Wednesday, October 16

Just for Women Wednesdays- I'm Not SuperWoman, And It's OK!

I'm Not SuperWoman, And It's OK!
I admire so many women who seem like they are doing it all. I constantly stand in awe of their accomplishments. Their blogs are up to date and swanky. They are writing books, making Cd's, starting businesses of all kinds, telling me on Facebook how productive they are, where they have been and what they are doing or new places they have seen. Many are running companies, making a mark for themselves in the business world. I follow lots of women writers who speak and write and are "out there" on the speaking and author circuit and I sometimes just think at this point in my life, " I am not superwoman." I can't do it all at this time in motherhood in my life.

I am me.
God made me,.....well, ME.
God has a calling on my life and I know it.
But I can't measure my life by where other women are in their life. 
I have to be doing what the LORD has called Ashley to do and keep my focus on the goal.
Not keep my focus on other women's goals and accomplishments.

Do you struggle with this?
Do you think "other women" are doing it all and wonder how they are doing it?

I am a wife, mom, keeper of the home, daughter, and friend with a big desire to speak, write, paint, sing and teach. Some people tell me, "You do everything. Is there anything you don't do?" Well, it's not true. You could easily ask my husband and he could give you a list of things I struggle doing. But when I teach God's word, sing God's word and paint God's word, my passion for Him just comes out. It's who he has made me to be and he is refining those gifts and passions for a certain time. My desire is to encourage moms and women of all ages everywhere to follow hard after God, to live in the joy He has given them through Jesus Christ.

I want my time to be given to my family. My son is becoming a little person who can carry on a great conversation and I don't want to miss that because I am updating my blog. My son has homework and is learning to read. I don't want him to remember momma was always busy and never had time to read a story. Yet, when I look around, I see other women doing all kinds of things on social media, I admit my flesh cries out, "Why not me too, Lord? I am behind in my goals, LORD!"

And then he gently reminds me that he "makes everything beautiful in it's time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

And you know what I am finding when I look to Jesus instead of other women's accomplishments? That I am content where I am, with what I am doing, on the time table God has placed me on.

The truth is, when you want it all, the house, the clothes, the perfect family outings and photos, doing everything on your bucket all becomes exhausting. I rarely think that my great-grandmother who was born in 1891 thought the same way then. Did she even know what a "bucket list" was?

It's OK if my blog posts don't become a published book by a big publishing house. If I never become a New York Times Bestseller author, or make a CD that sells 20,000 copies, I am still a woman of worth, of value in God's eyes. It's OK if my Facebook page of Joy Treasure never reaches 500 likes. I want people to like it because they like the content that I share about God's Word. I want to stay true to who God has made me to be and not try to be someone else.

It's OK to not be superwoman dear sister. 
You can't be good at everything. Satan's lie for you to "be where you think you should be" at this time in your life is a lie. God is sovereign and in control and at work. We shouldn't be lazy, but we should make and keep goals that are realistic and measurable and can keep balance in our home lives. Keep a focus on Jesus. Keep a focus on what God has called you to do that no one else can do.

No one else can be a wife to my husband.
No one else can be a mom to my son.
No one else can make our home feel warm and cozy.
No one else can make dinner like I can and satisfy my family's hungry bellies.
No one except me. 
And those are my priorities. Everything else is gravy and I give it to God and let him work it and lead me as time allows.

It's OK to not be Superwoman. 
It's OK to be where you are in life at the time you are in life.
Just keep your eyes on Jesus and you will find the greatest contentment.

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Saturday, October 12

Free Art Friday's Winner

Sorry for the delay ladies!
Family time always trumps the blog and Facebook.
I didn't put into account enough time to post to the blog.
Will try to do better next time!

Thanks to ALL the ladies who entered!

Here we go!!!!

So excited to have my helper draw names!

He chose this airplane instead of a bowl this time to hold the names. I love it!

Going fishing!

 Congrats Amy Moore!!!!
Message me on Facebook how to get the painting to you!

Stay tuned to next Friday! I'll be back with another something fun!

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Friday, October 11


Hey Y'all! It's back! And it's for a little girls bedroom or bathroom. Could be a tween or teen girl too!
Don't have a little girl but have a niece? Enter to win it for her!

How do I enter?
Enter your first and last name in the comment box below this post UNDER MY NAME. The WORD COMMENTS is small so don't overlook it. Click there and follow the promptings.

Can I enter more than once?
Sorry, registrants are only allowed to enter once.

