Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Giving you the what for.

I need to go to Bible Pre-school.

Seriously. It's like I need to be reminded of simple things now, like...
Do to others as you would have them do to you. 
Think about things that are true.

And the crazy thing is, I already know all of these things, but it is allowing myself to remember them that is giving me the hardest time.

I just got off the phone with one of my best friends.
I know she must really, really love me because I call it how it is whenever we talk, and she's still my friend.
She knows that when she calls me, I am gonna give her the what for.
I don't think anyone has time for friends who complain with them.
I don't think anyone has time for friends who husband bash with them.
I don't think anyone has time for friends who jump in their mud puddles with them and whine.
I just. don't.

The kinds of friends I make time for are the ones who remind me how I need to be acting...even when it hurts like a banshee.
I got a text this week from a friend that said - Make the right choices with your thoughts, girl.
Do you know what it could have said? - Can you believe she did that to you? You don't deserve that...
and on and on and on it could have gone. IF I had made time for that kind of a friend.

Sometimes we just need people who love us to give us the what for.
To remind us of what we need to remember.

So tonight, I am giving you the what for.
Whatever is going on in your life right now, you need to remember the truth about what love is.
The kind of love that has literally nothing at all to do with a feeling.
Trust me. The times I need to show love the most is usually the times I feel it the least.
So here it is. God's definition of love:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. 
It does not demand its own way. 
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

How are you measuring up?
Are you acting irritable? Are you demanding your own way in something? Are you keeping record after record of the times you were wronged?
It's not gonna make you feel any better if you are doing any of that. Believe that.

Here's me giving you the what for.
Remember the kind of love God has for us.
And go out and treat other people the same way...especially the ones you don't feel like showing it to!

And invest in friendships with people who are going to help you grow.
Not ones who are going to drag you down.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mommy Monday ~ 5 things every parent needs to remember

1 . Your kids are not your own. They were given to you as a gift from God and it is a privilege to have every second you have with them. Don't raise them begrudgingly. Don't complain about your time with them. Don't be constantly waiting for their current stage to be over so you can get to the next one. Enjoy every minute of this stage.

2. Your kids don't take your mistakes as hard as you do. For real. So many times you are beating yourself up over something that they don't even remember you doing.  If you just lost it and yelled at your 3-year-old? Chances are they are not going to remember it by the time they are 10. Apologize when you need to, and always keep communication open. Then - give yourself a little bit of a break!

3. Your kids need need you to laugh. And I mean just really laugh. Laughter is contagious. It makes you smile even if you don't want to. Let them hear you laugh a lot.
I get it...life is serious. Pain is serious. But life is also full of joy if you look for it. Don't confuse them into believing that once you are an adult you don't have time to just laugh and enjoy life.
Did you read that? Enjoy life. Period.
Just take the time to enjoy your life for crying out loud! Especially when you are with your family. Show them your loud, obnoxious, snorting laugh. It will make everything a little more fun.

4. Your kids need to know that you are not perfect, and that you are aware of that. No one appreciates an arrogant person who acts like they never do anything wrong. Admit when you make mistakes. Be ready to say you are sorry. Teach your kids humility by acting humble. You are not fooling them anyways, so your humility will go a long way.

5. Your kids want rules. I know, I know. They are not going to say it now. They may not even understand many of them now, but remember something...

Boundaries with love create protection, security and strength for your kids. 

If you are giving your kids rules with an explanation of your why, they are going to appreciate it...even if it's not until later in life.
If you give them rules because you're on a power trip? Not so much.
Know your reasons for your rules, and be ready to stay firm in those rules. Your kids need that, and it will make them secure and show them how loved they are.

Now... I could come up with much more than 5 things that would be helpful for parents to remember!
But I thought I would just give 5 simple ones that will make your home run a lot more smoothly.
Try putting these into practice this week, and see what a difference it will make.
And then record yourself laughing obnoxiously and send it to me so I can laugh too!
Happy Parenting!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The way Adam rolled circa 1994

Back in 1994, my boyfriend was playing soccer and basketball for his high school.
He was also part of a select singing group.
He then played soccer for a travel team in the summer and basketball for AAU.

