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Think of His Goodness!

This morning I awoke with a spirit of praise and thanksgiving. I begin to think of the many things He has done in my life. I thought about the many times I have made a genuine mess of things. Somehow, some way He covered me. He protected me. He shielded me. There are times I have fallen and have been broken. Yet, He loved me enough to chastened me while still having mercy on my soul.

I went a little further. I begin to think of the many hurtful experiences and things I have lost throughout my life….personal possessions, friends, income, painful childhood memories, and the death of loved ones just to name a few. There were times He chastened me. He pruned me. He molded me and shaped me. He would not let me give up. He would not let me cast myself into the shadows. He would not let me take my life. He guided me to the right people…and I obeyed His voice. He covered me. He strengthened. He protected me. He was the lifter of my head. Today, through His grace, mercy and power, I lift my head. I do not lift my head in pride or in arrogance. I lift my head knowing God is the lifter of my head. I lift my head to acknowledge His strength in my life. I lift my head in admiration of His grace and mercy. I lift my head to see others who may be living the same experience I was living and to support them. I lift my head to look towards the hills from whence cometh my help - all of help, strength, peace and joy comes from Him!

Philippians 1:3 states, “Every time I think of You, I give thanks to my God”. Oh my….How awesome it is for the scripture to have come alive in my life. How awesome it is to know that every time I think of you, I give you praise instantaneously! It does not matter what you are going through or have experienced in life, God is near. He is near to us! He provides His guidance and love through our loved ones, true, “real” friends and professionals who have studied science, just to name a few. God is the lifter of our heads….only Him!

Prayer:

Oh Lord, Our Lord, how I adore you! How I look back and embrace Your guidance, Your peace, Your grace, Your mercy, Your chastening and Your Love. These things are Your goodness! My soul cries out Hallelujah! My soul cries out “Thank You!” My Soul cries out “Hosana!” My soul cries out “Elohim!” My soul cries out “Yireh!” My soul cries out “Shalom!”

As I look back over my life, there were times Lord I did not know what to do. I was broken. I was ashamed. I felt unworthy to live. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you! Thank you for loving me in my brokenness.

Lord, I ask that you continue to guide me into your truth and knowledge. Continue to chasten me and prune me. Continue to show your grace and mercy towards me. Lord, I ask that you continue to mold and shape me to be the woman you created me to be. Give me the stamina to endure the pruning and molding! This vessel belongs to you! I was created for your service! In your name Jesus, I pray. Amen

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Not Having a Plan promotes Failure

For the past 16 years, I have worked in the early childhood education and family services sector. For the last 5 years, I have done such while being a wife and mom. Approximately 3 months ago, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. Actually, for the past 8 months, I had been debating and entertaining the idea of leaving my career behind, in order to be at home, to raise my little girls full-time. With the need for me to be at home becoming more and more apparent and quite obvious, when the opportunity presented itself, it was easy for me to let everything go and embrace the life of being a stay-at-home mom.

At first, it was challenging transitioning into my new role! I had to remind myself that I did not have to worry nor be concerned with work. I had a “new” job to perform…and this job was far more important. This job involved nurturing and rearing two innocent lives that the Lord blessed my husband and I to have for the past 5 years. This job also involved maintaining a marriage and family. What a journey it has been!

The funny thing about this is that I have learned so much about myself. Some of the things I have learned, I did not like. With God’s grace and mercy, He is demonstrating His Strength in my weakness and brokenness. I truly am grateful to Him. He has provided encouragement, guidance and uplift throughout this transition. I am thankful for the godly and supportive women and mothers He has caused me to cross paths and develop relationships with during this transition. He knows just what we need…and when we need it.

One of the things I have had to learn and even “re-master” is planning. As a new stay-home mom, the days seem to fly by quickly! Before I knew it, it was bedtime and yet, another day had passed without me accomplishing tasks. I wondered if I needed a “daily schedule”? Did I honestly need to put myself on a schedule? Did I need to also put my daughter (who is home during the day with me) on a schedule, as well? Yes! Absolutely! While talking to my Aunt one morning, this was confirmed. She asked me about my daily schedule for me and my daughter. Later, that week, I sat down and made a schedule out for me and my daughter.

