Motherhood on Purpose

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“Passing on the gift of inspiration to our children is partly a matter of vision, which helps them understand that God wants to use them in this world to spread his kingdom… The vision defines the purposes of God, but compassion defines the heart of the vision.”

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“We are given one chance to live on earth, and the true measure of our success will be our faith, our faithfulness, and our obedience.”

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“When it comes to protecting and preparing our children for all that will happen in their lives, the gift of a disciplined mind is one that truly keeps on giving.”

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“It is natural to be selfish or self absorbed. Everybody is naturally like that. It is supernatural to see the needs and desire of others and seek their best through your actions.”

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“As we launch our children into life from the sanctuary of our homes, the intangible gifts of God will go with them and help equip them for his service. In this, the ministry of motherhood will find its completion.”

Quoted from The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

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Review: Find Your Brave

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S Y N O P S I S

Have you ever found yourself in over your head, wondering how you would possibly get through with your faith and sanity intact?

It can happen any time. Life seems good and then—BOOM!—out of nowhere comes a storm that threatens to drown your hopes. Your storm might be a job loss, loneliness, a crumbling relationship, financial ruin, a serious illness, or the death of a loved one. Whatever it is, as the winds howl and the waves rage, you have a choice: will you cower in fear or will you rise to the challenge?

Cancer survivor Holly Wagner has endured her share of storms. In Find Your Brave she examines the dramatic shipwreck faced by the apostle Paul in Acts 27. There she uncovers profound truths that will guide you safely through life’s most difficult moments.

Through solid biblical teaching and relatable personal stories, Holly offers an uplifting, friendly voice in the midst of the gale-force winds and overpowering critical voices. She shows you how to anchor your trust in the God who remains faithful in every storm and in whose strength you can Find Your Brave.

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R E V I E W

I recently found myself in a situation where I unintentionally hurt someone close to me. What I thought was truth was actually a lie and I became so swept up and blinded by it that I said things I shouldn’t have. I made a mess and I knew I had to do my part to make it right. I took responsibility, I apologized, and I learned (the hard way) a huge lesson.

It is easy to have hope when we are on the mountaintop. But the truth is, every mountain has a valley. And I have learned that fruit does not grow on the mountaintops—fruit grows in the valleys.

While the relationship was bandaged, I had a huge gaping wound. I wanted to run, detach from everyone, and not be in relationship with anyone. I didn’t know how to pick myself up because I was embarrassed by how deceived I had been. I separated myself for 2 weeks, maybe 3 and I had a pity party. What a great time that was…

As I was scrolling through bloggingforbooks.com and thinking of what I’d like to review next, Find Your Brave by Holly Wagner appeared. I have Rising Strong by Brené Brown on my to read list but Holly’s book stuck out to me because she follows the shipwreck that Paul encountered in Acts. I knew in order for my heart to be healed I needed more than an encouraging word, I needed biblical insight.

It is only in navigating the challenges and the trials that we are made complete.

This book was such a comfort. The writing is authentic and friendly with a mix of tough love. Not only does she delve into an array of issues that can come our way but she also addresses the ones we make ourselves. Holly describes the different anchors we need to drop when we find ourselves in the midst of a raging storm-what will keep us grounded when we think it can’t possibly get any better. I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s just going through it and can’t seem to find ground anywhere. If you feel alone or want to be alone in dealing with your issues then pick this one up. You will find guidance, hope, courage, and the strength to get up and finish the race that’s been set before you.

She does not wilt; she does not complain; she does not blame. She finds her brave and she rises. She actually grows stronger in the midst of dark times when it seems as if the whole world is trembling. God is looking for a company of women who will find their brave and rise in the midst of any and every challenge—and then be a force for good to help others find their brave.

R A T I N G

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I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

Be Blessed,

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Balance

I’ve entered into a new season of life and it’s exciting and changing. When I reflect on my responsibilities it amuses me because not one thing was on my ‘life radar’.

In my life I would be dressed up every day heading to an office where I’d climb a corporate ladder and be self-sufficient in my finances. Instead, I’m at home (often in my pajamas) out on complete faith, repeating scripture back to God.

In my life I would have dreamt of being a fashion designer with no confidence to try. Instead, I’ve drawn fashion illustrations (when I said I couldn’t draw), made a few pieces (when I said I couldn’t sew), and started pattern making (there’s no way I would’ve attempted that on my own).

