In this social media/Internet age we live so many of life's moments can be visible for all to see. It is usually our 'best' that we post. I have written before about how it's human nature to want to only post our "best of the best". I am guilty of it too; especially as someone with perfectionist tendencies.
But being a mother is a messy job. Real life is messy. Children are messy. Marriage is messy. It is reality. And our faithfulness to be obedient to God's calling as a mother and wife requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. And so much of the hard work and sacrifice is done in the 'hidden moments of life'.
I am not suggesting we should be posting all of life's moments on the Internet, ideal or messy. I do believe there is still a place for privacy. However, I think we need to remember that so often the work we do for our children, our husbands, our own lives, goes unseen. This does not mean that the work we do is insignificant. I want to remind us all that things do not have to be posted on the Internet in order for them to be significant.
The messy faces and hands you wipe clean after meals, the band-aids you place on 'boo-boos', the stories you read, the teenage tempers you settle, the lunches you make, the laundry you wash, the dishes you clean...it is all for God's glory. Jesus showed God's grace and love through sacrifice and service. The daily service and sacrifice you make in the 'hidden moments' of life are significant and are making a mark on eternity.
I am reading through Sally Clarkson's Own Your Life again and this time I am using the study guide and planner with it. This book came out in January of 2015 and it is one of the best books I have ever read. I think I read it in three weeks. I could not put it down.
The ideas Sally presents in Own Your Life are so inspiring and refreshing. Now I want to go back through and spend more detailed time soaking in the wisdom and being more prayerful about how God wants me to 'own' my life.
In the opening pages of the book Sally makes this statement,
Lasting love and influence for the gospel happen in the hidden moments of life when only God sees my heart and my faithfulness.
I believe many of us want to be a voice of change in our world. A change for better. But we often feel we will not be able to make a difference without some big platform. This is false ideology.
One thing I am learning through Sally Clarkson's writings, and digging deeper into God's word, is that we can make a difference in our world no matter where we are or what our circumstances. God has equipped each of us with unique desires, strengths, and talents. And He has placed us right where we are for a purpose and He has the ability to use us to make a difference in our world. The key is we have to be willing and available.
For the first few years of my first child's life I was fighting against obedience to God. I thought I could have it all and do it all. That I could be the superwoman I had been told I could be. That I could have the successful career, a strong marriage, well-trained children, and be personally healthy and stable.
However, all the pressures and stresses on my life became too much for me to handle. I soon realized I was attempting something humanly impossible and honestly, working against God's will for my own life. My life was a heaping pile of chaos and I was on the verge of a major breakdown.
By the grace of God my life took a major turn. God removed my desire to have the successful career I had dreamed about for so many years. About a month after I sold my business God said 'I am blessing you again'...and I became pregnant with our second child.
After being rescued from the pending major breakdown, I resolved to surrender my life to Him who gives me the very breath I breathe. I realized my calling was not outside my home, but inside. My calling was now to devote the majority of my time and talents to my children, my marriage, and my home. Many people I love and care about were confused with my decision. I had some tell me that I was giving up "so much potential".
Now, going on three years of being a full time homemaker, mama, and wife I know this is where God wants me at this season of my life. I still love working on things other than homemaking, training children and serving my husband and children. It's one reason I started this blog. However, I know that things outside of my primary calling of motherhood and marriage need to take a back seat in my life.
I am learning to appreciate the significance of the hidden moments of life and cultivate the joy God desires for me to have. God desires for you to have joy too. To make a mark on eternity right where you are.
Are you embracing your circumstances or fighting against them? What hidden moments in your life can you reflect on today?
If you want to know more about Sally Clarkson and her ministry click here. If you have not read Own Your Life, I highly recommend it.
Happy Friday! It's Freedom Friday around here at Moms Spark the Nation and this week we are on Principles of Liberty #4: Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.
America's Founders were hypersensitive about religion. They knew they wanted to ensure a state government could not be created. One of the main reason they made the treacherous journey across the Atlantic and into an unknown territory was for religious freedom.
When setting up America's new government, the Founding Fathers were very careful to ensure religious freedom would prevail. They did this not because they wanted to create a nation free of religion, quite the opposite. Religion and spirituality were very important to the founders, and to many of the citizens who were establishing their new lives in what would become America. Religion was at the heart of America's government right from the start.
In his Farewell Address, President George Washington said,
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports...And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion...Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government." [The 5000 Year Leap, pp. 76]
Over the course of the last several decades, and perhaps a little longer, religion in America has been under attack. Those who do not have religion or spirituality seek to destroy what is left of religion in America. Any mention of God has been ripped out of public schools, government buildings, etc. And I contest this has been the main cause of America's downfall.
As a Christian, I know that persecution is inevitable, but that does not mean that we should not fight for our beliefs. We are meant to be warriors for Christ in this dark world and America has been a beacon of light for so many who are experiencing religious persecution. I encourage you to pray to God to ask for his guidance in how you can be a warrior for His kingdom.
As a proud American, it saddens me to see the moral decay of our nation. Freedom is not free and if we don't understand our history or what it cost to obtain freedom it can easily be stripped away. What kind of America are we leaving the next generation? What kind of moral foundation does the next generation have to live in this world?
I have created 'Freedom Friday' as a way to help disperse information and insight on liberty and freedom in order to inspire myself and you to keep freedom alive. To inspire myself and you to take a stand for what is right. To encourage each other to live our lives righteously and to stand for truth.
If you want great resources for American history visit the websites below:
Thanks for stopping by today. Thank you letting me share my thoughts on freedom and liberty.
I would love to hear from you. Do you enjoy these 'Freedom Friday" posts?
