Write It On A Rock

Faith and Family
June 5th, 2013 by Sarah

Something Better


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If we plan a vacation to somewhere beautiful we usually have a brochure or pictures we can look up on the internet… something tangible to hold on to, but with heaven we have only small descriptions given to us in the Bible.

Because this world is fallen, I don’t believe we can even begin to grasp the world that awaits us.  Jesus says things like, “I am preparing a mansion for you,” or describes it as “paradise” but we don’t completely know what to imagine.

I just finished my study of Genesis and I was encouraged to see that every single promise God made in Genesis has come to pass thus far.  And there are more to come…promises that we, as Christ followers, wait for.

Just as God kept every promise to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He will keep His promises to us. Philippians 3 20-21 is one promise I have been reading almost daily for the past couple of weeks.

It says, “ But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.  He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”

I need to be reminded of verses like this ever day, really.  I am too easily fixated on this world, its problems and it’s joys.

Verse 20 uses the word “eagerly.”  How “eagerly” am I waiting for Jesus to return?  Most days  it is only when I am in pain that I really have an “eager” expectation and hope for eternity with Jesus.

The last couple of weeks I have been doing something many would consider weird.  I have been looking up into the sky, reminding myself that Jesus is coming.  Thanking Him, praying for Him to come.

In verse 21, Paul describes how our bodies will change after Jesus comes.  He says that our “weak mortal bodies” will be changed into “glorious bodies.”  That means my back won’t hurt anymore from picking Jasper up.  There will be no sickness or bruises, and I’m guessing no wrinkles.

It says “glorious.”  I can’t wait to see exactly what that means.  I know it is much better than what we could ever imagine.

Here is my point.  When God told Abraham to go to a new land Abraham had no pictures, no idea of what it would look like.  Some of God’s promises didn’t make sense to Abraham, but now we see that God kept them.

From the moment we wake to when we fall asleep naturally we all have “things” that fill our days, and it is easy to focus only on the temporary things of this world.

How refreshing is it to know that whatever country we are citizens of, whether we live in a good country or a bad, those who are in Christ have our first citizenship in heaven.  That means we are foreigners here, just passing through.

No matter what you are going through right now, as a foreigner in this world, this life is going to be over in a blink of an eye and Jesus has something far greater waiting for us.

One thing is for sure, He will keep His promises to us.  Look up in the sky, we don’t know when, but He promised He is coming.

How do you remember God’s promises in the midst of busy life?

If you are wanting an intimate relationship with God and a hope for eternity but don’t feel like you have that, click here .  I love the simplicity of how this website helps us to begin a relationship with Jesus, and that anyone, no matter what our past, is invited into a relationship with Him!

Have a great rest of the week friends!

 

 

 

May 10th, 2013 by Sarah

Mother’s Day Expectations


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I think one of Jason and my most memorable fights was probably my first ever Mother’s Day. I was so excited because this was my first year being a mom which brought with it many life changes that year.  I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I think he planned an outing but didn’t give me a card or gift and what I really wanted most was a card.  Words of encouragement is definitely my love language!

My expectations were not huge, but I should have communicated them because Jason and I were on completely different pages in regards to this day. I tried to hide my disappointment but by evening it didn’t end well. :). Mother’s Day was a bigger deal at my house than it was at his, and that always causes some friction when we have different expectations.

Everyone is different in how they feel honored, but for some reason we often assume our husbands can read our minds and that is very frustrating for them. We ladies need to communicate our expectations in various areas of life, even if it feels awkward.

For me, I don’t want jewelry on Mother’s Day, a fancy dinner or even flowers, though all of those are fine and I would like any of the above. What do I want?

Well this year when Jason asked me what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day I overly communicated my expectations and it went great.  (We celebrated Mother’s Day a week early because Jason has an obligation this weekend).

I would have been fine with a wide variety of things to do on Mother’s Day. I wasn’t trying to be controlling, but I also didn’t want Jason to stress by going out and trying to find me a nice gift or guessing on what to do after I nearly ripped his head off on my first Mother’s Day. I know, I have issues.

I told Jason, “you don’t need to buy me anything, but I would really like a card. (Jason is the BEST at writing cards), “I would love to go on a walk as a family, and could you make dinner, something really easy?”

