Day 3 ~ We are THAT Family

Last night we changed things up a bit. My husband usually takes our two youngest to Awanas on Wednesday night, but he had to work last night.

I love that my kids enjoy going to Awanas but I felt we needed something different this week. We loaded up and headed to Zaxby’s. It was a fundraising night for their school and I had a coupon for a free meal!

Let me tell you that I have gone out with my three before and I have felt overwhelmed and at times even embarrased. It seemed like every time at least one of them would act like they had absolutely no raising.

Not last night…we had the best time together! We ate, we laughed, we enjoyed our time together. It made me realize that they are all growing up and that makes me happy and sad.

It makes me realize that they won’t be with me forever. Before I know it they will be off living their own lives. I have to cherish the moments I do have with them…good or bad.

We laughed about some of the other outings we have had and they loved calling each other out. I loved it when Reagan said he liked that we weren’t just an average family. He liked that we were different. He said we are THAT family. I laughed and then thought about what THAT meant.

We are THAT family that loves and supports each other no matter what.
We are THAT family that trusts God with our present and future.
We are THAT family that is okay with being different.
We are THAT family that gives each other a lot of grace.
We are THAT family that follows His Word and not the world.

Do we always get it right? No Way!

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We are blessed to have a Heavenly Father that loves us, guides us, and wraps us in his strong arms when we really mess up and helps us keep going.

As I wrap up day 3 of Living with Purpose, I am spending some time thinking more about what THAT family…my family…should look like. How about you? What do you want your family to look like?

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Don’t forget my giveaway going on this week. Courtney Joseph’s new book ~ Women Living Well. Just click here to go to my review and giveaway post. Winner will be announced this Friday!

Women Living Well ~ Join Me! ~ Giveaway

Are you a woman living well? I try, but I know I have a lot to work on. You too? Well let me introduce you to Courtney Joseph’s new book Women Living Well: Finding Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home. Isn’t that a great title?

A few weeks ago, I was blessed to find out that I was selected for the launch team for this book. I got an advanced copy and started to read as soon as I got it. I thought it would be one of those books that you can read through quickly and take away a few things to apply in your own life. I was so wrong!

This book makes you look at all parts of your life and want to do better…for yourself, your husband, and your children. Courtney is so encouraging, while being so honest and transparent.

She reminds us that being a woman, a wife and a mom is hard, but we can find joy through all of it with Christ.

The book covers four main areas:

  • Your walk with the King
  • Your marriage
  • Your parenting
  • Your homemaking

I have to be honest and tell you that I spent a lot of time in the section on marriage. She includes a two-week marriage challenge that I will be starting next week.

Reading this book has also encouraged me to step out and start my own book study. I want to share this book with some local friends and have some girl time to discuss these topics so that we can help and encourage each other.

You can get your copy of this fabulous book on October 1st, but if you go ahead and pre-order you also get 10 FREE ebooks. This includes the companion study guide for this book too! This offer ends on September 30, so get yours ordered today!

Want a chance to get a copy of Women Living Well for FREE? Just enter below…winner will be announced Friday, October 4!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, are you ready to join me and start living well?

Blessings to You!
Melissa

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Marriage & Mommyhood ~ Priorities

Today is the kickoff of my new (in)courager group. I joined up with my friend, Laura Pratt, in the Marriage and Mommyhood: Finding grace in the balance group.

Not sure I could have found a more perfect group for me. I am looking forward to learning, sharing, and growing with these other moms. Sometimes we just need others to listen, those that have been there and done that. A place we can go for grace and encouragement.

Do you struggle with all the responsibilities of being a wife and a mom, while also becoming who God created you to be?

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I know I feel like I am drowning at times. I have so many things I need and want to do, but not enough hours in the day. It is during these times that I have to stop and re-focus…time to look at my priorities.

Finding time to spend with my heavenly Father has to come first. I need His love, strength, and guidance to get through each day. I find that if I don’t have my quiet time I start doubting myself and I let the negative thoughts start creeping in. You know…the ones that tell you that you aren’t good enough and you can’t do what God is calling you to do. The only way to fight these thoughts is through His Word and asking Him for help.

