Friday, July 24, 2015

Parenting with God

"I'm mad at you because I want my daddy to come home!"

Those were the hardest words I've ever had to hear my son say to me and my husband. We knew he was hurting emotionally. As parents we never want our children to feel any pain and as mothers we want to make it all better. Children are innocent and pure of heart, free from the scars life can give us. Being a blended family has brought many challenges and issues we have been forced to face but it is our reality daily. 

When I divorced, my son was only 3 years old and at the time I had no idea my son would suffer emotionally from my choice years later. As parents we never intend to hurt our children but in our selfishness and frustration we indeed hurt them even if the signs aren't visible until years later. Divorce is hard on everyone in a family but in my experience it's our children who suffer most. 

Sitting in the middle of our living room Monday night, I watched  my 6 year old with tears streaming down his face express his anger and resentment towards me and my husband. We were hurt but immediately validated his feelings. We explained it was okay for him to feel angry and explained expressing them was healthy and God knew his hurt and that God would bring healing. I apologized to my son for the pain I had caused him and reassured him how much mommy loved him. In that moment I asked my son to forgive me and explained we must forgive those who have hurt us. 

  • Colossians 3:13, make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so we must forgive others. 
  • Ephesians 4:32, instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 

I had to take responsibility for the pain I'd caused him but also recognized if I didn't address forgiveness with him, anger and unforgiveness would take root in his little heart. Eventually it would create an unhealthy relationship between myself and his step dad. As we continued to discuss his hurt my heart just broke over and over. I thought to myself, "how can I fix this? It's my fault he feels this way." In that moment God reminded me I'd been forgiven and that he loved my son more than me and He was and is more than "ABLE" to comfort him.

  • 2 Corinthians 1:2, may God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. God offers comfort to all. 

We serve an awesome God, He is all knowing of our fears and failures but still loves us unconditionally. Parenting our children is more than just depending on our own wisdom, it must include dependence on God daily for guidance. We are not perfect and we will make mistakes, but just like a child looks to a parent for love, comfort and support, we look to God for those same needs. God parents us and we parent them!! We were created in His image to be a reflection of His love for all mankind. Our children are our greatest blessing and what a great responsibility He has entrusted us with. 

Some personal advice for helping your children emotionally in a blended family:

  1. Let your children express their feelings because they are REAL
  2. Offer as much emotional support necessary and lots of love and reassurance
  3. Prayer, lots of prayer - both with them and for them (prayer changes things)
  4. Seek counseling (every child's emotional needs are different)
  5. Talk to them as much as they are willing to talk to you about their feelings 

I hope you are encouraged and I am praying for you! This is a difficult journey, but we are not alone in it, praise God!

Friday, July 17, 2015

You are Worthy!

In order to move forward from your past, you must first understand that you serve a forgiving and gracious God. Only the devil has interest in focusing on your failures no matter how big or small because he knows it keeps you in bondage and makes you feel unworthy of Gods grace. I'm here to tell you that God wants you to live a life free of condemnation. 

Romans 8: 1-2, Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the spirit who gives life, has set you free from the law of sin and death. 

Each of us have our own story or circumstance which has probably left us feeling God could never forgive us. For me it was my divorce. God's word says that he dislikes divorce, yet we still know he loves the sinner. He hates divorce because he knows the deep wounds it causes His children, who He cares for more deeply than we could ever imagine. God knows your individual circumstances and your heart. You can't allow yourself to live with the shame, regret, embarrassment and failure if you are going to succeed in your new marriage. The enemy wants you to believe those awful things about yourself and he is the author of all lies! In my experience, two areas which have helped me to thrive in my new blended marriage are forgiveness and taking every thought captive, let me explain. 

Forgiveness of Self and Others 

Forgiveness is one of the hardest areas to tackle. It takes prayer, remembering you're not perfect because God isn't looking for perfection instead he's waiting for you to go to him in your brokenness with a humble and open heart allowing him to renew your soul. 