In my life I would’ve stayed on medications and lived with a ‘that’s just what you do’ mentality. Instead, I’m into these weird oils that resulted in a jewelry line where I get to create and design.

In my life I would’ve never had kids because they’d take away from my life. Instead, I’ve learned a new level of selflessness and these little creations have brought unimaginable joy.

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Life for me now consists of being a wife, mom, small business owner, house manager, ministry leader, family member, and friend. While I know where my strength comes from, that’s a lot of ground to manage.

So much of my life has been a tiring race of planning and doing. It’s just ‘what we do’ right? We plan and conquer. We try to get done so we can get on to the next thing and our days become blurs of busyness. I could make a daily life checklist and feel temporarily accomplished but there would be no room for excitement in that.

I believe balance comes from finding enjoyment in the season we’re in. To put down the cell phone, to close the lap top, to rest with God, laugh with my husband, make pancakes with my girl, and hold my teething boy. For me, that’s a deeper level of selflessness.

If you’re feeling bogged down and overwhelmed I challenge you to look at areas of your life that are consuming your time but not benefiting your spirit. What really needs a yes and where can you confidently say no? And then there’s that thing called discipline that comes from dying to your self. Ah, there’s the answer I was looking for.

Be blessed,

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Sacrificial Love

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It’s another week day and I’ve been busy cleaning, making food, changing diapers, and reading children’s books. I’ve been in a good mood working in my purpose and enjoying another day of what God’s called me to. The end of the day is starting to approach and my husband walks through the door, greeting me and the children. I’ve waited expectantly for this moment so that I can be back with my favorite person.

Then something happens.

My mood completely shifts and the tasks I’ve been doing happily, I now act as if they’re burdensome. I was perfectly content doing what I needed to but as soon as he steps through the door I start focusing on all the things he should be helping with.

Somehow he is able to sit down while Alaina is on the toilet yelling “I’m doneeeee” and Elijah is fussing in his bouncy. My mind is now simmering with negative thoughts towards him because of my own selfishness. I don’t take a minute to think about how his day went, what he had to deal with or how his work load was.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

When did serving my children become easier than serving my spouse?

As a mom I know my children need me and there are many things they can’t do for themselves. My husband is capable of doing everything for himself but I’m his wife and he needs me too.

I want him to feel valued and I want to get my emotions in check so that they don’t wreck the time that we do have together. I want our now to be our best days. Maybe you’ve felt like I have and found yourself in a funky mood that you can’t seem to get out of. I know how that feels and I want us both to not let resentment grow in our hearts. What we intentionally do today will pave the way for our future, let’s put in the work to reap a great harvest years from now.

“Serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:13-15

So what does sacrificial love look like?

– Cook their favorite meal
– Pull the trashcan up from the driveway
– If it’s their turn to do the dishes and you know they’ve had a rough day, do them
– Back massage anyone?
– Whatever that thing is that they’ve been asking you over and over to take care of, do that
– take the kids to the park and give your spouse a few hours to just relax

Even if its been awhile since you’ve intentionally done something for your spouse, today is not too late to start.

“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:17

I love you Mr. Madrigal

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If you’re looking for a bible study focused on building your marriage try this one by Gary Chapman.

Unafraid

Susie Davis, author of Unafraid, witnessed the murder of her eighth grade teacher by one of her classmates. Leaving her with deeply rooted trust issues, this experience became an obstacle she had to overcome. The loss of trust in her relationship with God created debilitating fears in her life. She felt as I think many of us have, if God is a good father and can keep bad things from happening to us then why doesn’t he?

“As long as I stayed vigilant, cautious, and wary, nothing bad would happen. Instead of depending on God for protection, I held tight to something destructive.”

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I found this book to be well written and easy to read. I was finished in a few days because I had to know how it all worked out for her. Unafraid opened my eyes to see areas in my life that I thought were normal concerns, were actually fears. To be brought to tears at the idea of a close family member taking my daughter to the Children’s Museum, that’s fear. To cry because a family member took my daughter down to the beach to play while I stayed up at the beach house because I was too tired to join, that’s fear. I’ve let fear wreck my emotions because I’ve held on tightly to Alaina, thinking that if I do then nothing bad will happen. The truth is that God is a good Father and He can protect her, that He loves her more than I do.

