Friday, April 24, 2015

When We Proudly Proclaim Our Calling

Sometimes it's easier to blend in the crowd. Sometimes, I'd rather be hidden away with a book than to  be out there facing something that's hard. I am not a confrontational person and I don't do well being in the spotlight. I never want the center of attention to be on me.

Yet, I am the woman who enters the grocery store with six children ages ten and under. Two of them sit in a double stroller which my older ones take turns pushing as I grab what I necessarily need to get us until I can do most of my shopping alone. I admit that I get stressed sometimes by the wide range of comments I know I will receive from others when I go somewhere with all six.

It's not that I am not proud of my crew because I truly am. It's not that I don't think children are a blessing because I really do think it. It's not because I don't want to show the world what a joy a large family can be. My heart is so full and I am happy to be the bearer of many children.

But here's the truth. In all honesty, it's because I feel like I am in a spotlight. I get questioned by nearly every passerbyer and as I've mentioned above, I'd rather be unnoticed.

However, what if God doesn't want me to hide away His purpose for me? What if God wants me to make it known that this is His plan and His desire to share the beauty of family in a not-so-family-oriented society? What if He wants me to radiate His plan for family and love where it's needed most? What if instead of trying to hide in a shell I walk out boldly and say, "Yes, what great gifts these are and God created this desire in my heart to bring each one into the world!"

I was designed to be a mother of many little ones. God has leaned the hearts of my husband and I to welcome many children into this world. We face many naysayers. The line of criticism often feels long. We hear those who think it's too many or that it's selfish. What many don't know is that our hearts are full and the love we have for one another is strong.

Each of us has been given gifts from God in different ways. We can't hide those gifts out of fear of what others might say to our decisions. We can live out our calling so we can proudly proclaim, "Look at how amazing God is with all that He can do!" Let's stop hiding and let's start living out our callings so that through it, we can lead others to Christ.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

If you could go back in time to give advice to yourself 5, 10, or even 15 years ago, what would you say? Would you change things about yourself?  Would you wish you thought differently?

Here are some of the things I would tell myself:
  1.  Don't try so hard! You don't have to care so much for the opinions of man. You are already enough and you are doing enough. You don't have to push yourself over the limit and care so much about what others think you should be. Be who God created you to be! 
  2. Live in the moment! Don't look too far down the road. Don't look back so much. Enjoy this day that has been given to you. Because every day is a good day to have a good day.
  3. Put the camera down! Pictures are fun to capture and have the memories of a certain event. But taking many pictures takes away from the enjoyment of things. In an age of digital cameras and phones that make it easy to snap away, put the camera down and enjoy the moments right now. Just take a couple of pictures to remember a moment but not too many. 
  4. Look at the bright side of things! When things don't go as planned, don't let those moments get you down. Trials will come and they are meant to build up our faith. You will get through them so keep on pressing forward. (Romans 5:3-5)
  5. Be brave and do what it is God is calling you to do. Don't let the naysayers discourage you from your journey. You can do this! You can shine for Him!
  6. Don't worry so much! Worry brings anxiety which is not part of God's plan.  Look at the birds of the air and remember that we don't need to worry about tomorrow. (Matt. 6:34)
  7. Keep on loving like Jesus loves.  It's going to be hard. There are people that don't seem to deserve the love you give. But there were people who mistreated Jesus and He still loved them anyway. Love your enemies and the unlovable. 
  8. Also, be sure to set clear boundaries. Sometimes, people feel the need to cross over the boundaries into your lane way too much. Be bold enough to say, "that is enough" and mark the lines so they can get back in their own lane. 
  9. Don't spend so much time on social media. Many of those people aren't real relationships. Invest your time with the people around you. Keep special moments private without sharing them all over the place. Focus on relationships that aren't through a virtual world.
  10. You are beautiful. Every inch of you that God created is beautiful. What the world thinks is beautiful is not. You don't have to weigh a certain amount and look flawless. You are perfect, just the way God created you. 
Though I would tell myself these things, I know that the things I've learned as I've gained wisdom was part of the growing process that I've needed. Tomorrow will still have it's challenges and new things to learn. However, as my faith grows, my reliance on Jesus helps me as I go through life.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Relief From Our Suffering

"It's not fair! I wish on every first star that I see every night, every dandelion that I blow, and I even make every birthday wish one where I won't be itchy anymore. I hate eczema. I don't understand why I have to be itchy every day. It never gets better," cries my five year old after his evening shower.

Tears welled up in the corners of my eyes.

"Lord, I pray that he can just have some kind of relief... any kind of relief. I beg you to heal him. Take away this suffering."

