Commitment and Dedication, Out of Love

I'm the type of person that needs my sleep. Let me reiterate: NEED! There are people that sleep 6-8 hours, wake up, and go on about there day. And then there's me. It's not a result of lack of exercise or poor diet; it's biology - I've always been this way. 

So, rewind a bit, and imagine when I decided I wanted children. My first thought was not dreaming of the bouncy blonde curls that would adorn the sweet head of my first child; it was dreading the lack of sleep. 

Fast forward: My first child was born.

I was a young mother, lacking patience. Rarely did I have the knowledge to tend to my own home, let alone raise a child. Still yet, Nine months before, I started cramming in unmerited advice, read all the mommy-to-be-books, scanned the information pamphlets, and scrolled endlessly through the parent centered websites. When the day came and my giant 9 pound 2 ounce baby came, I lay there in the hospital, only hours in, realizing all the information was wrong. Who writes these things anyway? No one can prepare you for a baby. You hear of all the fabulous, glorious, wondrous and amazing things about having a baby -leaving out all the I'm-not-even-sure-what-is-smeared-all-over-my-shirt- type of moments. 

Just as you have settled into the schedule of regular, nightly every-hour-on-the-hour diaper changes, feedings, and "I'm awake just because I thought it would be fun to look at the ceiling" stage; and long after the memory of a full night, uninterrupted night's sleep has faded, you come to the realization that you have just merely ended on phase one: They finally sleep (if you're lucky.) And then you can't sleep because the thoughts of fear come, "Why are they sleeping so soundly?", "Are they still breathing?", "What if I fall asleep and don't hear him crying?" 

(I mean, come on, I know I'm not the only one. Why do we worry so much as parents?!)

Then, phase three: toddlers.

"bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce.... " is basically the only way I can describe having a toddler. They don't stop. So, it's hard to get them to fall asleep and just as you do they are bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed and ready to wake before the rooster crows! 

(For those of you that aren't parents yet, Don't worry, I'm getting to the good part. Don't get discouraged yet. )

I think you get the point now. Sleep is no longer a word I'm able to use to describe my life. The funny thing is, after being so very much deprived of something I love and need so very much after my first child: I had two more over the years. With all the crazy, up-side-down-insane moments, the demanding and overbearing attention these little bundles of energy require; the insane amount of unknowing and worrying over whether we are even doing this whole parenting thing correct -it's all worth it. 

It's called dedication. 

In the absolute instance I knew there was a real life growing inside of me, my heart felt more full than I could ever even imagine. I saw the world differently. My motives in life changed. My purpose in life was no longer centered around me, it was around my children. The love that I feel for my children completely dampers out any sort of discomfort or tribulations that ever occur in my life -including sleep deprivation. Dedication and commitment was defined the moment my children were placed into my life. 

There are a lot of things I don't understand about the bible, but there's one thing I do know: the undying, ever growing love I have for my children. Therefore, I know the love God has for us.

I want the absolute best for my children. They rarely take the path that I want for them, but they are finding their own way. They are learning lessons by real-life experience rather than listening to my wisdom (Sound familiar?). I want my children to learn their own way - to an extent. I need them to listen to my wisdom and wisdom from those before them. I don't want them to make the same mistakes that have already been written in history. 

I feel like just as I want that for my children, God wants that for his children: us. I feel like it's important that we have dedication toward God. We need stop trying to figure out everything for ourselves and take advice from someone know already knows. Make a commitment and allow for God's help in your life. 

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
— Psalm 37:5

As I stand offering help, my toddler continues to smear a thin layer of milk across my kitchen floor. She looks at me with wet, milk covered clothes, and the realization that she probably should have allowed me to help clean up the tiny puddle of milk, just as she bent over and continued to pour the remains of her little cup across the floor. If we just ask for help, our mess would be so much smaller and more manageable. And eventually you learn to stop spilling the milk altogether. 

Will you make the commitment today to ask for help? Stop putting off or taking tiny little steps toward God. Make a full commitment and go all out! 


Endure until the end...

Paper cut: imagine it. 