Jason doesn’t cook so he hesitated on the dinner part. We had planned on going out for dinner… with four children that isn’t the most relaxing and I thought it would be special to have Jason make a meal.  So, I gave him the recipe for the easiest thing I had on our menu for the week… chicken enchiladas.

Our kids ended up firing me from making chicken enchiladas, stating that Daddy’s are the best. I am pretty sure this boosted Jason’s ego when it comes to cooking and he might want to cook more often.

We went for a walk as a family and Jason gave me a very nicely written homemade card with crayon stick people on the front and a coupon for a pedicures with my friend Shannon later in the week.

I requested this gift because Shannon  is the mother of the year in my book.  She has four kids ages 7 and under, and her husband is deployed right now in Afghanistan.  She does an amazing job as a mom so Jason watched our kids and treated us both to pedicures.

Jason helped the kids to each make a card, and they each made me cry. Even though the kid’s cards said things like, “I will take you on nineteen dates for Chinese food (their favorite not mine), and you pay.” ☺

I love my family. It was simple and perfect.

Two lessons. One, either we need to communicate our desires or just be understanding that our spouse is not a mind reader. Just because our spouse or kids don’t do what we expect doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate us.

And if I get no card or recognition, I know that the best gift we have as mothers is being a mom.

For some reason I find myself more appreciative of that fact on mother’s day. I put aside chores in favor of spending more time with them.  I find myself staring at my children with a smile on my face, savoring the reality that this really hard, wonderful, beautiful and sometimes painful job of being a mom is truly a gift from above.

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April 8th, 2013 by Sarah

Girlfriends


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Three weeks ago I was able to fly down, baby Jasper and I, to Chicago for a quick two-night visit with my dear college friend Missy.  She is sick with Lyme disease so I told her when I planned the trip out that I had no expectations to do anything.  I just wanted to spend time together and hopefully bring some brightness and encouragement to her during this time.

We didn’t shop on the magnificent mile or visit Millenium Park. We did get to spend hours just sitting on her white denim couch talking about life, and God’s faithfulness through trials and our kids.  We covered topics that we never get to while we’re on the phone, our kids screaming in the background.  That’s what girls do best.  Talk.  I love friendship, and believe it’s one of God’s greatest gifts.

After leaving I was reminded that even in this busy season a simple phone call to a good friend can brighten my day and hers.  A note in the mail or a meal delivered when a friend is struggling is one of the top investments we can make with our time.

Missy and I did get to go to Giordonnos for Chicago Style Pizza (a must when I’m in Chicago) and I told her the only other restaurant I really wanted to get to was Chick Filet since we don’t have one in MN.  Have you ever had the carrot salad from chick filet?   I always get the carrot salad as a side.

I love it, but I found an even better recipe.  It’s called Carrot Craisin Slaw, and I found the recipe on my friend’s blog “The Kid Friendly Home”.

I use my food processor to grade the carrots and I at least quadruple the recipe.  The food processor makes this recipe easy.

Carrot Craisin Slaw:

3 cups grated carrots
1/4 cup craisins
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
3 Tbs. canola or olive oil
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients.  Chill before serving.  See if the kids think it’s desert! (You can always try…)

I am making this Carrot salad today as a side for a good friend who had a baby.  They’re family eats gluten free so I was looking for kid friendly, gluten free sides.  I hope you try it.

What long time friend do you miss?  Pick up the phone just to say hi :).

 

 

 

March 28th, 2013 by Sarah

Making Traditions and Three Ways We Can Help Our Kids Get to Know Christ


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Happy Easter week!  Jason and I are trying to make more traditions surrounding this whole week.  I am not very creative with kids crafts and sometimes I look at other blogs with their creative crafts for Advent or Easter and it makes me feel a little inadequate. I am learning not to place those expectations on myself, and I hope I don’t on you.  I wrote a few suggestions for Easter at the bottom.

I think developing family traditions and ways to teach our kids about God should be fun, not filled with pressure.  So make traditions the way you and your family do them best.  Don’t put pressure on yourself to make your traditions look like everyone elses’, rather do things that bring you joy when you think of doing them for your family.