My son has severe eczema and food allergies. Everyday he wakes up with scratching spells so bad that he bleeds all over his entire body. He cannot make it through the night without coming out to get more medicine on. We've been to many doctors all over the country (UCLA, Boise, Dallas, etc.) and he's tried every sort of medicine, herbal remedy, and every type of relief possible.  He carries his epi-pens with him everywhere. He has reactions to foods often, even with how careful that we are and has been drugged up with Benadryl on almost a daily basis. He is homeschooled and has to pass on many social events with food as he is often left out.  He cries when others are eating things in front of him that he can't have.

Many times, I have shouted out to the Lord wondering why he has to endure so much pain and suffering. I have tried to seek answers as to these conditions he was born with in every way possible. For years, I blamed myself having possibly "done something wrong during pregnancy." I have learned this is who God made him to be.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

I can't rely on my understanding of this situation. I have to trust God through it all. He created my son this way with a purpose beyond anything I may ever comprehend.

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

God may heal my son of eczema and food allergies. Or this may be something he has to live with and work around his entire life. Realistically, this will most likely be a lifetime battle. Although, when the Lord welcomes him home someday, these sufferings will be nothing compared to the joy he will receive being in our Savior's arms. That in and of itself is something we live for in our lives focusing on those arms wrapping around us through those hard moments.

Can I share something pretty amazing? This precious boy is a BIG hugger. He hugs me all of the time and tells me I am his best pal. That feeling alone makes my heart burst with the love he gives to me. And you know what else? He loves his daddy, his siblings, and God. Despite the challenges he has been given, I have always known that God was going to use this child for something pretty amazing. I don't know what it will be or if I'll ever live to see it. I just know that God has great plans for him.

When I was pregnant with him, they spotted bumps on his head and even suggested he might be lacking a chromosome in his develop. The doctors actually suggested abortion to me. I was appalled that they would expect me to give up so quickly on him.  What's even more amazing is that after doing some higher definition ultrasounds the bumps disappeared. After birth, it was realized that those enlarged bumps were his enlarged lymph nodes which can still get incredibly huge when he's battling his everyday allergies.

I can't imagine life without this precious child. He has had to face some incredible challenges along with his younger sister who also has many of these challenges too. Together, they are brave, intelligent, and pretty cool. More importantly, our faith as a family has grown through a lot of what we've been through, these challenges included.

James 1:2-4 Consider  it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I continue praying for a miracle through all of these hard times. And I will keep sharing God's love to my children the best that I can.

Heavenly Father, I pray for a moment of relief for my son and daughter's food allergies and eczema. I thank you for the gifts you give to us and I pray that you give me the strength to help them through these hard moments always pointing them back to you. Through my struggles of understanding, I pray that you remind me that your ways are good and your mercy endureth forever. Amen.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Being Kind to One Another

Yesterday as I went to the store, at the checkout lane next to mine, a boy was crying for candy.  The mother said a simple no and continued checking out. The boy proceeded to have a fairly mild temper tantrum. As I checked out in the lane next to theirs, the bagger and the checkout person made comments about how the mother needs to discipline her child and how that child is so annoying. It broke my heart to hear.

I explained to them both that no amount of discipline is going to keep a child from having a tantrum. The fact that the mother did not give the child the candy was discipline. Giving a child everything that they want is creating entitlement and setting them up for future problems. Besides, we are all born sinners.  Thankfully by God's grace and love, we've been forgiven. I told them that we all have bad days, even as adults. And that there are adults that act worse than that child's tantrum. Instead of saying judgemental remarks to one another, we should come alongside others and see how we can help. Perhaps, she could use an extra hand getting the groceries to the car. Or a few words of encouragement that she is a good mother along with a high five.

It makes me sad that others want to say discouraging remarks to others. It makes me sad when we don't offer to help others who are having a rough day. It makes me sad that when a child is crying, that society says children are annoying instead of  viewing it as a learning opportunity.

As a mother, I have been there. I discipline my children but they have acted out at the most inopportune time. I am sure others viewed me as a terrible parent. But what others haven't seen are the books I read to them often about character. Others do not see the love, hugs, and  heart conversations we have every day. Others do not see the sacrifices made on a daily basis. Others do not see what the child is like most of the time.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Be kind to one another and build each other up.

Let's all come together to be kind. Saying a kind word or sharing a smile goes a lot further than criticism.  That little bit of joy can really go far with another person. You never know what battles they may be facing that day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Snail Mail Challenge

Did you know that April is known as the month of letter writing? When was the last time you sent a letter in the mail? Sure, sending an email or text is much quicker. But wouldn't you agree that snail mail is much more personable?

