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

 

Still Dreaming

Have you ever had that feeling…you know, the one where you feel that you are here to be more, do more?

In Holley’s book, You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream, she tells us that “We are made for a pupose, and until we are intentionally pursuing it, we feel half alive. We are dreamers waiting for someone to wake us up so the real adventure can begin.”

I know God made me for a purpose and He has put dreams in my heart. My problem is that I get in the way. I try to start figuring things out and take charge. That is when He stops me and tells me to be still. I have been in this struggle for a few months now.

I know He is teaching me to slow down and take one thing at a time, but that is so hard for me. He is also changing some of my dreams, some dreams that are hard to let go.

Another thing Holley reminds us of is…”Our part is not control. It’s not results. It’s obedience. It’s intimacy with the One who asks us to trust him even when nothing makes sense.”

I have to remind myself that it is not “what” I get done, it is the journey and the time spent with my Father.

Also during the past few months, I have felt Him calling me to do more in my own home. I feel that He wants me to work on my relationship with my husband and our children. Sometimes it is easier to go out and help others instead of working on the hard parts in your family.

Our pastor is even doing a series on family right now and one question that I have been wrestling with is…If you could change your family, what would it look like?

It was also perfect timing (God’ timing) that I was chosen to be on Courtney’s launch team. Her book is so honest and thought provoking. She reminds us of what is truly important in this life and who God created us to be. (You can order yours right now and get 10 FREE ebooks!)

I am truly a work in progess and I am so thankful for His love and grace! I will continue to work on letting go and following His plan for me, focusing on the relationship and not the tasks.

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How about you? Do you have areas that you need to work on or let go of? I’ll ask you the same question as my pastor…If you could change your family, what would it look like?

Hope you have a fabulous week!
Blessings to You,
Melissa

Say What?

What a week! I really feel God working in my life and speaking to me…showing me He is faithful and that I can trust Him with all my heart.

I don’t know why I still have trouble trusting Him. As I look back over the past few years, He has been so loving and faithful. It happens though every time when things get tough and I just don’t know how we are going to get by financially, I start worrying and trying to find a solution.

Over the past few months I have been on a few interviews, felt really good about them, and then didn’t end up getting the job. As I look back, my focus was more on the extra money we would have and not the job itself. I have had to let go and just trust and that is very hard for me. He has always provided for us so why do I still doubt?

This past week I have focused more on Him and the blessings He has given us. I have spent more time thinking about the dreams He has put in my heart and asking Him what His plans are for me and my family. I was able to let go and feel a peace about our finances.

Well let me just tell you, I used our Bible study phrase of the week when we got a check in the mail this weekend…Say What? He had provided for our needs and then some!! My husband received his commission check for the month and it was much more than we ever expected. I stopped right then and there and thanked God. Then I felt guilty for not trusting Him like I should.

I can’t tell you that my doubt won’t creep in again and that I won’t worry, but I am a work in progress. My Bible study and the lessons that we are learning at church are helping me grow and change how I handle life.

I love that my Bible study and our lessons at church are emphasizing some of the same things. I can feel my Father speaking to me.

Some reminders from church this morning…

  • God hears – He hears our complaints and loves us anyway.
  • God is near – We have to slow down sometimes to feel His presence. Sometimes we work so hard to honor God that we miss His presence.
  • God provides – Provides everything we need, when we need it.
  • God tests – The purpose is so that we see our hearts and mature in our faith.
  • God is so generous – If you have God, what else do you really need?

Here are some notes from my study

  • Find a quiet place – Choose a quiet comfortable place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted.
  • Invite God to guide you – As you begin to review your day in God’s presence, ask Him to guide and teach you.
  • Begin with gratitude – Look back on your day–morning, afternoon and evening–and notice all the ways in which you experienced God’s goodness.
  • Look for leadings – Now go through your day again–morning, afternoon, and evening. You may want to imagine that Jesus is sitting with you while you watch a video replay of your day. When something you see catches your attention, push the “pause” button. Then ask Jesus for His guidance and insight.

