Hope

1015OH.

MY.

GAW.

Can you believe it is already 2015!???! Insanity. Pure insanity. I feel like 2014 went both fast and slow at the same time. Have you ever felt that way? There were certain parts that I thought for sure would never end (like having a colicky baby haha) or a whiny 3 year old (well now she can be a whiny 4 year old 😉 but hey, she isn’t 3 anymore! HA!) but then there are parts that seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye, like the super cute 8 month baby stage that I so love, or half of my oldest daughter’s first year of Kindergarten (say what!?) or Christmas (which I am kinda sad about because this year it didn’t ever fully FEEL like Christmas, which is not normal for me).

I hope that all of you had a fabulous Christmas and holiday season with your family. I hope that your children had a good break. Are you happy or sad they are back in school? Or yes to both? HA! 😛

oneI have heard a lot of things over the last few years that instead of making a whole list of new years resolutions, that, let’s be honest, we won’t follow anyway… choose ONE. WORD. to symbolize how you want your year to be. How you want to change. How you want to grow. How you want to live.

What will YOUR one word be? Have you thought about it? What word would you choose that can encompass EVERY.SINGLE.THING. you hope to achieve, accomplish, or do in this year?

I had 2 that I was going back and forth between.

JOY & HOPE

Choosing Joy is something we must actively pursue in order to fulfill anything else in life really. We must CHOOSE to be joyful regardless of circumstances. It is the only true secret to contentment.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” Philippians 4:11

However, I think HOPE is an even MORE all encompassing word. It is through HOPE in Christ that we can have JOY in the first place. 

“The hope of the righteous brings joy…” Proverbs 10:28

Hope is what holds us together when everything is crashing around us.
Hope is what binds people together that may be struggling
Hope is what allows us to trust in our Father even when we don’t understand
Hope is what allows us to have joy
Hope is the catalyst for SO. MANY. THINGS.

We can survive a lot IF we have Hope.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul” Hebrews 6:19

And if you are a child of God, you ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. have Hope. Always. No matter what your circumstances. No matter what you are going through. No matter what you are feeling. No matter what you have done. No matter what consequences you may be suffering because of sins. NO. MATTER. WHAT.

Hope is what allowed Jesus’ disciples to be willing to die for their faith. Hope of MORE. Hope of eternal life. Hope that this life on THIS earth is not the end all. It isn’t our real home. Hope that we are made for greatness. Hope that God can, does, and WILL work all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28)

My focus passage for this year will be Romans 12:12

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” This passage sums up the word perfectly to me. We can rejoice in all circumstances, if we have hope, even IN tribulations. It is that hope which allows us to trust God and be patient THROUGH those times of tribulation. Constant in prayer is what will allow us the proper focus to remember where our hope lies. It is through constant conversation with God, which is what prayer is, that our minds can stay focused on Him. Focused on Hope. And that Hope will lead to SO. MUCH. MORE.

So this is my one word: HOPE

because with Hope, you can change everything

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Rejoice always?

I was reading scripture passages this morning and came across this verse…

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

I went to Biblegateway.com and looked up the scripture surrounding this passage. I ended up reading all of Philippians 4. I began reading this because sometimes I think we have a misunderstanding of what it means to “rejoice.” I think sometimes we think it means we have to look happy, put together, and like we have everything just so and perfectly held together at all times. I don’t think that is what REJOICE means. I continued reading and found some key words and phrases that helps us understand what this REALLY means.

In verse 10 Paul (I believe is who wrote Philippians) says “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me…” When I read this it made me see this passage in a way I may not ever have. As the body of Christ they had CONCERN for each other. I really believe this means they SHARED in struggles, they prayed for, listened to and were there for each other. THEY WERE TRANSPARENT. THEY WERE REAL. How can we lift each other up and encourage one another through trials if we don’t share in them together. That is part of what the body of Christ is for! To share in one another’s trials and struggles.

Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” 

How can we do this if we act as if we have it all together at all times? I don’t think we can. Paul continues on in Philippians 4 and we see this played out when he tells the body “ Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble” Those three words let me know that he was open and honest with those in the family of Christ. SHARE MY TROUBLES. These three words let me know that we can do that with each other. We don’t have to hide things, or pretend that things are better than they really are. We have no need to be ashamed. We all go through trials and struggles in our life. What better way to be the body of Christ than to help each other through these? Iron sharpening iron, right? We can’t do that though if we are not honest. We cannot keep each other accountable if we are not open. I also truly believe we can make it through struggles faster when we have the body of Christ there to support us and restore us in a spirit of gentleness and love.

Paul continues to talk about how this body of believers helped him. How can others know how to help you if you are not honest?

The rejoice part?

That means that no matter WHAT we face we can have joy and trust in our Amazing Father. We know that he has everything under control. We can trust that he really DOES work all things for good. We can have faith that he will use trials and tribulations for His glory. This does not mean we cannot be sad, or discouraged, or feel emotions that are human nature. Even Jesus felt these emotions. He wept when Lazarus died. He grew weary. He even asked that this cup be taken from him the night before he was crucified. The key point? Jesus said

“not my will, but yours be done…” Luke 22:42

I think THAT is the key to rejoicing – knowing that God’s will is far greater than anything we could desire or do on our own. Even if His will requires pain sometimes we can have JOY knowing that He is with us through those.

Paul says the secret to having joy, or being content, in Philippians 4: 11-13

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” 

We really CAN rejoice at all times because we have an amazing Savior who loves us. We can have joy and be content in all circumstances because we have a loving Father who holds our hands, and at times carries us, through those hard times. However, part of the way he carries us through those times, is through the body of Christ. The body of Christ is amazing. We should be there for each other. We should help, encourage, love, lift up, keep accountable, teach etc, each other. The BEST way to do that and the BEST way to get the most out of the beautiful gift that the body of Christ is, is to be HONEST with one another. Seek help when you need help. Weep with each other. Rejoice with each other. Be there for each other. Bet there to HELP each other rejoice always.

The body of Christ is a wonderful gift. Sometimes, I don’t think we truly take advantage of just how amazing it can be.

not a baby anymore

My first daughter is 3 now. She turned 3 on Wednesday, August 31st. I cannot believe that 3 years have already come and gone. What happened to my little baby!? She isn’t a “baby” anymore. She is my little big girl. She is a helper. She is a little mommy to her little “big” sister (since Holly is all of only 4 lbs less than her and 5.5 inches shorter haha – I think she will end up being the “big” sister soon, she definitely must have gotten the families ONE, maybe 2, tall gene). I just cant believe it. I just can’t believe she is already 3. I  have been really emotional over this birthday. This 3 years thing. Why? I don’t know. When we had her, I was so excited about her turning 1. Then 2 was fun too! For some reason now, I wish time would slow down. I wish she would stay my littel princess forever. I know she won’t though. Well, to me, she always will be. I know that soon enough will come a day when the infamous words “I HATE YOU!” come out of her mouth. Oh, I am not looking forward to that day! Her turning 3 has got me thinking…

Sometimes we rush thing. Sometimes we want life to move faster. Sometimes we miss out on little things that God wants us to see in THIS stage in life, because we are too eager to get to the NEXT stage. Better job. Better house. Better car. New town. New job. MORE money. Etc… Even sometimes when things are GOOD, we are still focusing on the LATER, rather than the here and now. I think as moms we do this sometimes. We think. UGH! more poopy diapers? I can’t WAIT until they are potty trained! UGH! another nighttime feeding!? I can’t WAIT till they are sleeping through the night. UGH! I hate being pregnant! I can’t wait until the baby is here! GET IT OUTTA ME! UGH! The terrible 2’s SUCK. I can’t WAIT till they are 3! UGH the 3’s suck even WORSE!!! I can’t wait until they are 4! I can’t wait till they are in school so I can have some ME time…FINALLY. UGH this or UGH that. I can’t wait for this or I can’t wait for that! I do this. You do this. We all do this. Suck it up and admit it moms. WE ALL DO IT! GOT THAT!?