“Fear whispers when we’re young. It follows us when we’re older. And somewhere along the way, we start to think it’s normal to be afraid.”

If you struggle with anxiety and constant what-if scenarios playing through your head then this book is for you. Susie’s story is comforting, she’s been there, she gets it, and she’s fought and continues to fight fear.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Be blessed,

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Created for Community

Last night was the launch of The Porch, a married young adults ministry at our church. We gathered together to kick back, share details about ourselves, and to let our kids be kids. We all share a common interest: to develop an authentic connection with one another.

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Our group is something special. We want to see each other succeed, to counter obstacles with hope, and to stand and watch victory wash over our circumstances. That’s rare.

The world says to strive to be better than the man beside you, to only look after yourself and to not care about who you hurt along the way. We say no to all of that because we understand we’re called to more.

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The commentary on Proverbs 27:17 says, “Mental sharpness comes from being around good people. And a meeting of minds can help people see their ideas with new clarity, refine them, and shape them into brilliant insights. This requires discussion partners who can challenge one another and stimulate thought–people who focus on the idea without involving their egos in the discussion; people who know how to attack the thought and not the thinker.”

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The first night was a huge success, the people who were there and the memories we shared will be in my heart forever.

I leave you with this, what’s holding you back from connecting with people? Have you been hurt and are scared to trust again? Do you struggle with being vulnerable? There’s hope in knowing that the pain can be healed, reflect on your heart and take it to the Father.

Be blessed,

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When Our House Became a Home

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We have made our life in the town I was raised in, in the home I was raised in, and I never saw it coming.

Like most of my peers, I wanted to graduate high school and move as far away from our hometown as possible. I wanted to leave and never look back to that terrible place where your parents provide everything for you. And I did, I moved four hours away to finish my undergraduate degree and I even journeyed to Hong Kong and China for three weeks. I was a fashion major and had dreams of moving to New York or California after graduation {says every fashion major}. I had no plans on how to make this a reality and I was becoming increasingly obsessed with my boyfriend and dreaming about our future. He didn’t want me to move across the country and I wasn’t paying for my apartment so I told him I was moving back home to figure things out. Without hesitation he decided he was moving too, our obsession was mutual. We found a teeny tiny studio apartment in the city located near an airport. We would visit my parents on the weekend and Ryan loved to be out there. He grew up in the city and preferred the slow, spacious, quiet life instead {I never saw that coming}. Time went on and my parents decided to purchase a new home in town, their own dreams were coming true. They offered the house to us to purchase but we decided to rent instead, that was the less permanent option. I was thrilled that we were no longer living in a 525 sq. ft. apartment but I couldn’t see myself living there for a long time. Occasionally Ryan would mention the idea of purchasing the house and making it our home to which I replied, “I refuse to die in the house I grew up in”. In my practical head I was already making plans to purchase the 400k custom dream home beautifully located off a winding, woodsy road. I was still working at the time so I thought this option was completely obtainable {it really never was, but you can’t tell my determination that}. And then something happened, my heart started to change toward the house. God started to speak to me about his provision, contentment, and this dream of raising our children at home.

I was in the car with a friend on our way to an orphanage when the subject of the house came up. She listened and spoke encouragement over me. Through her words I gained revelation and everything just clicked in my head, it was the confirmation I didn’t know I needed. It was then that I decided we would make the decision to purchase the house and make it our own. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my husband my news and when I did he plainly said, “that’s what I’ve been saying this whole time”. Note to stubborn self: listen to your husband the first time, he knows.

My encouraging friend taught me how to texture our living room walls, to help me create a space that reflected my personal aesthetic. Within a few months I had our living and dining room walls textured and painted, our interior doors replaced, and converted built in china cabinets to book shelves. I started to embrace everything we had been given from our parents and utilized it to make our home beautiful. Loving our home was something I had to go through to learn what needed to be changed in me. In the process I learned contentment and found freedom from the tiresome pursuit of “better”.

I have the privilege of training up my children in the same house I was raised in. All my childhood memories are here and my children will share their childhood memories under the same roof. When I think of that thought I hear “generations” and “legacy”. I can’t imagine living anywhere but here and now I have the honor of saying that I live in the house I grew up in.

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