Posts Tagged With: family

I’m not the Lord of my Life… (Thankfully!)

I am not the lord of my life… THANK GOD.

I type those words with ease, because if I was lord of my life,  I would be in serious trouble.

But there was a time (not too long ago, might I add) that I really was TRYING to be my own lord. It wasn’t extremely obvious. It’s not like I was building little golden Sharita-idol statues to put around my house and sell on Amazon. (That would be so awkward.) However, I WAS trying to do all, control all, be all to everybody.

And as lovingly as God crafted me, I am NOT made for that.

Neither are you.

Everywhere you look, we find “self-help” books. Admittedly, I have a few on my bookshelf in my dining room from my previous “Me-me-me-I-can-do-it-all” days. Sure, there are a few good tips in there– but our efforts mean NOTHING without God’s involvement.

Having control of everything/everyone in life can quickly become an idol or obsession. When we think our efforts are the end-all-be-all, we leave God out of the equation… And most of the time, we find ourselves stressed, exhausted, frustrated and facing defeat.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not making a proposition that we all quit our jobs and move to the Bahamas, spending our remaining days on earth basking in the sun drinking little umbrella drinks. (Unless God is calling you to do that… In which case, I would appreciate an invite to crash on your couch for a week.) Our hard work is necessary but insufficient without God. We are in a partnership with God. To collaborate, seeking His strength and guidance while we carry out His purposes.

If you have been around 7 Days Time very long, you know that I am predisposed to being a worrier (coupled with my desire for control. Super fun. Sigh.) But when it comes to lordship over our life, we can release both worry and control and let God do His thing instead of thinking we should/have to do it all.

In order to help with this example, I have made a list.. (Me? Make a list? No way!) It’s essentially a list of what I can/am called to do/should control versus what God’s responsibilities are.

Here we go…

My responsibility: To love my husband and Biblically submit to Him
God’s responsibility: Equip my husband to love me like Christ loved the Church

My responsibility: Take care of my daughter by feeding her, clothing her, loving her
God’s responsibility:  Protect her, guard her, and be with her in ALL situations

My responsibility: Blog and minister with faithfulness and passion through 7 Days Time
God’s responsibility: Bring the people and soften their hearts to hear His word

The list can go on and on and on… but I tell you what- when I clarify MY responsibilities in life compared to what God’s Lordship responsibilities are over me, it is such a relief.

It’s not all up to me. I am not the Lord of my life. 

The best part about all of this is that while I am incapable doing all these things alone, God is there with us. He loves it when we invite Him into our day and say “Ok, God. I am going to work hard for you, but I know my efforts are insufficient without you. I’m gonna need your help.”

What would your list look like? Where do you struggle when it comes to defining your vs. God’s responsibilities? I would love to hear all about it– comment below!

So today, friends, lets admit (and rejoice) in the fact that we are not the lord of our life.

Praise the Lord for His Lordship,
SGK

 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” -Exodus 20:2-3 NIV

To do list...

What’s on my list… vs God’s list?
(Photo via Vic @ Flickr)

Categories: control | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Commandments for New Mamas

Charis wasn’t just the inspiration for this blog… She helped.

This post has been a while in the making.

After all, I HAVE been a mama for a whopping 5 months.

Oh wait. You mean that’s just the beginning? Well, even though I still have a few decades to go as a mama, I wanted to share with you some of the lessons I have learned (and am still learning) as a new mama.

You might remember the 10 Commandments mini-series I did for friends/families of pregnant gals, our hubbies and all you procreating ladies out there.  Now today, we add a new dimension.

So grab your sense of humor and your loudest AMENs… Because I have a sneaky suspicion a handful of you might identify with these 10 Commandments for New Mamas. (Side note: Most, if not all of these, apply whether you are a biological mama or adoptive mama. Just sayin.)

1. Thou Shalt give yourself grace. This is a biggie. I don’t know about you, but I know several new moms who have great dreams and expectations of what motherhood is going to be like… The snuggles, the smiles, drying tears… and that’s totally legit. However, motherhood is freaking hard. (Most rewarding thing we will ever do, but hard.) The sleepless nights, first sickness, the days where your patience is running thin… And newsflash, I’m not perfect. (My guess? Neither are you. Sorry.)  I personally have jacked up many times so far in my short time of being a mama. So what keeps me going? The promise that God doesn’t want us to be perfect… He just wants us to be faithful.

2. Thou shalt enjoy it. Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before… “Enjoy this time because you will wish it back.” Well, I totally agree with the enjoying this new journey as a mom to the fullest– every moment, milestone and thrilling experience. However, it is so easy to get caught up in tomorrow, worrying about what’s coming next or what we are going to do when _____ <you fill in the blank>. Just as it says in Matthew… Tomorrow has enough worries in itself. So let’s just enjoy our little one today.