No need to be overly formal if you aren’t already.  It doesn’t matter if you do something elaborate or use paper plates, just think of what you’re family has the most fun doing and start a tradiion of it.  Music, food, stories, dancing, art?

There are great resources to help us, BUT if we don’t buy any of them, the Bible is all we need. I don’t know that parents were doing kids crafts in 200 BC and obviously they weren’t watching kids Bible movies, but they were able to pass on the most important thing we will ever teach our kids.  A relationship with God.

Decorating Easter eggs from the box kit is about as creative as I get. I do like to cook though, so this week I decided that I would make a passover dinner to teach our kids how God led His people out of slavery in Egypt, but I also wanted to tie it into Jesus and how He has led us out of slavery from sin and death.

Well, it was pretty much a fail.  But that’s OK, I will try again next year.  I made crepes instead of the unleavened bread that accompanies a traditional Seder dinner, and our kids get a little excited about crepes.  They weren’t listening to a word we said.  Next year I think we’ll do the teaching apart from the dinner table.

It can be difficult to start new traditions because it takes planning and effort that a lot of us don’t have.  Here are a few ways we can joyfully and freely teach our kids about God and create traditions in our homes.

1. The first is obvious, but so important.  Pray for your kids and ask God for wisdom on how to teach each child at the phase he/she is at.  I fail in many ways to show my kids God’s love, grace and patience.   I need the Holy Spirit’s help every day.  Sometimes an idea comes to me on how to teach a spiritual truth and I know it is not from myself but from the Holy Spirit.  God knows the hearts and personalities of each of our kids.  Praying for each one of them is one of the greatest gifts we can give them

2. Teach your kids what you’re learning from the Bible. If you have found a devotional book that you like that’s great, but my kids haven’t gotten into the ones that I have read to them.  It’s discouraging when teaching our kids about Jesus is competing with all of the “kid things’ they want to do and we can’t seem to get them engaged.

Here is what I have found to be the best way to engage my kids as I teach them about Christ.  I usually do this during our book time before bed, but sometimes I will teach a short Bible verse or story while my son’s waiting in our house for the bus to come.

I read my Bible daily and then I will either read them the same story or tell it to them in my own words.  I am not doing any separate planning, merely teaching them what God’s teaching me.

Show them how glorious God is.  Children love to hear what a big God we serve.  They love to hear that He’s faster, and more powerful than any superhero.  It glorifies God when we tell them that God is so brilliant that “He knit them together in their mother’s womb,”  Psalm 139:13.  Our kids are comforted to know that God protect us. “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”  (Psalm 34:7).

There are a lot of Bible stories missing from children’s Bibles, but if the story I’m teaching is in our children’s Bible that works well for the pictures.

A couple of my favorite Children’s Bibles are “The Jesus Storybook Bible.” and for my boys, “The Action Story Bible.”  Tonight my boys loved hearing the story about Jacob wrestling all night with God from Genesis, and I shared what I learned from that story in my own Bible study.

I love being in a Bible study where I am learning, and when I teach it to my kids I learn it to a greater length!

3. Make sure you kids have a place like church or a youth group where they can learn from other mentors besides you.  I think parents have the greatest potential for influence, but especially in the teen years, our kids will need to hear Biblical truth from other people as well.

There are many more ways we can help our children grow spiritually like introducing them to great Christian literature and helping them to memorize Bible verses that will help them through life.  I’ll write more about that later.  For now…

Here are some ideas of ways to center around Christ for Easter, so they know it’s about more than the Easter Bunny.  Not all of them in one day :).

Watch this awesome four-minute “My King” youtube video and talk about the difference Christ has made in your life this year. Read the story of Jesus’ resurrection out of the Bible, or watch part of the Jesus film.  You could tell a story about a time God has been faithful to you.  Explain how eggs represent new life, and how we can have new life in Jesus.

We do an Easter Egg hunt with Resurrection Eggs, which is nice for little kids.  They tell the story of Easter using symbols in twelve eggs.  You can buy them here or make your own using your own symbols around your house (again don’t stress yourself out).  We bought the eggs :).

One more.  These empty tomb cookies.  You start them the night before Easter.  One year they didn’t work for me and I don’t know why, but when they worked they were really fun.