When will the chance to enter end?
Today's drawing will begin today, Friday October 11th at noon and run to tonight Friday October 11th 10pm (central time). After that, all names entered will not be accepted.

What do I do if I have a problem entering my name on the blog? 
Message me on the Joy Treasure Facebook page and I will check out the blog. To be fair to those who enter on the blog, you will have to go back and re-enter on the blog. FOLLOW ALL the PROMPTS of blogger. 

When will you post the winner?
My son will draw the name and the winner will be posted Saturday October 12th no later than 5pm. Keep checking the blog to see when I post.

What do I do if I win?
Please message me on the Joy Treasure Facebook page your contact information so I can get the artwork to you.

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Wednesday, September 25

How to Become A Woman 
Who Keeps Her Word

I have done it and have been on the receiving side of it. I have given a promise that I couldn't keep or wasn't realistic in keeping because of scheduling. Then I have had to go back and apologize for not being able to keep a commitment.

I have come to learn that women, well....we really aren't that different. We like the same clothes, we like the same cutesy gifts but we also struggle with saying, "no."

Why is that?
Because we desire to do so much and be involved and yet, it is so hard for us to say the word "no." Some women have it mastered, and they are far and few between. Many women really struggle with keeping their word these days. Is it possible to be that woman whose "yes" is "yes" and "no" is "no?" I have come to find in my own life the following reasons that keep me from letting my "yes" be "yes" and my "no" be "no." Maybe they will help you think about your own answers.

1. I haven't looked at my calendar.Sometimes we want to say "yes" to something that we go ahead and say "yes" when when we should say "I will have to get back to you. I need to make sure I am available and can commit without any other conflicts." 
2. I looked at my calendar but I didn't update it.I can't tell you how many times I have looked at my calendar, but have forgotten to update it to where I could clearly see there was a conflict. Ugh!!! Then I have to go back and say "no." I hate doing that. My desire is that I come across dependable and this kind of a pattern is not what I want to be portraying to others. 
3. I feel the need to be liked or be included. There have been times in the past, when I wanted so much to be included in something, or make new friends or get to know other women that I let that be the motive to my saying "yes" (even though I knew I was adding a couple of things to my calendar that were really going to stretch my day) when I knew I could keep the commitment but I was gonna be exhausted after over committing. 

So what about you? What are your reasons for saying "yes?"
Maybe it is not because of the reasons I mentioned. Maybe you say "yes" because you feel pressure from the other person to do what they are asking. That's never a reason to say "yes." Become comfortable saying, "Let me get back to you" or "I just can't at this time."

Wishy-Washiness, overcommitment, and being motivated to fill your schedule too much are simply signals that you need to practice pausing. Pause before you say "yes." Think about the other person and how they might feel if you have to say to them, "I am sorry, I can't help. I can't come...." They may be really depending on you and you don't know that. Be a woman whose "yes" is "yes" and "no" is "no."
If you are finding that you are having to apologize all the time because you can't keep commitments then you need to stop and examine why you are saying "yes."

Get comfortable pausing before you give an answer. And be okay with saying, "no."

Last, I love the story of Chick-fil-A. I worked there in high school. As a businessman, Truett Cathy never has let the pressure of other people's desire for Chick-fil-A to be open on Sundays force him to say "yes." His "no" has been "no" and stayed "no." Did you know that his restaurants have been closed on Sundays since 1948? WOW!!!! What an example of a modern day believer who keeps his word.

I hope you have been challenged today by this post. It's okay to struggle, but you can decide today to do something different. Go become that woman who keeps her word and can be counted on whether it's a "yes" or a "no." It will do your heart much good! And those who know you will know they can depend on you and not be waiting for a phone call, email or text to say you can't do something.

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Monday, July 29

Manna Monday: Making Time for God in the Summertime (Simple Prayers)

This summer has been like a roller coaster.
Fast, slow. 
Fast, slow. 
Up. Down. 
Sit down on a park bench to catch a breath and on to the next ride. 
Throw on a poncho when it rains and keep going.

 Meeting God in the summertime has been a challenge for me. 
I am just keeping it real. 

Has making time for God in the summertime been a challenge for you? 

I have found that reading itty bitty parts of Scripture in the same passage during the summertime (until I could get a longer period of time for deeper study) has kept my heart longing for God in the busyness.

Praying simple prayers is one of the ways I keep Scripture at the forefront of my mind during the day. I love picking out bite size parts of big truths and praying it throughout my daily tasks. 