I would like to challenge you to see how many handwritten letters you can send out this month. Perhaps, you can make it your goal to send one a day. You don't have to spend a lot of money on cards from the store. All you need is paper and a few good pens. Set the clock for a certain amount of time and go on with writing.

I have been apart of various letter writing groups and activities the last couple of months. There is something about getting a letter in the mail from someone who has spent time thinking of you or passing along encouragement. It's a smile that is needed to brighten your day.

Here are some tips for creating a good letter:

  • Come up with a theme for the letter. It could be a word that you focus on or a Bible verse that will bring encouragement. 
  • Play mail tag. Tag the other person with questions that you'd like to know about them and ask them to tag you back with new questions with their response. 
  • Be humble. Share about life experiences and what you are going through. Letter writing can be very therapeutic. 
  • Before writing, pray for that person. Ask God to fill you with the words they need to hear. 
  • Let them know you are praying for them. 
  • Include God into it as much as you can. Just like the saying goes, "You may be the only Bible they ever read." So share your testimony and what God has done in your life. Share the gospel if they don't already know it. 
Let's bring snail mail back! It's much more personal than the current technology. It shows that you care and took the time to send someone something to brighten their day.  Challenge yourself to spread joy by bringing back the gift of handwriting and words. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Unspeakable Joy Exchange Round Two Giveaway #1

If you have already donated to Nick and Sara D'Acquisto and signed up for the exchange, you may enter this giveaway. You have a chance to win these two items. The winner will be selected randomly through the giveaway feature on Friday, April 10th. For the shirt, you will send the seller your size if you are the winner. Both items will ship to you.

If you'd like to know more about where these awesome products came from, you can go to: and 

Alright ladies! Here's the giveaway:

Friday, April 3, 2015

When We Feel Rejected

Rejection doesn't come easily. Sometimes rejection takes the shape of a broken heart with cracked lines through it. I don't know about you but I feel rejected when others do not seem to care. I take it as a slap in the face, "I don't really like you" way of thinking. It hurts. I feel burned and confused.

Galations 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

John 12:43 For they loved human praise more than praise from God.

Folks, I tend to seek the approval of men more than I do of God. I care too much for the opinions of others more than I should. And when I get rejected, I take it as a personal insult assuming that something must be wrong with me.

On this Good Friday, I pause to think about how Jesus felt rejected. He was rejected by his disciples. He was rejected by his people, the very ones he healed, taught, and comforted. His rejection was far worse than mine.And yet, he still gave it all for you and me. He gave himself up as a living sacrifice for OUR mistakes, not HIS.

Unfortunately, what do we continue to do? We reject Him when we don't spend time with Him. We reject Him when we turn our backs on Him to take the route of the world. We reject Him when we say no to Him and yes to other things. We reject Him when we put ourselves first.

Thankfully, He is always there with open arms. He is always ready to catch us when we fall even when we've rejected Him so badly that we don't deserve to be held by Him.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

With the thought of our sins being nailed to the cross, accept it an invitation to return back to Him. It's not by what you do. Your good works do not get you to heaven. It is by believing in the sacrifice made and what  Jesus has done for us. It is by dying to yourself and living a new life. And when a mistake is made, it's about remembering the grace we've been given.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

God's Been Good to Me

My children have a favorite saying that says, "God is good all the time. All the time, God is good." It makes my heart sing when I hear them say it to one another. One of them will be scared about something and the other one will say it to help relieve their fears. Or at a random moment of the day, my three year old will start saying it as she walks through the house. It's such a beautiful reminder of how God is, even when I start to doubt how I am feeling at the moment.

What are all of the ways that God has been good to me?

  • He has provided for all of my needs
  • He has blessed me beyond measure
  • He gave His one and only son to take the punishment for my sins
  • He never leaves me nor forsakes me
  • He wants good things for me 
  • He gave me a purpose for my life
  • He made me in His image
And I could go on! 

So often, I get to thinking about my existence or how I can't keep up with life. I get on the "hating who I am" mindset and start to build a negative attitude. Boy, is that a wrong outlook to have on oneself. It's not about me. It's not about what I think is wrong with me. It's about God and how good He has been to me. It's about what he has done for me. It's about the miracle of creation.  He created me and called me by name to go forth to deliver the good news. 

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 

We all need to be reminded that no matter what hard things come our way, He is good through it all. It is not just during the easy days but through the hard days too. So when we feel like we are at the end of our ropes, recite that saying to be reminded of His goodness. 

Happy Good Friday!

One of my favorite songs: