Archives for February 2014

How to Know God is “Calling” You

After jumping out to plant the valley
I've had several people ask me similar questions about
how we knew God was "calling" us.

How to Know God is Calling You

Based on our personal experience as well as those we know who have gone through those step-out-on-a-limb decisions,

How do you know God is "calling" you to do something?

You will become unsettled in how you were formerly content living. When being 'called' to do something, I've often heard, "There was no reason to ..." When we left our comfortable, well established, thriving ministry down in Parker's Chapel, there was no reason to move. Life was great and it all made sense. And then God put an uneasiness in us toward normally lovable things and basic life.

That unsettled feeling led to restlessness and an eagerness to find what else God had for us. God will give you an unquenchable burning in your gut- a passion. Your unsettled feeling will become targeted and focused on something. That something will become your passion. It may be something that has been around for a long time and sometimes its newly found. It may not make sense but we know that logic doesn't really exist in God's upside-down kingdom.

God's will will never go against Biblical principles already established. God will never ask you to do something He has clearly deemed sinful. Searching scripture for conformation is always the 1st go-to in determining God's will. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow {Hebrews} so you can trust His character that's already been laid out for us in the Bible.

God will never ask a married couple to go separate directions causing division. God hates divorce. That's the raw truth. This is not saying God doesn't redeem things but if you are in the mist of a life-changing decision and your spouse is not on board, wait. This goes back to "God won't ask you to do something He's already said not to do." When you and your spouse are not on the same page, pray separately about the matter mainly focusing on asking God to turn some pages to get you both at the same place. Don't be stubborn holding out for your spouse's mind to change, it, very possibly, might be you God is changing.

How do you know you are doing what God has "called" you to do?

There will be peace that only comes with being in God's will. After the period of unsettled restlessness and searching for God's answer, there will be peace with following, going out on a limb, journeying a new road, etc. Excitement for what's to come will overshadow the looming feeling that you've made a horrible decision.

Things will not always 'fall into place' in our timing or how we thought they would. I wish I could tell you otherwise but when things just not coming together never means you should quite. If your decision doesn't go against scripture and there is God-given peace in the decision, keep truck'n. God will make a way. God will never give you more than He can handle. He is making a way but just like the "will for your life" is likely not logical, the path to completing it is likely not logical. When you finally arrive at what He's ask you to do, you will be able to look back at just how you got there and say, "Look what God has done" and know it could have only been Him.

There's a trail of "God Stuff". One of my favorite parts of hearing how God moves is the statement "and then God." It's always in there somewhere. I was fine in my job, and then God... We couldn't have children, and then God... We were going through financial trouble, and then God... Our marriage was almost over, and then God... We just couldn't sell our house, and then God... This trail will be made up of intricately woven paths crossed using intersections of people, places, lessons learned, skill sets, and so many other seemingly unconnected details of life. It will be beautiful! Write them down and soon you will see the grand picture like the finale of "How I Met Your Mother" where seasons of random stories were forming a beautiful love story all along; except this love story is all Yours!

Do you long for a "and then God" moment? Do you want to have the confidence in God's involvement in your life that can only come as the result of stepping out on a limb but are scared of the process? Seek God, search scripture, sit under godly counsel.

I would love to hear about your "and then God" stories! Please share, we're all eagerly awaiting goose-bumps.

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Why Doesn’t God Make Sense?

Are you frustrated in what God is asking of you because
it just doesn't make sense?

Why Doesn't God Make Sense

As Christians, we live in an upside-down kingdom: God's kingdom! Logic is often out the window when it comes to what God has called us to do. His kingdom doesn't run by our worlds constrictive logic-based ways. Often it is just the opposite of what the world tells you makes since. And since the world didn't make itself, I'm always going to look to its creator to ask how life runs best.

Jesus taught a lot on this while here, saying things like, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them."{Luke 6} Non-believers won't blink and eye at someone who loves those who love them; it just makes sense. When we start loving beyond our logical flesh, things get real up in here. lol When we obey even when everything says its stupid, God is able to do the illogical in our lives. You know, those stories where all we can do it share how He has worked then sit back with goose-bumps and watch as those we share it with get them, too.

Then Paul reaffirms, in 2nd Corinthians, the "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." teaching by saying, I've lived it and am here to tell ya "I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties." Paul fully trust that God's power is only completed when we rest in our own pile of crap and know His grace for it all is enough. Enough? As in, I don't need to fix all of this. I don't have to stay up night after night reworking some master plan to get myself out of this pile of filth; even when I got myself into it.

