Don’t Blink, Mamas

Over the weekend, my family had the opportunity to visit our oldest daughter who recently started college. She is living three hours from home, which has been hard on me. I miss her so much, and these feelings coupled with pregnancy hormones are not a good thing, ha!

Since she has left, I’ve really been reflecting on both my parenting through the years, and how I parent now. Have I done enough? Do I do enough? I can’t help but think about the many times where I made the wrong choices. The lost opportunities. I was young when I had my first born, only 19. I loves her fiercely, but I still had so much to learn. The Lord had yet to refine me into the believer I am today, and I made a lot of bad choices about the influences I let into our home and the way we spent our time. When she was very young I encouraged feminist thought, which goes against every fiber of my being now. Entertainment was paramount, and it wasn’t until she was about 10 when the Lord began opening my eyes to the beauty of obedience and holiness instead of following along with the cultural Christianity we were used to.

I’m a different mother now, for sure. And yet I know that I still have so much growing and stretching to do. Sanctification is an ongoing process. In these days between the Feast of Trumpets and Yom Kippur, I’ve really been examining myself. There is still selfishness I need to set aside. I still definitely make mistakes as a mother.

The years have flown since I’ve had my firstborn. Seriously, it’s like I’ve blinked and she turned into a young lady. I’m very grateful that I will always be her mama, and I will always have opportunities to show her my love. I’m so thankful for my other seven children still at home. I’m thankful for the Lord’s mercy when it comes to my mistakes. My little ones are definitely experiencing a different childhood than my oldest crew!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in tender compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience—
Colossians 3:12 TLV

The Lord has really been impressing the importance of humbleness and gentleness on my spirit right now. Oh, how I long for these qualities to shine through in my mothering. Our children are our most precious gifts. Time is fleeting, and the Most High can use this time to lead our children to Him.

How we spend our time matters. Our actions and words matter. How we love our children and husband matters. When God’s love truly reflects through us, we are giving our children a glimpse of who He is, and His life changing power to make a new creation out of brokenness.

I truly hope your week is blessed, ladies. Let’s love our families well!

Living Simply and Intentionally This December

Hello, friends! It has been a minute. I have been concentrating on accomplishing a few 2018 goals before the year ends, and have been busy!

What a blessed year it has been. It has been a year of growth for me, for sure. I’ve grown closer to the Father as I’ve learned more and more about His truths.

I’ve been stretched as we have strived to live more simply. I’ve also been stretched as we have squeezed our finances to pay off our mortgage as quickly as possible.

As we end the year, I would love to encourage you to live more simply and intentionally. Just yesterday, I learned that while the United States contains only 3% of the world’s children, these same children own 40% of the world’s toys. This statistic is mind boggling to me.

Our children need things like a secure home life and a present mother to grow into happy and healthy adults, not an abundance of toys. I am now doing my best to encourage our children to embrace the simple and important things in life. But please believe me when I say I didn’t always used to live this way. I’m so thankful to the Lord for the work He has done in my life!

We all can do our part to fight the consumerism monster. Even in December, it can be done!

I hope to begin posting again more regularly in the near future. I am on Instagram almost daily, and you can find me there at redeeming_home.

Be encouraged, mamas. You are doing the Lord’s work!

Finding Joy in the Small Stuff (Fall Edition)

With the time change and pending election, I’ve let myself get into a bit of a funk. I’ll admit, I’m totally in the wrong. I am beyond blessed with anything and everything I could ever need. I should be focusing on my blessings, and not insignificant hardships.

I’ve been reminded that renewing our minds with God’s Word on a daily basis is so important, mamas. Honestly, to be at my best, I need to renew it every few hours, at the least. I’m so grateful that the Lord has given us a lifeline in His Word.

Today I would like to share some wonderful things about fall that help to lift my spirits. Instead of seeing the short days as a bad thing, I need to remember that the Lord is offering us sweet rest in these next few months.

We can look at this time of rest with joy, knowing that we have more time to grow closer to Him. More time to study His Word. More time to pray. More time to enjoy our families. Speaking of families, I shared my family’s testimony which was featured in Above Rubies last week on the blog. You can find it here.

There is so many simple joys to look forward to during the fall.

  • Studying Scripture
  • Family time
  • Colorful leaves
  • Long walks
  • Warm blankets
  • Crackling fires
  • Hot chocolate or coffee
  • Pumpkins
  • The harvest
  • Craft festivals
  • Good books
  • Fall decor
  • Dried herbs
  • Sweaters
  • Boots
  • Baking
  • Apple Cider
  • Candles
  • God’s Appointed Times (Feast of Tabernacles, Trumpets, etc)
  • Time to plan the new year
  • More sleep to reset our bodies
  • Fall scented essential oils

The Lord is good, all of the time. All of nature speaks of His goodness, and fall is such a beautiful time to get outside with our families.