3. Thou shalt not forget about other folks… And Jesus. It’s SO easy to get fully, totally, completely consumed taking care of and nurturing this little life that God has entrusted us with. However, probably the best parenting advice I ever received was in a sermon several years ago… They gave an illustration of pyramid of God being at the top, spouse second in line then kiddos next. Yes, babies take a TON of work in those early stages, but remembering God is over it all and our hubs (or other family members) are here to help us takes some of the pressure off, keeps our relationships healthy and let’s us enjoy the journey even more. (See Commandment #2.)

4. Thou shalt laugh and exercise your sense of humor. Some of the crazy things that happen in motherhood are hilarious. Maybe not at that exact moment, but the next morning when you realized your sleep-deprived zombie self tossed that 3am dirty diaper in the laundry hamper instead of the trashcan sure can warrant some grins. (As long as you catch it before you toss it in the washer.) Kids are hilarious, even the little teeny ones. So don’t be afraid to laugh at the motherhood journey… and even yourself on occasion. That, in itself, is a gift from God. 

5. Thou shalt not compare. This is a biggie, folks. We live in a competitive culture. Everyone wants bigger, better, smarter, faster. Well, guess what? Being a mama can sure suck you into this trap. You see/hear someone else’s baby weighing more at their doctor’s appointment, getting a tooth sooner, sleeping through the night, crawling quicker, blah blah blah… Then suddenly you start to worry (sin), judge the other mom (sin) or envy them (sin.) See where I’m going with this? Yes, it is a struggle to overcome our human tendencies… But I think I remember something about that with God, ALL things are possible.

6. Thou shalt ask questions. And lots of them. Anybody who is gonna get all up in your Kool-aid for asking questions bout your little one and the millions of parenting decisions/responsibilities needs to quit sipping that Haterade and step off. (I get a bit fired up about this one… Can you tell?) As far as I am concerned, there are no dumb questions, especially if putting in a 1am phone call to your pediatrician’s nurse line to get a question answered will help you sleep a bit better and rest your weary heart/mind/body. Also, ask lots of questions to YOUR doctor about what your bod is going through, and ask questions to your pediatrician. If they give you flack, I vote time to get a new doc. AND you can also ask questions to God, asking for guidance in a particular situation/mamahood moment. (See Commandment #10.) Oh, and avoid Google. Seriously. Don’t google your questions or you might never sleep again. One more note on this one– Always go with your mama-Jesus gut. Docs/experts/other parents are great, but YOU (and Jesus!) know your baby best.

7. Thou shalt embrace your new body. Let’s be honest– pregnancy may or may not have been super kind to your bod. Heck, even if you adopted your little one, your body is probably still gonna go through some changes with the lack of sleep, learning how to eat/exercise with a babe… Embracing our new physical selves can be a challenge. Sometimes you gotta wonder if things will EVER get back to normal and be the same. Answer? Nope. I mean, seriously– you grew a human being inside of you! That’s kind of a big deal. But although your bod won’t ever be the “same” it will have a new normal… And new normal is great considering you have a little one to remind you that it was all worth it. God’s temple (your body) is a blessing to begin with. (PS: See also Commandment #5… Because for those of us that becoming a mom was physically not the best, don’t be hatin’ on your FB friend when she posts that she lost all of her baby weight day 2 after giving birth and ran a marathon a week later. Just sayin.)

8. Thou shalt remember you are human. This commandment goes hand-in-hand with #1. But seriously… We need to come to terms with the fact that we cannot and will not be perfect parents. (As much as I would love for the opposite to be true.) In those moments of feeling like blah/ican’tdothis/crapimessedup, don’t listen to Satan’s voice telling you that you “failed.” Instead, hit your knees and seek God’s grace, guidance and forgiveness. After all, He is our heavenly Father so he totally gets how hard it can be– times a few billion.

9. Thou shalt not stress…. Too much. I wish I could write a rock-solid commandment of “thou shalt not stress at all ever.” Maybe for some mamas out there is a possibility, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that the majority of us experience some kind of stress when they send us home with a teeny little person (minus the instruction manual) and we suddenly realize that we are solely in charge of this little one’s upbringing for say, the next couple of decades-ish. That just might bring on some stress. But as new mamas, we gotta take it one day at a time… Laying our fears at the foot of the cross, praying through them (might I recommend Philippians 4:6-8?) and TRUST that God will see us through every nerve-wracking, uncertain yet joyous moment of being a new mama.