Planning is really helping me. One morning, while in prayer, the Lord had me to start studying the word, “plan”. "Proverbs 21:5 states, “ The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage , but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” WOW! What an eye opener! This scripture was life changing! Planning is a skill I needed to continue to develop. Little by little, I have made revisions to how I manage my day. After breakfast, I begin to prep lunch, for my daughter, and dinner, for the family, simultaneously. My daughters daily activities are scheduled to promote early learning skill development, as well as, to prevent excessive amounts of screen time! I thought to myself, do not stop here…let’s add a cleaning schedule! It is truly amazing what God will show us about ourselves, when we have our eyes open to see and ears to hear. Lord, I thank you for enabling me to have a receptive spirit during this time.

I am not perfect, as I still become frustrated on days I feel there is simply too much juggle. I am also still trying to schedule an ongoing fitness routine in my schedule. (still in progress! lol) However, God constantly assures me that He is in control and as long as I abide in Him, I can manage….I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Sometimes, as busy mothers, we may think we do not have time to plan. We even think we can keep it all in our head. I’m here to be transparent and say, “no”…I could not do it! “I was not successful in keeping it all in my head!” “I failed miserably using that technique!” Kudos to all the fantastic moms who can! Keeping it all in my head did not work for me. By being intentional with planning, it has allowed me to reduce stress and chaos, while promoting organization, consistency and peace throughout my household. Until next time, Love yourself!

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

I thank you for your strength, power, grace and mercy. I thank you for your generous love you show toward me. I thank you for the wisdom you unselfishly give to me, even when I have not accepted your wisdom and guidance and chose to do things “my way”, you did not forsake me. I thank you Lord for always listening to me as I vent about all of the tasks I need to manage and control. You remind me that You are in control and that I only must abide in You. Father, I love you. I can do nothing without you.

Father, you made me. You know everything about me. You know how my brain operates. You know my challenges, my strengths, my temptations and my heart. I am not always the best planner and organizer. In my weakness, you are demonstrating your strength and power like never before. I do not want to go the left nor right, without your permission. The only way I will succeed is to forever abide in You.

Father, I ask that you continue to make your instructions plain to me. Continue to correct and groom me so I will become the mother and wife you have called me to be. I ask that you continue to give me the will and desire to be a planner, as this benefits me, my family and the overall household 100%. Your word tells me that You will never leave nor forsake me. Your word also tells me that they that wait on the Lord, shall be renewed - and they shall mount up on wings as eagles. Lord, I desire to wait on you. I desire to wait for Your guidance, Your correction and Your grooming. I desire to be worthy of Your blessings and favor. Father, I ask that you continue to control my daily schedule, my husband’s daily schedule and my family’s daily schedule. Father, even the adults, who are caring for my children, I ask that you take control of their daily schedule and plans, as well. I ask that you cause each of us to think and reflect on Your goodness and Your word throughout the day. I ask that you cause each of us, after thinking and reflecting, to thank You for Your goodness! In Jesus name, Amen.

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“Motherhood is a Ministry- Proverbs 22:6”

I recent blog, I posted, “Letters to my M&M’s” displays a picture of me and my daughters. I used the quote, “Motherhood is a Ministry- Proverbs 22:6”. I did not come up with this quote. I’m not sure exactly how it originated. This quote was on a T-shirt given to me as a gift. Nevertheless, the quote is sooooooo true. It validated my beliefs regarding motherhood which really caused me to connect with this philosophy immediately.


Although, I did not come up with “Motherhood is a Ministry”, I can say that it is indeed a ministry.... think about that for awhile.🤔❤️❤️

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Letters to my M&M's.....

Hello Madison and McKenzie,

The day you were born brought about so many mixed emotions.  I was happy, sad, excited, confused and filled with joy simultaneously.  I knew God had chosen me to be called, “Mother”.  He had loaned me two of His precious children to rear in the earthly world.  What was I to do?

Your great-grandfather, Rev. Roy McSwain, use to always quote, “The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world”.  It was not until I carried you both for 9 months and gave birth that I understood this quote in its entirety. 

From the moment of conception, God designed my body to nurture and protect you. I enhanced this by having consistent prenatal doctor visits, adhering to my doctors advice, eating healthy foods and beverages and reading and lots of laughter to promote an overall healthy well-being and strong sense of self.