When you find yourself struggling to accept Gods forgiveness, ask the holy spirit to lead you in truth and acknowledge your need for healing. God will meet you right where you are with open arms ready and willing to help you put your past behind you once and for all. The most important piece to this is actually "believing" God has forgiven you. There is nothing so terrible Gods grace can't forgive. He wipes the slate clean making you white as snow. Forgive yourself because God already has!

1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faith and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   

You must also forgive those who have brought you pain (previous spouse) and let any bitterness, anger, resentment, or negative feelings you continue to harbor go. If not, you only delay the emotional healing your soul is seeking. Unforgiveness is like a bad habit...the more you feed it, the stronger it grows. Dealing with these issues if you truly want to move forward, is essential to being successful in your new blended marriage. 

Take Every Thought Captive 

If you allow the voice of the enemy to speak louder than Gods truth in your life about the past you give the enemy a foothold into your mind and emotions. 

Taking every thought captive is vital to your emotional and mental healing. I have found it so important to know the word of God. I can't tell you how many times the enemy has attacked me but for every negative thought I'm ready with scripture and Gods truth to fight back. Fighting the enemy is a spiritual war and because you are Gods child you have been given authority over the enemy to break and defeat his strongholds in your life. 

Colossians 2:10, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.  

As long as you listen to his lies you remain a prisoner to your past. You see, Satan's mission is to tear you down right from the beginning of your new marriage causing confusion and turmoil. The word of God is your weapon and necessary in order to quiet the enemy's whispers. In the book Blending Families by Jimmy Evans and Frank Martin they explain, 

"That's how Satan works to tear couples apart. Whenever he sees conflict or stress in a relationship, he capitalizes on it by whispering into our spirit. You just married the wrong person. You'd be happier if you'd never met them. You were better off before. He uses the memories of our past ties and relationships to destroy our present ones. And he does it because he knows it works. Satan understands the emotional ties created by previous relationships, even if we don't. And Satan will use any tool at his disposal when trying to destroy what God has joined together. This is perhaps one of the most damaging and prevalent "day one" dynamics facing almost all blended marriages. In just about every blended family, there are remnants of past relationships, and if those memories haven't been healthily resolved, Satan will use them to tear the family apart."

Put your trust in God and allow him to silence the enemy. Having a blended marriage and family is a challenge but the joy you'll find with God on your side is a blessing. He will walk with you, guiding your every step. So relax, sit back, and give God the wheel. He's got this. Don't ever think you are not worthy of Gods love and grace because your past does not dictate your future. You are valuable to God and with each day he's refining you. We are a reflection of his image, pure and whole...YOU ARE WORTHY!!!! 

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Heart of the Matter

Communication is the most important part to any relationship whether in your marriage, with your children, friends, family, etc. Without it, we are unable to convey our thoughts, feelings and emotions which are all directly connected to the heart. 

As I tucked my son in for bed, he said "mommy I love spending time with you." In that moment my heart overflowed with joy with those few simple words.

With so many things pulling at us for our attention, it's easy to forget each moment with our children matters. As I laid there while he drifted off to sleep, I asked myself, "what is the one thing I want my son to remember when he's grown and leaves our home?" The answer, my LOVE! Communication is more than just talking, it's making a heart to heart connection investing in their lives daily. I know for me, connecting with my son can be as simple as enjoying a day at the park, sharing a bowl of ice cream, listening to him practice his reading, or just simply direct eye contact. Each example communicates love and attention which brings value to our parent child relationship. I believe our relationships with our children are a lot like our relationship with Jesus. As parents we want our children to know our love is unconditional and they are priceless. With Jesus it's the same. Our ultimate responsibility is to imitate the unconditional love of Jesus to our children. 

Author Danny Silk in Loving your Kids on Purpose explains it best: 

"As parents, our goal is really to introduce our children to a relationship with God by doing our best to relate to them like God does. More specifically, God has entrusted us with the task of recognizing the unique qualities in our children that connect to his calling on their lives and helping them to develop those things on purpose."

Next to God, I want to be the biggest influence in my son's life and the only way to do that is to know his heart. It's takes lots of time, attention, wisdom, and guidance from God but know I'm doing what's required as a parent, 
  • Proverbs 22:6, Raise a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.
With so many distractions from day to day, I have to be intentional with my son just as God is intentional with us. Each moment and opportunity we have to pour into our children are what I like to call, "fruitful moments". These are moments I'm sowing into the heart of my son and will one day see the fruit that grows.
  • Deuteronomy 33:14, Month by month your fruit will ripen in sunshine
  • Psalms 92:14, They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old.
  • Matthew 12:33, A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces.
The moments we have with our children are precious. Each minute, hour, day, and year is time you'll never get back. Once it's gone it's gone forever. I know we've all been there with a long list of to-do's, a long day at work, busy schedules, housework, laundry, and  all we want is to sit down and unwind, but don't miss the opportunity to communicate with your children. The dishes, that phone call you need to make, the e-mail you need to check, it can all wait. Put the world on hold and make the heart of the matter your priority!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Remove the Busyness & Connect to Life

Do you ever feel like things are so out of control and you just can’t get a handle on life?  You go through your daily routine feeling unaccomplished and frustrated seeing the negative in every part of the day. I know I do and yesterday was it for me.

Being a mom is one of the greatest blessings yet challenging tasks God has given me. There are days I ask myself what was God thinking when he made me a mom? At times I feel so unequipped to be a parent, especially when I lose my patience, discipline in anger instead of love, and allow my emotions to get the best of me. With so many things needing our attention it's easy to get disconnected from our true source of life and that's Jesus! We have to stay connected to the giver of life and ask him daily to fill us with his grace and love because apart from him we can do nothing, which leads me to my story.

So we have a rule in our home, no more than 2 hours of TV time a week and my son does not have a TV in his room, yes it’s true! My husband and I prayed about this before implementing it and felt strongly TV was interfering with my son’s development of character. We had noticed the talking back, being disrespectful towards us, disobeying, temper tantrums, among others were severely disrupting our our home. My son, age 6, is well aware of the TV rule but like any child his age he pushes the limits. Last night, after watching his 30 minute allotted TV time he absolutely threw a fit with all the dramatics, crocodile tears, screaming “it’s not fair”, y’all are mean, etc. After a long exhausting day I was in no mood to make this a debate. I reacted by yelling at him and telling him I was the boss and informed him he had lost the remainder of his TV time this week.

After I’d tucked him into bed and sat down beside him I thought to myself, “what if God reacted to our behaviors or temper tantrums in the same way?” I had never been more thankful in that moment of God’s unconditional love for us. We fail him daily yet he always responds in truth, mercy grace and love. He listens to our prayers, comforts us, and guides us with gentleness, yet a firm hand, (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres).

Yesterday God reminded me I’d been trying to do everything in my own strength, not his. I’d forgotten to focus on him and spend time with the one who brings life and allowed my busyness to overwhelm me instead of allowing God’s presence to overwhelm me. God is with us every second of the day waiting for us to reach out to him but we are so preoccupied checking off our to-do list we neglect the one “TO-DO” that matters most. Is Jesus on your to-do list today?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It Takes Time

A blended family is a family that includes children from a previous marriage of the wife, husband, or both parents. For those of us who have been or are currently in a blended family setting, we know all to well the unique dynamics we face day to day. Marriage in and of itself brings challenges of it's own when our lives are joined together as one and in a blended family you have children in the relationship from the start.

According to Jimmy Evans of, the divorce rates tend to be higher for a blended family due to the all present set of challenges faced from parenting differences, unresolved feelings, priority in the relationship, etc. Don't let this scare you! I believe it's how we handle our differences, the expectations we have, and the Godly foundation we lay from day one that allows the blended family to thrive and be a success. You don't go into marriage with negative thoughts such as, this is going to be too hard, it might not work, what if I fail? Don't get me wrong with the divorce rate in today's society it sure doesn't make it easy to be positive. It's my opinion however, that's the problem. We live in a so called "microwave society" where everything is done and attained fast and easy with next to little thought about putting hard work into anything, including marriage and family.

Beating the odds of divorce in my opinion is totally possible if we are "smart" about how to overcome the unique barriers which set us apart from biological families, which is to simply understand we each bring value to our newly formed step-family. Nothing's perfect, everything takes work, and most importantly building a strong foundation will take time. In my blended family, one of the things we decided to do right after we married was make necessary adjustments professionally to help meet the needs within the family. For example my husband and I both decided to change our work schedules to allow us more time at home as a blended family. This decision was particularly important for my 6 year old son to help establish a solid foundation for our blended family. Children need stability and a sense of security at all times but even more so during a major life change such as marriage. We focused on building a foundation based on Gods principles for our family and building those strong relationships with each other. The progress we've seen thus far has been amazing and worth every obstacle we've encountered.

One of the major areas we've found most difficult is our difference of opinion in parenting. I'm sure a lot of you are saying, "yes me too". Well let me encourage you, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The one thing I had to realize was if I wanted my son to respect my husband and look to him as the leader and authority in our home, I had to allow room for his parenting style even if I felt there was error. When I don't agree with something my husband has done in his parenting, I address it with him at the proper time. It's important to remember never underestimate their authority in front of the children. This subjects the child to not trusting or respecting the step parents authority. This one was hardest for me. I had been so used to doing it "on my own" I forgot there was someone else's opinion which needed to be considered. We still work at this daily, but we have found working together as a team and being respectful of each one's point of view makes the difference. If you each have a different idea on a parenting issue, my advice is to discuss it, pray about it, and then come to a common ground to handle the situation or issue. By handling it this way, you and your spouse are respectfully submitting to one another and acknowledging the important roles you both play in the marriage as parents.

The bottom line, being a blended family takes time. Make space in your everyday lives to invest in your family and marriage taking it one step at a time. Every family is different and unique in their own way and there is no instruction manual or step by step guide to follow. If I could offer any advice it's to keep your focus on God and allow him to guide you through your journey. You'll be blessed by his unfailing faithfulness and astounded by his grace. With God all things are possible!! 

Joshua 24:15, "But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord."

Saturday, June 27, 2015

3 Things I Learned In my Storm!

During the time after my divorce when God was healing my wounded soul, the three lessons I walked away with were powerful. It's hard to imagine when going through our storms for us to see the bigger picture and the reason for the testing of our faith. Romans 8:28 states, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." I've made it my goal to accept the tough challenges in life as a blessing because I have discovered our pain stretches us and points us to God. If we seek him wholeheartedly, we will find him. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any one hears and listens to and heeds my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he will eat with me", (Revelation 3:20). 

1. Acceptance of Self
Loving ourselves and accepting our flaws is vital to our future. We can't expect to press forward and still be looking in the rear view mirror. Our past is just that, our PAST! We are not perfect and we all make mistakes. I believe it's what we do with the knowledge we gain from those mistakes which help shape our future. Remember, we can't change our past but we can certainly change our future. 
  • Psalm 139:14, "I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
  • Isaiah 61:3, "and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called mighty oaks, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." 
2. Trust
When things are going great, life is full of smiles and giggles we easily admit and profess, we trust God. As soon as our circumstances go south and we can't see a shimmer of sun in the tough times we doubt. Why, because we discover during the hard times where we've actually placed our happiness which is in the things of this life, NOT JESUS! True happiness, peace, fulfillment, self-worth, and value are found in him. People and things of this world will fade but the things found in God are eternal. 
  • Psalm 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight."
  • Proverbs 23:4-5, "Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surly sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle." 
3. Purpose
We all have been given a certain destiny in this life and God knows the plans and purpose for each of us. Nothing catches God by surprise and he knows our end from the beginning. If we allow the enemy, which is the father of lies to consume our thoughts and condemn us, Gods purpose for our lives becomes less visible.
  • Romans 8:1-2, "Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." 
  • Exodus 9:16, "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I  might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 
We serve a God that is faithful and sovereign. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He never changes and with him our lives have purpose and our identity is found in him. The three lessons I learned from my storm were valuable because I had to restore my soul and accept myself and experience his unconditional love in ways I'd never imagined. His grace has filled me and allowed me to pour into the lives of my son and husband. By no means is our life perfect, however our blended life is richer because of God. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Storm Before My Blessing....