And finally, the one that trumps them all…

10. Thou shalt pray… A LOT. (This one was also included in all 3 of the previous preggo commandment posts… Seeing a trend of importance here?) I think I’ve prayed more as a new mama than I have in all my life. I pray for wisdom. Patience. Energy. Discernment. Composure. Strength. Guidance. Rest. Encouragement. Forgiveness. Courage. And every time I pray, the task of raising my little girl becomes a little less daunting and I can see God’s fingerprint as a bigger heavenly picture comes into view.

All you mama’s out there… Can I get an AMEN?

Motherly love to you,
SGK

“May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!” ~Proverbs 23:25 NIV
PS: Be sure to pop over to Monday’s blog for a chance to enter a giveaway! (Ends 8/19/13)
ALL DONE!

ALL DONE!

Categories: motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chocolate & Jesus

When the going gets tough… the tough get going.

Now, let’s tweak that statement a bit…  Complete it  with YOUR word… what do you desire/need/turn to when things get tough?

Here are a few of my potential examples.

When the going gets tough… the tough get frustrated.
When the going gets tough… the tough get take-out. (I’m an emotional eater. What can I say?)
When the going gets tough… the tough get snippy. (Not proud of this one—but it’s true.)
When the going gets tough… the tough get chocolate. (No explanation necessary, right?)

Um, yes please?!?

Um, yes please?!?

But what would happen if we replaced ALL of our tough-time tools with just one very powerful remedy?

When the going gets tough… the tough get Jesus.

Come on. You knew that was coming. 🙂

This example happened to me in real life a few weeks ago as we were slowly but surely trekking across this great nation from Georgia to Washington state en route to our new home.

We were somewhere in Wyoming and it was kind of a frustrating day of travel. Nothing out of the ordinary, but my Beloved and I were just getting a bit road weary after about 2,500 miles in the car with 4-month-old baby girl and a pup.

We had mapped out our trip so we wouldn’t have to push ourselves for hours and hours each day… We knew going into this journey that traveling with a little one was not going to be easy and would add several hours onto our trip daily. (As in a typically 4 or 5 hour daily trip could easily turn into a 7 or 8 or 9 hour trip quicker than you can say “Hey, she’s hungry/wet/needs to burp again.”)

On that particular day, sweet little girl was extra high maintenance. Fussier than normal and protesting her nap so well that it would make anti-napping babies everywhere swell with pride. It was crazy hot (Wyoming in July—‘nuff said) and we had been living a nomadic wandering lifestyle for about 11 days.

I was tired. Frustrated. The going was getting tough… my heart started to race and I could feel the emotions welling up.  My first instinct was to raid the console or glove compartment for anything covered in chocolate.

However, since I was the one who packed (and repacked) the car, I knew that there purposefully wasn’t a drop of chocolate anywhere in our vehicle due to the extremely high melting factor.

As my blood pressure rose, I gritted my teeth felt a meltdown coming… just because. I wanted to be done with this trip. I wanted out of the car. I freaking wanted some chocolate.

Suddenly, I heard a heavenly whisper reminding me I didn’t NEED chocolate… I needed HIM.

So I scrounged around in the backseat, amid the diapers and empty water bottles where I was permanently parked and found my small pink Bible. I “randomly” opened it to Psalm 89. It was a message about David… But in the moment, I replaced “David” and “him” with “you” to signify God talking to me. It went a little something like this:

“My hand with sustain you; surely my arm will strengthen you. No enemy will subject you to tribute; no wicked man will oppress you. I will crush your foes before you and strike down your adversaries. My faithful love will be with you, and through my name your horn will be exalted. I will set your hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers. You will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’” ~Psalm 89:21-26

After I read through it a couple of times, peace flooded my heart… And wouldn’t you know it—my “need” for chocolate completely disappeared.

I often joke that everything can be fixed with chocolate. But in all honestly… chocolate ain’t got nothing on Jesus.

Loving Sweet Jesus,

SGK

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” ~Psalm 55:22

Categories: faith | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pictures of Faith

In case you missed the memo, we recently moved.

And by moved, I really mean traveled 79 total driving hours in the car with a 4-month-old baby for 3,785 miles.

Good times.

Along the way, we had the opportunity to have some great family moments– as well as several incredible Jesus moments. Today, I would like to share a few highlights of God’s splendor (and some funny tidbits) from our trip of a lifetime during our PCS army move from Fort Benning, Georgia to Fort Lewis, Washington.

Now, I’m not typically a “photo-blogging” kind of gal, mainly because I am a quantity picture taker, not quality. I figure if I take enough pictures, surely a couple will turn out ok, right?

So here we go…

Day 1. Charis is already road weary and we haven't even made it out of Alabama yet! #arewethereyet?