It is all about spending time with Him, to feel His presence, trusting Him with everything, and letting Him guide us.

How about you? Did you have a Say What? moment this week? Are there things in your life that you need to let go of? I’d love to hear from you and pray for you!

Blessings to You,
Melissa

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Step Out~Trust God~Go Deeper

Don’t you just love it when our Father sends us messages? He reminds us that He is there and that He loves us so very much!

The past few weeks have just been hard for me. I felt like I had lost my direction and was so frustrated about things in my life. If you read my last post, you will know that part of the problem was not spending enough time with God so that I could feel Him near and hear Him speak to me.

Well my sweet Father has been speaking to me loud and clear over the past few days. I have to admit it makes me feel so special and loved when He does it. 🙂

One thing I have realized is that I am trying to do way too many things. All good things, but too many for me to handle. I just end up feeling overwhlemed and can’t do anything well. I have to slow down and focus on what God wants me to do right now.

Isn’t it funny that Jeff Goins issued The Slow Down Challenge just when I needed it? This challenge helps us

  • Live with greater intentionality
  • Have better focus
  • And develop deeper relationships.

I also felt like our pastor was speaking directly to me Sunday. He taught from Matthew 14:22-33…when Peter steps out of the boat. Here are some of my notes…

  • The disciples didn’t recognize Jesus at first ~ When Jesus doesn’t move like we think He will, we panic. We try to take control or just settle and go back to where we started.
  • Jesus tells Peter to “Come” ~ Jesus wants us to step out on faith, He wants us to take the next step.
  • As you take the next step, here are some things to remember…
  • Focus determines direction – what are you focused on?
  • Distractions and other voices are everywhere – who are you listening to?
  • Jesus has the power to rescue you – do you trust Him?
  • We grow through our stuggles
  • Do we TRUST that God is really in control?
  • Keep following and trusting Him because He is faithful.

Step Out ~ Trust God ~ Go Deeper!

And if all of that wasn’t enough, the title to the blog for our study yesterday was “Hearing God’s Voice“. Lysa gave us five questions to ask ourselves when we are trying to discern God’s voice…

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This week I am taking time to slow down and listen for my Father’s voice. I need help figuring out what I need to be doing for Him and what I need to give up. I want to follow His plan for my life. I want to step out of the boat with unwaivering faith and say “Yes” to whatever He asks me to do. I may struggle or be scared but I have to remember that He is faithful and will never leave me.

How about you? Are you hearing His voice? Are there changes that you need to make in your life so that you can follow the dreams He has put in your heart? I’d love to hear from you so that I can pray for you.

Blessings to You,
Melissa

Just One of Those Days

Friends, have you ever felt just…well…I can’t even think of one word to describe it. Have you ever felt tired, overwhelmed, unorganized, uninspired, not sure what to do next all in one day? That’s where I am at today.

I am usually a positive person…the one smiling and encouraging everyone else. I usually have a good attitude and am just thankful for all God has blessed me with. Now don’t get me wrong, I am still very thankful but I just feel off.

These feelings probably come from school starting this week, lots going on at work, getting grades in for my night class, trying to keep up with chores, and getting over a kidney stone. I just don’t like feeling this way.

I know what I need more than anything…time with my Father. With everything going on I haven’t spent enough time with Him. I even apologized to my partner in a Bible/Book study today because I haven’t had a chance to post. I haven’t posted because I haven’t taken the time to journal and process what I have read.

I need to get my priorities back in order…get my focus back on what really matters.

One thing I am going to do is take The UnWired Mom Challenge. I have caught myself too many times just wasting time on my computer or phone. You too? Why don’t you join us? Check out Sarah Mae’s blog to find out more.