Sometimes our ideas turn out disastrous, but other times they just stick.  So don’t get discouraged if your efforts go awry.

I hope you all have a blessed Easter no matter how you’re celebrating.   Jesus says in John 14:23, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”  I love that.  God is closer to us than our own breath.  No matter where we are God goes with us because Jesus defeated death, and that is the best news of all.  He has risen!

February 28th, 2013 by Sarah

Asking God for Success


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Eaglebrook Christmas 2012 (Lino Lakes)-0021

 

Hi everyone, spring is on the horizon and that makes me happy.  This will be a long post as it’s been awhile.  The last couple months have been full of cooking, cleaning, basketball for Micah, soccer for Isabelle and Hudson, instructing/disciplining Isabelle, lots of family time (3 of our kids birthdays in one month), and then cooking and cleaning some more.

I’ve also been reading a lot.  I should do a post reviewing the books I’ve been reading, but I”m not so sure I would be good at book reviews.  The last two months I have had the opportunity to speak a few times as well.

It has been hard to balance everything that was on our plate the last two months and made me so very grateful to be able to focus on just being a mom.  It is so easy to think the grass is greener on the other side.  I don’t complain about being a SAHM. It’s a privilege and a choice.  I sometimes miss doing ministry and, though I know being a mom is a ministry, sometimes I feel like I should be doing more.

But, to experience trying to write a message while Isabelle asks me thirty-five times if she can have a candy cane was a good realization that no one can “do it all” and do it well.

I am grateful for the season that I am in thankful that God showed me to be content where He has me.  There are seasons for everything.  I may do a little ministry outside the home here and there, but for now love being home with our kids.

I also got to step into Jason’s shoes when I spoke with him, which was great.  How often do we get to experience our spouses life so we can empathise with them?  Not many of us do, and now I wish Jason could completely experience a day in my life :).  I so appreciate what Jason does, and know that we are each where we are supposed to be.

Jason and I spoke at our church’s marriage event on six things we’ve learned in our marriage.   It was fun to teach, together, what God has taught us.  At the bottom of this post I linked a guest blog with a shortened version of one of my points.

I have not done any speaking since Micah was a baby, and I was really nervous, but knew God prepared me for this. He had all of the speaking engagements land right in a row within almost a month of each other… with the biggest audience last.  I could not have planned it better.

I kept telling myself that I felt like God called me to do this and He will equip me… I was not putting my hope in my own abilities, but in the fact that He prepares and equips us by His Spirit when He calls us to something.

Right before we went out to face over a thousand faces, I told Jason that I was applying something I learned from a story in Genesis 24 where Abraham’s servant travels to find a wife for his son Isaac.  You can read the story here if you’d like.  I love this story for many reasons.

First, I love it because it shows God’s work in our lives when we trust in His plan. Second, I love how the servant so boldly and specifically prays for God’s favor as it seemed like a needle in a haystack to find the right wife for Isaac.

In verse 12 the servant prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.”

Then in verse 26 Abraham’s servant immediately, praises God and gives Him the glory when God does so obviously give him success.  Verse 26 says,  “Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, saying, “Praise be to the Lord,the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”

When we pray we can have confidence that God hears us.  We’re not demanding anything of God.  We’re asking, but we can know that when we ask God He hears us, even if it may not always seem like it.  When God answers us we should take the example of the servant and praise Him right away.

I have had some fears that are somewhat irrational, yet real to me.  After taking this passage of Scripture to heart I have found myself praying more specifically about my fears and able to leave them at God’s feet knowing He hears me and His answer will be perfect.

For example, my best friend has lyme disease and because they did not find out for a long time it has turned into a two year battle with autoimmune symptoms and sometimes debilitating illness.  I have known several people who got lyme disease this last summer, a few of them were kids.  Thankfully each person, including my father-in-law, found out early enough that the antibiotics worked right away.

One of my fears has been that one of my kids will get lyme and I won’t know or see symptoms right away.  I think talking to my friend weekly about what she’s going through keeps this fear at the forefront of my mind.  So my specific prayers is, “Lord, please protect us from this disease and if our kids contract lyme will you show us right away.”

I have felt such a great peace.  God has shown me specific answers to prayer over and over again. He has shown me that even through hardships He is faithful and has a plan for the hardships.