I’ve come to realize that the little things in life aren’t so little. Simple joys equal big time happiness. Let’s take the time to see the little blessings that surround us today.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Redemption from my Mistakes as a Mom

Oh, boy. This year has been a doozy for me. After moving to South Carolina, I thought the transition would go fairly smoothly. We moved to an area with not much around, which is totally different than what we were used to in the metro-Atlanta area.

One of the first things I did was try to find a ballet school for my girls. They really enjoy dancing, and they had learned ballet in a Christian environment for years. The nearby schools were either competition based, or their Facebook profile picture showed girls with hands on their hips and bare midriffs. (For the record…been there, done that. My seventeen year old likes to tease me about how I used to tell her to shimmy harder at dance competitions when she was nearly a baby wearing a bikini. Yes, I know. What was I thinking?? God was so gracious to open my eyes to my huge error!)

And so I looked further, and we ended up at a secular school with a civic ballet company nearly 60 miles away. Again, what was I thinking? I was determined to give my girls some sense of normalcy after our move. Forget the fact that my husband repeatedly told me that this was a bad idea, and I pretty much completely rebelled against him in the name of our girl’s “best interest.” About a week ago we were discussing the story about Saul’s unwarranted sacrifice in 1 Samuel as a family. Samuel said that rebellion is the same as witchcraft, and yes, I was certainly behaving like a witch when I went against my husband’s wishes.

Over time I realized the error of my ways, and I pulled my daughters from the program as soon as the season was over in March. But it was too late. An unsavory relationship had formed, and I’ve found myself crying out to God for forgiveness and redemption. Why oh why had a placed my children in an ungodly environment?

It was a moment of utter surrender. While I fully realize that our sin nature does not need any help when choosing the wrong path, we still need to commit all our ways to the Lord, and associate with likeminded people. We are struggling here, since likeminded people are far and few between. I am out of my comfort zone.

But God has ordained us to be here. He has called us to be His peculiar people, and that I definitely am.

Lessons have been learned. I highly doubt I will ever enroll my daughters in any type of dance program ever again. This comes from a huge nudge from the Lord and my husband that I’ve felt for about ten years now. He has opened my eyes to so many pitfalls, and I can’t ignore them any longer. Even in Christian programs, there is so much pride. So much focus is on the external. Body lines need to be just so, along with performance make up and such. My modesty convictions have increased a lot this year, too. I just can’t do it any longer.

Where does that leave me now? I’ve given my broken pieces to my Savior, and He has started to put this situation back together. I’ve repented (turned from) my error, and have asked Him to give me the strength to discern His will. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

The Lord has offered me redemption, and sweet mama, He has offered this redemption to you through His Son also. There is no mistake too great for Him.

Psalm 130:7 says, Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

From the Strong’s Concordance, another word for redemption here is deliverance. We have such hope in God to redeem and deliver us. He is merciful and mighty. And yes, this verse most definitely applies to us as believers, since we have been grafted into Israel, or God’s chosen people, through the blood of the Lamb.

His redemption is plenteous. There is more than enough to go around! It overflows, and covers us just when we need it most. Our job is to repent from our error and seek Him with our whole hearts.

Be encouraged today, mamas. Many blessings as you serve your families through His strength!

Humility: A Wife and Mother’s Secret Weapon

You know, sometimes I think I have this “mom” thing all figured out. My oldest daughter is eighteen, and I have eight children. In many respects I can say, “Been there, done that.” I’ve seen a lot throughout the years.

But in full disclosure, without the Lord I don’t know what I’m doing. Each child is individual and unique. Each day I encounter new parenting challenges. This applies to my role as a wife, too. As my husband and I grow older, there are new ways I can serve him better. Our lives are constantly growing and changing.

Unfortunately pride sneaks in my life when I least expect it. I think things are going well, and then bam…I’m thrown for a loop. I’m once again humbled, and I realize I don’t have everything figured out.

If I had been walking in humility in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened. Humility realizes that I am nothing without my Savior. Humility realizes that I can do nothing in my own strength. Humility doesn’t think that I have mothering, homeschooling, or being a wife figured out. Humility doesn’t boast in my children’s accomplishments, because somehow, deep down inside, they validate myself.