You are now 3 and 4.  We have had great times and not so great times!  There were times you cried and cried too.  (lol)  There were times you did something for the very first time and left me breathless and in awe of God’s creation.  There were plenty of times you imitated my actions or behavior.  And at times, it made me laugh, made me proud and yet sometimes “CRINGE”.

On today, I want you to know that God has given me His strength to be your mother.  He had never left me.  Among other things, I try my best to honor Him through my parenting and rearing of you.  I want you to know there will be times when you will not get it right, as you might simply fail sometimes.  However, I want you to know that it will pass.  God will prove Himself strong in your weakness and He will guide you to higher ground. You only need to trust Him.  There will be many times you will succeed!  I want you to know that it is okay to give God the praise, credit and honor for your success! It is okay for you to admonish Him for His good and mighty works!

I also want you to know that through my discipline, I am honoring God’s will and plan.  I am demonstrating to you my highest level of love.  This has, by far, been the most difficult task of motherhood….knowing when to laugh and not laugh at your “cute” antics.  The times I say, “Walk please”, “Inside voice please”, “Repeat the words to this scripture after me”, “Let me put your bow in”, “You have had enough”, “Use your words”, “No more iPad, time to read a book”, “Let me place a bracelet on your wrist”, “No more pink lemonade”, “Wake up, let’s get ready for church” or “You can choose between an apple or banana” is simply me trying to be the best mother I can be to you so you will grow into a productive and god-fearing lady in this world.

On today, a high school acquaintance gave me great encouragement.  She said, “ I want to share with you what our pastor said many times in sermons over the years.  It was written on my heart so I would never forget it. As a mom to younger ones, I’ll share with you.  Jim would say “ as a parent, you have been entrusted with an eternal soul.  Nothing is more important that pointing that child to Christ.”  Wow.  No pressure, right???”  This truly blessed my soul!  As I thanked her and wished the continued Blessings of God on her and her family, I knew this was confirmation from God.  So see girls, this is the reason I take motherhood so seriously.  As a woman, I have been given a great task……motherhood.

One day, you too, will have children.  I do not want you to be afraid to love your children with all of your heart and admonish God to give you the strength, guidance, sanity and peace to be the mother He called you to be to His children.  DO NOT be afraid to “Train up your child in the way they should go”.  It is the will of the Lord. 

From time to time, I will continue to write you letters to share the life lessons, you too, will face. 

With much love to my M&M’s….your mother. 

Prayer:

Father, I thank you for the children you gave to me. Thank you for choosing me to be a mother to your precious little ones. 

Father, in your word, you remind us to be strong and courageous, do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Being a mother is not always easy, it takes patience, sense of humor, prayer, common sense, wittiness, prayer, prayer and prayer! I thank you for your power that enables me to be a strong and courageous mother!  

I thank you for upholding me through your word. I strive to train my children up in the way they should go. You promised that if I do, when they are old, they will not depart from that training.  

Father, I ask that you continue to guide me in every understanding of my children. Help me to be able to motivate, love and discipline them according to their individual needs. Show me how to teach them to walk in Your Will for there life. Show me how to create a hunger in them for your word and your truth.  Father, show me how to discipline them without breaking the zeal, self-initiative, confidence and curiosity you placed into them. Give me the wisdom to impart into them as they grow up and enable them to make wise decisions. 

Father, I pray your angels watch over them in every place they may be. Uphold and protect them when they are surrounded by individuals who may not have there best interest at heart. In the name of Jesus, I rebuke the antics of satan, who only comes to steal, kill and destroy. 

Father, you are good. You are faithful. Thank you.  

In Jesus name, I pray, Amen. 

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He Gave Us Power!

This morning, I kept hearing God say, “Power”.  I could not seem to shake this word.  The more I tried to continue on in my sleep, the more I would hear “Power”.  While still laying in bed, determined to get more rest before having to wake up and get McKenzie ready for school, I began to decree and declare power over everything I could possibly think of and power for all mothers.  As I started to decree and declare power, I began to declare power over depression, power over anxiety, power to fight depression, power to fight anxiety, power to seek professional help, power to make it through the day, power over any challenges that might come throughout this day, power to resist the satan and his antics, power to see the beauty we have within us, power to achieve our goals and dreams, power to receive His strength, power to be merciful, power to love, power to live and power to walk in His grace.