God's ways will never make sense to the world {and its people}. For real, if how you're living is never questioned by someone who doesn't know Christ, you're doing it wrong. I mean, who does that? Love the people who hate them and then brag about it when they get hurt by them. Get existed about the inevitable tough-times we all go through. Weird, right?!

Are you seeking God's will through the frustration? Well, strap on your seat-belt because this roller coaster has lots of loops! For more on seeking God, HERE's a Seeking God Challenge my hubs did and tomorrow I will share How to Know God is "Calling" You.

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Tips on Staying Refreshed for Busy Moms

I have found a treasure I want to share!!!

allieThis girl is a fresh breath of air among Christian women in the mommy war. She's what I like to call a "raw christian" meaning she calls it like it is, is a fashionista, shabby chic designer, chases Jesus without fear of what others will think, and encourages other women to be themselves and let Jesus ooze His grace out of their failures and lives what she preaches.

Today, I introduce to you: Allie. That's her!

Tips on Staying Refreshed for Busy Moms

Mom life- messy, chaotic, sporadic, hilarious, stressful, fun, and terrifying- all at the same time. We women have  a lot on our plates, don't we? Not only are we raising human beings and feeling the weight of that responsibility and all that comes with it, but we also have marriages to keep fresh in a world of easy divorce, a relationship with the Creator of the universe we desperately need to keep from insanity, homes to manage and keep tidy while the littles make constant messes, friendships to maintain... the list could go on and on. How in the world are we supposed to take care of ourselves in all this?! "I just can't." I've heard some moms say. "It's impossible. It's too much. Something had to give and it was me." In other words, many mothers let themselves go and release all the things they loved to do for themselves because life and motherhood was too much in itself.

I get it. I have three kids, spaced closely together at ages five, three, and almost two. My husband is the hard-working sole provider in our family, and works 10-14 hour days. Needless to say, I am a busy mama. I was once thirty pounds heavier with a messy bun in my hair and chipping nails that hadn't seen a manicure since my wedding day. My "fat" jeans were my best friend and if I showered every day it was an accomplishment. I reached a point where I was severely unhappy with myself and in turn, my life. I didn't feel good. I was always getting headaches, always feeling yucky and adjusting my love handles in my jeans. I would see my mom friends who had less kids than me with their perfect nails sitting across from me at Starbucks and hide my hands so they wouldn't notice my embarrassing nail situation. Other days I just didn't care who saw me and had accepted that this was me now- mom. Nothing more.

The way I felt about myself and the way my body physically felt crept into every aspect of my life. I stopped making time for the Lord because I just wanted to take a nap when I got a minute to myself. I was snapping at my kids much too often, and my husband rarely saw me with make up and a bra on. I was in one very serious rut, and I wasn't a bit happy. I came across a book about being a stay-at-home mom and enjoying it, and was awakened to what I had allowed to happen. I started browsing the internet for inspiration for looking and feeling better, like simple hair tutorials and quick make up tips and things like that. I got a treadmill and started walking/jogging a few times a week and stopped drinking sodas and eating fast food. I started to feel better! God spoke to me through this process and drew me back to Him, so I started making time with Him every day. I would wake up and feed my kids, then read my Bible while they watched a video or played.

I found myself snapping much less and smiling a lot more. I took time every week or two for myself, got out of the house, and let myself be a woman, not just a mom, and be rejuvenated. Today I am sharing some tips for getting out of a dreaded mom rut, and some of the small things that helped me feel happier and better about me in the busyness of mom life. My prayer for you is that you will be reminded that these little things aren't stupid or selfish, they are important, and they can help you be a better wife and mom.

Pick something that makes you feel beautiful, and make it a priority. For me, I found that getting a gel manicure was just the thing. This is such a low maintenance manicure, and can really take a beating- perfect for moms! I go every three weeks and just sit and relax while a sweet little Asian lady fixes my fingers up real pretty. It's fantastic and affordable since it's not very often that you need it redone. Find what your thing is- a manicure, a pedicure, a massage, getting your hair done... go and do it. Make it happen regularly and be refreshed. You deserve to have a little pampering and beauty.

Cut out the junk in your life. I'm talking about everything here- junk food, junk talk, bad friends, discouraging people in your life, negative television shows, everything! Get rid of it. You don't need it and it isn't helping you one bit. Life is short, and your time raising your kids is even shorter, so make it count by not wasting time on people and things that make you feel blah.

Replace junk with life! Now that you've cleared out all the junk, replace it all with things and people that breathe life into you! Worship music, people who love and lift you up, healthy foods and more water, exercise and dance parties in your living room. Celebrate life and learn to only allow the positive. Life will bring you plenty of negative on its own. Sowing positive will reap joy no matter what's going on in life.

Do what you love. For me, this was blogging. I started my blog and found a way to use my passion for writing in a way that brought me great joy and inspired others. Almost every day during naptime, you can find me curled up on my couch with a cup of tea, writing my heart out. Do what you love! Being a mom doesn't mean you can't. If you knit, dance, sing, write, draw, do yoga, whatever it is... do it! If you feel stuck and don't really have something like this, find something! One of my good friends taught herself to crochet by watching tutorials on YouTube. There are endless possibilities out there now. Dig in, friend! Seek joy!

 

Don't forget to head over to her new space, Allie {that's me}. You'll love following her real life updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest as well.

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$5 No-Sew Curtain {Thoughtful Thursday}

Thoughtful Thursdays on as Jules is going

All day long I squint and give myself a headache while trying to work in the kitchen. All that evil natural sunlight I love beams straight into my eyes at just the right angle. I don't want to block out the glorious light but I also want to be productive in the kitchen AND not spend a gazillion dollars along the way. The solution?

$5 No-Sew Curtain

$5.oo NO-Sew Curtain {kitchen valance}

  1. I saw this adorable fabric on a clearance end-cap last week at Target. When I picked it up hoping for it to be a kitchen valance I realized it was only a body-pillowcase. :/ THEN I realized, for $5 it would be totally worth it to try and make it into a curtain!
  2. You'll need a curtain rod {already had on above sink}, scissors, a needle and a pillowcase for a long body pillow.
    What you'll need to make a $5 no-sew curtain
  3. Unzip and flip inside out revealing the stitching.
    Unzip
  4. Make sure you are on same end, opposite the zipper.
    pull stitching using needle on the same side as the  zipper opening
  5. Using the needle, rip out stitching by gently sticking the needle under individual threads, starting about an inch from the top, and pull upward breaking the thread.
  6. Make the opening 2 inch long or big enough to fit your rod.
    pull stitching making about a 2 inch opening {to fit the rod}
  7. Flip pillowcase right-side out, sticking any fly-away thread inward {into hole}.
  8. Insert your rod through the new opening you made straight through to the zipper size.
    Flip pillowcase right-side out and insert rod through the new opening you make all the way through to the zipper size then close the zipper all the way up to the rod
  9. Close the zipper all the way up to the rod.
  10. Look at the crisp him...someone else made for you. lol
    Look at the crisp him...someone else made for you. lol
  11. Straighten and or scrunch as desired.
  12. Enjoy your new, bright colored, cheery, cheap, sun-blocking curtain!

Enjoy your no-sew curtain

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THIS is an Intervention

Kids meals? We never do kids meals. But sitting at a Taco joint with friends whom I had no idea would forever be in my heart we splurged. These little kids-meal-toys are a reminder of how God has funny ways of moving us through seasons of blessings.

Don't get me wrong, in every season we are blessed but the form in which they come is ever changing. That night, a journey of blessing would start from that parking lot; one that can never be repaid.

THIS is an Intervention

On a wintry night weeks earlier, our dear friends were approaching God on our behalf. At the time, we were only weeks away from launching and having our first ever service at the valley...and we still lived an hour and a half away. They plead for God's intervention through tears of compassion knowing God has something crazy in store. And God Answered!

Minutes later, our intercessors were approached by another family who knew God was asking them to step in but didn't quite understand how they could help. A few days later, those pieces of God's master plan were exposed to us in glorious fashion.

As we finished up tacos and my children were shocked by the "spiciness" of fruit-punch from the fountain, we were unprepared for the amazing tool we was going to use in our lives for this season. We walked into the parking lot and met a family that would bless us without even knowing us as we proceeded in a caravan through the woods, down Hidden Valley Dr to be offered shelter after a season of drought.

Thus began our season of the borrowed home in the Hidden Valley. A home that fit our family's needs perfectly was placed before us and ask "will this work?" as if there would be any question in our minds. God prepared this, there's no turning down such a blessing out of pride because there's no way we could ever repay such an offering.

In March of 2013, humbly and beyond excited, our world turned the page on a new chapter and in less than a week's time, we moved our essentials into a borrowed home and lived there 4 months. That season was filled with moments that still bring tears to my eyes as God lavished His love upon us through the love of others, family bonding, and rest. Much needed Rest. Rest we didn't know we needed in a time of fast pace preparation.

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I'll never be able to express how thankful I am to both of those families for being willing to be used by God in such a mighty way during a season we so desperately needed them but in short

Thank you for the natural oasis that was a perfect classroom to teach us what making memories as a family can look like. The first, adventures, learning, and memories we created during this season will forever be treasured in my overflowing heart.

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