I am not saying we always sit around and talk like this 24/7. I am also not saying it isn’t ok to GET frustrated or need to vent. The Lord has given us friends and family to help us in these times! (and I am SOOO thankful!!!) I know many wonderful mothers that treasure each stage in their childrens life. I do as well. I love each stage for a differant reason. I do admit, my weakness is about the first 8-9 months. I love babies, but I dont’ understand babies! Its H-A-R-D for me. You know, some people  just have that knack for the baby thing. I am not so lucky. The baby stage sends me back to my high school days when I KNOW I KNEW the answer, but for some reason I would tense up, my palms would sweat and my mind would draw a blank. Good old test anxiety. To me, thats what the baby stage is! A giant test. Except you CAN’T study for it! LOL. Yikes. I love babies, don’t get me wrong. i love the chubby chub legs, the so cute you just wanna pinch the crap outta their little cheeks stuff…but its HARD for me. I cant talk to them, they cant talk back (really) I cant understand them, and when I don’t automatically KNOW what they want, I freak out and think I cant do it and Im a terrible mom. SO. I admit. I wish this stage by all to fast some days. I shouldn’t.

Katie turning 3 is a turning point for me. The last 2 nights I have rocked each child a little longer, holding their precious bodies, kissing on their faces, stroking their hair, rubbing their backs, whispering “I love you” over and over and over… I know that all too soon, they will screaming at me to “GET OUTTA MY ROOM!” “I HATE YOU” “I WISH I’D NEVER BEEN BORN” – so tell me? why would we want to fast forward to that!? I am going to miss these days. Its going by too fast. I need to stop thinking “I can’t wait until “fill in the blank” and start saying – Wow, I am really loving the ‘fill in the blank’

I think that we have something to learn and to gain from everything in life. every stage. Every stage in our life is beautiful. sometimes, it may not appear that way, but every stage, every experience, every snotty runny nose (boogy wipes people! THEY ARE AWESOME! LOL), every potty accident, every puke filled bed, every teething baby, every whiny attitude, every cry, every whisper, ever fear… all of it is molding us into the mother that GOD wants us to be. The mother that all of have inside of us just waiting to emerge, BUT we have to let it. It won’t emerge if we complain about the here and now, wishing for the future…. yes, there are plenty of “yucky” stages, but there are also many of every cuddle, every kiss, every nighttime snuggle, every story read, every I love you said, every first word, every first step, every first day of school, every smile, every laugh, every family vacation, every wonderful memory, every picture hung on the fridge, every proud moment…

Stop wishing to get out of something and on to the NEXT something, because truth is, if we have that attitude now, we will only have that attitude when we get to that “next something” we were wishing for. Lets love the here and now, no matter WHAT stage we are in! Good or bad, hard or easy, fun or boring, joyful or frustrating…truth is, there can be something found in EVERY experience, we just have to look hard and find it 😉 Sometimes though, its not as hard as you might think 🙂

ENJOY THOSE LITTLE ONES WHILE THEY ARE LITTLE!!!!!!!!! For, all of them will soon be grown and we will be wishing for those days back…

My “little” big girl, Katie Rene’, 3 years old

My “big” little girl, Holly Grace, 9 months

 

By the way, this book “Let Me Hold You Longer,” by Karen Kingsbury, is a great poem about this. A great reminder to enjoy the here and now. The stage we are in with our kids 🙂 Its great, get it! (click on the title)

so true

With Christ we can truly have joy no matter WHAT the circumstances. Wow, that still gets me everyday! THAT is the difference between happiness and joy. Joy is NOT  based on whether your life is full of sunshine or of rain and storms but in having the peace that no matter WHAT, Christ will bring you though and He is with you! So amazing!

I’m dreaming. . .

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas! And, considering this weekend, it may happen! I think it may be my first White Christmas EVER! 🙂 Being from Texas, uhhhh, snow “don’t really happen round those parts” haha.  I think the last BIG snow I remember was when I was about 4! It was not even that much either, lol. maybe 2 inches or less. i remember making the woosiest and smallest snowman, but I giggled with pride at my new found friend. Perhaps this year, my snowman can grow a little! 🙂 hehe. It snowed here this weekend and it was SO pretty! There is still some snow on the ground! Katie loved it. She walked in the snow yesterday and got mad when I said it was time to go! I think she liked the crunch crunch noise it made. She called it no, haha. Close enough, right? 🙂 She had a blast watching it fall from the sky. She stood at our sliding glass doors in wonder and amazment. It was so cute, special and heart warming.  I will never forget her face. little kids can teach us so much. They teach us, to love, to live, to be without fear, to have more love, more joy, more happiness, more hope, more peace. . .they teach us to continue dreaming! Having a little girl, i am understanding child like faith more each day. Katie doesn’t worry I won’t take care of her, she just has faith and trust that her mommy will give her what she needs. If me as her imperfect earthly mother gives her what she needs (food, clothes, drink, home) than how much better is our Heavenly Father at taking  care of us!? It was a very special and memorable weekend this weekend, and katie taught me a little bit more about myself and to continue dreaming!