My husband and children come next. My family should be my most important ministry. Sometimes it is easier or you get more appreciation by helping others outside of your home, but God blessed me with them and they should get my best. Annette Soldini calls this the Family Ministry Golden Rule…”goes a step beyond the regular golden rule: treat your family members as you would like them to treat you and see them as your most important ministry.”

After that, my life gets messy. I have got to start doing a better job organizing everything…cleaning, blogging, reading, crafting, exercising, and following my dreams.

As I look over my calendar for the next month, I will HAVE to be organized to get it all done! It seems a little crazy with everything else I have to do but I have decided to take the 31 Day Challenge. This is a challenge to write for 31 day straight in October about a particular subject. After lots of prayer, I decided to do it and came up with my subject…31 Days of Living with Purpose. Each day I will look at a different part of my life and how I can improve. I am looking forward to seeing the changes in my life at the end of the month. Want to know more about the challenge? Hop on over to the Nesting Place.

As a mom, I don’t think I will ever find true balance in my life. I just need to focus on God and His plan for my life, my family, and then prioritize the rest.

How about you…How do you manage all of your responsibilities? I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by and I pray you have a Blessed week!
Melissa

 

He’s Still Working On Me

When I think about how much I have changed over the past few years, I start singing the song “He’s still working on me”. Do you remember that song? My dad had it on cassette and loved to hear me sing it. I never realized how powerful the words were to this song until recently.

He’s still working on me
To make me what I need to be
It took him just a week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and patient He must be
‘Cause He’s still workin’ on me

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart
Don’t judge him yet, there’s an unfinished part
But I’ll be better just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master’s loving hands

In the mirror of His word
Reflections that I see
Makes me wonder why He never gave up on me
But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He’s the potter; I’m the clay

(written by Joel Hemphill)

I feel Him working on me each day…changing a little at a time…shaping me for His plans.

Change is not easy but it is necessary. He often requires us stepping out of our comfort zones, taking a leap of faith. This keeps us where we need to be…relying on Him. The dreams He has put in my heart would be impossible to do on my own, but I know I can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).

He supplies my strength, my hope, my joy, my peace…he supplies me with everything I need.

Since I made the decision to give Him control, my life has not been stable or comfortable. Walking away from a full-time position was very hard but He has been so faithful. We just get by some months, but we have a home, cars to drive, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I am thankful for everything He has blessed us with.

He has shown me that life is about so much more than things. It is about love and relationships. It is about learning and growing. It is about living the life He has planned for us.

I have always been a planner so letting go of our future was a hard transition for me. It took some hard times for me to give that up. Oh I still have my calendar (I’d be lost without it) but I am open to changes. I know that God’s plan is so much better than mine.

We are in a waiting period right now and patience is not something that comes to me naturally. I have gotten better but still have a ways to go.

There are some other job opportunities out there for me right now. I have applied and interviewed for two of them. I believe one job would be great for me and my family but I have struggled with the other one. It would be a great position with a better salary but one that would take a lot of time and effort on my part. It would be nice having more money coming in but my first ministry is to my family and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. I am a wife and a mom and those two responsibilities come first. (I think I now have my answer about the second position.)

God is so good and I am proud of the changes I see in me. Giving Him control of my life though is not just something I did one day and it is done…it is a daily thing for me. I still struggle and I still make mistakes. The difference is that I know my gracious Father forgives me and will continue to help me. Each day I turn to Luke 9:23. I want to be His disciple and bring Him honor and glory.

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How about you…is He still working on you? Is it hard to turn it all over to Him? I’d love to hear from you.

Blessing to You,
Melissa

Girl Time

I am an early riser…I am usually up by 6:30 or 7:00 even when I don’t have to go to work. I love my quiet time…a time to read my Bible, study, and get ready for the day.

This morning didn’t work out as I had planned. As soon as I got up and got in my chair I heard footsteps. My sweet, little girl got up early too and wanted to snuggle. She asked if I had to go to work, when I told her “no” she said she wanted to spend morning, all day, and night with me. That made this mom’s heart feel like it would bust!