Day 1. Charis is already road weary and we haven’t even made it out of Alabama yet! #arewethereyet?

The Badlands. Wow, Lord. Thanks for this one.

The Badlands. Wow, Lord. Thanks for this one.

Custer State Park in the Black Hills... Praising Him for His wonders!

Custer State Park in the Black Hills… Praising Him for His wonders!

Atop Mount Pinnacle in Little Rock, AR with Uncle Brock. (Brandon's bro.) True act of God that this postpartum gal and baby made it to the top. (Note to self: Never hang out with an in-shape army guy and in-shape air force guy...)

Atop Mount Pinnacle in Little Rock, AR with Uncle Brock. (Brandon’s bro.) True act of God that this postpartum gal and baby made it to the top. (Note to self: Never hang out with an in-shape army guy and in-shape air force guy…)

America.

America.

Someone (ahem, Brandon) thought it would be a fun idea to tour a cave with a 4-month-old. Do you know how much the tiniest of baby squeaks echos in a cave?

Someone (ahem, Brandon) thought it would be a fun idea to tour a cave with a 4-month-old. Do you know how much the tiniest of baby squeaks echos in a cave?

God sure made Wyoming purty...

God sure made Wyoming purty…

Even amongst all the traveling, we still had time to get some "official" family pictures...

Even amongst all the traveling, we still had time to get some “official” family pictures…

This picture is kind of a big deal... Not just because she's super cute, but because she is a terrible napper. (I'm not a fan/advocate of bargaining with God until it comes to this baby napping... #pleaseJesusjusttenmoreminutes )

This picture is kind of a big deal… Not just because she’s super cute, but because she is a terrible napper. (I’m not a fan/advocate of bargaining with God until it comes to this baby napping… #pleaseJesusjusttenmoreminutes )

Probably one of the most gorgeous picture of faith the whole trip... Mountains of Montana, just outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Probably one of the most gorgeous pictures of faith the whole trip… Mountains of Montana, just outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Needless to say, it was quite the trip. Even through the long days in the car, the continuous stops to take care of baby girl, the frustrations and fun moments, we were able to see God in all of it… And He is our true picture of faith.

Praising His splendor,
SGK

“Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.” ~Psalm 96:6

PS: Thanks for all your prayers during our journey!

"Seriously, Mama... Like you don't get enough of me in the backseat of the car..."

“Seriously, Mama… Like you don’t get enough of me in the backseat of the car…”

Categories: travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Everyday Jesus: Adopted by Christ

Sometimes, God introduces us to a person and/or story that just touches our heart and inspires us to the very core. Today, I am blessed to introduce you to my neighbor (literally– she lives next door!) who loves Jesus and is on quite a faith-journey. Meet Mindy. She and her husband Roger are building a family– which requires them to seek out Jesus Everyday. Show these faithful Christ followers some love as they encourage your heart and press forward in their calling. 

Loving my neighbor,
SGK

****

Growing up, I, like other little girls, dreamed of our meeting my prince, getting married and having a family. Never did I imagine hitting a bump in the road, called infertility.

When Roger and I tied the knot we knew we’d love to have a family and decided to not use birth control and it would happen in God’s time.  Our first anniversary came and went and still not pregnant, no worries. We both agreed God had something else in store for us.  After being diagnosed with uterine fibroids and undergoing surgery to remove them we thought we were on our way to building a family. We sought out treatment at a fertility specialist and were told IVF was our only option for having a little one of our own flesh. But, Roger and I weren’t sure about IVF, we had always said that if it had come to that, we would adopt. But God had another plan.

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Source: Juliane Bjerregaard via Flickr

As we prayed about what we should do, we both felt God leading us towards IVF. Nothing was guaranteed to us as we went through the process. It was a 50/50 chance of working. We transferred 4 embryos, due to the low quality. Our doctor informed us that not only did we have male factor issues; we were also looking at the quality of my eggs being not so great. But we hoped and prayed every night. God had guided us to this spot and he would show us our future.

However, 2 weeks later we found out that our cycle had failed. I went into a tailspin of depression. I was angry and upset that this could happen. I couldn’t understand how God could provide a child to those who abuse and hurt children, but we couldn’t have just one.  It took me hitting rock bottom to find what was important in my life again. I hit my knees in prayer and talked to God as much as I could.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

I went to this verse and had to remember that HE was in control not me, the doctors or anyone else. Only HE knew what plans he had laid out for Roger and I as a family.  I found peace and understood then that he had given us the path of infertility and the pain of a failed IVF cycle to prepare us for what amazing things he had in store for us.