Here lately, I have traveled back to Psalm 119 and my heart has been immediately uplifted by its vast truth. Can't read it enough!

Today I share this simple prayer with you: 
              "Give me understanding...."   Psalm 119:34

This prayer is one we all can pray when we open the Bible, are studying a particular passage or examining a verse at a deeper level. Asking God to "give me understanding" is one way I keep the conversation open with Him about parts of my life that I don't make sense to me, truth that I want to live out as a wife, mom and believer, and parts of the Bible that just perplex me. What I have found is that He always answers it. Always! 

If you find that you only have time for bite size truths about God during the summertime, pray simple prayers throughout the day. You will find this to be a great way to keep truth alive in the midst of roller coaster life.

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Friday, July 19

A Baby Step Toward Finding OrderI

I don't like taking baby steps when I do something. I like to finish the WHOLE thing at one time. (you know the phrase about eating the elephant!!!) 

But the older I get, the more I realize I need more order in my life. Order brings peace, and wastes less time, I am finding I must succumb to the pressure of "being organized." UGHHHH!
The problem with this whole realization thing is that I don't like to organize. 

Heee Heee!

So, after trolling through the web, I found some great sites that told me what to do!
Here are a two sites that I love and have taught me how to "DO" organization. I must add this though.....I will not be making my own detergent. (Smile!)

So here's what I am up to today. 

Aren't these the cutest file folders! I am hoping that when I look at them, they will make me want to file something quickly! 
Found them at Tar-Jay (aka Target)!

Click here to get them!

Moving on. Here's the next thing I am organizing.

My Pantry dry goods- sugar, flour, cornmeal, baking powder etc.
I found these at Target too!!! 

And I couldn't believe it, but I found these CUTE LABELS for pantry containers there too!

I am getting excited about this organization thing because those labels are SOOOOOO cute!

And I am so loving these pre-printed labels for my files in my home drawer. I don't even have to make them with my label maker. (Confession... I bought a label maker last fall..... Am I may be crossing over to the organized side....)

And last, because I LOVE living in the south!!! So, while I am organizing all this stuff, I get to glance up at something BU-TEEE- FULLL - my mason jar of flowers on my kitchen island.


Well, that's all I have for ya today! Nothing theological or deep. Just real life in a real woman's day.

Love y'all!
Happy Friday!

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Wednesday, July 10

Healthy Friendships: Not HER Jesus

What do you do when a friend looks to you as their Jesus? As their Savior? As the person who can make everything better for them? As the person they run to first for advice in every area of their life? If you have started to feel uncomfortable or have even been experiencing grief in a friendship and don't know why, you probably need to establish some boundaries in that particular friendship.

Practical Ways to Not Be Her Jesus

1. Write a letter to yourself about your feelings. 
When dealing with a friend who takes ALL your energy, you might not even be aware of WHAT feelings you are feeling. Taking time to be still, think and consider what you are feeling about the friendship can help you uncover and pinpoint why you are feeling what you are feeling about this particular friendship. Then you can know how to begin establishing boundaries in the friendship.

2. Learn the art of listening to her
You don't have to offer advice to your friend every time they ask. Women have a need to "feel" needed and desire to help their friends. But think it through. For some women, your advice can become the crutch they look towards receiving in the future. Learn to listen to their issues and not feel compelled to fix their problems. 

3. Point her to scripture
Pointing your friend to the Bible to answer their problems is a healthy way to remove your opinions from the conversation instead of advice and get her thinking toward looking to Jesus to bring her burdens to.  

4. Learn to ask her questions
A friend who is looking to you to answer their questions continually will most likely do what she wants to do and not listen to your advice. Learning to ask her questions like, "What do you think you should do?" or "How do you feel about that?" or questions like this can bring the conversation back to how the friend is feeling and help her to answer her own questions. This removes you from being her Jesus.

5. Allow space in the relationship
 A friend who takes more than she gives can be so exhausting. Some questions to ask yourself to determine if you need to allow yourself some boundaries of space are:

  • Does this friend call/text me too much (what is too much?)
  • Does this friend expect me to pick up the phone every time she calls me? Does she react in a way that makes me feel guilty for not calling her back?
  • Does this friend expect me to drop everything to come to her rescue?
Putting space in the relationship can be learning to say, "I am not taking calls during this time" or "I am only going to be able to talk at night."  Learning to know what your boundaries are and become confident in sharing them can help you begin to relieve you from the burden of being her Jesus.