We curled up and snuggled for a long time and talked about how we would still snuggle when she gets older, even when she is an adult. I don’t know if that will really happen but I can hope. She is such a blessing! She will tell you that God knew I needed a little girl and she is right.

After we snuggled, she put on her dance clothes and put on a recital for me. I love to see her dance! I also love her self-confidence and her love for our Lord. I have to admit I do worry about her as she gets older. I pray that she will continue to grow closer to God and that she won’t let this world change who He made her to be.

I love the time we got to spend together at the beach last week too. I enjoyed getting up and walking on the beach with her. We got to see God’s beautiful creations while having some girl time. My focus at first was to get out and get some exercise, but it quickly became about having fun and enjoying our time together. I did tell her to try not to get her dress wet, but she told me that was part of the fun. What a reminder to me…stop fussing and just have fun!

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Well she decided to watch one of her movies so I eventually got to have my quiet time this morning, but I am so thankful for the different start to my morning. I am so blessed!

How did you start your day? Was it busy or did you get your quiet time?

Hope you have a wonderful day!
Blessings to You,
Melissa

Father’s Day…Happy & Sad Day

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I know this day is not an easy one for a lot of people. Either they have lost their Dad or some don’t have a relationship with him.

I am feeling blessed this year. I still have my Dad, my Step-dad, and my Father-in-law. We hope to see all three of them today. My kids and I are also blessed to have my husband. I love to watch him with the kids when we are fishing, cooking, or just hanging out. I pray that they will feel how much he loves them and that they will have so many wonderful memories of him when they are adults.

I didn’t always have a good relationship with my Dad. My parents divorced when I was 14 and saying it was hard is such an understatement. I moved away from my family and friends and our father-daughter relationship was torn to shreds.

I am sad to say that I tolerated him for a lot of years, even at my wedding. A year after my wedding though I severed all ties. My husband and I moved away and I decided I wanted nothing to do with him.

Let me tell you, forgiveness is essential for a happy, peaceful life. I didn’t have that for a long time. I thought I was okay but deep down there was a hole. It wasn’t until after my second child was born that we began working on our relationship again. I can tell you that it was only through God’s example and His teaching that I was able to forgive and love my Dad again.

We don’t talk about the past. We focus on the here and now. I have forgiven him for everything we went through back then and have told him so. We don’t have the perfect father-daughter relationship, but it works. I enjoy being around him now and my children LOVE to see their Grandpa!

So I know not all Father’s Days are good ones. I missed out on several years with mine, but I am glad I still have him and that we can celebrate this day together. It breaks my heart for my friends that don’t have their Dads today.

We are blessed to have my Step-dad and my Father-in-law too! My step-dad, Roy, has been so good to me and my family. He has always loved me and treated me like his own daughter. People are surprised when they find out that he in not my biological father. Everyone can see how much he loves me and my children. My husband’s dad, Thomas, is such a sweet man. I love to see him cuddle up with the kids and just talk with them. He has had to be so strong lately with my mother-in-law fighting cancer.

I am thankful for all the years I had with my Papa but this is a day that I miss him terribly. I have so many wonderful memories with him. I wish my children could have gotten to spend more time with him. He was a sweet, loving, God-fearing man and I love him!

Whether this is a happy or sad day for you, remember that you always have your Heavenly Father and He loves you unconditionally. If you are struggling in your relationship with your Dad or if you are missing him today, I pray that God will wrap His loving arms around you and give you peace. If you do have your Dad or Grandpas, tell them how much you love and appreciate them today. If you are married and have children, make sure to tell your husband too!

Blessings to You,
Melissa

 

Summer…Time for Family, Fun, and Faith

Whew! The past month has been a busy one…end of school, working, writing, teaching at night, kids’ activities…all while trying to lead our Bible study and find the time I need for rest. How about you? Have you been busy too?

This month I am planning some time for fun! I am still working and teaching two nights a week but I am making time to study God’s Word and making memories with my family.