We knew then that it was his plans for us all along to adopt, but that the little bumps in the road was to teach us to depend on him more.  I started researching adoption agencies and was astonished by the costs associated with adoption, but knew that he would provide for us.  It was super important for us to have a Christian Agency to work with and we found that with Bethany Christian Services.  We arrived in Fort Benning, GA in February 2013 and hit the ground running with all of our paperwork. We are working with an amazing social worker as part of their Domestic Infant Adoption program in hopes of having an open adoption. We are excited, anxious and nervous all at the same time. But, know that God is working on our perfect child for us right now.

When asked, “How are you so at peace?” I share how God brought me to my knees and renewed my faith in him. Without him, this journey wouldn’t be possible. After all, we are all his adopted children!

 “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”– John 1:12

Reflection: How or when do you rely most on God? Does it give you hope that no matter what you are facing in life, you are adopted by Christ? Share your thoughts below! 

****

Mindy and RogerMindy and Roger have been together 6 years. They met while Roger was deployed to Iraq and have been together since. She’s a stay at home Army wife who runs the household while also volunteering and going to school full-time. Mindy is a furbaby mommy to 2 wonderful dogs, Max, a fox terrier and Maxine, a toy fox terrier. She enjoys traveling, photography, helping others, and being outdoors. Mindy is excited to be a mommy to a child one day through adoption.  Until then, she continues to be a guiding light to others dealing with infertility and teach them the plans our amazing God has in store. They would love for you to follow their story via Facebook at “Roger & Mindy Are Adopting”. Please keep them in prayer.

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

In the Garden (Revisited)

I am smack dab in the middle of learning what it means to be a new Mama while moving across the country. No big deal, right?  (It is an adventure, that is for sure!) So today as I considered what bloggy ministry message God wanted me to share, He put this one on my heart. (Actually, He put the song on Pandora which made me think of this post written a little while ago…) 

As my Beloved Brandon and I make new memories with our little one as we seek out our new home with the army, I couldn’t help but get all gushy thinking about my parents. This post recalls one of my favorite childhood memories with my dad… and my heavenly Father. 

Where do you go to meet with the Father? I would love to hear all about it. Feel free to comment below! 

Praying today is full of Him!
SGK 

****

Growing up in northwest Kansas as the daughter in a farming/ranching family provided me with many chances to “get away.” Ok, let’s be honest– we were 90 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart. We were always “away,” so actually going somewhere aka civilization was a big deal.

Anyway, Dad worked a lot of hours taking care of the cattle and crops, but some of the most precious memories I have of my youth were those moments when I would climb onto the bathroom sink, lather up my face and pretend to “shave” my face with my finger as he did the same in the mirror. We would sing as we “shaved,” and to this day the song “In the Garden” takes me “away” and back to solidarity on the farm… and now to solidarity with God.

The song “In the Garden” fondly reminds me of my youthful days on the farm and also of my relationship with God. It brings back around the importance of spending time with Him daily, reflecting in his glory and love for us.

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

(Refrain)
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
Refrain

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.
Refrain  

Check out the link to hear the song… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW0WA8OSXZg
IMG_0174

Jesus deeply desires to spend time with us, love on us, romance us. Are you giving Him that opportunity? Where is your garden? Is it literally a garden? Maybe someplace else in nature? Perhaps at your kitchen table before the rest of the family awakens? It might even be at the bathroom sink, staring into the mirror, talking to God and thanking him for the memories of the past and the promises of the future.

Spend some time to go your “garden” with Him today. None other will ever know the joy you experience with Him as you walk, talk, and tarry there.

Walking in the Garden,
SGK

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

Categories: peace | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

I’ve learned some great lessons over the years… from muppets. (Yeah, I said it.)

Growing up, it was Sesame Street… Big Bird, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Oscar the Grouch, Burt and Ernie… I learned that sharing is the right thing to do, that C is for cookie (that’s good enough for me, cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C!–Anybody else remember that song?) and many other life lessons that have served me well the last 27 and a half years.

I’ve also learned a lot from other muppets– perhaps the more widely known clan… Yes, THE MUPPETS. Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear (Waka, waka!) and of course~ Kermit the Frog.

In one of my brand-spanking-new-mama late night feeding sessions with Baby Charis, a thought from Kermit came back to me:

It ain’t easy being green.

Kermit The Frog

Via Eva Rinaldi at Flickr

I know. Weird thought, right? But I let this idea marinate. What exactly does he mean, it ain’t easy being green? Green isn’t really a positive color to be I guess (at least according to Kermit.) He wrote an entire song about it– wanting to be a different color, more bright and brilliant and noticeable.