Last, there are friendships that can become so one sided that you may have to back off completely. I don't know what that looks like for you. It doesn't mean you aren't friendly, but it does mean that you may need to remove yourself from the day in and day out relationship. It may mean spending less time with that friend.

I know this is hard to talk about. It's hard to write about. But we want to be a healthy friend and create healthy friendships. The quicker we know what to do and how to do it, the better we can learn to establish healthy friendships.

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Saturday, June 22

I love encouraging women to love Jesus more! I love the gift of art God has given me to share! That's why I share it with you!!!!

 Thank you to every lady who entered Free Art Friday this week! YAY!!!!!

If you didn't win this time, just keep entering, I have LOTS of fun stuff coming down the pipe this summer! And one of them is gonna be my biggest giveaway yet.....A manger scene! More later on that! So stay tuned and tell your friends about this great stuff I share on the Joy Treasure Blog!!!!

Here are the precious ladies who threw their name into the ring this week on the Joy Treasure blog. I tried to give enough time for everyone to enter on the blog. That's why I only took names from the blog. There were 24 hours to enter your name here. 

Winner #1 gets the Green background with gray chevron cross..

Congrats Leslie!!!!!!
Message me on the Joy Treasure Facebook Page about how to get this painting to you.

Winner #2 gets the Warm Grey colored background with the pink Chevron Cross.
Congrats Stephanie!!!!
Message me on the Joy Treasure Facebook Page so I can find out how to get the painting to you.

Winner #3 gets the turquoise background with the blue chevron cross on it.

                                                                   Congrats Kim!!!!!
         Message me on the Joy Treasure Facebook Page so I can find out how to get the painting to you.

So thrilled for these ladies!
Thanks again for your support here on the Joy Treasure Blog and Facebook Page!
I love y'all!
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Thursday, June 20

FREE ART FRIDAY, June 20-21, 2013

Hey y'all! 
I'm so glad we can do this again today!

I am almost finished with these three paintings. They are mixed media paint and paper along with scripture. They are 6X6 in size and  1 1/2  inches thick. You will not need a frame.

They look great in a laundry room, bathroom, on an office desk, or girl's room. Some of you may have colors in your living room where they might look awesome too!

To Enter:

  1. Type your first and last name in the comment box under this post on the blog (ONCE only please!!)
  2. Winners will be drawn from the pool of names I receive in the comment box on the blog, not on Facebook. IF you have a problem leaving your name in a comment box here on the blog, please message me on the Joy Treasure Facebook page and we will discuss the issue.
  3. The first name my son draws will go to the green, the second name he draws will go to the gray and third name he draws will go to the blue background.
  4. Winners will be announced on Saturday morning June 22nd no later than 10:30am.

Happy Free Art Friday!!!

You enter NOW, Thursday June 20th at 7pm and comments will be taken here until Friday June 21st at 7pm. Then, I will close the contest.

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Wednesday, June 19

The Need for Friendship (Tearing Down the Invisible Walls)

I have a need for something more, for deeper connections outside of "hello" and "how are you?" Are you like me? Do you find it difficult to move beyond those typical introductions with other women? God continues to call me to keep my walls down that keep me from meeting other women outside my comfort zone. It's hard making new friends when you are an adult because it's easier to stay where you are comfortable. Where the women you "hang" with are the "only" ones you hang with.

But are you missing something outside those invisible friend walls you put up around you?"YES!"

Other women have a lot to offer your life. Do you ever think about that anymore? Or have you even written off that truth? Think about it: Maybe she is a good organizer or has creative ways to discipline children and you need help. Maybe she is a woman who is deep in her walk with the LORD and you could be greatly encouraged by her passion pursuing Christ and learn to follow too! Maybe this woman has battled an illness and has learned "what really matters" and you could benefit from her embracing each moment of life ways. Maybe....just maybe you could benefit from meeting new friends.....

But you will never know if you keep your walls up. Your invisible walls that no one knows except you. You see, other women can walk right by those walls and never know why you seem closed off or distant. They don't know your hurt. They don't know your comfort level. They don't know that you think you don't have anything in common with them. They just see you don't want to get to know them, barely say "hello" and never seem friendly.

You may not even know you are coming off in this way. That's what invisible walls do. Sometimes they have become such an intricate part of they way you "do" life that you aren't even aware you are putting them up anymore. They just are there. 