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I didn’t always make the time for those two things. I focused on my career and tried to make everyone else happy. I wasn’t happy with myself so I felt I had to work harder and do more so people would like me. I thought that would make me feel better. I was so very wrong!

I now know what brings me joy and happiness…
It is having a close, personal relationship with our Creator.
It is focusing on my most important ministry – my family.
It is knowing that God has a plan for me and it is better than I could ever imagine!

I am teaching a night class back at the college I worked at four years ago. It was so hard leaving that place. I love the people there and it is still the best job I ever had. It has felt like going home.

I left because God had other plans for me, but now I feel like He is leading me back. They don’t have a full-time position right now but I can see myself there within the next year. It would be a perfect fit with my non-profit too.

I want to help women follow their God-sized dreams. If their dream is to go to college, then I could help them get in and be right there to encourage them all the way through.

There is a peace looking back and seeing how God has used people and experiences to get you ready for the next journey. I see so much in my past that makes me the perfect one to pursue my dream. It hasn’t always been easy but it will all be worth it.

Do you have a God-sized dream? Have you been struggling to find your path? Spend time praying and reading His Word and He will make your path clear. Just leave me a comment and I will be praying for you too.

Do you plan to slow down this summer and focus on making memories? Please feel free to share your ideas and activities with the rest of us. I’ll be sharing some of our fun here on the blog. Check out some of the cool things I found on Pinterest too…http://pinterest.com/mjwallace3/summer-time/.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Are you looking for something to read this summer? Two books I highly recommend…
Holley Gerth’s You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream and it is 50% off this week at LifeWay.
Jennie Allen’s Anything…reading this right now for our Good Morning Girls study. I had planned to do a different study this summer, but God had a different plan. 🙂

 

The Journey With My God-sized Dream Team

For I know the plans I have for

Blessed…so very blessed!

I remember reading on Holley’s blog about the God-sized Dream Team she was putting together. It sounded like a wonderful opportunity to meet other ladies and to grow closer to God. I never really thought I would be chosen though.

I remember the day I opened my email and Holley welcomed me to the team. I sat there smiling and crying at the same time. I knew then that God was about to change my life.

The past six months have flown by. I have been challenged, encouraged, and loved by 99 other women that I have never met in person. Only God could make that happen! We have shared our fears, our accomplishments, and our struggles.

It has always been hard for me to share my true feelings, to show the real me. I am still working on it but I am so proud of the changes I have already made. I have learned that God can do great things when you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and trust Him completely.

One of the big obstacles for me was not feeling worthy enough to be used by Him. Boy was I wrong! He uses our weaknesses to show how wonderful, powerful, and gracious He is. I am truly humbled and so thankful that He wants to use me.

When I started this adventure I wasn’t sure what my God-sized dreams were. I had left a 17 year teaching career in May and I was homeschooling our three children. I thought that was the plan He had for me.

In December, He provided a new job for me which led to some really hard decisions. I had never imagined sending our children to public school. My fear and pride got in the way at first but after lots of prayer I had a peace about it. We couldn’t have asked for better teachers or administrators at the school they attended. God had them in the palm of His hand. I went to work knowing that everything was according to His plan.

Over the past few months, I have started leading Bible studies and I have started planning a ladies conference. We are still in the planning stages for the conference but I hope to have it this October. I would appreciate your prayers and would love to have any of my GSDT sisters come and speak!

I am so very thankful for you Holley Gerth! Thank you for following His plan and blessing me with your love and support!

I look forward to staying connected and watching all of the amazing things God does through this team. I will be praying for each one of you as you pursue your God-sized dreams!

Who I am now…

I am a new woman in Christ that will continue seeking His plan for my life. I am no longer afraid to step out and do what He calls me to do. I want to be used for His glory. I want to follow my God-sized dreams. I want to encourage others to find their God given gifts and go after their dreams.

Love, hugs, and blessings to you all!
Melissa

Back on Track

Welcome! It feels so good to be writing again. The past few weeks have been so hard…a very busy time of year with my family…feeling overwhelmed…losing my direction.

