church at 31 years old. Growing up, we had visited many churches but were never members of a particular church. I was a very shy child.   I never felt like I  fit in when we would enter through a church door.  Sometimes I felt left out. Sometimes I felt like people were staring. Looking back, it was probably me more than anyone else, but I always felt as if I didn’t belong.

I felt alone.

Fast forward, years later, to the day my husband decided it was time for his family to belong to a church. For years we  thought we could do the Christian thing on our own. We had joined a church but didn’t go regularly. It wasn’t working. We needed more. We needed a foundation. We needed a family.

I still remember the first time we visited. I remember the first people who spoke to me. I remember feeling as if I wasn’t standing out. I felt like I was where I belonged.

My dad passed away not long after we joined our church. I am not sure I would have made it through without my church family.  I can’t begin to tell you the acts of kindness that were given to me and to my family during that time. They lifted us  up when we so desperately needed strength.

We had found a home.

When I think about my growth as a Christian, I think about all of the people who have helped me along the way. From bible studies with mentors who exhibit every ounce of Proverbs 31 class, to friends who show me daily what it means to be a woman walking with God, I have come farther than I could ever have imagined.

I know many people who have been burned by church families. Who have given their all to their church and ended up hurt and bitter. Satan loves to create anger and hostility in the church. He loves nothing more to see it in chaos and disarray. Trust in Jesus to get you through the hard times. We have had them ourselves. Stay committed to your church. Build relationships with people you can trust.  Remind yourself we don’t go to church for it to serve us.

We go to  church to serve God.

If you are not part of a church family, you are missing out. God wants you in His house.  To be with a community, lifting each other up and helping each other grow spiritually. Serving Him, alongside other believers.

We aren’t ever meant to do it alone.

1 Corinthians 14:26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

Sticky Notes

I like to write little “Mommy Love Notes” to stick in my boy’s lunches whenever they pack. Sometimes I write a Bible verse, and sometimes I just write a plain ” I love you” note.

Today, Brady pulled his “I love you Brady” note out at lunch and a friend happened to see it and laugh at it.  Tonight, he came home and asked me not to write him anymore notes.

Apparently my 10 year old is a “big kid” now and notes from Mommy are not “cool.”

Seriously, like a knife in my heart.

Before I had a complete and total “I’m not ready for you to grow up.” breakdown, I asked him if, instead,  I could write him secret notes. Ones that just say things like “See you later Brady” but they really mean “I love you.”

My “big kid” thought about it for a second and then agreed that secret notes would be appropriate. He just can’t have any kids laughing at him for having smooshy Mommy notes.

I explained to him how I just wanted him to know that I love him in the middle of the day sometimes. My 10 year old, wiser beyond his years, gave me a hug and said “I know you love me all the time.”

It was enough to melt my heart for sure.

Do you ever feel like you have to have a “secret note” type of thing about Jesus? You find yourself around a bunch of non-believers, and suddenly it’s really hard to pull out that sticky that proclaims your love for Him? Sure you still love Him, but you just aren’t going to broadcast it to this crowd. You can love him in your heart, but you aren’t going to let the world know that.

After all, you might get laughed at.

Scripture tells us to go out into the world and proclaim our love for the Lord where ever we may go. It’s not enough to simply have a hidden, secret note relationship with Jesus.

I was one of those people for a long time, and yes, sometimes still, it is uncomfortable for me to express my true devotion to Jesus. Fear of getting laughed at or ridiculed can cause me to not speak up, or to not give my God the credit He always deserves.

The problem is I am still of this world more frequently than I want to be. Worrying about things that don’t really matter at all. When we start living for His world, and making a life truly devoted to Jesus, then nothing can stop us from telling everyone we meet about His kingdom.

You’re going to need a  lot more sticky notes for that too.

Deuteronomy 32:3
“For I proclaim the name of the LORD; Ascribe greatness to our God!

The “Oprah” Mentality

I used to think life was about getting everything out of it that I wanted.  To have it all and to “reach for the stars.”  If I worked hard and was a good person, then I was doing OK.  My self-worth was based solely on these two things.

I like to call it the “Oprah Winfrey” mentality.