This word “power” would not let me go.  I went to the bible to find God’s word.  The scripture that stuck out was 2 Timothy 1:7 - “For God hath not given us, the spirit of fear, but of POWER, and of love, and of a sound mind.  Thank you Lord for your word.  This was food to my soul!  God has given me power and of a sound mind!  As I studied this in my reference bible, it further explained  that BOLDNESS, not cowardice, is a true characteristic of the Holy Spirit! I thought to myself WOW! I truly, truly, can DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!  I can be bold, I can be courageous, I can be confident….because God has given me power!

There are many days, I am not my best self.  I feel weak.  I feel tired.  I feel discouraged.  I feel I am not making a difference in my home. There are times I do not want the responsibilities of being a mother.  There are times I might even think I need a complete reset.  Through it all, God is always there to renew my strength and prove Himself strong in my life.  On today, I am encouraged.  God has assured me of His power, His strength, His love and His well-capable ability to supply all of my needs according to His riches and glory! 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I worship and praise your Holy name.  Without you, I am like a ship without a sail.  I am weak.  I am tired.  I am overwhelmed.  In your word, you said that you did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  I thank you for courage.  I thank you for love.  I thank you for power.  I thank you for a sound mind. 

Lord, even in the midst of rejection, I thank, you for giving me the courage to fulfill all of my responsibilities , errands and daily tasks.  I know you have given me power and boldness to stretch and press myself through any situation you have allowed.  Most of all, you continue to love you, despite my failures  and shortcomings.  You continue to strengthen me, encourage me, be merciful and extend your grace towards me.  Thank you for looking beyond my faults and seeing my needs.

Lord, I ask that you continue to be strong in my life and the lives of my family members, protect my children and husband throughout the day, while leading and guiding them in every situation they face.  I ask that you continue to strengthen and continue to be strong in the lives of mothers everywhere.  In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.

Until next time, walk in love, walk in soundness, walk in power and love yourself!

 

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Do Not Worry Mommie

Matthew 6:25-31(NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

 

I can not tell you the countless times, I have worried over what will I wear, what will the girls wear, what will my husband wear.... how do I get the girls to consume more veggies? How will everything get done? How will everything get paid? On this morning, the Lord placed this hymn in my heart, “His Eye is on the Sparrow”. I began to read background scriptures for this verse. I became fixated on verse 26. It tells us to, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Consider the birds... they do not hoard massive amounts in storage, they do not plant and they do not gather.  YET....our Heavenly Father nourishes them... supplies their needs. Surely, He will do the same for me! 

As school starts back, sometimes our anxiety can increase with meeting the demands that are associated with the back to school season. These anxieties can include transitioning our children from home to school for the first time, separation anxiety, meeting new people and developing new friendships, purchasing new clothes and school supplies, managing additional supports for children with special needs and seasonal depression. Whatever the anxiety, I am learning to trust God. Trust the people He has placed in my life.  Trust the resources He has allowed in my community to have and take advantage of my access to such! Just as He watches over the sparrow...the Lord provides for me to meet my every need. I trust you God. I have faith in you God. 

Dear God,  

On this morning, I thank you for your peace. I thank you for your comfort. I thank you for Your Holy word. Your word tells me that just like you provide for the birds, you will provide for me. There is no need to worry, when my trust is in You. Lord, help me to sustain my faith. Help me to sustain my peace. Help me to experience your continued strength and comfort throughout the day.

Without you Father, I would surely fail. Thank you for your guidance, love and protection in all I do. Thank you for my children, thank you for my husband and thank you for my community. In your name, I give you praise and glory! Amen

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My Will...His Will

Lately, my prayer cycle has been pretty demanding.  Needless to say, when this happens, sleep is no longer a necessity. One thing I have noticed is that my will has completed shifted.  The things I have been laying before God and the requests I have been sharing with Him have shifted.  How could this be?  What has happened?

I was listening to a woman of God minister on this week.  She stated the following, "Lord, help us to abide in You until our will becomes Your Will."  Oh. My. God.  Was this happening to me?  Was my will becoming His Will?  Was my mind being transformed and renewed as I stayed in Him?  If this is the process I need to partake in to ensure I am walking in His Will...Lord, I am committed to discovering Your Will for me.  