One problem is that I let the negative thoughts take over. You know, the thoughts like “What am I thinking, I can’t do all of this” and “Who are you to think God has called you to do this?”

The biggest problem though was that I wasn’t spending enough time with God and in His Word. I let my busy life take over and I lost my direction. If we want to follow our God-sized dreams then we have to spend time with our Father. I went back to one of my highlighted parts in Holley’s book

“It’s about a relationship. God is not all that interested in your getting things done. If he made the world in seven days, there’s nothing he can’t check off his to-do list without your help. What he wants on this journey to your dream is intimacy with you. Success is simply this: obedience.”

Obedience…intimacy…He just wants to spend time with us and help us follow the dreams He put in our hearts.

I do feel back on track now. I plan on having our Beautiful You conference in October. I am working on finding a place and I am working with a friend on getting t-shirts made. I want to go ahead and start selling t-shirts to help with the upfront costs of the conference.

One thing that I have been thinking about this week is the focus of the conference. It is definitely seeing ourselves as Christ sees us…we are Beautiful…but I was searching for something more. This morning He showed me what I was looking for. Ephesians 2:1-10…Come Alive is the focus of the conference. We have been saved by grace, we are God’s workmanship, and we have good works to do.
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I am praying that this conference will encourage women to truly see their beauty and their worth, to grow closer to their Father, and to dream God-sized dreams.

Can I do what it takes to plan and have this conference all by myself? No way! I need God’s strength, His direction, and His grace. I also need friends that will help with different pieces (I have already had a few offer to help) and lots of prayers. Will you pray for me that I will continue following His plan and that my focus will be on how He can use this conference for His glory?

Would you like to help with this conference? I’d love to have you join us!

(Wouldn’t you know that as soon as I sat down to write this morning, I heard my daughter get up. My first thought was “Oh no, I really wanted some time by myself this morning to write”, but now I can tell you I sure did enjoy the time cuddling and talking with her this morning. Isn’t that what is important…our relationships? My daughter will be grown before I know it so I will cherish all the moments we have now. The writing, the cleaning, and all the other stuff will get done eventually. Our relationships with our family and with others should come first.)

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Being a Mom…

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Being a Mom is hard but it is also the most amazing and rewarding job God could have given me!

I had no idea what to expect when they laid that sweet, baby boy in my arms 13 years ago. He was so small and fragile. I thought my heart would bust with all the love I felt for him. I became a Mom that day.

As I look back over the years, I mostly focus on the good stuff. His first birthday…starting school…playing baseball…all the hugs and kisses. I try to forget things like that one year in pre-school he lost all of his ice cream scoops almost every day – not a good thing.

When I look at this teenager now, I see a boy growing and changing and on his way to becoming a man. I just want to stop time. I know that in 5 short years my baby boy will be going off to college. Since I can’t stop time I will do what I can…enjoy all the moments I have with him and pray a lot!

God has also blessed me with two more children, another boy and a girl. My daughter tells me that God knew I needed a little girl and she is right. She adds so much personality to our family and lots of pink! She brightens my day and I cherish our “girl time”.

My middle child has been the hardest to figure out. He is very different from the other two. He is quiet…a thinker…strong-willed. The good thing is that God has used him to teach me patience. I also realized that there wasn’t just one way to raise a child. What I did for my first child did not work for my second.

Parenting is a lot of trial and error and a whole lot of praying. Each child is a new creation with their own look, personality, and gifts. I am still amazed at how different they are even though they came from the same two parents. Only God could be so creative.

God has also used these three blessings to work on me, change me, and make me dependent on Him. I have had to learn to give God control over every part of my life. Believe me I have tried to do things on my own and it just doesn’t work.

Moms have such a big responsibility raising their children. There are days when I am stressed out and just don’t think I can do anything right, but I can find comfort in knowing that my Father and my children still love me and give me grace. I cling to the days that are great. Those are the ones I will remember when I am older.

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them? Ecclesiastes 3:22

Yes, being a Mom is hard but the benefits are priceless!

Blessings to You,
Melissa