I don't even have to physically see you to know that you absolutely winced in pain at the word. When I even consider a paper cut, I squint my eyes, put pressure on my finger, and curl my toes at the phantom sensation of what I know to be a paper cut. They are just awful! A 10 - for sure. 

We all know the horrifying pain we've experienced from slicing our fingertip open on the edge of a paper. Knowing that, does it still hurt today? Of course not! 

Obviously, a paper cut is in no comparison to losing a loved one, anxiety, depression, or whatever is dampening your soul today -none the less- it's temporary. 

In the moment of pain, we are unable to comprehend healing. The pain absolutely immerses every other sensation of our entire body and mind. And our thoughts are unable to step any further than that moment. Even the worst pain heals. It may leave a scar, but it heals. 

My point isn't to make you reminisce on our previous minor lacerations, it's to remind you that "this too shall pass".

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
— Romans 8:18

I know that the pain will recede because we're promised to be comforted. And as much as the pain we feel today, it will fade and be replaced, merely a scar of memories. 

So, when you're walking along, minding your own business, and the tidal wave of horrific heartache washes over you, and threatens to take your breath away. Remember, the water will recede and you will be able to breath again. Just as Pastor Ben reminds us, in last week's Amen series, endure until the end and you shall be saved.

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
— Matthew 24:13

Click play below to listen: 



Lack of time vs. Lack of priorities

I am too busy to write this blog post. 

As the season started to change over, Spring cleaning kicked into full swing. Between that, kids, work, being a wife, and every day whirlwind of things going on, I became so busy that I missed my timely obligation to write this blog post. And then, if that wasn't bad enough, my brain froze. I couldn't think of one thing to write. How am I supposed to be an inspiration to others, when I have nothing to say?

I'd like to say it's irony, but I know it's God working through me. 

As the deadline passed, my frustrations grew. This nasty sentiment within me started to grow as I hustled through my daily routine. The blog post itching in the back of my mind. It wasn't until the last possible moment I could wait, I sat down, stared at my screen and put my fingers on the keys and just started typing. The first line, "I am too busy to write this blog post." I had zero intentions on allowing you to read that. It was the filthy attitude leaking through my fingertips and onto the keys like a disease. 

And then it hit me. How dare I? I'm too busy? I have no time to devote to God's word, to devote to spread His word? I just wrote last week about how we need to make the time to serve and now I can't take an hour to sit and serve you? It was then I realized, It's not the lack of time, it's the lack of priorities. 

Too busy for God? It’s not a lack of time, It’s a lack of priority.
— Bethesda people

I'm thankful for being too busy in this season of misdirection, because it put focus on a need that I was unaware of - my priorities. 

Obviously, I had things I needed to accomplish (feed my children and husband, clean, work, etc.) over the days, but there were lots of things that were probably not 100% necessary.

Remember, I'm a visual person. I need to see something smack dab, right in my face before it will redirect my focus. I hate to say, but it's easy to forget to make time to devote to serving, reading my bible, studying, devotionals, and -sometimes- praying! And I feel safe in saying that, because I know I'm not alone. 

I sat down and created a list of my priorities now and then a list of priorities that I want to have. Something I like to do often is jot down my daily, weekly, monthly or yearly goals. With some of this chicken scratch I decided to make a printable sheet for myself. A sheet that will keep me on task weekly. A reminder for now, so that I will make time to devote to God. And also, a journal that I am able to look back on. 

Click HERE  for a free printable worksheet of your own

Click HERE for a free printable worksheet of your own

Along with my weekly Bible study, I'm going to fill these sheets out at the end of the week to keep me on track. If there are empty spaces, I know that I haven't been devoting my time like I would like to! 

Be sure to CLICK HERE and check out the new FREE printable coversheet I've included in the original Bible Study post. 

Isn't it funny how something so frustrating ends up being a blessing? I, personally, didn't realize my priorities were wrong. I'm thankful someone is always there reminding me. Aren't you?

Make a wish come true

A girl, young in spirit. Her mind so gullible and naive. She dreams of a world full of peace, surrender, smiles, unselfishness; people loving and  helping one another. 