So, I pray boldly and in anticipation.  If I struggle to let a particular fear go I will ask friends to pray with me.  How I love the peace that comes when we trust the God who gave up His only Son because He loves us that much.

So back to the other night when we spoke.  I prayed many specific prayers one I copied from Abraham’s servant, that God would give me success.  Right when we got out there I felt such peace wash over me.  I felt calm and wanted God to work through me, as opposed to caring what people thought about me.  Right afterward I thanked God and gave Him the glory, knowing that peace and calm came from Him.

I am constantly grateful that I can draw on the Holy Spirit throughout my day.  I have way too many weaknesses to count, so the fact that God doesn’t get annoyed with me asking for help (He wants me to)  is absolutely amazing.

I am asking God for success that I can live for Him, that I will parent my kids well, use our time and money well, and to be a godly wife.  I know I can’t do it on my own, which is good, because I will more readily remember to praise Him when I have success.

If you’ve made it this far :), and you still want to read my guest blog for the EBC Marriage and Family Blog, “Six Ways to Fight Better in our Marriages.”  You can read that here if you’re interested.

Blessings to you all, and thanks for reading the random things that go on in my brain :).

December 2nd, 2012 by Sarah

Just Go With It


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I share in my last post that I am working on dealing with stress in a healthier way.  In light of that, I wrote this post for the EBC Marriage and Family Blog, but wanted to share with you as well.

A few months ago I could not find my iPod anywhere.  I use it mainly to listen to the Bible or sermons when I am getting things done around the house or falling asleep at night.  I felt semi lost without it.

In the meantime I had been, and still am, working on trusting God in all areas of my life including little annoyances.    Sometimes the finest details of my life, the silliest little things are the things that throw me over the edge and cause arguments.

I for some reason always have an opinion on what route Jason should take to get to our designation when I’m in the passenger seat.  Yes I’m one of those.  And, if he takes the wrong way and we get stuck in traffic I find myself really irritated, as if the five extra minutes would have drastically changed my life.

I think at the heart of the issue is that I want to control my little world.  I want my day to go as I have planned.  And that plan does not ever include unexpected traffic, honey spilt all over the floor, or a temper tantrum given by my two-year-old when I am trying to get out the door.

How much better would our family life be if we gave each other grace and did not get uptight with one another on small and large matters?

I want to have patience with my family and with the frustrations that come about during my day, but it’s difficult.

Hebrews 11:6 is one of my favorite verses.  It says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  Think about that for a second.

What pleases God?  Out of so many things we could do to please Him it is faith.

Faith is proved in our actions on a daily basis.  As silly as it sounds I have been internally reminding myself to trust God with the phrase, “just go with it.”   If I’m running late, “just go with it.”  Kids have another cold virus, “just go with it.”  I am not going to be able to control every area of my life so I might as well just get over it.

If I really believe that God will bring good out of all things, then I can trust Him with every single detail of my day and life.

So, the iPod.  One of my sons has a habit of getting out of the bath or shower and then running around without drying himself off, leaving puddles to follow wherever he goes.  On a recent occasion I sat down in our baby’s light blue glider and felt water seep into my pants.  My son had went right from the bath to the chair hoping the chair would dry him off.

In my head I thought, “just go with it,” then I politely asked my son to dry himself with a towel next time he gets out of the bath.  He apologized.  I normally may have spoken in an annoyed tone of voice, but this time I used a soft tone, flipped over the seat cushion and there under the cushion lay the iPod that I had just asked God to help me find.  Hidden under a small annoyance lay an answer to prayer.

What are some details of your life that you find yourself trying to control and how would you and your family and benefit if you trusted God with every day living?

 

November 21st, 2012 by Sarah

God’s Big Story


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Happy Thanksgiving!  No matter what today looks like for you, I hope you get some time in to just sit and thank God for who He is and the many undeserved gifts He gives us.

My brother and sister in-law are here from Kansas City last and my sister and her family are coming tomorrow from Wisconsin.  I will be making cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, spoon bread, and squash.  These sweet potatoes are a favorite thanksgiving recipe of mine, but this year my mom requested squash, so squash it is.