But more than that.
He was coming home at night and reading his Bible. 
All the way through. 
Twice a year.
I just found one of Adam's old Bibles and saw (in his tiny little handwriting) the dates above each chapter he was reading at the time.

It literally stopped me in my tracks, because something hit me.

I am reaping the benefits of the decisions he was making as a 17-year-old.

I'm sure he wasn't thinking...I should be reading my Bible so I can grow to be a godly man and support my wife and kids.
I mean, what 17-year-old thinks that way?

That. Right there. Is one of the things that drives me to invest in the lives of teenagers.
Maybe. Just maybe, if I encourage one teenager to get serious in their relationship with God.
And if I encourage them to keep reading their Bible, and making God a priority?
There could be an entire family who can reap the benefits of those choices.
See...most teens don't think about their decisions affecting anyone else but themselves.
I said most.
But not all.
Not Adam.
He saw the importance of developing godly character at an early age, making it easier to keep it up as he got older, and as he started raising his family.

So the way Adam rolled circa 1994 was pretty awesome.
And I think every 17-year-old should roll the exact same way.

If you are reading this and you are a teenager?
Think about this:
The choices you make today are going to affect many people's lives in the future. 

Be a teenager of character. Your family will thank you later.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ain't nothin gonna get me down.

It's been a stressful and very emotionally draining couple of weeks, so I was very thankful to wake up to blue skies and sunshine today!
I was also thankful to wake up to a husband who was joyful and at peace...exactly what I have been praying for him through everything.
And to top it off, there was only 1 inch of water in the basement instead of 4! It's the little things, right?

Ain't nothin gonna get me down!

Since we finally got some warmer weather, I forced the boys to have a picnic lunch.
Ha...It's pretty much like, I-make-the-food-so-you-do-what-I-say kinda deal.
They were good sports even though the sun was super bright!

Two of the best parts of Spring are about to be blooming! Tulips and lilacs - can't wait!

So thankful for a husband who wants to serve God no matter the cost.
And I am also so blessed to have 2 boys who look up to, and respect their dad for that very reason.
It was a good day.
Because God is good. Always.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Keeping quiet when you want to talk

Sometimes I want to say exactly what I'm thinking.
Who am I kidding....ALL the time I want to say exactly what I'm thinking!

I have already typed words on this blank page in front of me and then had to delete them.
Because I like to keep it real, I have shared my past hurts from people who called themselves friends.
I have put myself out there because I like for people to feel like they can relate to me.
Like they are not alone, and I like to remind them that they can get through.

See the thing is, I know that I will always get through. I have no doubt. I know that God is the one who gives me the strength I need.
Even though I believe that with everything in me, I still have struggles.
I still struggle trusting people.
I have a hard time believing peoples words compared to their actions.
It can just feel like too much already! Let downs, disappointments, not understanding.
Sometimes pain for myself, sometimes pain for other people.
I have difficulty controlling my thoughts that just run crazy in my head even as I read my Bible.
You would think that would be one time I could have some peace and quiet, right?
But no. My head still thinks it's time to rant and cry out even as I sit in front of the most stable,
life-changing, peace-giving book on earth.

And so I want to talk.
I want to talk about it all.
I want people to be on my side. Have my back. Hold my trust. Hear my case.
But I can't get very far without the book of Proverbs, I Peter, and many others grabbing ahold of my shoulders, shaking me and reminding me of what I need:

*Let no corrupt communication come out of your mouth.
*If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil.
*Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips.
*When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.

Psalm 141:3 says it best when it calls it how it is...
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the doors of my lips.

Keeping quiet when you want to talk.

It starts with my heart, and taking those thoughts captive.
Then I have to ask God to please put a big, strong, mighty guard in front of my mouth.
A guard that will not allow anything to enter the world where people hear and can be affected by my words.
(*please note that there is no side note here that says we are allowed to say things about people that are not edifying to our husbands, our sisters or our closest friends. Keep your mouth shut. period.)

Easier said than done my friends.
Especially if you feel like you need to defend yourself.
Still. Who is in control? Me? or God?

And so then. I will say these verses over and over. And then over and over again.
And again. And yep, you got it...again.
And not stop. Because I am afraid that if I stop saying the verses? I will say something else.

God's Word rules.
And it has to rule my heart, my thoughts and my words.