I had it all wrong.  I pursued everything that was conducive to success.  I have been so busy fulfilling my career and other goals, while at the same time thanking God for His mighty Blessings....but not really spending quality time to ask Him if this was His Will for my life. 

I have been an "at-home" mom for 1 month.  It was not until now that I truly shifted from my will to His Will.  My prayer cycle has been quite demanding.  However, no matter how tired my body may seem, for the first time in my life, I discern His Will and His Wisdom clearly.  I had to ask His Forgiveness for neglecting Him and being selfish.  However, at the same time, I was still laying requests before him that I thought were "suitable" and what I needed to do as a result of me now being home everyday.  Everything that I thought I needed to do has completed shifted.  It is mind boggling to me how I am now fixated on achieving something that is COMPLETELY the opposite of what my requests have been to the Lord!  My will has shifted to His Will....and I am saying Y-E-S  L-O-R-D!  Yes, to  Your Will.  Yes, to Your Plan.  Yes, to Your Ideas.  Yes, to Your Knowledge.  Yes, to Your Strategy.  I say YES!  

It does not matter your age.  It is never too late to simply abide in Him until your will becomes His Will.  Honestly, I thought knowing His Will was so difficult.  As I look back over the last 30 days, it has simply been me abiding in Him, spending time with Him....through this my will shifted to His Will.  Before I knew it, I started going after the plans, initiatives and events that He has planned for me to pursue.  

His word tell us,  "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give your a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 - New American Standard Version)."  I love this version of Jeremiah 29:11 because it expresses His plans for our welfare...our health, happiness and fortunes.  It also expresses NOT for calamity...an event causing great or sudden damage or distress.  Thank you Lord for Your Plans to protect my health, happiness and fortunes!  Thank you Lord for Your Plans to prevent sudden damage or distress.  Help me Lord to continue to abide in you as my will becomes Your Will.  Until next time....love yourself.

Prayer:  To Walk in God's Wisdom and His Perfect Will

Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.  You adopted me as Your child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with Your pleasure and will.  I pray that I may be active in sharing my faith, so that I will have a full understanding of every good thing I have in Christ.  

Father, I ask You to give me a complete understanding of what You want to do in my life, and I ask You to make me wise with spiritual wisdom.  Then the way I live will always honor and please You, and I will continually do good, kind things for others.  All the while, I will learn to know You better and better.

I roll my works upon You, Lord, and You make my thoughts agreeable to Your will, and so my plans are established and succeed.  You direct my steps and make them sure.  I understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is, for I am not vague, thoughtless or foolish.  I stand firm and mature in spiritual growth, convinced and fully assured in everything willed by God.

Father, You have destined and appointed me to come progressively to know Your will - that is to perceive to recognize more strongly and clearly, and to become better and more intimately acquainted with Your will.  I thank you, Father, for the Holy Spirit Who abides permanently in me and Who guides me into all the truth - the whole, full truth--and speaks whatever He hears from the Father and announces and declares to me the things that are to come.  I have the mind of Christ and hold the thoughts, feelings and purposes of His heart.  

So, Father, I have entered into that blessed rest by adhering, trusting, and relying on You in the name of Jesus.  Hallelujah!  

-Prayer reference:  Copeland, Germaine.  "Prayers that avail much for mothers".p.18-19   

 

 

   

 

 

 

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Father, help me to do and walk in Your Will as a mother, wife and citizen of my community. Your Will is my will. I long to abide in your presence so that I might be transformed and my mind renewed. Amen 

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The Bathroom

Will someone tell me why I can breathe and get my best ideas in the bathroom? I enjoy my bathroom time. My head is clear, there is quiet (sometimes), and I can gather my thoughts and slip into my very own world of enchantment. 

However, in order to really enjoy your bathroom time, you MUST do one thing... Lock. The. Door. 

If someone knocks, just remain silent, as they will eventually grow tired and leave. After one of my bathroom sessions, upon entering the den, my husband asked, “where have you been?, I thought you had gone to bed”!  I thought to myself.. no, just alone in the bathroom.

Until next time, love yourself momma! 

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