The day after thanksgiving we are putting up our Christmas tree and that is like another holiday in itself. We blast the Christmas music, and deck out the house.  Our kids love to help bring the decorations up from the basement.  Then I make a bunch of appetizers for our family that night and we stay home to enjoy each other in our newly decorated house.  It is a treat every year to watch the excitement in our children’s faces throughout the Christmas season.

I am studying Genesis right now.  Last week we studied Genesis 10 and 11, the story of the tower of Babel and the genealogy of Noah’s sons.

To be honest I was bored as I read the genealogy, not sure what I could take out of it, and I all too often move through familiar Bible stories, missing lessons I could be learning because of its familiarity.

Yet as I sat in our sun room this morning reading my Bible study notes on this genealogy I was struck, once again, by the fact that I am a part of God’s Story.  I know the end, I know that my time on this earth is brief and yet God cares about each and every one of us.

He knows our names, what we looked like in our mother’s womb, how many years we will live and every intricacy of our lives in between.

Every day I struggle over decisions, small and large.  I fret over mishaps of my day and I often care too much about how I appear to others.  

Yet when I read a genealogy it all seems so clear.  This is God’s story and not my own.  I get WAY too stressed over small matters…  Someone used the last of the milk I needed for the dinner I am supposed to make in 10 minutes.  Or my kids just messed up the floor I just cleaned, and something is added to my “to do” list that I didn’t plan.

I am working on this.  I catch myself, stop and pray, thank God or just acknowledge He is with me when I find myself getting stressed.  My blood pressure is rising just thinking about how I overly react to my circumstances on a daily basis.

Why do I fret?  Maybe it’s because I think that this world should revolve around me.  Maybe it is because I don’t trust God that He has a greater purpose for everything, even the small difficulties of our day.

Yesterday I was having a hard time making a few small decisions that had snowball effects on me and others.  I immediately recognized my temptation to stress about it.  I prayed that God would make the right decision clear to me, recognized that God is in control, I calmly waited a few minutes and went with a decision.  It felt so good, and looking back my way would not have turned out well anyway.

1 Peter 5:7 says “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”  I love that even though our lives are such a tiny part of God’s bigger story, God cares for US.  He cares for YOU.  He doesn’t want us to worry, He wants us to give Him every concern we have.

I told Micah and Hudson this week separately “you are a part of God’s big story.  God has given you gifts and talents like no one else and He has a plan for your life.”  (And I may have added something about how we know the end of the story where God kicks Satan’s butt and evil loses, because without a battle they don’t seem too interested in what I have to say).

As a side note, I am reading the book “The Blessing” which is about the importance of giving our children a blessing using words (written or spoken) along with physical touch.  It’s a great book for parents.

You are a part of God’s great story.  It is so easy to get sidetracked in life, forgetting that what matters most is trusting in Christ and living for His glory instead of our own glory.   No matter what circumstance you are in right now know that our lives are about a greater purpose of God’s big story.  Even though His story is big and we are such a small part of that, He tells us in His Word that “He cares for You.”

I pray that we all can be all about doing Jesus’ will and asking Him to use our lives.  Because in the end when we are no longer here, when we are a name in a genealogy, living for God’s purpose is the only thing that will really matter.

November 4th, 2012 by Sarah

Dropping the Ball.


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A friend told me recently that she was glad to see I hadn’t written on here because she was wondering how I got a blog done with four little kids.  I told her that I drop the ball in more areas than I care to admit.
We all have twenty-four hours in a day, but I too wonder sometimes about other moms,”how does she do all of that?”
I have certainly dropped the ball with writing on here.  There is so much in my head I want to write about. I just need to take the time to get it from brain to blog.
In the mean time, this is what our family’s been up to…
Trout Lake Family Camp at the end of August.
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We had a blast and best of all I did not have to cook one meal, or sweep, or do one dish.  When Isabelle spilt her milk, it was on their floor, not mine.  It was a nice break :).

Then Micah started first grade.  He’s really liking it.
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Hudson started preschool.  He loves it too.
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Isabelle is by my side all day long :).
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And I stare at these blue eyes as much as I can, trying to savor the last few months of this baby stage.
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We’re finding some family time, though we still don’t have any good family pictures with all six of us, so I’ll add Jasper and I below :).
Marine on St. Croix
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Thanks for reading, and more later… I almost promise.