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I am also going to make time each day to read, journal, and pray. With a husband and three kids, finding the time can be hard some days but I know I will be a better wife and mom if I do.

The Bible/Book study I am doing right now is through Proverbs 31 Ministries. We are reading What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst.

I want to say “Yes” to God. I want to be used by Him. I realize though that in order for that to happen I need to put Him first, let some things go, and get some rest. He certainly can’t use me if I am too busy doing other things or just too tired.

Thank you for spending some time with me and letting me vent! I am already feeling better. How about you? What steps are you going to take to make some changes in your life? We are in this together so let me know if I can pray for you or help in some way.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

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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

A Celebration for Education {Lanier Technical College & Barrow County Schools}

What a beautiful morning! I was able to go celebrate with friends and family from Lanier Tech and Barrow County this morning.

I was surprised at my emotions at the ground breaking ceremony. It hit me as I sat listening to the speakers that Lisa Maloof had finally seen one of her God-sized dreams come true. Years of dedication and hard work made today possible.

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Next Fall there will be a new Lanier Tech Winder Campus and a Barrow County Career Academy. What a blessing for those in this area! There will be training for all ages and for the specialized skills needed in and around Barrow County.

Our speakers talked about the importance of education and training and reminded us that what we were a part of today would affect generations to come.

Our Georgia Representative Terry England was there and our Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. I was especially happy that my cousin and new President of Lanier Tech, Ray Perren, was there. He is such a good, honest man and leader. I know he will do great things for the staff and students at the college.

I can honestly say that working at Lanier Tech was the best part of my teaching career. I loved the people I worked with and I enjoyed teaching skills that would help our students reach their goals.

I still remember my last day at Lanier Tech. It was so hard to leave but I knew God had other plans for me. I have no doubt that He put a love in my heart for the people and students at this college and will lead me back there one day. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of their celebration today.

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

 

Listen {Five Minute Friday}

It’s Five Minute Friday! I am linking up again with our awesome host, Lisa-Jo. She gives us one word each week and asks us just to write for five minutes. Our word for this week…

LISTEN

Who do you listen to?

Do you listen to those negative comments in your mind? Does your self-worth come from what others say to you or about you?

I spent years trying to do and say the right things so that others would like me. My self-worth came from my job, how my kids acted, what we drove. I still listen sometimes to those negative thoughts that creep in but I am working on that. A good way to fight those thoughts is to remember who you are and whose you are…I am a daughter of the King!

I used to wonder why I didn’t hear God…why wasn’t He showing me His plan for my life. I realized that I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t spending time with Him so that He could speak to me and lead me. I also had to learn to give Him the control. I had wanted Him to show me which way to go and then get out of my way.

My day is so different when I start it off spending time with my Father. He speaks to me through His Word, through songs, and through others.

Right now I am waiting patiently and listening for what to do next in my life. There are other job opportunities for me but I want to make sure I am following His path for me. What may seem like a good idea to me could actually lead me away from what He has planned. So I will wait, pray, and listen.

Join us over at Lisa-Jo’s to see what others have to say about listening.
Five Minute Friday
Blessings to You,
Melissa

Another Year

Another year…42 in all. The years have passed way too fast!

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As I sit here and think about my life, I can truly say that I am now joyful…full of joy. I know that this kind of joy does not come from people or things. It comes from having a close relationship with God.

I was saved when I was a little girl but I haven’t always had a close relationship with Him. I am so thankful that He has changed me over the past few years. I am still a work in progress and I always will be. I know He has great plans for me and I look forward to seeing them unfold.

It has been a wonderful day so far…I have had my Spark…I did my Bible study…and now I am enjoying the quiet before my family gets up.

I am looking forward to spending time with my family today and all the hugs and kisses.

I pray today that however long God has me here that I will be a good example for my family and others. I want to be a light for Him and be used for His glory. I am thankful for all the blessings He has given to me and I am thankful for another birthday.

Blessings to You,
Melissa