Green doesn’t have the best connotation in our world either… Check it out:

Green can denote inexperience: “Oh look at the new guy… over there fumbling around. He’s so green. (Or what a greenhorn.)”

It is the color of envy… Which is one of the seven deadly sins. “When I saw her new necklace, I was green with envy.” Uh, not good.

And finally, it signifies a “sick” look. “Are you ok? Was that roller coaster a little too much for you? You look a little green.” (Insert vomit noise here.)

But as I mentioned, this random “being green” thought came to me one drowsy morning around 3am. After I pondered the worldly connotations, it brought me to one of my favorite Bible verses from Jeremiah.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” ~Jeremiah 17:7-8

Huh. Who knew, right? I want to be green. I want to be THAT tree, planted by the stream who is not afraid because I KNOW that God has my back.

This current season of life as a new mama is a blessing (as I write this, I am playing “Beat the Clock” as Baby Charis kicks and squirms beside me on the floor… hoping I can get a good chunk of this knocked out before she gets bored.) But as blessed as being a new mama is… It’s still FREAKING HARD. Which I knew it would be. But still. SHEESH. (Love you baby girl!)

I’ve been pretty green lately… in most of the ways mentioned above. Feeling like a greenhorn not having a clue what I am doing have the time with this 7 lb ball of needy, adorable love. I admittedly have been a little green with envy of others who still drive their own schedule– or who have survived the initial hard season of newbornhood. And yes, I have been even a little green with nausea on occasion. (Not really from being grossed out– but just with the prospect of being solely responsible for this little life. Dear Lord, help me.)

In this season of different shades of green– I am reassured that yes, it ain’t easy being green… But when it comes to following Christ, I want to be that tree. I want my leaves to always be green and bear fruit.

Are you in a “green” season? One of growth and bearing fruit? Or in a time of the drought where you are just trying to make it through one day at a time? How do you cling to God in those times? I always welcome your thoughts– leave a comment below.

Today friends, I leave you with this thought from a Godly perspective– it’s ain’t easy being that tree, always trusting in the Lord– nope, it ain’t easy being green. But being that green tree and placing our confidence in Him sure is worth it.

Growing and greening up for Jesus,
SGK

“Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” ~Genesis 9:3 NIV

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Everyday Jesus: When Life is Anything but Everyday-ish

You know those folks whose laughter and smile are simply contagious? Today’s guest blogger, Laurie is just one of those gals. I “met” her online via our mutual friend Kelli, then actually experienced her awesome energy and Jesus-filled heart last summer at SheSpeaks. Laurie is authentic and enthusiastic, as well as an incredible writer. (In fact, she’s such an incredible writer that she will be getting TWO books published soon!) Show her some love both here and over at her place by leaving comments below! (Plus, be sure to connect with her site or click HERE so you can be first in line to get hooked up with her book(s) when they hit shelves! Oh. And rumor has it there’s a free e-book in the midst of all these shenanigans, too.)

Are you ready to be wowed? Get ready. It’s go time with our latest installment of Everyday Jesus!

Wowed daily by Him,
SGK

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When Sharita asked me to share an “everyday Jesus” moment for this post, my first thought was, “Sounds great!”

Off I went through life over the next few weeks, eyes open for those everyday gifts and moments of goodness. Problem was, I couldn’t find any everydays… and without those, how would I do this assignment?

You see, life right now is chaos. I’m mom to two former foster kids, one of whom had a breakdown 18 months ago, ended up in a psych hospital (twice), then was admitted to residential treatment. It’s been 15-hours a week of joint therapy and driving to visitations, with added doctor conference calls as a bonus. And then there were my other three daughters—a tween with eyes perpetually set to “roll,” a 7-year-old who loves figuring out how things work (cue: me, locked in a bathroom last week when she took off the doorknob), and a preschooler who, I think, only comes up for air 3-4 times a day in between stories and questions.

There just aren’t any everydays. Crazydays, yes. But not everydays.

Fortunately, my crazy doesn’t scare Jesus one bit. He reminded me of this a few Sundays ago while my kids were dancing in the back of the church. I know, this sounds ultra spiritual, but bear with me a moment. You see, I’m one of the teachers at our church. As such, people see me up front a lot, and as much as I try not to let this change how I behave during worship, it just does. Instead of simply singing the words to the songs, it’s more like this in my head:

“Let the glory of the Lord, rise among us . . .”

Oh, no, the kids are dancing too close to the stage.

“Anna? Come back closer to mommy so I don’t look like a mom who can’t control her kids people can focus on worship.”

She moves closer, all the while rapturously smiling, singing and twirling for Jesus.