Over the course of the last 2 years, my life has been an emotional whirlwind but worth every challenge I faced. In January 2012, after 10 years of marriage, I decided to divorce not realizing the repercussions my soul would suffer or the emotional pain I'd endure. 

After my divorce, I kept moving right along in life fell in love and got engaged to a wonderful man who made me feel complete in every sense of the word. He met all my needs emotionally, part of what was lacked in my previous marriage or at least I thought. Never once however, did I stop to take a deep look inside myself at my true brokenness and I was only setting myself up for more disappointment. Due to circumstances beyond my control, my heart became overwhelmed with grief which forced me to listen to that still small voice inside, telling me I wasn't ready to remarry. I called off my wedding and chose to listen to GOD and seek his will for my life which I had previously ignored but first I needed healing. Anger and guilt were my two biggest areas I had to surrender to God if I ever wanted to be emotionally free.   

At first I didn't recognize it as I had consumed myself with work, school, my son, and my new found love. Instead of taking the time to properly heal from my divorce or seek GOD about it, I simply put a band-aid over it to not expose my wound. What I should of been doing was looking inward at all my discontentment and unhappiness in lieu of what my outward appearance looked like which was happy. God showed me it was okay to be angry because it's a sign of our human nature and that it's not wrong as long as we respond to it correctly. Ephesians 4:31 states, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." I never addressed my anger from the divorce and it took root in my heart, causing me to blame others for my own faults and unhappiness, when I should have given it to God and allowed him to heal my hurt. 

I must have asked myself a thousand times the same questions. What could I have done better? What was my fault in the marriage? Where did I go wrong? What do others think of me? Does God still love me? How could I move past this, how could GOD ever use me now? The answer to all these questions is Gods grace and forgiveness. Psalms 32:5 states, "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you will forgave the guilt of my sin." You see God loves us so much and his love is unconditional. 

The healing process was a painful journey in which I had to allow God to do a deep cleaning of my heart. Surrendering total control of my life to God was necessary in order for him to work in and through me. It has been amazing to draw close to him and let my creator love me and I wonder why I ever held back. All this time I thought I could do it in my own strength but I couldn't of been further from the truth. In our weakness his strength is made perfect. God has given me such a peace and healed my broken heart revealing that if I trust him completely, he will turn my sorrow into joy. I'm so thankful for Gods unconditional love and mercy. He restored me and healed my deep rooted wounds and spoke his truth to my heart. 

For those wondering or asking yourself, will I ever feel whole again, the answer is YES! Remember, Gods love is unconditional and he accepts us just as we are. He is there to pick up the broken pieces and RESTORE us. Jeremiah 29:11-13 states, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Sometimes we make a mess of our lives because we think we know what's best, what we want, or what we need forgetting to check-in with God. We let our heads do the thinking all the while God is waiting for us to seek him in TRUTH. When we take things into our own hands, it's been my experience, we end up on our knees begging God to fix our problems. It seems to me we could of saved ourselves a lot of grief had we sought Gods guidance and divine wisdom. In the end we will see our rainbow...

On February 28, 2015, I married the man I had been engaged to 2 years ago. There is no doubt in my mind my journey was necessary in order to be the godly wife God created me to be in marriage. God has joined us together to be used for his glory and given both of us a powerful testimony to encourage other families.  I have a 6 year old son from my previous marriage who simply adores and loves his step-dad. The daily challenges we face as a blended family are not always easy but the joy we share in living lives totally surrendered to God is priceless. Being married is an adjustment in and of itself and with raising a child, well let me just say God keeps us on our toes!  My hope is you've been encouraged knowing God has you covered. His plans are better than anything we could think of on our own and by his grace we are victors!!