I am not saying ditch the old and bring in the new! It's very good to keep your old friends, but it is important to be open to make new friends. To be welcoming of new women in your church, bible study, Sunday School or neighborhood. To almost have an alarm in your brain that goes off saying, "ALERT, A WOMAN TO YOUR RIGHT IS ALONE. GO INTRODUCE YOURSELF."

Why We Stay in The Same Groups!
  • We stay in the same groups because we like to be comfortable. It takes energy to try something new like go to a new bible study where you don't know the women. It's easier to stay where you are and just  "be." It's hard to meet for coffee with other women who are not your "normal" group. You have to start over and feel vulnerable and be on your best behavior.

  • A second reason we stay in the same groups is that we know the women who know us, know our stuff. We have been "real" with them and they have been "real" with us. So to move past that invisible walls with other women seems like a whole new mountain to climb. We just look at it and write it off saying, "I just don't have it in me."

  • Other reasons can be past hurts where you trusted someone too much and she was hurtful and insensitive and just threw your heart on the ground. That can be a hard one to move past a friendship that was hurtful. But just because someone was hurtful doesn't mean every friendship will turn out the same way.
1. Pray. Ask the LORD to show you if you are putting up an invisible walls toward other women who could bring a lot to your life. Ask Him to show you why you have placed these walls up when around other women. Ask Him to give you courage to befriend other women.

2. Try something new: Go to a new bible study where you don't know the women. Say "yes" to a girls night out invitation from other women you don't know. YOU... invite another woman to your home for coffee or meet her for lunch and let the kids play.

3. Give yourself a break and not be so hard on yourself about why you put up invisible walls. The only problem about invisible walls are the ones you never tear down. Having the courage to tear them down is where freedom can begin. 

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Tuesday, June 18

Prayer is not a one time thing. Why do we think that when we pray and give it over to God, that we are done and we shouldn't be bothered by our burdens? Who are we kidding? The Bible says we are like "sheep" (Isaiah 53:6). Do you know how skiddish sheep are?
In his book, "A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23", W. Phillip Keller (A Shepherd himself at one time) describes how we are like sheep saying, 
"Sheep do not "just take care of themselves" as some might suppose. They require, more than any other livestock, endless attention and meticulous care. It is no accident that God has chosen to call us sheep. The behavior of sheep and human beings is similar in many ways...Our mass mind, our fears and timidity, our stubbornness and stupidity, our perverse habits are all parallels of profound importance."
So when we fear things, are burdened by troubles, feel friction and become angry, or whatever the case may be, we are in NEED of continuous care by the Shepherd. Praying continually is NOT letting our burdens get the best of us. It is giving our burdens over to our great Shepherd. He knows we need continual care. And it is not easy for sheep to be carefree. In fact, that hardly ever happens. It takes a lot of work for sheep to become that way.

Today, give yourself a break.
Whenever you are bothered, pray.
It's not a sign of weakness.
It's a sign that you are trusting your good Shepherd.
And learn how to let him care for you continually instead of bearing the burden all by yourself.
He knows you need Him.
So need Him!!!!

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Saturday, June 15

The moment is here! Here were the wonderful ladies who entered Free Art Friday's Tween/Teen contest.

Thanks to everyone who entered!!!!! I LOVE giving away ART!!!!!!

                                                       Ready to be placed into the ole' bowl!!

                                                    My little helper picked...... AND....................
Congratulations Jennifer!!!! Message me on Facebook and let me know how I can get this painting to you!!! So happy for ya!!!

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Tuesday, June 11

I said it. I took it back. I was indecisive. UGHHH!!!!!!!
Why did I make commitments stacked on top of one another in one day? Even if it killed me, I was gonna finish. That's the kind of girl I am. I struggle with saying "no." Why didn't I just take my time and figure out my answer in the beginning before I opened my mouth and said "yes."

This five foot girl thinks bigger than her height. That's the problem.

So as I like to share my joys, my struggles, my life and my victories on Joy Treasure, today I share a struggle I deal with internally, I can be wishy washy sometimes.

Yes, it's true.

But you may never know it because I will always try to finish something I start even if I am over committed. If I give my word, I keep my word. There have been days when I have gone from one birthday party to the next, and the next and the next. Not wanting to say "no" when we are tired, when we need rest. I don't want to miss out. I don't want my son to miss out. I am just being honest. I don't want for other women to think I don't care about them. So I go. Even when I need to stay home and rest. This is not good ladies. This is not good.

Do you feel like me? Have you ever done this before?