Dance

Photo courtesy of Ninniane via Flickr

I’m annoyed, I want to focus on worshipping God, not keeping my kids from embarrassing me distracting people, so I pull her close and whisper in her ear,

“Honey, mommy’s trying to worship God right now. I need you to sit still and let me worship.”

As the words hung in the air between us, my heart sank, and I saw it:

Loving her is worshipping Jesus.

Scooping her up and dancing together, singing for the Lord would have been worshipping Jesus.

Being a mother to her, fully present in that moment of joy …worships Jesus.

The shame stung. So did the tears. I wanted to curl up and pull the polished concrete floor over me.

But He pressed in close, “It’s okay. I know what you were trying to do. I want to show you a better way to be close to me. One that includes her, and flows through who you are as a mom.”

His tender acceptance, this gentle wooing into worship authentic and wild and… undignified like David’s, maybe?* This sweetness of Jesus pulling an ashamed mother’s heart close enough it pressed shame out. It all took my breath away that morning.

That morning, He gave me a peek into His throne room. It was precious, and almost too much for my heart to hold.

But that’s the best kind of moment with Him, isn’t it? The ones that aren’t afraid of our crazydays, pierce straight through the broken and false, and love us into His arms again. The ones where we suddenly realize He’s been standing there with us in the frustration or the stress or the trying-too-hard.

It’s those moments, that I realize every single moment is an “everyday Jesus” moment. (Even if I can’t find an everyday on my calendar to save my life).

* 2 Samuel 6:22

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Laurie Headshot

Laurie Wallin is a speaker, author, and Certified Life Coach who helps people find joy in the midst of life’s losses and challenges. As mom to two former foster children deemed “failure to thrive” and “unadoptable,” she’s had to find her new normal and fight for joy. She writes weekly for her own blog , monthly at Not Alone (for parents of special needs kids), and shares daily tips at her Facebook page . She also loves being part of Facebook’s Moms Together team, where she gets to rile things up and rekindle joy about every aspect of motherhood. Laurie lives in Southern California with her hubby, their four girls, and her 80-lb Lab that thinks she’s a lap dog.

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

10 Commandments of Pregnancy: For Husbands

Pregnancy is… weird.

Sure it’s beautiful, cool, entertaining and overall MIND BLOWING, but really, this whole growing a baby thing is just weird.

I promised you sweet readers weeks ago when we announced the coming of our first baby that this would not turn into a pregnancy blog. And it’s not. There are plenty of other folks out there that are way more knowledgeable (and less hormonal) to provide you valuable info in that category.

However, this post idea has been marinating in my pregnant brain for a few weeks, so we are going to have a little bit of fun today. (Hopefully you ALWAYS have fun when you stop by 7 Days Time… But perhaps today will be a new kind of humor.)

So yes, my darling husband and I are expecting our first baby in February. We are well over the halfway point and the third trimester is looming in T minus a month or so. In this first stretch of pregnancy, we have learned a lot… about growing babies, about each other and yes, even about Jesus.

If you have had a baby, are currently pregnant, know someone who is pregnant or especially if you are a husband of a pregnant gal, this post is for you. Feel free to share, and please comment below with your OWN “commandments” for being pregnant <or dealing gracefully with a pregnant woman. Creativity encouraged.>

(By the way: My hubby and I kind of co-wrote the following– some of them are from our experience, while others are inside jokes we wanted to share with you. Sense of humor is vital!)

Wait… You said WHAT? (This is my preggo warning look. Scary, I know.)

Ready? And now, we proudly present in no particular order, the Ten Commandments for Husbands with Pregnant Wives!

1. Thou shalt not eat the last of your wife’s “pregnancy food.” This includes all items purchased during a “craving” moment… just because the craving has passed for now, don’t assume it won’t come back. It also includes all “easy meals,” leftovers and anything involving chocolate. When in doubt, ask permission. Otherwise (in my husband’s words) your wife “may destroy you.”

2. Thou shalt prepare thyself for her hormonal mood swings. Know that she can go from sweet and darling one minute to hysterical over something seemingly small the next. Oh. And never, EVER laugh at these changes, no matter how random/entertaining/goofy they might seem.

3. Thou shalt never refer to her as any kind of bovine– aka, milk cow.  It doesn’t matter if she gives you play-by-play of her changing body, her yearnings to drink more milk and the idea that she will soon potentially be able to produce milk to feed a tiny child. Even if, on a good-humored day, she taught you a cheer from Universal Cheerleading Camp about milk: “Don’t gimme no pop, no pop, don’t gimme no tea, no tea, just gimme that milk, moo, moo, moo, moo, just gimme that milk, moo, moo, moo, moo.”