Full Time Mom

Well, i have officially been a stay at home mom for 2 days!  WOOHOO!  The days have been going wonderfully!  Katie is such a good baby, though I feel bad for her right now.  She has some eye goop 😦 so it is so sad to see her try and open her eyes.  We called the nurse on call last night and she isn’t worried about it, it may just clear up on it’s own.  It is pretty much that grody snotty sleepy junk we adults get, just more.  Andrew did some research on it and found that when babies tears come in, around 2 weeks, that sometimes they are a little clogged and it causes the buildup.  If it’s one kind, she can use eye drops, if it is the other kind, it goes away naturally.  So, we think that is most likely what it is, because the eye itself is not red.  I really enjoy being with her during the day, but man, by the time andrew gets home, I am pretty tired and end up getting over emotional when I see him!  Even if the day went perfect, which it usually does.  She really isn’t a fussy baby at all, which is good.  She sleeps great too, so I am hoping that means sleeping through the night in a few weeks like the docs say she could do!  YAY!

Ok, so now for something more serious.  For me, it still has to do with Katie, of course.  Most things in these early days probably will, but I think this lesson could go for anyone really.  The other day I was feeling a little overwhelmed and stressed.  The night before, Katie had a fussy period for about an hour and so I was freaking out.  Yes, i know, wow 1 hour out of the day, I realize now, we should consider ourselves lucky!  So, anyway, I checked my e-mail and saw I had an e-mail from my former boss, Stan.  I had written him earlier to thank him for allowing andrew to work from home for that first week so he could get to know Katie, and help me.  When he wrote back he said at the end to make sure and treasure ALL these moment while she is young, because pretty soon, we will be sending her off to college.  I needed to see that.  He is so right.  I love Katie sooooo much already and I need to treasure all times, even the fussy ones, because, geez, its already been nearly 2 weeks!  Time does fly.  So we need to embrace and cherish the time we DO have with those around us, or in anything in life.  So, I wanted to challenge you to see what it was YOU needed to cherish more this week?  Is it your spouse?  your kids?  do you have certain freedoms in your job?  And it isn’t just the “happy” times we need to cherish and be joyful in, but frustrating times as well.  For one, we know they will pass, another is we know that “ALL things work together for the good of those who love God” (Romans 8:28), but most importantly, the Lord is there through them all!  So, think about your life this week, what you do, your chores, your job, your family, whatever it is, and think. . .what do I need to be cherishing more than I am?  Cherish it folks, because before you know it, it/they will be gone and you will be moving on to the NEXT chapter in your life.  God Bless!

Joy and Pain

So I was listening to one of my girlie pop dance albums. Yes, I like that music, its fun and upbeat and always puts me in a good mood. . .especially when I leave it on in my car and Andrew gets in to drive and starts dancing to it to make me laugh 🙂  So, a line in a song said

“Sometimes you have to go through the pain to experience the joy”

Well, this is very true.  Especially for pregnancy.  In order to experience to joy of becomming a mother you have to experience a certain amount of pain first.  Childbirth.  Even some parts of pregnancy can be uncomfortable and painful at times. . .but when you think about the end result, you know going through that pain is worth it, because it will bring you the joy of holding that little baby in your arms.

What are some areas in your life that seem painful right now, but you know will result in joy?  If we remember what joy is biblically it may help to put things in proper perspective.  Remember joy is something we an always have with Christ, no matter the circumstance.  Even this life on earth can be painful, but as Christ-followers, we know we will one day experience the joy of eternal life with Christ.  There are many things in life that must require some degree of pain (physical or emotional) before experiencing the joy that comes after.  The good news is, with Christ, we know ALL things work together for the good of those who love him. . .He promises us that!