This wishy washy-ness can come in different forms for women. I don't know, but I think there are many factors. Busyness, the need to be liked, the fear of saying "no" and thinking you may be rejected by another person. Thinking you have more time to do it all when you really don't. Sometimes wishy washy-ness can be because you are fearful of something new. You feel uncomfortable and you don't want to try it out so you sit on it for a while. What makes you wishy washy? I really want to hear from you about this!!!!

The Bible tells us how to be clear and direct and NOT be wishy washy. And I admit, there have been times when I re-read this verse and it is like a dagger to my heart because it is SO true!!!!! (Yes, I know this passage is talking about faith. But the imagery of doubt being like a wave speaks to my wishy washy-ness.)

"...for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." James 1:6

Anytime when I have been indecisive, I have either wanted to not miss out on something, wanted the other person to still like me if I couldn't do what they were asking me to do, and sometimes just needed to get still to think about my monthly calendar and not be so quick to say "yes."

I think the remedy for this struggle I deal with, is learning to be open and honest from the start and tell the person as quickly as I can, "I need to think about that. I am interested. I am not going to commit until I know for sure." That other person I think would rather hear that instead of feeling rejected by my "no" in the end or at the last minute. And then there are sometimes when life happens and someone gets sick and it just CAN'T happen. (Stomach Viruses and Strep always trump everything!)

We women are wishy washy. I am guilty of it. You are probably guilty of it, too. Even not saying a word to someone is being wishy washy. Omitting your answer or being silent can be wishy washy too. Have you ever thought about that before? It's true.

I want to be a woman who makes a promise from the start and keeps her word. Don't you?
I don't want to secretly kill myself in one day by over committing to too many things. But I don't want to miss out on something that could be a big blessing to my life either. It simply takes a few minutes to really think and ponder the best thing to commit too.

James says it best....we will be just like a tossed wave if we have doubts. And if we are wishy washy in our answers, other people will come to think we are wishy washy. That's not the kind of witness I want to portray? No woman I know sets out with a goal to portray wishy washy-ness. But without a clear direction from the start, she may can come across this way unknowingly.

Sister, we need to get to the root of our doubts and hesitations quicker. Doubts are there to alarm us to hold off and take time to think and consider. We need to get to what is best for us and for our family from the start and know it' OK to pause before you press play.

I want to hear if you struggle with this. Please leave a comment!!!!

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Tuesday, May 14

"Aloneness" can hit us at the strangest times. The worst time is when it happens inside the church walls. You would think this would not be the case. But church is not a place where people are perfect. It's a place where people are sinners saved by grace. And where there is sin, there is imperfection. Hearts can get hurt. Not only can it happen to us, but if we aren't careful and deliberate with the words we choose to say to another woman, we can be the one who unknowingly makes another woman feel isolated. On the flip side if you are the woman who begins to have these feelings of aloneness at church, don't be discouraged. YOU can be proactive and know this is a weakness you have felt and tackle it head on beforehand with the LORD's help. I have experienced this deceptive feeling before at church and that is why I share it with you. This is how I handle the feelings that seek to destroy my heart while seeking the LORD.

1. Know Your Weakness
There are topics of conversation that can immediately put up an imaginary wall between two women in a packed room. Children vs. No children. Married vs. Single. Married vs. Divorced. Working mom vs. Stay at home mom. School Mom vs. Home school Mom. I could go on. But you get the picture. Know your weakness. Know the areas that you struggle with and deal with the insecurity with the LORD. 

The longer you hide your feelings about your life from yourself and aren't confident in WHO you are in the LORD, the easier it will become to feel alone at church. Why? Because the topic of conversation will all of a sudden come up and strike a nerve and expose the insecure feeling or choices you have not dealt with. Whether its the choices you made in the past or the choices you are making at present, or just an insecure feeling about yourself,  the more you push your weakness aside, the greater are for an attack against the enemy (It's not the woman. It's something greater! The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy).

2. Pray Before Church
It's something you do at church and something you probably do before church. But do you spread your weaknesses out before God before going to church knowing that you have had a struggle? If not, this is the BEST thing to do before walking into the place where you have felt under attack. My struggles have been many. But I know that when I lay it out before God, pray about it before I go to church, my heart walls are strong and not susceptible to a surprise attack.

3. Remember It's Only A Feeling
Feelings change like the clouds that float by in the sky. God's truth does not. It's solid. It's secure. It's the true voice you need to be preaching to yourself when the "feeling" is clouding your mind. Your past does not define you. Your present does not define you. They are significant life experiences that have happened to you. YOU are a child of God. A daughter of the Most High King!!!