So no matter the insults. No matter the hardships. No matter the persecutions or calamities.
When I am weak, Then I am strong.
The power of Christ in me.

But of course...I'm the only one who has this problem, right?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Rachelle Chase Photography ~ Emmi turns 2!

I am not lying when I say that I have the cutest nieces you ever did see.
My niece Emmi turned 2 a couple weeks ago so we did a quick session with her and a few with her big sister Lilla!

Here are a few of my favorites!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Mommy Monday ~ Our children are in danger

If I had the time tonight, and if we were just sitting down over coffee...me and you.
I would tell story after story, time after time of how God has answered prayers in the lives of my family and my children in particular.
It started with the very night AJ was born.
My labor and delivery were not going at all how they portrayed it would go on TLC's          The Baby Story!
His heart rate was dropping rapidly and I didn't even realize until long after the danger that his life was in. 
It was right before we found out about this that Adam called the church to try and get in touch with my Dad. AWANA was going on at the time, and all the leaders from church stopped everything and prayed for AJ. For me. 
AJ "just happened" to be brought into this world right as people were praying.
He was born healthy and strong.
Coincidence? Not a stinking chance, my friends.

God is powerful. He is also personal. 
He wants to hear us cry to him, and He loves to bless us.

I believe with every ounce of my being that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. I believe it because God says it.
I also believe that because it is so powerful, it is dangerous for my enemy. 
And it is because of this that I face major opposition when I decide to make prayer a priority.

Moms and Dads.
Please listen to what I am saying right now to you. 

Our children are in danger.

If I told you that there was someone coming after your kids to try and destroy their lives, how would that make you feel? Would you carry on as usual? Would you say...oh they can run fast, and they took a kickboxing class that one time, so they should be all set.
Or would it push you to action? Would it make you protect a little bit more. Prepare them a little bit harder, and beg God to protect and watch over them?

Our children are in danger.

Our kids do have an enemy coming after them (like a roaring lion) trying to attack and kill them. 
Did you know that the Bible says satan wants to steal, kill and destroy?
Did you know that he has your babies in his sights?
Did you know that what he wants to steal is not their legos or video games, but their joy. Their peace. Their purity. Their future.
Did you also know that he is a master deceiver? So we need to be more alert. More purposeful. More intentional about where our kids are. What they are watching, what they are listening to, and where they are going.
Do you even realize how much is at stake here?
Their very lives, and the lives of generations to come.
We are the keepers of these children as long as God allows them to be with us.
What are we doing about the enemy?
What are you doing about the enemy?

See, our kids think that what they are doing is no big deal.
The pornography they see on instagram a million times a day,
smoking pot a few times here and there,
drinking with their friends,
sleeping with their boyfriend or girlfriend...
They don't see the long term effects of these things-
That's why we need to be stepping in. Being involved and warning them of the dangers.

We need to be crying out. Pouring out our hearts like water to our loving Father.
I love how the Bible words it here...

Lamentations 2:19
"Arise, cry out in the night...pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children..."

The NLT puts it:
"Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him in prayer pleading for your children..."

This is serious stuff here.
I pray over my boys every single night after they go to sleep.
I pray for purity. for courage. for strength. for leadership. for joy.
Sometimes I am on my knees pleading. Sometimes I am praying scripture over them.

Ephesians 1 and Colossians 1 both have great prayers to pray over your kids.

Are you crying out in the night for your kids? 
Believing that God will answer?  He says He will.
Our kids need us to fight for them. 
Our kids need us to pour out our hearts for them.
It's our job. How are you doing with that?

You know what else? Some kids don't have mommas who are crying out to God for them.
The kids I know? Don't have their mommas doing anything at all for them...and it breaks my heart.

That's where we come into play. 
We can fill in.
I have a list of boys that I am lifting up and pouring my heart to the Lord for because I know their parents aren't doing it.

Maybe that's what God wants you to do.
To fill in where other parents aren't doing what they need to be doing.

Moms and Dads. 
Our children are in danger. But there is something we can do about it!
Please, please take seriously what is in front of our faces.
Cry out. Plead and beg that God will protect our children. 
Ask God to give them the courage they need to face the pressures all around them.

The prayer of a righteous person does make a difference.
Live it out.
Pour out your hearts.

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