4. Thou shalt be enthusiastic about week-by-week updates of the baby’s growth. Yes, even if you have to fake it a little bit. “Wow, honey! Week 22!! Our baby’s eyelids are fully developed AND it’s the size of a spaghetti squash! Cool!” (It does not matter if you do not know what a spaghetti squash is. Google it.)

5. Thou shalt be interested in all things baby. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the difference between an Exersaucer or a walker or a Pack-N-Play. Engage. Participate. Even if you have to feign interest. Your wife will LOVE you for it! (See commandment #4.)

6. Thou shalt not brag about how great you feel, how much weight you lost, or how well you slept. Chances are, she doesn’t feel great, she weighs more than she has in previous seasons of life, and she is not sleeping well. Instead of her being overjoyed for you, it will probably activate commandment #2.

7. Thou shalt not make a huge deal about the awesome foods you are eating or how much you ate of it. Avoid talking about how great that bratwurst at Oktoberfest tasted or how refreshing your homemade beer was as it sloshed down your throat. If you ignore this commandment, you risk being thwacked… or having your shoes puked on.

8. Thou shalt never utter the following phrases: “Calm DOWN, wife.” or “Wow, you are getting SO HUGE!” or “It’s all in your head.” Self explanatory.

9. Thou shalt be aware of your “smells” and keep them to a minimum. Keep in mind that a whiff of your smelly army work boots or you noshing on your favorite Limburger cheese could send your wife running to the bathroom… And then running after you when she gets done.

10. Thou shalt support and pray with (and for) your wife regularly. Pregnancy, especially the first one (in our opinion) is exciting, confusing, emotional and yes, even a little scary. Always be willing to take ahold of your wife’s hand or stroke her hair and say, “Let’s pray about this, sweetheart.” Always point her back to Christ in moments of emotions, fear or doubt. After all– you both have been invited to participate in the coolest Jesus arts and craft project ever… TOGETHER, as husband and wife.

“May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!” ~Proverbs 23:25

Categories: baby, Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

Do you remember that movie from the 1993 called “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey?” You know, the one with the two dogs (Shadow and Chance) and the cat (Sassy.)

Oh. You don’t? Well, google it. I will wait.

Got it? Ok. Well, it was one of my favorite movies back in the day– we owned it on VHS, and if we still had a VHS player, I would probably still watch it on occasion. That movie included my favorite things: Disney, animals and adventure.

Now my life is a little less Disney and a lot more adventure.

Living about a thousand miles from “home” provides challenges and opportunities for growth like you wouldn’t believe (unless of course, you have lived it. Then you totally get what I’m saying.)

As you read this, I am currently in the process of being homeward bound for a few days– We (as in Sweet Justus the pup, our currently-cooking-softball-sized-baby Little Patriot and myself) have made it to my sweet parents-in-love’s house in South Dakota. (Note: It is a LONG frigging drive from Fort Benning, GA to South Dakota. Just saying.)

And I think my heart is about to explode. (In a good way, of course.)

It is SO awesome to be back in the midwest… I haven’t been back since last Christmas break  and I am thrilled to get back to the land of corn (well, if the drought hadn’t burnt it all up) and cattle. In a few short days, I am southbound and down, heading to Kansas for a few precious days of family, agriculture and chaos that only our tiny little community can provide.

WHEW!!! They still fit!! (There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…)

I addition to anticipation of seeing my family, the farm,  and friends– I also have a big-ish announcement. Ready?

I HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO PREACH. That’s right, I have been invited to bring the Sunday morning message at our local church for TWO different services.

I couldn’t be more excited. (If you happen to be in the southeast Kansas region on September 30th, come on down to the Kincaid United Methodist Church at 9am then follow us over to the Welda UMC church at 11am. I would love to share with you what God has laid on my heart!)

It is such a blessing to have a home to love and look forward to– but honestly, my friends– it doesn’t matter where you are from, if you love your “home” or not… we ALL have a home that we can look forward to.

See, we are all homeward bound– someday, we will be home. Like, with Jesus. Yeah, in heaven. And that’s gonna be so awesome that it will blow any sweet childhood memories and love of the countryside out of the water.

Our current adventure of being homeward bound might seem to be kind of long and tedious some days. (ARE WE THERE YET?!?)  There are going to be “those days” where we are at the end of our ropes. Then there are other days where we can’t imagine that things can get any better than this.

But trust me. It can. And it will. Because we are all Homeward Bound. And yes, it’s an INCREDIBLE journey.

There’s no place like home,
SGK

PS: In what place do you feel most at home? How do you feel when you think about our eventual eternal home? I always love to hear your thoughts– please leave a comment below!

“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13 (NIV)

Categories: Home | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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