I grew up watching Oprah and pretty much took everything she said at face value. She made a gazillion dollars an hour, everyone loved her.  How could she ever be wrong? Girls can be whatever they want to be, they can do whatever they want to do. The goal is to just make yourself happy.

I don’t really know if Oprah has ever said that or not. But it’s the message I was raised with. It’s the message I took with me when I graduated high school and worked full time as I put myself through college. It’s the message I took with me when I got a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree.

Be a go getter! You can do it all!

Honestly, it wasn’t until I was in my thirties when I began to re-examine this whole “It’s all about me” mentality.

God had blessed me beyond measure.  I had an amazing husband and two great kids and a job that I loved. But I wanted more. I wasn’t content.

What more could I possibly want?

Thankfully, God began working on my heart. He placed the right people and the right Scripture  into my life at the right time. These people, and His words, opened my eyes. I realized no matter how hard I tried, if I wasn’t walking with the Holy Spirit, I was never going to be satisfied.

I realized life wasn’t about making myself happy all of the time.  I had a new focus. It was pointed towards Him.

I also found a new feeling, and it’s even better than happy.

It’s called joy.  Never felt it? Start walking with Jesus. Accept Him fully into your heart and embrace The Holy Spirit.

You won’t believe what you have been missing.

Unanswered Questions

It’s only Tuesday and, already, this has been a week filled with both sorrow and joy. Today, I celebrated my oldest son’s tenth birthday, as well as the birth of a good friend’s son. God is good. We are blessed. His grace is ever present.

While we gained another sweet soul on this planet today,  our church family lost a sweet soul earlier this week.   It leaves you questioning why certain things happen and why certain things don’t happen.

The world keeps moving.   Sometimes you just want to make it stand still, if just for a second, but it just keeps spinning. We are still here. Questions left unanswered.

Yesterday, a good friend pointed out to me that these are not questions I will find answers to. They are not for us to understand.  I need to remember He knows all of the answers already.

While this world is still moving, I want to make sure I am living the life God created solely for me. He has blessed my life with so much. I should be glorifying Him daily with all that I can.  I want to share His message. I want to bless others who need a blessing.

I want to be His light.

Jesus paid it all so we could live the lives that we live. So we could work and have families and laugh and cry and blow out birthday candles and take walks on the beach and enjoy a fiery, orange sunrise.

What are we doing in return for His sacrifice?

For God’s sacrifice?

His reasons are unknown, but I am sure of one thing- He sent His only begotten son to die on the cross for my own life.

I’m not going to waste it any longer.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. Psalm 147:5

Do Not Disturb

Somebody  once told me I have a vibe that says “Don’t mess with me.” I thought it was really funny because, usually, I feel as if I am just the opposite. I try and be as warm and as friendly to as many people as possible. My nickname when I worked at Friendly’s in high school was “Smiley.”  People can have different perceptions of someone. I didn’t know whether to take it as a compliment or as an insult. “Don’t mess with me…” means…. that I’m not friendly? That I’m standoffish? That I don’t put up with anything?”

What if the person had said I put off a vibe of “Don’t mess with me, Satan”  instead?

Now that’s a compliment.

I would love to have a  “Do Not Disturb Satan” sign invisibly hanging from me, as if my body was my house. I want my relationship with the the Lord to be so steady, so firm, so strong that Satan has no way of getting into my house ever. The foundation is too solid. The walls are too thick. The doors and windows are sealed shut.

I strive to be a woman where the Devil groans “Oh no, I’m not even trying. It’s impossible. She is set apart. Her faith is unshaken, her marriage honors Jesus, her family is God fearing. She is fully protected by the Lord in all that she does. It’s just not going to happen with that woman.”

The Devil likes to use others to get into our house too. I want these people to turn away and run as fast as they can from me. My sign is too large.

Do Not Disturb.

I’m not there yet. I might not ever be. But I can keep trying. I can try and fix my eyes up above.

I can try and be set apart.

The Devil will eventually find its way in. The stronger we are in our faith, the sneakier it becomes. I just need to be ready to defeat him when darkness tries to take over.

Maybe my Do Not Disturb sign should have some flashing lights on it as well?