August 28th, 2012 by Sarah

Family Change One at a TIme


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Two months ago a friend from my woman’s small group went to be with Jesus after a battle with cancer.  She was an amazing wife, friend, and mother to three little boys.  She was admired by many as a godly woman.

At her funeral I was inspired by her life, and the legacy I want to live.  I left wanting to know more Scripture, show hospitality, and encourage others right away when I think something positive about them.  I left wanting to be a better mother and wife and to use my time wisely.

Days after the funeral I found my motivation dwindling like a New Years resolution gone bad.  The things I wanted to do differently were drowned out by old habits.

Isn’t that so common?  We are inspired to change something in our life and it falls by the wayside.  I think for me it was because I had ten things on my  mind that I wanted to change.  I didn’t make realistic goals.  Overwhelming.

Psalm 39:4 says, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.”  My friends funeral reminded me of this yet again.  Our days here are short.

That week I realized that I may not be able to change everything at once, but when I realized that I had neglected my whole list, I decided to start with just one.

Pick one realistic goal, ask yourself what’s holding you back and make a plan on how it’s going to happen.  That goal will become a habit and then it’s time to move onto goal number two.

This is how it looked for me.

  1. My first goal was to memorize Scripture WHILE teaching it to my kids.  Two goals in one, how’s that for goal setting.
  2. What was holding me back?  I felt like I needed some really creative set up.  I am not artsy, my handwriting is horrible, and I was always losing the memory verse I wrote out.  I have friends who type out and laminate their verse of the week.  This is not me.  It paralyzed me.
  3. I made an easier plan.  Simple… during our bed time routine I take my Bible that’s already in our children’s room and read one passage twice.  That’s it.  Just read it every night twice.  After a week my kids had memorized the Psalm.  A week after they got it I had it down too:).
  4. Tell someone.  If you’re daring, publicly mention it.  It might just hold you accountable.

What is your goal?  Maybe it’s sending a text to your spouse daily letting them know what you admire about them?  Maybe reading the Bible or journaling your prayers.  Maybe you want to make it a goal to thank God for something about your spouse when you find yourself getting critical of them.

Lest I overwhelm you, pick just one that you want to change, and it may just change your whole family.

 

August 18th, 2012 by Sarah

Ideas For a Cozy Weekend


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It feels like falls coming doesn’t it.  Why does summer always seem to go faster than lightning?  Hope you get to enjoy the cooler nights with the windows open or have a bonfire this weekend.  Here are some weekend ideas.

Get your favorite snack or drink after the kids go to bed and have a little at home date night.  Ask some of these great questions for fun conversation starters.

Get some good rest.  I read this article today, Why Parents Need More Sleep and How to Get It .  Though I know I need to get to bed a bit earlier, I needed a slight kick in the rear end.  I am often up with Jasper in the middle of the night but still struggle with wanting to stay up late.  She gave some helpful tips for that.

Are you sick of nagging your kids?  I know I am.  Download this free e-book Smooth and Easy Days by Sonya Shafer.  If you don’t have time to read all of it, read chapter 3, fascinating how our brain works.

It has completely changed the way I help my children develop habits, and it’s working.  It could help us adults with our habits as well :).

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

July 31st, 2012 by Sarah

Feeling Overwhelmed?


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worship

 

Do you ever have days where you feel completely inadequate to do what’s been asked of you?  Days when you want to throw in the towel.  Maybe it’s your job, parenting, marriage, finances, a relationship, health or other responsibilities.

I have more moments where I feel inadequate than I care to admit, but as much as I hate moments where I feel inadequate or overwhelmed, they have become somewhat of a blessing.

Sometimes you have to get down to nothing before you’ll believe that you need to rely on God.

You have to be at that point where you feel like shouting, “I’ve had it, I can’t handle this. God this is too much for me.”  If you are having one of those moments I encourage you to get on your knees for whatever it is you’re struggling with.

Sometimes we trust Jesus to save us for eternity but then act like He’s left us to deal with life on our own.  His grace is overflowing into every crevice of our lives if we rely on Him to live through us.

