For the Kingdom Building Momma

sand castle under white sky at daytime

Hey friend. Life is crazy, isn’t it?

I don’t know about you, but I often feel like my days get consumed by the seemingly meaningless tasks. It could be meal time (are your kiddos always hungry?), dishes, laundry, school work, or the general tidying of the house. It’s the navigation of emotions and wills as my children battle over who is allowed to look in which direction.

It’s the navigation of my own emotions and wills when I start to lose my patience.

Doing Kingdom work came much more simply before my little people entered the scene. I used to be available to serve at all church events at the drop of a hat. Now, I have to consider whether it works for our sleeping/eating schedule, or if the opportunity will require a babysitter.

It was easier then. My life operated on my schedule. If I didn’t get enough sleep it was because I chose to stay up too late watching a movie. My quiet times with God were guaranteed, as long as I didn’t hit the snooze button too many times in a row.

But now? With kids? Things are harder. 

Kingdom work is harder, but not impossible. In fact, I believe that God uses the stretching of our comfort zones to shape us into the women He has destined for us to become. My husband has told me, “Your greatest ministry comes from your deepest pain.”

I felt a lot of pain when my girls were babies. The lack of sleep hit me hard. I grew angry at the inconveniences this role was placing on my life. Depression drifted in after the birth of my second child, and it took me over two years to find my way out. Two years to claim joy and purpose once again.

You see, more than anything else, I wanted to be a Kingdom Builder, and these small ones (as precious as they were) made it really difficult to accomplish my purpose.

But life isn’t about my purpose, is it? It’s about His. His plan for my life. And if I have learned anything over the years, it’s the fact that His plan often looks very different from my plan.

So, Momma? If you are feeling the drudge and the weariness of the every day task, those invisible moments that will never be seen by anyone but you, remember this: God sees it. And He is using it.

He is using you to bring up the next generation of Kingdom Builders. You get the opportunity to speak life into these little people, to show them what it looks like to pursue the Lord, and to be an example of living a life of sacrifice for the sake of the One who sacrificed everything for us.

Look past the moment and see the end. It’s not about that one moment, it’s about allowing God to use all the moments combined to accomplish His great purpose.

You are a Kingdom Builder.

“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord – his name alone will be worshiped.” Zechariah 14:9

He is Big Enough for Your Needs Too

Everywhere I look there are needs. Big, overwhelming, heart-rending needs.

These are the needs that surround:

a diagnosis
a death
financial disaster
catastrophe
infertility
and more.

Some of our needs stem from the good things in life:

The new baby means sleepless nights.
The job promotion requires extra work.
The big exciting move means making new friends.
The first home comes with a long list of updates.
The new marriage stretches from the comfort zone.
The needs keep coming.

There are needs that we try to push to the side because other needs seem bigger in the moment:

The needs to be wanted, loved, adored, remembered.
The needs for conversation, hope, rest, support, community, and comfort.
Then there are the unnamed needs that keep nagging at our heart and we can’t shake them no matter how hard we try.

All of these needs are important. All of these needs matter. And you know what’s true? God is big enough for your needs too.

It’s easy to see someone who has great need and to feel like your smaller needs must take the back burner for the time being. But you know what else is true?

Your need is not so small that it will slip through His fingers. Your need will never be too heavy for Him to carry. There is no need too big or too small for Him to hold. 

He carries it all simultaneously, and it gives Him great pleasure to do so.

What is your need? Name it. Place it in His arms and allow Him to carry it. He will see you through.

 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Clothing My Imperfections

Freeman_071

I have a thing for skirts.

Skirts have a lovely, feminine, endearing vibe to them. I can dress them up for a more elegant look, or down for errands around town. They also have this delightful ability to hide the little muffin squish that most of my jeans seem to enjoy emphasizing.

I discovered skirts shortly after my second baby was born. My tummy didn’t deflate immediately, which made for some rather awkward inquiries from strangers about whether or not I might be pregnant. Nope, my baby was born a month ago, but thanks for asking!

Whether it was my need for bigger clothes or my need to feel less self-conscious, I went shopping for something that might disguise the tummy pooch. I stumbled across a simple, midi-length skirt that sat at my natural waistline and I have been hooked ever since.

However, as fabulous as skirts are, there is an even better type of clothing!

Check out this verse: “…clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 13:14a

I have been thinking about this idea for DAYS. Clothing ourselves in a new style can be positive and make us feel beautiful. Clothing ourselves in Jesus Christ can be LIFE CHANGING.

Here are some of my thoughts on this:

  • I spent quite a significant amount of time searching for my new style. Similarly, I should be spending quite a significant amount of time searching for Jesus and wrapping myself up in His Word.
  • Clothes are worn all day long. Clothing ourselves with Jesus means He is part of our lives 24/7. Not just Sundays. Not just during our quiet time. All day, everyday.
  • One reason I love skirts so much is because of the way they cover up the “I’ve had babies,” blob. They mask my imperfections. Clothing myself with Jesus goes beyond masking my imperfections. He takes all my blemishes and nakedness and makes them like new. I am a new person in Christ!
  • Clothes have the ability to define who we are. Our clothes can tell someone whether we are successful entrepreneurs, whether we have a fun outing planned, or if it’s a work-around-the-house kind of day. When I am clothed in Christ, my identity is more than my outward appearance. He defines who I am from the inside out, and the evidence is there for all to see.
  • I could spend all day in my jammies if I wanted. I have to make an active choice to get dressed and then choose what to wear – it doesn’t just happen on its own. In the same way, clothing myself in Christ is an active choice. The word “clothe” in our verse is a verb. I must choose daily to put on His presence!