She sits circled by friends and family. Her hands by her side, knuckles white, eagerly gripping the sides of her chair in anticipation for the once-a-year wish she will soon be granted. Joy fills the room as the off key tune of Happy Birthday is being sung. We all know that moment: As the song winds down, our heart fills with joy as oxygen fills our lungs -puffing our chest out proudly- then release the wish along with largest amount of air and force possible for such a small child. We watch the smoke recede as everyone claps. "What was your wish?" Everyone asks. She knows she's not allowed to tell, for it won't come true. 

That little girl is me. 

As an adult, I know those birthday wishes turned into prayers and I know that God isn't a genie. He doesn't grant wishes and prayers can't be answered by blowing out a candle. However, I can't help but make that wish each and every year. I know God is listening. I know he knows my heart. He hears my cries, my longing, my desires. 

For as long as I can remember. Every. Single. Year. I wished for the same thing. As other kids were wishing for (back in my day) a new bicycle, Dream Date, moonshoes, tamagotchi (totally showing my age here), I was asking for one "simple" thing: happiness. Not for me, but for humanity. I have always dreamed of a world where people were just happy. A world full of peace. I still do this, ever year. My birthday rolls around and you can guarantee as I'm blowing out those candles, I'm wishing for happiness of others. The world is sad. And it absolutely breaks my heart. 

You know what else I can guarantee? That people mock and laugh at me for this. How can the world possibly be "fixed?" I cannot tell you the amount of people that laugh at me for thinking it's possible. Still yet, I believe. I believe we can live in a world where people are truly happy, healthy, and loving. Do I think it will happen over night, in my life time, or even in a million years? Who knows. I do know that my God is capable of anything -miracles! 

I'm reminded of this because my birthday just so happens to be this weekend. And because I'm here, on this blog, I have the opportunity to not only wish for your happiness, I can help steer you toward your happiness! 

Happiness is simple: Love God, Love People.

(Mark 12: 30-31) (John 15: 12-13) 

At the same time, it's the most difficult. 

By nature, we are selfish human beings. I think maybe that's because without selfishness we wouldn't take care of ourselves- selfishness is an extent.

"For the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)." 

We are called to serve one another. (Mark 9:35) When we set our own selfish needs and desires aside and start fulfilling our neighbors needs and wants, then we will find happiness. Then, we will see Gods grace. 

Ways to serve: 

     1: GIVE YOUR TIME  "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in it's various form." ~1 Peter 4: 10

Serving doesn't have to involve blood, sweat, and tears. Start small, start doing what you love. You have a gift, use it! Sing, teach, listen, play.

     2: DONATE  "Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourself that not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys." ~ Luke 12: 33 "Give, and it will be give to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ~Luke 6:38

Not only donate the things you no longer want, donate the things you no longer need. To see storage buildings full of things we aren't using, going to waste, unused, while there are so many people in need infuriates me! Let go of the things that collect dust. Someone out there will be so grateful for those things!! 

     3:GIVE YOUR TIME "For in the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as ransom for many." ~Mark 10:45

Yes, I know I wrote this one twice. It's an important one. I know you are tired, I know you are overworked. I know you are busy. Our duty is to serve one another: make time. I like to think about the amount of time I waste scrolling through social media, it's then I know I am able to make time to help out someone else. Some things I want to make more time for to help serve: Take a friend to lunch, watch someone's child while they run errands or rest, house sit for a friend while they are on vacation, clean/mow a neighbors yard, community service, send random thank you cards... these are all things I put off or convince myself I'm too busy to do. But, if we all work together and start helping one another, we are that much closer to happiness. It's not world domination of peace and happiness, but it's close. 

::Click here to listen to Pastor Dusty express his love for serving::

Serving shouldn't be a painful or inconvenient experience. It may take stepping out of your comfort zone to get on that path, but I can guarantee you will find joy and happiness in it. When you see the love you give to other and the love you will receive.... a girl's birthday wish will begin to come true: world-wide happiness.