Ouch, right? Walking in humility goes against each and every grain of our sin nature, but it the secret weapon that will build our families up, and not tear them down. Walking in humility requires renewing my mind daily by washing it in the Word. This doesn’t come easy to me.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

Colossians 3:12 KJV

Once we realize that we are nothing, the Lord has more room to fill our cups with His truth. His truth is all that matters, ladies. Our own opinions and motives are as garbage. Without Him, we are nothing. Once we become believers, our lives are no longer our own. We are slaves to God. HalleluYah! This is a good and glorious thing!

I pray that through my nothingness, He reveals His holiness. I pray that I will be an example for my children to do the same.

A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Proverbs 29:23 KJV

Read one of my newest posts, Dealing with Feminine Pride Through Head Covering, here.

The Problem with “Self Love”

“So if I, your Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example – you should do for each other what I have done for you. Amen, amen I tell you, a servant isn’t greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them!”

John 13:14-17

Tonight my family squeezed into our living room and studied our Bibles. We were in John 13, and we talked about servanthood.

Servanthood. It’s something mamas know lots about, isn’t it? I’d like to say I’m always a great servant, but honestly, I’m not. My sin nature so easily gets in the way. It is very easy to worry and think about my own perceived needs instead of the others around me.

I cringe when I see all of the self-love hype circling around the internet, from believers no less. I don’t need someone to tell me that I should love myself. This flawed thinking comes all too easily to me! But laying down my life for my family each day is difficult. This is what I need instruction and admonishment in.

Scripture is full of verses about laying down our lives and taking up our cross. This is hard. This is what I need help with!

Some might believe that Scripture says we are wonderful and this is why we should “love ourselves,” but I’m not sure I agree. Yes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. This verse points to our Maker, not to us. Just like an artist is commended for his painting, the Psalmist commends the Lord for His marvelous works.

As a family, we discussed ways to serve each other tonight. This certainly is very contrary to our human nature. But we are called to serve, not to be served or to serve ourselves. We are not greater than the One who called us. We are not greater than the One who gave His life for many. And He is our example. We are to count our own lives as nothing. To live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Be encouraged as you serve your family today, mamas. Your calling is great, and when you serve those around you, you are following the Lord’s example. This is His will for us.

“Not to us, ADONAI, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory— because of Your love and Your faithfulness.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭115:1‬ ‭TLV‬‬

Thank you so much for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on Facebook. I’d also like to invite you to my Mary & Martha Facebook Page, or to look at beautiful and inspiring Mary & Martha home decor. It is a such a blessing to serve you!

By the way, I also have a new line of mom tees in my Etsy shop. I hope you enjoy them!

This post may include affiliate links.

Investing in Our Families

I’ve learned a little bit about investing money while following the Dave Ramsey financial plan. Before this time, I was totally clueless. The major take away I’ve learned is that slow and steady wins the race. Investing in good investments consistently will grow into a big return over time.

While this type of knowledge is important, it is nothing compared to the importance of investing in our families. When my older children were young, I didn’t take much stock in the “mundane” tasks of everyday life. I didn’t realize the simple moments that I spent with my children were an investment in the future. Looking back now though, I understand just how important these moments are.

Over time, all of these little moments compound into big moments. All of these little moments add up to memories that shape our children’s view of their childhood. I don’t know about you, but I pray nearly daily that the Lord will help me provide a happy childhood for my children. Moments and memories do not take money. They take time. Mamas, staying home with our babies is one of the best ways to provide our children with the love and care they need to flourish.

At the moment I’m sitting at a dock with my family. It is mostly quiet as everyone eagerly reels in their fishing lines. Mabrey is blissfully spilling her sippy cup everywhere, ha! This inexpensive moment in time is an investment in my children’s future. Is our life always this quiet and lovely? By no means. Only by the grace of God do our lives have meaning and purpose.

I would like to encourage you to invest in your children’s lives today. Small moments like reading books, giving hugs, and giving encouragement add up to sweet memories they will hopefully cherish forever. Just being present is an investment in our children’s future. There is nothing better than being there to help our children if needed. My kids’ eyes just light up when I simply compliment their drawings or talk about our latest fishing excursion.

Our families are a gift from the Lord, and I fear women send the message that money is more important than time with our children when we choose to leave our home to work rather than spending time with them. No commodity is more important than time. Once it’s gone, we cannot get it back. We will never regret spending time with our families. In fact, Scripture tells us that He blesses the man who fears the Lord with family. We must try to be a good steward of what the Father has given us.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.

Psalm 128:3-4

Thank you so much for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on Facebook. I’d also like to invite you to my Mary & Martha Facebook Page, or to look at beautiful and inspiring Mary & Martha home decor. It is a such a blessing to serve you!

By the way, I also have a new line of mom tees in my Etsy shop. I hope you enjoy them!

This post may include affiliate links.