Are You Living Devoted or Distracted?

It’s the middle of February and I’m still working my Read through the Bible in a Year plan. I just entered Leviticus which, in all honesty, is usually when I tap out. This time, however, something in the very first chapter caught my attention.

The beginning of Leviticus is all about the offerings – and God was very specific as to how it should be done.

Is your burnt offering a sheep or a goat?

It must be a male. Without blemish. It must be killed on the north side of the altar. The blood must be thrown against the sides of the altar. It must be cut into pieces with the head and the fat placed on the fire. But the entrails and the legs? Those get washed with water.

Then, if your offering is a bird? Well, there’s a whole different set of instructions for that.

Fence

I have to tell you. I have made corn casserole approximately 12, 657 times and I still have to pull the recipe out when I make it. There are only four ingredients. I just can’t remember the details. Not to mention, I will most likely stop several times to settle an argument, get somebody a snack, change a diaper and, in some instances, completely forget that I was making a corn casserole to begin with.

Can you imagine someone like me trying to make the offering exactly as required? The north side of the altar alone would throw me for a loop. The word north means nothing to me. I need a landmark, people.

These people had to be completely devoted to what they were doing. There was no room for distractions. You get caught up in someone’s conversation or what kind of offering someone else is making and there would be dire consequences. Talk to Uzzah about what happens when you attempt to go about God’s business while distracted (2 Samuel 6:6-7.) Oh, wait. You can’t ask him because God struck him dead!

Whatever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23.) We are to live devoted lives and not distracted ones. Just ask my children what happens when mama is distracted while making their breakfast. They will tell you that cumin toast is totally not the same thing as cinnamon toast.

Think about the things you’ve done this week or have planned for the days ahead. Do they serve to strengthen your devotion to Christ or are they distractions?

You are loved. ❤

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

13226801_1107791052625520_6856197906297404978_nI found myself sitting in the bathroom eating a candy bar last night. I had the shower running to give the illusion that I was doing something productive. I know that some of you just cringed at the thought of eating in the bathroom. I regret to inform you I just don’t care about stuff like that. I also don’t care if the McRib is made out of real meat or if my children are wearing matching socks. I do, however, care that Toby from This is Us is not really overweight. I feel lied to now that I know he’s wearing a “fat suit.”

I just choose to not get worked up over certain issues. As I sat there alone with my Almond Joy, I was thinking about a conversation we had in Sunday School on the humility of Christ. How was He able to not get worked up all the time and to maintain humility when the people treated Him so poorly? Here’s what I think. Jesus was completely confident in who He was as God and in His ability to do what God had sent Him to do. It didn’t matter if the people mocked, questioned or refused to believe. He knew He was God.

People who are confident in who God created them to be and the task God has given them to do can be humble. They don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room. They don’t feel the need to air all of their thoughts on all the things. Humble people hear other people. They are not threatened by the opinions of others. So, when that mom sees your photo on Instagram and is all, “I can’t believe she doesn’t

roses1have her child rear-facing; he’s only thirteen,” you can smile and move on with your life.

I’m about to tell you something that will set. you. free. You don’t have to attend every argument to which you’re invited. You can humbly decline the invitation when you are confident in your God-given mothering instincts and abilities. 

You can handle this mothering gig, my friends.

You are loved. ❤

 

 

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

  1. Have a heart that is humble.

  2. Have a faith that is firm.

  3. Be careful with criticism.

  4. Choose the Word over the world.

  5. Have a character that is kind.

  6. Let go of guilt.

  7. Embrace grace.

  8. Follow Christ – not the crowd.

  9. Be more concerned with authenticity than appearances.

  10. A side of yogurt makes any meal healthy.

 

Tap Out Before You Pass Out

I ran into Walmart with my five children and no list because, apparently, I don’t love myself. It was also nap time which means I had a 2-year-old ticking time bomb on my hands.

As I made my way to the coffee aisle, a sweet woman stopped me. She had two kids in her cart who were fighting over a pack of hotdogs which, I’m fairly certain, someone had already begun eating. In exasperation, she said, “How do you have everything under control?”

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Once I stopped laughing, I laid my hand on hers and looked deep into her eyes and shared the truth of the situation. I was on day two of dry shampoo because I’m too tired to wash my hair. I was wearing two mismatched socks that I may or may not have pulled out of the hamper that morning. Also, I’m pretty certain I forgot to brush the teeth of the younger two. That means only 60% of my children brushed their teeth that day. Now, I’m no math whiz (although I play one Monday through Friday in our homeschool,) but I’m pretty sure that’s a failing grade.

I was reading a Facebook post the other day where a friend of mine was listing the things that she was letting go of in the new year. She was learning the art of saying, “No.” Someone commented on her post saying that she didn’t see a need to say “no.” She felt that she needed to prepare herself in case she were a pastor’s wife one day and would need to do it all.

It was precious. I typed and deleted a comment several times. Eventually, I just closed my computer and walked away because life is too short, y’all.

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My children take judo and one of the senseis gave the best advice the other night. They were learning how to defend against choke holds during a competition. He said, “Always tap out before you pass out.”

See, in competition, if you allow yourself to pass out you are disqualified for the rest of the tournament. But, if you tap out, you may lose that round but you are able to continue competing. Instantly, I claimed that as my motherhood mantra.

Tap out before you pass out.

There is no shame in tapping out. It’s okay to say no to things that sap your energy so that you can yes to things that inspire you. It’s okay to say no to good things in order to say yes to God things. It may be necessary to tap out of the book club, the PTO or social media so that you are able to continue in the things that matter most.

Also, there’s no glory in passing out. When you’re running around looking haggard and miserable, it doesn’t do anyone any favors. It’s okay to say, “No, thank you.”

So, dear friend, if you’re feeling like a weary wreck. You have permission to tap out.

You are loved. ❤

Don’t be a Weak Woman

There are so many voices. So many opinions. So much noise. There are books and blogs. People and platforms. Conferences with catchy themes. It’s easy to get swept away by charismatic teachers and ear-tickling teaching.

rainy day

We can google anything and fill our minds with useless trivia which may serve us well at a dinner party but will be of no use when we are blindsided by life. We can, quite possibly, gorge ourselves on information and our souls can still starve for lack of truth.

Always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:7 ESV

We have an enemy who lurks about. He walks up and down upon the earth (Job 1:7) and he’s just looking for anyone to devour (1 Peter 5:8.)

In 2 Timothy, Paul says that there are people who creep around outside households in the hopes of capturing weak women (2 Timothy 3:6.) He describes those women as those who are always learning but never arrive at the truth. They are weak!

Satan is creeping around outside our homes and he is not going to be scared away by some catchy quote from our latest favorite blogger or the lyrics to the latest hit song. He doesn’t care if that Bible teacher tells you you’re fabulous or if that preacher gives you all the warm fuzzies when he preaches.darkness

Some time ago, my husband was home alone and noticed an empty truck at the end of the driveway. He couldn’t seem to locate the owner of the vehicle and could only assume that he was lurking around the outside of the house.

He called 9-1-1 and informed the operator that she may want to send someone to the house. Actually, what he said was, “Someone is creeping around my house and I’ve just loaded my shotgun.” Because that is how you respond when some fool is lurking around your home.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love Bible studies. I attend women’s conferences. Obviously, I’m not opposed to bloggers or authors. But none of it matters if we don’t know Truth. The truth is our only defense again the enemy waiting outside our households.  We must, like the people of Berea, take what we hear and compare it to Scripture (Acts 17:11) so that we are not led astray or left defenseless.

The surest way to not be the weak women Paul references is to be women in the Word!

You are loved. ❤

Bible Study Tips for the Busy Mom

My children have been passing a nasty cough back and forth for about ten days now and, y’all, I’m about to lose my mind up in here. I begin the day with, “Oh, my poor baby,” and by noon I’m all, “For the love, could you please take that cough somewhere else?” We’re down to only one sick one but I’m sure the number will rise before I even have a chance to post this message.

For this reason, I am doing something I rarely do. I am reposting something I wrote some time ago. It is my most viewed and most shared post. Since I’ve done nothing but administer cough medicine and hold sweaty babies for ten days, now seemed as good a time as any to share it again.

Enjoy.

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keep calm

It’s Monday, again. Let’s all pause for a moment of silence.

For a weary mom, a “quiet time” with God often gets lost amid school schedules, doctor’s appointments, work and the sad realization that the toilet hasn’t been cleaned in a week. We are elbow deep in dirty dish water and we are just looking for a little peace in the midst of the chaos of motherhood. Our prayers end up being pleas for energy as a baby cries in the middle of the night. There is a desire to spend time with the Lord mixed with the shame of not knowing how to make the time. If this sounds like you, please know that you are not alone.

Here are 4 Bible study tips for the busy (and exhausted) mom.

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Embrace your current season.

I remember well the days when I could spend an hour, maybe two, at my kitchen table with my Bible and journal. I could spend uninterrupted moments lost in a Beth Moore Bible study. These days, the most time I have sitting in one place is in the bathroom and, let’s be honest, I’m usually not alone. (Is that TMI? So sorry.)

In-depth studies may not work for you right now. Choose a short devotional that can be read while the kids are eating breakfast. Or, don’t laugh, keep it in a basket in the bathroom. Find five minutes. Then, when you realize you do actually have five minutes, go for ten. You’ll find, if you make the effort, God will help reveal extra time in your day.

Take small bites.

scripture doodle PinEvery January, people begin the read-through-the-Bible in a year thing. There is nothing wrong with this endeavor. I have done it myself. (Okay, who am I kidding? I usually tap out somewhere around Numbers.) But, depending on the season you are currently in, you may not have time or energy to read two and a half chapters every day. And, if you do, you probably won’t get much out of it. Then, guilt sets in. The last thing in the world a tired mama needs is guilt.

Pick a book and read through it slowly. If you only have time to meditate on one verse – then just read one verse. Take that one verse with you throughout the day. You will be surprised at what God will reveal to you.

Doodle your thoughts.

What if you only have time for the scantest of notes before the toddler is finished with her pop tart and demands your attention? Doodle your thoughts. I’m serious. Key phrases, little pictures – you will be amazed at how much fun it is and how meaningful those doodles can be to you.

Learn the power of a Post-It note prayer.

 

Say it with me, “Post-It notes are our friends.” How many times have you told someone you would pray for them? Now, how many times have you actually prayed for that person? Let’s face it, the best of intentions get all tangled up in meal planning, errand running, church activities and life.

Keep a pack of Post-It notes somewhere convenient and use them. Put them on the window over your sink and pray when you wash the dishes. Put them on a mirror. Put them on the monitor of your computer. You will be surprised how often you find yourself praying.

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Mom Talk

There will come a day when you are back in a position to devote hours to Bible study. But, for now, do not let guilt convince you that the little you feel capable of right now is not even worth it.

Use short devotions instead of long Bible studies. Take small, yet meaningful, bites of Scripture instead of large amounts that leave you overwhelmed. Use the power of the Post-It note prayer.

I promise you – God will meet you where you are right now.