4. Change Your Friends
I am not saying be rude to the people that have hurt you unknowingly. Extend grace. But if there topic of conversations and the way they talk is too painful for you to handle, seek to make new friends. You don't have to best buds with everyone. But you do need a woman who you can trust to lift you up and you lift her up. Women who don't have a clue that they have torn you down, even if you have shared that with them, don't get it. You are wasting your time in a relationship that is not going anywhere. Pray about seeking new friends and always be kind to the women you used to spend time with. Pray for God to open their eyes to how they have cut others off by the words of their mouth.

Last, it's reflection time.
Ask yourself the following questions:

"Am I doing my part to make an effort to get to know others?"
"Do the words of my mouth build others up?"
"Have I really poured myself into making connections beyond the church walls with this/ these women?"
"Have I really dealt with my insecurity?"
"Is this a relationship I need to re-evaluate?"
"Why have I felt alone at church?" 

Dear sister, you are NOT ALONE!!! Many women have felt the same way not just at church but other places. Get to the root of your feeling. Pray. Reflect. Remember it's a feeling and it will pass. And if you need to seek new relationships seek them out. God didn't send Jesus to win the victory over sin and death so we could always feel alone. He gave us the victory so we could overcome these things on earth. But you have to bring it to Him and let Him teach and guide you.

Dear LORD, please heal my hurt. My feelings of aloneness. Help me get to the root of this issue that is keeping me from being effective for you at church. Give me truth to combat these feelings that destroy my heart. Show me the next steps I should take and help me walk forward looking at YOU with each step I take.
In Jesus name, Amen.

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Monday, May 13

Happy Monday y'all!

Some days, I don't need to read a devotion. I just need to sit at the table of the LORD and feast on His word.

Today, I give you a Scripture Feast of God's Word from the book of Psalms.

Take a few minutes to: Sit.
 Simply run your cursor over each verse and it will show up.

Psalm 18:1-3

Psalm 119:41

Psalm 19:8

Psalm 31:1

Psalm 105:4

Psalm 91:4

Psalm 75:1

Psalm 73: 26

Psalm 143:10

Lord, may each woman who reads your word today in this post be lifted up, renewed and strengthened to face a new week. May she feel closer to you by the reading of your word. Satisfy her hunger for you. You are a great God and are greatly to be praised. We thank you that you are a God who loves us, who is with us, and is always working in our lives. In Jesus name we pray, AMEN.

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Wednesday, May 8

DEAR Mother: A Letter to Myself as a New Mother 
(What I would tell myself about motherhood now that I didn't know then!)