The first step to changing your wardrobe forever, is to get rid of the clothes that don’t work. Romans 13:12 says, “…remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.” He will get rid of all of our stains, but it requires us to bring them to Him first.

If you haven’t yet decided to surrender to Jesus and make Him King over your life, I’d highly encourage you to do so. A relationship with Him will make you see your beauty and value far more than any garment ever could.

I love skirts, but my favorite fashion? Clothing myself in Jesus. He’s just right for every body type.

 

*Photo credit to Alexa Stutts Photography.

All or Nothing

All or Nothing

You require nothing, yet ask for everything.

On our own we are unable. We cannot muster up salvation with human hands. The only work You require is to simply believe. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Human effort accomplishes nothing. We could wear ourselves out for the trying, the working, the earning of this free gift you offer. Yet, anyone who believes has eternal life.1 It is not reserved for the holy, the good, the kind, the successful, the perfect ones. It is intended for the broken, the needy, the searching, the desperate ones.2

So nothing is required, but You ask for everything.

With this belief comes surrender. To believe in You is to set aside our preconceived notions of what our hearts desire, for our hearts are no longer our own. They belong to You. Those previous desires melt away as our souls cannot get enough of You. We want what You want. With our belief in You, a transformation occurs.3 We cannot think the same way anymore, even if we tried. For we have seen something better, something true, something real. We have new-found purpose and meaning and now nothing else matters except to accomplish Your will. It is an undoing as our bodies turn inside out. We are forever changed, a new creation you might say.4

It’s the sort of process that isn’t really noticeable all of the time. We have massive growth spurts, but most of the lasting growth happens with consistent pruning over time. It doesn’t hurt, really, for we see the flowers blooming as a result.5 This gradual, continued effort of giving everything to the One who requires nothing turns us into more than we could have ever hoped by our own striving. We aren’t the same anymore. One day, we look in the mirror and hardly even make out those old details of who we used to be. Did that person really exist? She did. And we realize every bit of the process was worth it. And then we wonder…if He has brought me this far, where will He take me next?6

Sometimes, I wish the pruning was a bit more immediate. Can’t You just lob off this whole branch? Is it really worth saving? But to You, it is. And deep down I know this slow, steady process of cyclical surrender and growth allows me to move forward, whereas I might topple over if I tried to make it all happen at once.

Your way is better than mine.7 I see that again. You are not slow, but patient.8 You love the process as much as You love the result.

So here I am again. Surrendering. Believing. This is all You require. It isn’t much, but it is everything. I don’t want my everything anymore. I want Yours.

 

Because You Prayed

Because You Prayed

When I started “waking up” out of my postpartum depression, I turned to the Psalms.

I had been struggling with the concept of prayer and feeling like God wasn’t listening to my desperate pleas. Upon diving into the Psalms, I discovered that King David had quite the opposite view:

  • “The Lord will answer when I call to him.” 4:3
  • “I bring my requests to [God] and wait expectantly.” 5:3
  • “The Lord will answer my prayer.” 6:9

I should have been encouraged, but I wasn’t at first. Of COURSE God would answer David’s prayers. Wasn’t he known as a man after God’s own heart? Surely he had some sort of golden ticket when it came to prayer.

But these sorts of statements are littered throughout the Psalms… even when David hadn’t acted quite like the golden child. Even after he had committed adultery and subsequently, murder, in an attempt to cover up his actions. Even then, he still knew God not only heard his prayers, but He would answer them:

“Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.” Psalm 86:6-7

God answered David’s prayers time and time again. He gave battle strategies, rescued David in times of danger, forgave him and comforted him when he was at his worst. God blessed David. 

David wasn’t the only one who saw his prayers answered. Here are just a few more examples:

  • In the heat of battle, Joshua sought God for help. “…in front of all the people of Israel” he prayed a bold prayer for the sun and moon to stand still. God answered this request and the nation of Israel was victorious. Joshua 10:12-14
  • King Hezekiah was threatened by the king of Assyria. In short, Israel was being taunted and God was being mocked by this outsider who believed quite highly in himself. King Hezekiah responded by desperately praying for God to intervene. God’s response? “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed…” God Himself protected and defended the city! Isaiah 37:21-37
  • Elijah put his reputation on the line when he asked God to do what Baal could not: create a fire for a sacrifice out of thin air. Even though the alter had been drenched in water, “immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood the stones, and the dust. it even licked up all the water in the trench!” 1 Kings 18:38
  • Daniel pleaded on behalf of his people while they were in exile in Babylon. In response, God sent an angel with a message: “The moment you began praying, a command was given.” Daniel 9:23 

There are so many more examples in the Bible of God hearing and answering prayers. What I love about these particular moments is the glaring fact that all of these things happened as a result of the prayer itself. There cannot be an answer if we do not make the request in the first place.

God hears our prayers. Don’t give up praying even when it feels like He isn’t listening. Keep praying even when it doesn’t make sense. 

  • What battles could be won…
  • What lives could be changed…
  • What mountains could fall…
  • What miracles could happen…

…because you prayed?

“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.” Psalm 17:6