That is why we need bad days, moments of frustration and humility.  It shows God’s glory in our lives when we call out to Him and He answers.

A year ago, I was pregnant with Jasper and taking care of our three preschoolers.  I was sick, tired, hormonal, and many days feeling like a failure as a wife, mother and friend.  The sickness of the first trimester of pregnancy was causing me to want to crawl in a hole.

At the end of one of those particularly hard days, the day felt like a blur of putting out fires with the kids, to yelling out of frustration when they misbehaved.   Yet I felt too tired to problem solve or fix any of it.

As I rocked my one-year-old daughter before bedtime, I thought, “how am I going to mother four little children well?”  I knew we could do it, but well?  With sanity?

It was that moment of humility.

God I need You to show up because this battle isn’t happening without You.  In that moment I remembered the Old Testament stories I had been reading in the Bible and hope filled me up, leading my soul from downcast to peace filled.

I remembered that God has always been faithful to me.  He has never let me down, though I’ve had disappointments in life.  He has always been with me.  He always provides what I need.

I lifted my open hand up in the air as a sign of surrender while rocking my little girl in her pitch dark room, and whispered “Jesus, You are faithful, You are faithful, You are faithful,” over and over until I remembered that truth fully.

Something amazing happened in that moment.  All of my problems became so small, so trivial, as I remembered who my Father is.   I knew that He was big enough to provide all that I need.

A year later I can see answers to prayer and that, yet again, Jesus has been more than faithful as I trusted Him.

The story of Gideon from the Bible fed my soul that summer day, and has encouraged me since that even when I’m the underdog, when I’m discouraged, God has a greater purpose, which is to show His strength .

Gideon was the youngest son.  And if voted on for a position, he would probably be voted “the least likely to succeed.”

Yet God came to him and called him a “valiant warrior,” and told him to lead his people out of the oppression under the Midianites, who were ruining all of their crops and leaving them with no food.

Gideon could not believe that God would choose him.  It didn’t make sense, but God did anyway.

I love this because I feel like I am an unlikely candidate for many of the tasks I attempt to do.

But, when does God ever choose the most likely candidate in the Bible?

Not only did God choose an unlikely candidate to lead Israel, but He took their decent sized army and decided to make it almost nothing.  He wanted to show that it wasn’t their army winning the battle, it was God.

You can guess what happened.  God’s people won the battle that day, and they did not lose one life with their tiny army.  (Scroll down to the bottom if you don’t know the story.  It’s a good one).

God could have used the whole army and done the same thing, but that would have given the Israelites a reason to think it was their strength that won the battle.

God got Gideon’s army to almost nothing, to a point of embarrassment, and yet in the end He won.

We all have moments where we feel lost, overwhelmed, and in need.  When you find yourself in one, remind yourself that there is a gem of goodness in the midst of that battle.

If God did not bring me to a place where I know that, if He doesn’t show up this battle is lost, I unfortunately would probably take the credit for the win.

I don’t know that I would believe it is truly God who is answering my prayer, not just coincidental, if I were not brought so low.  I would also miss out on the opportunity to learn more about God and His mercy that He is willing to work in my life.

Do you have a task at hand that you feel inadequate to perform?  Maybe God has brought you, as well, to this battle so that you can trust him, and see His glory more fully.

 

Story of Gideon Continued …

[Gideon had thirty-two thousand people to fight, while their opponents were “as numerous as locusts.”  There were a whole lot of solders that they were up against, and yet God goes and tells Gideon to send all but three-hundred men back!  Three hundred men!  I am no military expert, but it is easy for anyone to see that this does not make sense. God says to them, “I will deliver you with the three hundred men.”

The Israelites have learned the hard way that when God says to do something, no matter how ridiculous, you do it.  So, God gives Gideon instructions to divide up the 300 men, and have them take torches in one hand and trumpets in another.  He had them make a lot of noise, yell, break pitchers, and blow trumpets.

Their enemies thought that the Israelite army was too large based on the ruckus, so they got scared and confused.  They turned on each other with their swords and self destructed.  The Israelites won the battle that day.  They did not lose one life.]

If you want to read the story of Gideon in its entirety, you can read it here or find it in your Bible in Judges 6:7- 7:23.