Dear Mom,
Oh sweet girl, congratulations! You have become a mother! Treasure each passing moment. Your son will change so quickly and you will forget so many things.  Write each phase down on paper so you won't easily forget. Oh, your brain has now become a mommy brain and it functions way different than your old brain. You will forget stuff! So write!!!
Stare at your boy, because each day he is growing, changing. One day you will wake up and he will be grown.
Never look back. Never live your life in the "what I could have done" thoughts. Just learn from your mistakes and grow and change as a mom. READ lots of books on parenting to help equip you with ideas on how to be a better parent. Glean what works for you and teaches you something you didn't know. But be careful not to forget your main resource as a parent- the BIBLE- use truth as your main guide to become a godly parent.  
Have fun!!!! Your boy will want to play outside, catch bugs, play in the dirt, and make funny noises with his mouth. LAUGH! Have fun with him.  
Your heart will now ache in a way it has never ever ached before. It will ache for someone besides yourself or your husband. When your boy is sad, gets hurt, or gets his feelings hurt, you will hurt. You heart will ache. Long after  your boy is comforted, you will still will ache for him after he has forgotten all about it. Don't dwell on the ache too long because you don't want his hurts to become what he identifies himself with or how you parent him. Failing, hurting, falling down....these are ALL ways God is growing him and you. 
There will be days when you say to yourself, "I need a break." TAKE ONE! Learn to communicate to your husband that you need a break. Don't wait for him to see that you need a break. He most likely won't even be aware that you need a break. He can't read your mind. Just Learn to take a break for an hour to just breathe! Then rise up the next day with hopefulness and take it on with new eyes. Never give up teaching your child. You will feel like a broken record at times, but keep teaching.  
Pray for mommy friends. Friends that you can grow in the LORD with and your kids can grow with their kids. This is a hard one. Because it takes work. Most women are already secure in their group of friends and find it difficult to step outside the group to deepen a relationship with a new friend. Don't give up trying. Focus on being a friend to all mommies you meet and never take anything personally. Mommies are busy. 
Pour Scripture into your boys heart continually through reading, memorizing and songs. Talk about it during your day. Point his heart continually on knowing and pleasing the LORD.  
Learn to talk to your boy each day. Give him time to tell you what is on his mind. You will be surprised in learning that he will begin to tell you things if you ask and just listen. 
Don't worry your mommy moments away by focusing on the things your boy is having difficulty getting like potty training, leaving places and not sharing. He will get it. Be patient with him. GOD IS PATIENT with you!!! 
Hold his hand as long as he will let you because one day he might not want to hold your hand. Hug and kiss him and tell him you love him continually. As fast as he came into your life and you had to learn how to care for him continually, you will also have to learn to let go. To let him learn. To let him gain independence. Your heart will hurt every time he does more for himself because you will know he is becoming less dependent on you. It's the way God intended. Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and man.  
There will be many days you wonder about your mothering. It's called "doubt." That's OK. It's totally normal. Don't worry about the "doubt" feeling. It comes and goes. The more your worry about "how" you are mothering, the less focused you become as a mother. Learn to replace your doubts with truth and prayer. 
Discipline brings life and freedom to your boy. He needs boundaries. Learn what works for you. Determine a plan that you KEEP consistently. That means if you have to leave a playdate for him to learn the consequence of his actions, leave. Your boy needs to learn that he is not the one controlling your parenting. He needs to learn the word "no." God told Adam and Eve the word "no." He followed through with the consequence by expelling them from the garden. He knew best. So do you. 
When you think everything is going well in your parenting. Don't get comfortable with that feeling, because everything can change in a minute. Learn to identify when your boy is moving from one stage of life to another. Appreciate the moments or days when there isn't change.   
It's OK to not wash your hair some days. (Big earrings and lip gloss can distract every one's eyes from looking at your hair!)  
Some days, a cookie is the best way for you to get a little more done in the home. (smile)
You will begin to have a feeling like you can't get everything done, like you are always behind. You aren't. Learn to take a few minutes to just breathe. Then, try to get done what is possible to get done in a day. Learn to make goals for your week and then pursue them. You will feel a sense of accomplishment in doing so.  
Finally, at the end of the day, you are a GOOD parent. No one will give you a performance review. Stay teachable. Stay young at heart. Stay close to the LORD. Remember, feeling inadequate is how you learn. It's not a sign that you are a bad parent. It's a sign that you are teachable. Love the job God has given you and take it to heart. You have great purpose!

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Monday, May 6

My church is having a missions conference this week which began yesterday morning. It has already been an incredible time of learning as well as worship. The conference theme is "GO." There are 25 missionaries from around the world visiting us and we have had the opportunity to hear their hearts as well as encourage them. As I listened to two of the missionaries speak about their work and what God had been showing them in their part of the world, I found myself asking the question, "Are we (as followers of Christ) really going?" where we live in our communities? 

Are we really living out the Gospel on a daily basis in our neighborhoods, work, and schools? Are we really going? Are we really moving when it comes to sharing the Gospel? 

                   Ordinary People/ Extraordinary Obedience
What struck my heart is that these people were just like you and I going about their business when they felt the Holy Spirit's leading to leave their life in the states and go to another country. The difference is that they answered the call, made the sacrifice, and obeyed God despite what they felt or could see. 

One of the missionaries I listened to yesterday left their jobs to go to Vienna, Austria where most of the people do not want any part to do with God because of the history of the church during the Roman Empire. He shared that although it was a lovely place, it was a very dark place in terms of believing in Christ. He even shared how he and his wife can even be taken as religious fanatics by most people in Vienna. He said the most important witness to the Austrians was not so much hearing about theology, but seeing truth lived out in daily life. 

Wow! Isn't that what people want to see here in our country too?

At present, I may not be able to go overseas on mission, but I have a mission here at home. 
Am I really going out on mission for Christ where I am? 
Am I really reaching outside the church walls to shine light to a dark world?

What about you? What is your mission? Is it the neighbors next door? The friend your child plays with? The co-worker who constantly attacks your beliefs? A family member who is lost or far from God? Who is it you can "go" and tell the gospel to this week? This month? This year?

Today's post Scripture focus is from Romans 12:1 The Message

"...Take your everyday ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going to work, walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering."

Offer your life as an offering to God. Offer your life as a light to a dark world around you and GO!!!!

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