Hello! In my last Thursday Thrifty Tip we discussed how to save money by finding the cheapest time to run your dishwasher. For this Thursday Thrifty Tip I want to stay on the automatic dishwasher topic and talk about money we can save by what we put in our dishwashers.
If you are like me, you like your dishes to come out of the dishwasher sparkling clean. Where I live we have hard water and without using a rinse aid in my dishwasher my dishes come out with a cloudy, not so pleasant looking film on them. This cloudy film makes dishes look like unclean. What a shame to run them through the dishwasher and have them come out with a white, cloudy film on them.
Even if you don't have hard water, your dishwasher may still leave a film on your dishes. The solution to keeping this cloudy white film from occurring is to use a rinse aid in your automatic dishwasher. I began using a commercial rinse aid products several years ago. My dishes came out sparkling clean, but at quite a cost. If you use rinse aid, you know how expensive it is.
If you like to make homemade cleaning products or other similar things you probably know there are many uses for distilled vinegar. But, did you know that it can be used as a dishwasher rinse aid?!?
I didn't know this until a lady at church told me last year. When I heard this I was so excited. I was tired of spending money on rinse aid, but I really wanted sparkling clean dishes. So when I ran out of "commercial" rinse aid I tried distilled vinegar. And you know what!? It worked great! My dishes came out sparkling clean...And there was no strong vinegar odor either.
Since I like to make lots of things from scratch at home I buy things like distilled white vinegar in bulk. Like huge, gallon size Costco bulk! Which makes it about the cheapest a private individual can get. When I compare the cost of using vinegar instead of the pricey rinse aid, I am saving a lot of money.
The large jar of vinegar I buy from Costco calculates to about $0.02 an ounce. Vinegar is very inexpensive. You don't need to buy Costco bulk to get the savings. Even the gallon jug of distilled vinegar at Walmart is just over $0.02 an ounce. When I do a search of rinse aids at my local Walmart the cost per ounce varies from $0.23 per ounce to a whopping $1.28 per ounce! Whoa! That's crazy expensive just to have sparkling dishes!
Plus, distilled white vinegar is a much safer option in my opinion. I did a little research on rinse aid ingredients and came up short in finding out what exactly is in rinse aid. All the "commercial" rinse aids I have bought are a vibrant color blue or green, so I am pretty sure there is some sort of dye in the liquid. I also assume there are quite a few chemicals in them too.
I think using distilled vinegar is such a great option for saving money, keeping your family safe, and enjoying your delicious meals on sparkling clean dishes!
Would you agree? I would love to hear from you! Let me know if you knew you vinegar can be used as a rinse aid, or if you even use rinse aid. Maybe some of you were forgoing sparkling dishes because of the rinse aid cost...I completely understand that; but now you have a very inexpensive and natural option!
If you want to know another way to save money when using your dishwasher, check out my
Here's to sparkling clean dishes for pennies! Hope you have a great day!
I have wrote before about how words are very powerful and we should strive to use words that affirm and encourage, instead of tear down and discourage. But how we say those words is important too.
I don't know if its just a learned trait or if its part of my OCD, but when my children disobey or make big messes I have a tendency to react in a harsh way. My voice level is elevated and my whole demeanor changes. OCD coupled with a strong Type A personality makes me have great anxiety when things are out of order or chaotic or when the result I was expecting does not happen.
When I react to my children in a harsh way they in turn react very negatively. They scream and get upset themselves. It's a natural response really. I completely understand why they are reacting this way. I would too if someone was speaking to me that way.
Immediately after the episode I feel guilty and upset with myself for being that way. I have a tendency to be emotional too, so the episode usually ends with me and my children in tears. I feel terrible for my actions and I always apologize to my children. I get down on their level and I am gentle to take them in my lap and wrap them in my arms. I tell them how sorry mommy is for how I acted. Often times I will tell God out loud how sorry I am for my actions and to ask forgiveness. I then will ask may children for forgiveness.
One thing is for sure, my children will be very good at knowing how to apologize.
I am not proud of my harsh reaction by any means, but I want to share because God is helping me change. I do not want to be this way. I know it's poor behavior and it's modeling life in a very poor way for my children.
I want to change. I want to be gentle with my words and how I say them. If I am trying to instill a truth or obedience in my children, but I am doing it with a harsh tone of voice...all is lost. Who wants to listen a meany?? Not me. And my children don't either.
Several months ago I came across the verse in Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." NKJV. This verse obviously spoke volumes to me. I highlighted it in my Bible and wrote it down on one of my index cards. This verse is one that comes to me now when I begin the unpleasant episode.
In the picture above I used the Amplified Bible version of Proverbs 15:1 to give more emphasis to the verse.
I wish I could say that I have completely stopped the outbursts, but I can't. However, I can say that I am seeing fruit from my intent to change. Episodes occur less often and the episodes are getting shorter and shorter in length.
I am so thankful for God's word and his amazing power to change our sinful ways. I pray to God often to change my heart and my actions. And He is faithful to give us such requests.
In our home, sin is not tolerated or excused. But discipline and correction need not be delivered harshly. Children, and anyone for that matter, are much more receptive to correction and discipline when it is given in a respectful and gentle manner.
Sally Clarkson and Kristen Kill have a great podcast on Expressing love to our children. Sally gives great wisdom on how she gently instructed her children when they were in need of correction. Click here to check that out.
I hope you have a wonderful day and hope that my words and insight might have encouraged you today.
Hi! My name is Mandy Jo.
Thanks for visiting my blog! Being a mom in this modern age is a blessing, but no cake walk. So many expectations are imposed on us and it can be overwhelming and often discouraging.